Building any furniture in the near future? Do you know where to buy hairpin legs to get the look you are aiming for?
You may be tempted to just jump on eBay and place a bid or two on one of the more affordable listings but in my experience you should probably take a good look at the project you are planning; many projects simply require higher quality legs than you will ever get at bargain basement prices.
I have helped a friend of mine make a few furniture pieces over the years. We’ve worked on rustic wooden pieces, plush “family room” style furniture pieces, as well as ultra modern designs. What I particularly like about working on modern furniture however is that in many cases these pieces are somewhat simple to build – so long as you have the high quality building materials from the start.
Low Price Vs High Price - High Quality Parts Make A Difference
Many Ikea tables and chairs use modern design coupled with retro hairpin legs but I often find that these pieces are simply not built as well as I could make them myself. The quality in their materials used is somewhat lacking.
The most recent desk I worked on with my friend was constructed from an old antique front door as the main piece. It was a monster door and very heavy. It was beautiful and I never would have placed it on feet that I wasn’t sure would hold it up safely for decades to come.
Not only was the door heavy but we covered it with a thick piece of cut glass to give it a smooth work surface. Had we simply bought cheap stuff from the likes of eBay or sought out antique legs for harvest from any one of our local antique stores the quality of the joint would have simply been too low.
You need really thick 3 pin stainless steel wires to hold up heavy tabletops without creating a wobble. And for chairs or cabinets the need for sturdy legs is even more apparent. They need to safely hold a piece of furniture with the capacity to take on at least a couple hundred extra pounds.
As I’ve dabbled in DIY furniture making I’ve found that a solid investment in a material’s quality pays itself back many times over in the end, especially if you intend on selling your furniture later on.
Which Hair Pin Table Leg Set Should You Buy?
For those of you looking to purchase high-end hairpin parts be prepared to spend a bit more on average unless of course you are working on any piece that is not meant to carry much weight.
Below I’ve listed a few sources for hair pin furniture legs and described a bit about why you might buy them there and what they would be best used for.
What Type of Metal Legs Are Best
In this product space the main types of metal hairpin legs are those made of steel and those made of iron. Yes, you probably could find some interesting alternative materials if you really wanted something different but both of these options provide more strength and stability than any other alternative.
When you bolt a set of these to the underside of a wood surface you want to be sure that the bracket that connects to the under-surface will not bend or loosen as the years go by. If there’s anything all furniture makers know is that if you are going to make your own bench or coffee table (or whatever) it needs to be stable for years to come and the best way to ensure this is to use high quality parts.
But Which Should You Use?
I would suggest placing an order for really thick iron or steel legs for projects where your final furniture piece will need to carry a larger load, otherwise go with a 3 pin or standard hairpin leg set. The heavier the object the wider the iron should be. It can taper down to the floor but stainless steel is going to offer the most strength overall.
Short hairpin feet are best used on heavy load furniture pieces like a sofa or bed frame. They should use stainless steel in my opinion, although there’s nothing wrong with using other metals.
Many custom metal fabricators will actually be best able to describe to you what materials they use in making their hairpin legs and could give you professional guidance on which material and style would be best for your application.
For instance, if you want a set of legs for a bar stool or dining table on a wood floor then you probably need to discuss your concerns of floor protection with the manufacturer you’ll be working with. You wouldn’t after all want to find a nice set of hairpin legs for sale only to find out later that they scratch up your floor.
On a non-moving couch or on a carpeted floor this may not be a concern but adjustable pieces of furniture, such as a folding chair or a sliding-leaf table on a floor that can be scratched, are another matter all together.
Should You Buy Pre-made Or Custom Hairpin Furniture Legs?
If you are OK with pre-made options you can easily head down to your local Home Depot or Lowes home improvement stores. They are highly likely to have standard sizing in stock and may even have a few other options available for special order.
If you want different sizes or shapes, maybe a square bar or a table leg that is extra tall (or short) then your best bet is to work with a custom metal worker. Some companies deal strictly in hairpin furniture legs and feet and will be more than capable of bringing your vision to life. Most large cities have plenty of companies that can do custom metalwork and then there is always the small retailer doing business on Etsy.
Many companies that deal in custom product can offer you exactly what you want but at a steep price. An alternative to going custom or shopping at the likes of eBay for wholesale pricing on conventional product is to work with a hairpin leg dealer that has plenty of non-standard options in their regular inventory.
Online only companies such as HairpinLegs and TablesLegs offer plenty of variety of high end product in many standard and non-standard sizes. Sellers on Etsy can also be a good source of interesting table legs, as well as even Amazon.
Ever since Amazon started opening their sales platform to small retailers of specialty products it has become easier to find good options in many different styles and lots of different price points, both high and low.
Aside from cost it’s worth looking around for favorable shipping terms too. Many non-local companies will only ship to the US. Shipping to places like Canada, Australia, and the UK might limit your options. Amazon for instance has very few sellers that will ship oversees. Do your homework but don’t sacrifice quality just to make a purchase and get on with your project.