Introduction: Make Hairpin Table Legs
Hairpin table legs are all the rage right now and they are so easy to make. Here we'll show you how in just a few short steps.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
- Tape measure
- Rod bender (or torch to heat the rod, or a whole lot of muscle)
- Angle Iron
- Flat corner brackets (Braces)
- 3/8" hot-rolled steel rod
Step 2: Determine the Length of the Legs You Want
These legs are very simple and the most valuable thing we'll offer here is how to make each and every one the same.
In our case we were shooting for around 18" so we cut four 36" pieces of 3/8" hot-rolled steel rod.
Step 3: Bend the Rods Into Legs
There are several ways to bend the legs. The easiest way that produces the most reliable and repeatable result is by using a rod bender. As of this writing they are about $80 before any discounts and must be bolted to the floor to use.
But there are other ways to accomplish this task. If you have a torch, you can heat the rod and bend it manually. This may or may not produce the same result every time. There are other ways to heat the rod too. If you've ever seen a weed burner, they get plenty hot enough to bend 3/8" steel rod. So do charcoal briquettes, so you could just break out the BBQ. If you're heating the rod to bend it there are two things to help make the same bend every time. 1. Heat the same area of each rod to the same temperature (as best you can). 2.Bend the rod around something like a piece of pipe held in a vise. Some people are strong enough to just bend them cold and pound them into a radius with a hammer.
It is essential that each leg be the same and the way to measure it is by laying out a measuring grid on a flat surface. Draw a centerline and lay the hairpin into it. Mark where the rod ends land and measure the length from the bend. If it's uneven, and it probably will be, trim the long end down to match the short end. It's probably best to bend all four legs before doing this because you'll want to trim all of them to the length of the shortest side.
Step 4: Make an Assembly Fixture
Using some angle iron, make an assembly fixture. One thing to make sure of is to build the fixture in such a way that the corner brace can slide in and make firm contact along both edges. Leaving the corner of the fixture open helps. Then install a vertical piece of angle for the hairpins to rest against while you weld them. Make sure this is square to where the corner brace sits.
Step 5: Weld the Legs Together
Set the corner brace into the fixture and clamp it. Locate the hairpin on the corner brace and lean it against the upright angle iron. Tack weld the ends of the hairpin. Double check that the hairpin is still where you want it and complete the weld. Repeat this with the remaining legs.
CAUTION! Most of these corner braces we found are galvanized and welding on zinc produces gases that are even more poisonous than regular welding fumes so use extra care to be in a well ventilated area. That is not to say don't do it, because because all welding fumes are poisonous, just use extra care.
After this just paint them the color of your choice and bolt them to your table top.
Step 6: Watch the Video
This video explains it better.