I love a hairpin leg. Of course, that’s an extension of loving anything Mid-Century Modern… which oddly, does not extend to loving Mad Men so much. Hm. It’s a mystery to me. Jon Hamm is pretty handsome. I digress. Hairpinlegs.
Hairpin Legs were created, according to several weavers on the interwebs, by a gentleman named Henry Glass, sometime around 1942. He had been asked to create a line of wrought iron furniture, and so he did. He totally did. Love the clean, airy look, the innovation, the simple softness of stark lines… but most of all, back then, people really loved how so little raw material could create such a sturdy frame.
Many designers more known for mid-century furniture innovations – a-hEAMES! – used hairpin legs in their designs later on. And now, much, much later on, we’re all nuts for it.
I’m going to do you such a solid right now: hairpinlegs.com. Go on.
I was so inspired by pics online, that I just had to get one (make one) for myself. They were super affordable ($12 per leg + $12 shipping), and really easy to attach. I would say, the most difficult part for a city dwelling somebody like myself is getting the wood for the bench. We had a left over plank from our kitchen shelving project, which was perfect for us. We had to cut it to size ourselves (5 feet down to 4 feet) but that was easy with our miter saw. If you have neither, go to your homedepot or Build it Green! NYC branch and they will cut it down to size for you for a tiny fee. Like, a couple dollars per straight cut. Home Depot cuts for free. Build it Green! has really interesting planks of wood, too. I’d get one from there myself, if I didn’t have this leftover piece to recycle. Grumble. Anywhoo. I love the new bench. Love, love, love it.
First, we cut a 5-foot plank of pine (1 and 3/4 inch thick) down to 4 feet.
Then I sanded the whole thing down. I sanded a lot. I sanded it so that the edges were well rounded and smooth and even made indentations in the edges with the sander where I could. This toned down that somewhat commercial grade precision you get from wood plank you don’t cut down in the woods yourself.
#10 Pan Head Screws. We used a drill, though it also went in by hand with a bit of effort. But this was necessary because it was easier than maneuvering around the legs with the drill.
After two coats of clear semi-gloss polyurethane. I sanded between the coats with 120 grit sandpaper.