You’ve seen the hairpin leg dining table I made as part of my kitchen renovation, but I haven’t yet shared a full tutorial — so inspired by Naomi’s dining room progress, I thought I’d finally get around to doing so. I am so thrilled with how it turned out!
The first step was to get my hands on some hairpin legs. I found an incredible deal for 28″ hairpin legs at Hairpinlegs.com — just $13.50 each!
Next I picked up the wood for my table. Based on my positive experience getting a nice finished results on my coffee table using high quality plywood, I was pretty optimistic about this as an affordable approach. I settled on a 4′ x 8′ piece of maple:
I had them cut this at the store, cutting a piece to 36″ x 62″ — which is what I wanted for my table top — and then saving the rest for scrap pieces that I planned to use to build a reinforcing structure underneath (more on that to come soon). To finish the edges I picked up some 1″ x 2″ strips of maple, which I planned to nail to the sides to hide the unfinished plywood edge and create a more substantial look.
When I got the wood home, the first step was to build the under-structure. My goal here was to reinforce the entire table so that it wouldn’t sag length- or width-wise. First I laid down the piece I was using for the top, with the side I picked to be the bottom facing up.
Next I cut two pieces from the leftover portion of the original 4′ x 8′ sheet to the same length as the top, and about 6″ wide. I laid those on each edge of the tabletop.
Then I cut three cross pieces, long enough to fit between the edge pieces and also about 6″ wide each.
Once I was sure everything fit (ensuring that the exterior edges of the supporting pieces lined up perfectly with the edges of the top piece) I used star-slotted screws to attach the support pieces to the top.
Next up it was time to attach the edges. I wanted nice mitered corners, so I used my compound miter saw to cut the 1″x2″ maple to the right lengths on each of the table’s four sides with 45″ angles at each end.
I used my brad nailer to nail these in place, which held most of them securely. However, I had one slightly bowed piece that the brad nails weren’t strong enough to kept from bending away from the table, so I used my kreg jig to drill pocket holes on the underside of the table and attach the side piece that way:
I was pretty happy with how the mitered corners turned out:
But I also planned to use stained wood filler to fill in the gaps later in the project.
With the support structure and sides built, it was time to flip it over and stain!
I used Minwax’s “Early American” to get a rich mid-tone finish. I like to use a cloth to apply it, and here it is after the first coat (in the horrible basement lighting). Let it sit for a little, but be sure to wipe away any excess that has pooled within ~15 minutes.
I let that dry for a few hours, and followed it up with a second coat. As planned, I mixed some stain in with some stainable wood filler and used that to fill any small gaps in the mitered corners.
I waited a few days for everything to dry fully, and I finished the tabletop upstairs. Sam helped me carry it up, and I was pleased that it felt nice and substantial. We set it down on its top:
And then I applied a coat of stain to the bottom. It will never be seen so I wasn’t too fussy with it, but of course it’s worth a coat of stain. Then I attached the legs. They came with three screw holes in the base, so I used screws that I had on hand to attach a leg to each corner.
Then we flipped the table right-side-up. I used Minwax wipe-on poly to finish it, doing two coats and sanding lightly between coats. I like the wipe-on poly because it avoids leaving brush strokes, which a piece this large could be prone to. I used a satin finish because I didn’t want a high gloss surface.
And here is the finished result!
I’m so pleased with how it turned out! All told I spent about $175 ($70.44 for four 28″ hairpin legs (including shipping), $75 for wood for tabletop, $30 for stain, finish, and sanding pads). I feel pretty great about that for a dining room table.