The hairpin leg was designed by Henry Glass in 1941 for American Way furniture. A simple "V" of steel rod was connected to a flat "L" bracket, cocked at a slight angle. Hairpin legs produced maximal strength out of minimal material and were easy to make, both ideal qualities during wartime shortages. The visual language -- dematerialized and unadorned -- was picked up by a subsequent generation of designers. Tacked onto any handy flat surface, they've become a shorthand for mid-century modernism.

For this dining table, the hairpins are reversed, angling inwards to brace swept-back legs. Instead of a conventional boxed-out apron, the substructure is an elongated "X", making a slim, elongated profile. The top is made of wide laminated planks, with a chamfered edge and through-tenons in each corner. It seats 8 easily, and 12 in a pinch, but doesn't overwhelm the room.

I used reclaimed Douglas Fir, salvaged from the boiler room of a vacant building. The 12" hairpin legs came from a website (there are a couple specializing in hairpins) and cost about a dollar per inch. Consumables, like glue, lacquer, and resin, brought the total materials budget to about $100. It took between 70-80 hours to make.

Lacking my own shop, I was able to do a lot of the work at the Station North Tool Library, a non-profit public workshop that has open hours twice a week. These sorts of spaces are cropping up all over the world, and are perfect for nomadic makers like myself. They are also proof that you don't have to own all the fanciest woodworking equipment in the world to make your project.

You will need these tools:

- Table saw

- Thickness planer

- Jointer

- Circular saw

- Belt sander

- Orbital sander

- Jigsaw

- Drill/driver

- Mallet

- Router

- Tape measure

- Pencil

- Adjustable square

- Putty knives

- Chisel

- Block plane

You will need these materials:

- Around 45 linear feet of reclaimed 2x10 material or similar

- 4 12" hairpin legs

- 1-1/4" drywall screws

- Wood glue

- Two-part resin epoxy suitable for filling knots

Step 1: Milling

The lumber I found had sat in the boiler room of a semi-vacant building for about sixty years, judging by the dates on some of the lumber stamps. It was long planks, and I think it was probably used as scaffolding walk boards.

Underneath all that grime and heating oil was beautiful, streaky, reddish Douglas Fir. Whatever lumber you end up using the process is roughly the same. To clean it up, cut it into 8' lengths, then run it through the thickness planer until it is a uniform 1-1/4" thick.

Then use a table saw to cut 1/4" off one edge, flip the board, and do the other edge. Repeat, flipping each time, until they are a uniform 7" wide.

Note: this is not the classic proper method for producing square and straight boards, which involves many passes with a jointer. However, with factory milled lumber that is already surfaced (however years ago that may have been), dry, and relatively straight, I find this method to be much faster and just as effective.

Good idea... ☺
Love it all, especially the slight angle of the legs and the underlying strips
<p>This is absolutely beautiful! </p>
Awesome. Absolutely stunning. Brilliant work. Definitely my favourite instructable ever
<p>You're great at writing up these indestructible. You make it very easy to follow. I think a scaled down version of this will make a great computer desk with the way the supports leave room for a keyboard tray or a small drawer. I'll start this weekend. Thanks.</p>
<p>Great job...I can't wait to see the Chairs you're going to make to go with the style of the table.</p>
<p>Beautiful table - very graceful. If I read correctly, you glued and screwed a cross support crosswise to the grain of the table top. I have some experience doing that and it isn't happy. I think you can get away wit screws if you elongate the holes to allow for cross-grain shrinkage, but my experience with gluing cross grain has been disastrous. </p>
<p>Thanks for pointing that out. Most conventional tables have apron pieces that are orthagonal to the long grain at each end. If the wood is well-seasoned and well-laminated, it is a pretty common technique. The brace pieces are also running across the grain of the top at a 45-degree angle, which won't &quot;fight&quot; the top grain quite so aggressively. </p>
<p>thanks for taking the time to reply. Just ordered the book. Hope it sells well for you.</p>
<p>I really liked the table--so I just ordered your book. Its been awhile since I've seen a design book that promises so much fun.</p>
<p>Thanks so much for ordering the book! Grateful for the support -- please let me know what you think of it once you get a chance to read it.</p>
<p>Elegant design. :)</p>
<p>What a beautiful, elegant table. Lovely to see craftsmanship like this with traditional tools and limited workshop access. </p><p>I love the elongated &quot;X&quot; substructure, so much more pleasing than a boxy apron.</p><p>My wholehearted congratulations on this piece. Please keep on with the great instructables - I can quietly dream of someday emulating them.</p>
I'm a big admirer or your 'scrap table'. I might try a hybrid of the two with a tabletop made of thin laminates with the hairpin legs
What a beautiful table. Everything just seems to work so well together. Great job
<p>That table is amazing! Awesome work, keep it up!</p>
<p>Gorgeous table, and those legs are amazing!</p>
Beautiful table. Thanks for sharing.

About This Instructable




Bio: Furniture hacker. Author of Guerilla Furniture Design, out now. Find me on Twitter and Instagram @objectguerilla.
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