Tuesday, April 3, 2012


I realized as I was compiling the pictures for this post that I never actually talked about how I made the coffee table in the living room.  It is a one-of-a-kind J. Paris Designs creation, of course, drawn up from the retro part of my personality.  I was going for the kidney-bean shape from the 60s and 70s.  I used a 3/4" sheet of plywood as the top and drew out the shape I wanted.  I cut it out with a jigsaw.  The paint was actually leftovers I had on hand and was watered down a little so the grain of the plywood would show through.  I stained the edges of the table in dark ebony. 

Side note: I put several coats of polyurethane on the surface.  It was cold outside so I did this in the basement.  Bad idea!  We slept with the windows open for two nights so we wouldn't asphyxiate in our sleep.  Take it outside next time!

You can see another shot of it in this post.
The most important aspects, in my opinion, are the 3 slanted legs.  They couldn't just be straight up and down or the whole look would be off.  I stole the legs from a small tripod table complete with hardware.  I went to extreme lengths to get those legs sturdy.  The metal brace wasn't enough so I used hinges as supports.  The below picture shows a close up of the contraption I came up with.
Also, if you look close enough, you can see how the brace is sorta bent a little.  That was due to me trying to pull the table closer to the couch one day and the front leg got stuck in the carpet....crack!  It's been sitting like this for 6 months.  It's wobbly, unsteady, and can't really move anywhere without risk of cracking the fragile wooden leg further.  This brings me to the point of this post.  I need new legs.

Originally, when I was building the table, I wanted authentic retro hairpin legs.  But I was trying to be cheap and cut corners.  See above story about shotty leg craftsmanship.  Until I just couldn't take it anymore.  I actually found a website for a company in Columbus that sells strictly hairpin legs, appropriately named hairpinlegs.com.  I decided to man up and spend some moula on the legs that would effectively make my table as retro as possible.

They came on Monday and I was admittedly giddy with excitement.  I was proud that I finally purchased what I had been wanting all along.  They were raw steel (the stainless ones were twice as much - I was manning up, but not that much) so they needed covered with a clear coat so they wouldn't eventually rust.
Luckily it dried quickly, so I was able to attach the legs ASAP.

These legs were attached at three different points with the screws spread out about two inches from each other.  This made for a much sturdier table in the long run compared to the old legs.

Doesn't it look cool?  Straight outta the 70s and into my living room!  I love them - so glad I decided not to be so cheap.  Plus, I can cross this off my to-do list :)

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