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Using Hairpin Furniture Legs with Slab Wood

closeup live edge sofa table with hairpin legs

Slab wood and hairpin furniture legs are a very popular combination in DIY furniture making. Why is slab wood so frequently used? First, each piece of slab wood is unique. That gives you a one of a kind hairpin leg table no matter how you go about it.

Second, slab wood is a substantial piece of wood that makes a substantial table. Slabs really are just a plain sawn section of the tree. Slabs are typically live edge pieces meaning the natural edge of the tree has been kept intact and may include such natural features as bark, knots or burls.

Third, for such a substantial and beautiful piece of wood, slabs are relatively easy to come by. They may not be at your local hardware store, but local sawmills are a great resource. There are also specialty lumber dealers that sell uncommon slabs such as rare woods and burl woods. And finally, slab wood can be a great way to use or give a second life to a tree of your own. If a tree needs to be taken down or has fallen, it can be cut up into slabs and made into amazing furniture that lives on in your home.

Hairpin leg slab tables are a work of art but they are not a lot of work to make. In fact, it may be one of the easiest hairpin leg tables to make. You can finish the wood any way you want—including no finish at all! Then you’re ready to screw on a set of hairpin legs. Four hairpin legs is the standard, but don’t be held back by convention. If more or fewer legs works best on your table, go for it – that’s why we sell them individually!

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Do Hairpin Legs Need Protection or Color?

patio table with 3 rod hairpin legs

Do hairpin legs need protection? It is a question we’re often asked. The simple answer is, ‘No’. But you certainly can add protection if you’d like, and it’s simple to do.

So…what are you doing with the hairpin legs? Are they going to be used in a protected or harsh environment? If you’re looking for a leg that will do its job for a long time without much care or hassle, go ahead and use them just the way they are. But if you want to be assured that your hairpin legs will not tarnish or rust and will remain just the way you want them, perhaps protecting your hairpin legs is for you. It’s not necessary to protect the legs, but there is certainly no harm in doing so.

outdoor patio table with 3 bar hairpin legs

Protecting your hairpin legs can be as easy as applying a clear coat intended for metal. Or you can use gun blue to coat them or paint them if you’d like them to be a brighter color. We know that our hairpin legs often offer a silent partner to a showy tabletop and they are happy to do so. But if you’d like to bring a little more attention to the legs themselves, color is a great way to do so. Matching colors bring the legs into the table whereas contrasting colors will highlight the hairpin legs themselves. No matter what you decide, we know your custom hairpin leg furniture will turn out to be one of a kind! In fact, we’d love to see what you come up with so send us a pic of your project!

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Angle Iron Table Legs on Old Growth Redwood Table

closeup redwood table with angle iron table legs

We love knowing our hairpin legs, bench legs, and angle iron legs do such a great job our customers come back for more. Todd is one of those repeat customers. This time he came back for another set of tapered angle iron legs. His new table is made from reclaimed old growth California Redwood. Todd let us know how well he things our legs go with the table:

Three hand-forged metal angle iron legs give this table a contemporary and even mid-century modern look.

We’re glad you chose those legs, Todd, nice job!

As if the gorgeous redwood was not enough, Todd added inlay to this table. The dark colors of the metal legs and the inlay complement each other perfectly and play nicely off of the dark highlights of the wood. Here is what Todd had to say about the inlay:

We inlayed this table with Black Schorl Tourmaline, one of the most aesthetic black minerals known. Ancient magicians relied upon Black Tourmaline, known as Schorl, to protect them from earth demons as they cast their spells. Today this stone is still revered as a premier talisman of protection, a psychic shield deflecting and dispelling negative energies, entities, or destructive forces.

The black tourmaline clearly spoke to Todd, and we think it came out looking amazing! Whether you’re using our hairpin legs or other metal legs, we love seeing your final products. Thanks for sharing Todd!

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Hairpin Legs for Beds

Beds are one of the most important pieces of furniture in our homes! From new beds to rebuilt beds, hairpin legs are a great option!
Hairpin legs are used to build and rebuild many types of furniture. What about using metal hairpin legs on a bed? The answer is Yes! Our hairpin legs can and have been used with beds. We find customers have really liked using our hairpin legs on lower frames. Building a solid platform for your mattress is one options. Updating an older bed with a new set of metal legs is another great option. Many platform and Zen-style beds are simple and functional beds that would be ideal for hairpin legs. If you’re going to use hairpin legs we recommend our thicker gauge (3/4”) hairpin legs.

Bed styles like day beds are another great option for hairpin legs. As with all hairpin leg furniture, rebuilding an old bed or repurposing existing materials into new furniture is always an option. You could even build a bed frame from salvaged pallets! Think about the size bed you’d like. Your measurements may be influenced by your current mattress, room size, or other factors. Then determine how high off the ground you’d like your bed. We offer hairpin legs starting at 4” so we’re sure you’ll find what best suits your needs. If you’re considering a really large bed frame, you could even use more than four legs for added stability. Before you know it, you’ll be sleeping tight on your new bed!

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Hairpin Legs and Old Doors – From Simple to Elegant

cupboard door table with hairpin legs closeup

Hairpin legs offer the ability to make simple custom furniture that is unique, easy to make and beautiful. No matter what condition your door may be in, chances are it is still going to be functional and look amazing with a set of metal legs holding it up. The simplicity of our hairpin legs adds stability and style. Past customers have shown us the range of possibilities when turning an old door into a hairpin leg table.

Old doors–especially those with character–can have a set of modern furniture legs attached and they make a table. When you start looking you’ll be surprised how easy old doors are to find. You may even have one in your own house. But if you don’t they are a staple at most building material recycling and reuse locations. Or ask a friend! Maybe there is a basement or closet door you’re thinking of replacing. Closet doors come in a wide variety of sizes so they may be the best option if you’re looking for a smaller than average door-to-table project.

Keeping the door in its original condition gives the new table a classic look. The door can be refinished or clear coated for a bit more of an upgraded look. If you’re looking for something more refined, consider topping the table with glass or a two-part epoxy. And though we’ve mentioned our hairpin legs, there are lots of options. We’ve found many customers like pairing our tapered angle iron metal legs with their doors, or you could use custom bench legs scaled up to table size; it’s up to you!

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Small Hairpin Legs for Restoring Large Furniture

jerrud media console closeup with short hairpin legs

We offer a wide variety of hairpin legs – different styles, diameters, and heights. Our hairpin legs come in heights from 4-30″ inches tall. This leaves the maximum amount of usability for building custom furniture. It is common to think of building a coffee table or a dining room table with hairpin legs but the shorter legs are great too!

Our short hairpin legs are great options for large-bodied furniture such as desks and bureaus. Rebuilding a large piece of furniture often involves replacing the original legs. Over time wooden legs wear down and crack. It can be difficult to rehab a large piece of furniture if the legs are cracked and the connection points are worn. This type of furniture is perfect with short hairpin legs. The turn-of-the-century style of the hairpin leg compliments the classic look of older furniture. The legs perfectly compliment the solid construction and classic lines of antique style. Plus, these metal legs will not degrade with constant use and say, bumping with a vacuum cleaner. Many customers have rebuilt or refurbished old furniture with hairpin legs. They’ll work for desks and bureaus, but they’ve also been used for wet bars, shipping crates, and much more!


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DIY Furniture Ideas Using Hairpin Legs

Are hairpin legs intended to be used with a slab of wood? That’s one way to use hairpin legs but they need not be limited to that. We like to say creating a hairpin leg table is as easy as attaching them to an old door. But the possibilities are endless. Customers have used our legs to make hairpin leg furniture including desks, bureaus, and credenzas. Don’t let anything stifle your imagination. We’ve also seen old beer crates, luggage, and a butter press make amazing hairpin leg furniture.

Here are a few DIY furniture ideas our customers have come up with, now what should you do for your hairpin leg furniture? Anything you want! We offer a wide variety of heights, diameters, and styles of metal leg so we can best support your furniture making. Perhaps you have an uneven slab of wood you want to make into a table. Great, you can order hairpin legs of different heights to accommodate it. The tabletop and your craftsmanship are what should be highlighted when making custom furniture.

Our hairpin legs are there to play a supporting role. Whatever speaks to you and adds character to your living space will make a great hairpin leg piece. All our hairpin legs are made to order right here in the USA, so you can be sure you’re getting a high-quality product for your furniture. When you’re finished, send us a pic of your creation!

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Bench Legs if You’re Not Making a Bench?

closeup flat bar bookshelf with custom metal legs

Modern Legs is named for the mid-century modern style hairpin legs we make. But for those who know us well, you know we also make lots of other leg styles including bench legs. Why? We offer a variety of hairpin legs in seemingly endless sizes. What purpose do the bench legs serve? Our bench legs fit a more specific purpose. Our hairpin legs are durable and will hold up a substantial amount of weight. But if you’re looking for something that will make you feel even more confident with weight support, bench legs are the solution.

These bench supports look great simply bolting them to the bottom of a slab of wood. Voila, you have your very own custom bench. But customers saw that these versatile legs need not be confined to benches alone. From tables to shelving these metal legs have found their way into many fascinating and creative projects. We’d like to see what you come up with. Have something specific in mind? Drop us a line and we just might be able to customize a set for you if that’s what you’re looking for. And don’t forget to send us a pic when you’re done!

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Are Four Hairpin Legs Right for Your Project?

Each hairpin leg furniture project is unique to its builder, and that’s how it should be. That’s the point of making your own custom furniture! Today we’re asking a basic question, ‘How many hairpin legs do I need?’ The obvious answer might be four legs. After all, four legs are what comes standard on most tables, chairs, desks, and the like. But your project is going to be a custom project, right? Think about what works for you.

Four hairpin legs will work just fine on lots of projects. But just because that’s standard, doesn’t mean that is what you have to go with. We’ve seen customer projects that utilize more and less than four with impressive results. Some tables work great with three legs. Stools often utilize three preventing them from rocking when there are slight variations in the floor. Long tables– especially thin ones–can benefit from extra hairpin legs to support the weight in the middle of a long expanse. Or perhaps hairpin legs don’t give the breadth of coverage you’re looking for and you decide to use bench legs!

Our metal bench legs do an amazing job of supporting a large amount of weight. Just as with hairpin legs, bench legs can be used in a combination of numbers to best support your project. Your project can utilize a pair of bench legs, one for each end. Additional numbers can be used in the same way as hairpin legs when supporting a long table. And if you’re in the position to attach one end of a table to a wall, you can use just one bench leg. The creative process is full of possibilities! We hope these DIY furniture projects from our customers help jump start your creative process.

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Elizabeth’s Hairpin Leg Table with Reclaimed Barn Board

There’s something about barn boards. They hold the elements at bay for fifty or a hundred years and boy that really adds character to wood. Wood that has stood up to the elements for decades can certainly hold up to a second life as indoor furniture. Old barn boards are often from the era of hand crafting. Sometimes the evidence of being hand worked remains adding another dimension to your furniture. Elisabeth’s reclaimed barn board table looks right at home with the hairpin table legs she chose.

vermont barnwood coffee tableIn a time of myriad building materials, it can be refreshing to combine some of our oldest building materials with brand new ones. These boards are reclaimed from a historic barn in Vermont. We think they look just perfect with our hairpin legs. Notice Elizabeth chose our Just the Tip hairpin legs. They can be used to support heavier tables as they provide more of a “foot” than other hairpin legs. Or they can be chosen just because that’s the style you like best. For whatever reason, they go perfectly! If you’re looking for wood for your hairpin leg table, keep an eye out for historic buildings that are being renovated or deconstructed. Materials from these structures are often saved for reuse so people can repurpose the historic materials. You can also see if there is a reused building material center in your area. Attach your hairpin legs and you’re off and running!

Thanks for the inspiration Elisabeth, we love it!