Mid Century Modern Hairpin Legs - How to Restore Finish

Hairpin legs on retro mid century modern furniture pieces are my absolute favorite feature born in that innovative period of furniture design. If you are lucky enough to find original hairpin legs while out thrifting, snap those babies up. The finish is very easy to restore. Here's how:

Here is a set of four 12" hairpin legs that I pulled off a dilapidated stool purchased for $3. You don't really think I'm gonna tell you where I got these do you? lol Just kidding.....our local hospital thrift shop is where I go to find some really good deals and to help purchase new medical equipment for the local hospital.


Fill a bucket or container with water. Tear a sheet of 150 grit emery cloth (sandpaper you can get wet) into four equal pieces. Here's the easiest way to tear sandpaper. Use the sandpaper to gently sand the surface of the portion of the hairpin legs immersed in the water.

The idea is to get rid of the rust and prepare the surface for priming and painting. It is NOT necessary to go down to bare metal on the leg. Change the water as often as needed. Run your bare hand over the metal surface...if it feels smooth to touch, it's done. Rinse with clean water and dry thoroughly. 

Spray a coat of grey metal interior/exterior primer on the hairpin legs. Once primer is dry, apply thin coats of flat black Krylon indoor/outdoor paint. Tip: I use free cardboard trays from the grocers and secure wax paper over the cardboard. Place leg on top and spray. The cardboard can be used several times as the wax paper prevents the freshly painted object from sticking.

And just in case you're out thrifting and you only find 2 hairpin legs (YES, it can happen...) Hmmmmm.... What to do? Well, here's what I did with only 2 hairpin legs...

Details on how to build my space-saving half round table can be found here.  

Details on how I made this half round table into a totally awesome hair styling station will be posted tomorrow. Stay tuned.... :)


  1. Hey Pam! Thanks for visiting my blog and I hope you'll come back and say hello now and again. I love how you repurposed those hairpin legs! How-to blogs are awesome--but I need to find a How-to-get-motivated blog to rev up this ole engine.

  2. Very cool, I'm now your newest follower.


  3. Nice to find another hairpin leg fan! Good how-to explanation, it really isn't too difficult to give these another 50 years of life.

  4. What a cool table. Thanks for the refinishing tips!


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