FAQ

Find the Answers You’re Looking For

We apologize in advance for the lengthy responses – many of the questions involve technical aspects of woodworking and a single sentence answer just won’t do. If you would like a further explanation of any of these points, please call us or fill out our contact form. We love to talk about our work, so don’t be shy.

How much do your tables cost?

It depends on the design. Pricing is driven by three factors:  Size, complexity, and materials.  Large tables and complicated designs take longer to build, and cost more, than smaller and simpler tables.  Material costs vary depending on whether the table is made of wood or laminate, and what power/data units are used.

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How design choices affect cost: same size, different design choices, different prices

Here’s a quick formula that will give you some numbers to think about:

  • For most of our tables, prices start at about $350 per foot of length, i.e. a 10 foot long table will start at about $3500.  That would be for a table with simple features, made of laminate.  
  • Prices rise as the table gets fancier.  By the time we get to $1000 a foot, you can have a very complex and impressive design.  The most expensive tables end up in the neighborhood of $2000 a foot or more.
  • The formula applies to odd shaped tables, like V-shapes, open squares, and circles, if one takes the overall length of the table, unfolded or unwrapped into a straight line, and multiplies by the price per foot.

This formula doesn’t cover every possible type and configuration of table we make, but it does work for most of our choices.  To further clarify, we’ve sorted our portfolio by price group.  STANDARD GRADE ($350 – $500 a foot) are the lowest cost.  PREMIUM GRADE ($500-800 a foot) represent great value.  They have a good combination of features and materials, making for an impressive table without too many extras.  And ULTRA GRADE tables are designed to dazzle, with the finest materials and most imaginative design.

All of our tables are made in the same shop by the same craftsmen, to the same highest standard of quality.  Contact us and  we’ll help you make prudent choices about what features to include or omit to meet your budget.  

 

How long does it take to make a table?

We try to ship orders within 8 weeks of receiving them.  We will discuss your schedule requirements when you place your order, and do our best to meet your needs. We take your schedule requests seriously – when we commit to a delivery date, we will be ready on that date. Please do your best to keep us informed of schedule changes.

What is my conference table made of?

Most of our tables are made of wood. (We also use metal, laminates, glass, and stone if desired.) Wood comes in three types: solids, veneers, and engineered panels. All of these come from a tree. After felling, logs are processed into chunks of solid lumber, or sliced into thin sheets of veneer. Some parts of the log are unsuitable for either lumber or veneers – these are made into engineered boards, which we use for the internal structure of the table. Each type of wood is best used for a particular task:

  • Solid wood: We use solids in places where we need to cut a complex shape, carve a molding, and wherever a piece is likely to be banged during its ordinary use. For conference tables, that means the edge of the table and parts of the base.
  • Veneers: Many people do not know what veneers are. Both solids and veneers are wood – they are just cut from the tree in different ways. Think of solids as being like a steak and veneers as something like prosciutto – same stuff, just cut much thinner. Veneers are sliced off of a log using an enormous knife. We use them for 3 reasons: 1) The most spectacular trees get cut into veneers, so if we want the coolest wood we have to use them; 2) You can get a lot of veneer off of a single tree, so when we want to cover a large area in a consistent way, veneers are the way to go; and 3) large veneered panels are much more stable than large solid panels, which are prone to warp and crack.
  • Engineered panels: Wood has some inconvenient properties, particularly its tendency to change dimension when the weather changes and its variable structure. (Each tree’s grain responds to its local environment, so there are wide variations in appearance and strength in any pile of lumber. Not to mention knots.) Engineered panels have been developed to help wood do a better job in certain situations. We use two types: 1) Plywood, which consists of panels made from interlocking layers of veneers, and 2) MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) which is made from leftover parts of the tree. Plywood is good for structural elements, particularly in the table base, and MDF is an excellent substrate for veneers. Our table tops are made with a layer of veneered MDF on top of a plywood structural base, which receives the hardware that holds the table together.

We apply a solid wood edge to all of our table tops, to keep the veneers from being damaged. Table bases are made from either a combination of solids and veneers, or, for lower cost, entirely of plywood and MDF.

I want a solid wood table. Can you make one?

Yes, we can. Most of our dining room furniture is made entirely from solids. However, solid panels larger than 4′ x 8′ are prone to warping and cracking, because the wood moves in response to weather changes. We strongly recommend that tables larger than 4′ x 8′ be made of veneered panels with a solid edge – we have learned the hard way that anything bigger is asking for trouble. We are happy to discuss the particulars of your situation to see whether solids or veneers are best. All we want is for the table to be as well built and durable as it can be. Most of the time that means veneers. But if solids is best, we’re happy to use them.

Why do you use veneers?

Veneered furniture has been around a long time (there were veneered pieces in King Tut’s tomb, which have survived 3500 years) and many of the most expensive and spectacular pieces of furniture in history were made using veneers. Nowadays veneered furniture occupies both ends of the economic spectrum – industrial methods have made it possible to make cheap veneered panels, and techniques have been developed to build this into very cheap furniture. This is why veneer has a bad reputation. A lot more people have had a poor experience with lousy veneered furniture than have enjoyed owning very high quality work. We aren’t interested in making cheap furniture, so our veneered work is done with the techniques that stand the test of time. Think of veneer as you would beef: your dinner may be delicious or disgusting, but you don’t blame the cow. It’s up to the chef to use the ingredients properly. Same with veneers. Built properly, veneer furniture is as durable as solid.

What kind of finish do you use?

Wood finishing is an extraordinarily complex subject. We can choose from a multitude of types and processes. Our standard finish is a catalyzed polyurethane, as this gives the highest level of protection for commercial use. It’s been my experience that people want three things in a finish: 1) smooth; 2) waterproof; 3) highlights the wood grain. Our urethanes do all of those. We are happy to discuss finish options if you have questions. Call us to describe your situation and we’ll help you figure out what will work best.

Can the table go up stairs or in elevators?

Yes, it can. Our tables are made in pieces, designed to be easy to move and assemble. Even the largest tables can be moved into any space. We have also developed an integrated hardware system which makes our tables easy to assemble.

How do you ship the table, and how much does it cost?

We use commercial trucking services to move the table from our shop to you. This allows us to ship work anywhere on the continent quickly, at a reasonable cost. Conference tables are large and bulky, but we build and pack them so that they can be shipped without damage. Your table will be made in pieces, with a maximum size of 4 feet x 8 feet (the size of a standard sized sheet of plywood.) All of the pieces will be wrapped in foam, and then enclosed in another layer of cardboard, with heavy duty cardboard corner protectors. Then all of those pieces will put into a custom crate, designed to provide superior protection during transit. The pallets are large and heavy. Most of them are 4 feet wide, 8 feet long, and 4.5 feet high, and weigh between 500 and 1000 pounds. A loading dock and pallet jack, or a forklift, is required to safely remove the crate from the truck. Because of this problem, we offer two levels of delivery service

With inside delivery: We will ship to a local furniture installer. We use Installnet to identify quality local installers, or we will work with whatever provider you prefer. The installer will be able to get the pallet off the truck, and then bring the wrapped pieces into your space, unwrap them, and assemble the table.

You assemble: If you have the ability to receive a pallet and move the pieces into your space, then we can ship directly to you. Our tables are designed to be very easy to assemble – any handy person can do it. We can offer discounts on our list pricing if you take over this part of the job.

Cost: Freight and delivery costs vary widely depending on how far you are from the shop, and whether you can receive freight. Most of the time the cost of moving the table to you is around 10% of the item cost. But not always. We will quote these costs along with the table, once the design is settled.

Do you make other furniture to match my table?

Yes. We’ve been making all kinds of furniture for years, and we can make credenzas, serving tables, equipment cabinets, coffee and end tables, and anything else you need. We can also provide chairs for your order, although we don’t make them ourselves.

You can see some examples of other pieces here:

How do I place an order?

Please see our Ordering Guidelines.

Can I visit your workshops?

Absolutely, we love visitors. And I’ll boldly state that we have the nicest shop on the East Coast. But please call to make an appointment. We prefer to see clients during the weekdays, but we can sometimes meet on weekends and evenings. The tour usually takes about an hour, longer if you wish to discuss a particular project. We are located near Philadelphia. We’ll send you directions when you make an appointment.

How do you take your photos?

We rarely have access to our tables after delivery, so most of our pictures are taken in the shop. Large tables are hard to photograph in the best of circumstances, and our shop lighting makes it more difficult. If we can’t get a good picture on the shop floor, we will use a rendering program to generate better views of the table, with chairs. The photos that you see with a pure white background are rendered.