After seeing so many tables using steel legs in the stores recently, I starting thinking that I wanted to try making one myself, especially with those delicate-looking hairpin legs. They look simple enough...get a piece of wood and attach the legs to it. That’s all, right? Well in truth, although it was fairly simple to make, it ended up taking quite a few steps to put it all together. But in the end, I’m so happy with how my new reclaimed barn wood console table with hairpin legs turned out.
I began to search for a source of these table legs and came across Hairpin Legs Canada. They have a beautiful, simple collection and their leg offerings were clearly labelled as “coffee table”, "bench”, etc. making it super easy to find exactly what I needed. I chose a set of four two-rod, raw steel table legs to make a console table to place at the back of my living room couch. Although I was tempted by all the other hairpin leg options, I stuck with my original plan to make the console table (but a DIY bench is definitely now on the to-do list since this particular project turned out so well!).
Once I settled on the hairpin leg design, the next step was to find the “right” piece of wood for this project. We recently had to cut down a diseased ash tree at our parent’s cottage that would have worked had we been able to find someone to cut the wood down into planks. Who knew it would be so hard to find someone with a band saw?
Luckily for me, while doing some local antique shopping a few weeks ago, my husband came across a gorgeous large piece of barn wood for sale. The barn wood board was perfectly imperfect! It was definitely more rough than I was expecting, with a long split on one side and not as flat as it needed to be, BUT it had loads of potential. He purchased this piece of bard wood for $65 (who knew there was so much money to be made in selling barn wood!). My fingers were crossed that my planned DIY console table project would actually turn out!
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Materials Needed to make a DIY Barn Wood and Hairpin Legs Console Table:
- X4 Raw Steel Hairpin Legs, 28” leg length and ½” thickness
- Rust-proof spray paint, black matte (Amazon affiliate link)
- X1 barn wood board sized 5’ long x approx. 12” wide (finished size)
- Palm and/or belt sanders
- Sanding block with 220 grit sandpaper
- Oil-based Polyurethane sealer (Amazon affiliate link)
- Good quality paint brush; tack cloths
- Appropriate sized screws (not included with hairpin legs) and drill with bits
To begin our upcycling project, I needed to prepare the hairpin legs for use. As recommended by Hairpin Legs Canada, in order to prevent the legs from rusting over time, it’s best to treat the legs with either a wax coating or rust proof clear coat or paint. I chose a solid black rust-proof spray paint for my console table legs. With my working surface area protected with newspaper, I applied a few even coats of the spray paint (follow manufacturers instructions) and set the legs aside until I was ready to use them. I actually should have done this much sooner after I brought them home because unfortunately, they had already started to rust. If I had to do it again, I would have purchased the finished legs instead of raw steel legs. But that’s life...you live and you learn.
We recently used spray paint to upcycle some outdoor porch decor as part of our 12 Months of DIY challenge where a group of Canadian bloggers use the same material to create their own DIY project. Check out that post for some really inspiring and surprising uses for spray paint!
Getting the piece of barn board ready was the fun part! The purchased wood measured 6’ long by 18” wide and as you can see the wood was split on one end. But luckily for me, a console table is typically 12” wide so that extra width needed to come off anyway. To keep the barn board looking as rustic as possible, we (thank you hubby!) continued to split the wood down the entire length of the piece. I used a crowbar and hammer to gently continue the split down to the other end. I loved the look of the uneven edge so decided to keep that as the exposed side. Next we cut the board down to 5’ length using a table saw.
All sides and edges of the barn wood needed to be smoothed out using belt and palm sanders. We removed all dust using a tack cloth before moving on to staining.
The next step was to apply the polyurethane stain and sealer. We chose an oil-based polyurethane because of the richness in colour over time and for how long it lasts as compared to a water-based sealer.
It required three coats of the polyurethane stain and sealer on all sides and edges of the barn board. This took time as we needed to leave enough time for the sealer to dry between coats and a slight hand-sanding between coats as well. We used a tack cloth to wipe away excess dust after each sanding before applying the next coat of polyurethane. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to know how long to leave the wood before further handling.
To assemble the console table, we positioned the hairpin legs 6” in from the edges and 1.5' from the straight back edge. The legs were secured directly into the barn board. We used 1 ½” long screws. It's important to make sure the screws won't be too long and poke through the table top!
As a side note, if your barn board is not perfectly flat or level, you may need to play with the positioning of the legs by using shims to add height where needed.
I am very happy with this one of a kind, rustic reclaimed barn wood and hairpin legs console table for my living room that cost a fraction of the price it would have cost at the store. I call that a DIY success!
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