Where Traditional Craftsmanship Meets Modern Technology
All of our projects start as an idea, a solution to a set of intersecting problems that our customers are experiencing. Every design we suggest is unique. We’ve developed a process that lets us build a very wide range of different things, from an extensive catalog of materials and techniques.
Building a conference room table in our shop is an act of collaboration between different specialist workers and our advanced technology. All of the methods we use are based on traditional ideas of how things go together. This page walks you through the Paul Downs process of building a custom conference table.
Design and Engineering
Our design engineers work with a 3D modeling program called Sketchup. We are able to make very accurate depictions of what our work will look like in the clients’ space. After the project is approved, the Sketchup designs form the basis of a much more detailed set of plans, compiled by our engineers. Those plans consist of detailed drawings of every part of the project, for our cabinetmakers to work from, and a set of files that drive our CNC router. Before any of the plan sets are released to production, there are extensive reviews with the design engineer, the project managers, the engineers, and the shop foreman.
Choosing Wood and Other Materials
The design engineers specify what type of materials we use in our projects, and our project managers send out samples so that clients can see how those choices work in their space, but the final material choice happens on the shop floor. Most of our tables incorporate large amounts of wood. Wood comes from trees, and every tree is different from every other, even when they are of the same species. By the time it gets to us, the wood has been dried and cut to the proper thickness. It’s in a transitional state on its journey from the forest to a finished object. When our cabinetmakers take their plans to the woodpile, they are evaluating the pieces they need to make against the actual characteristics of each board. Color, figure, knots, and other character marks will determine how we use each piece. With our veneer, which is a tree cut into very thin slices, it’s the same challenge. A highly skilled person needs to look at every piece and plan how to transform it into the required part.
There is also considerable variation in the other materials we use. Metals, stone, glass, laminate – even if they come out of the same factory, the individual pieces are never identical. And our manufacturing process will introduce stresses that have to be taken into account when planning material yields. As with wood, our skilled and experienced cabinetmakers work hard to get the best results from every material.
Making Table Parts
In a modern workshop, machines do the cutting and skilled people do the assembly. We use our CNC router to cut parts in every project. It is extremely accurate. We can be sure that all of the parts for a complex piece will fit together perfectly.
We have a variety of other machines to cut, drill, glue, and shape wood and metal. We are equipped to execute hundreds of different manufacturing processes. Many of our machines are designed to do a single process in high volume. Our skilled operators allow us to efficiently do the short runs required for custom work.
After machining, every part is carefully examined for quality and then placed into sets on a cart with the other parts of the same job. These carts are queued until a cabinetmaker starts work on that project.
Machines are great at accurate cutting, but they cannot put things together. Only highly skilled human hands can perform all of the tasks required to fit, glue up, sand, and check our work. We make complicated objects, with multiple sub-assemblies that need to be built and then fit together. Our build process culminates with a complete assembly of each piece. We check that everything is beautiful, smooth, and fits together perfectly. We check the hardware, and any A/V equipment in the project. Our project managers then do an independent quality check so that everything is just so. Then it’s off to the finishing room.
Apply Finishing Touches and Sealant
Wood needs to be finished to protect it from wear and dirt and to bring out the beauty of the grain. There are countless ways to finish a piece. We can choose from a huge variety of different types of finish, and each of these can be applied in multiple ways. We can also color the wood using stains, paints, or dyes. We can finish parts of a piece with one finish and other parts with another, to achieve a mix of textures and colors. All of these processes are performed by our highly skilled finishers.
Final Assembly and Inspection
For the last step in building a conference table, all of our pieces get disassembled after their shop floor quality check and are finished in pieces. After the finishing is done, we re-assemble each piece to check that everything works. Once again, the project managers go over every detail to ensure that all is as it should be. We check the fit of all the parts, and the hardware, and the overall appearance. We also take a lot of photos of the completed conference room table for our records.
Packing & Shipping
Most of our clients are located far from our shop. We ship tables all over the continent and the world. Nobody wins if there is damage in transit, so we take a huge amount of care to pack and ship our work. After the finish inspection, the piece is completely disassembled again. Each component is cleaned with a disinfectant mixture. Our logistics specialists, Kevin, Luis, and Greg, perform this step with gloves and masks. Then we wrap each piece in ⅛” foam and encase that with a cardboard outer layer. All edges are reinforced with corner protectors. The wrapped pieces are then placed on a custom made pallet, and strapped together with steel strapping and shrink wrap. Every item on the pallet is labeled, and the overall contents of the pallet are recorded in our database. We photograph the pallet at multiple points in the process. Finally, we add an outer wall to the pallet, leaving the top open.
Our pallets travel the country via LTL trucks. We usually ship to an installer who will receive the pallet and complete the installation. Many of our clients choose to do their own installation. The design engineers and project managers discuss the installation process very early in the project, to make sure that everything goes well from start to finish.
Custom Conference Table Inspiration
If you are interested in learning about how PDC can help with your plans, please look through our gallery of custom conference tables. You can choose any of these designs as a starting point for your project. Identifying what you like helps our designers get to know your style preferences, or you can submit your own designs that we will use as a guide for fabricating your custom table.
The team at Paul Downs couldn't have been better to work with and the tables are beautiful! They were very accommodating working with our project schedule and the room AV requirements/integration within the tables.Can't wait for the client to move into their new space and start to enjoy them!We will definitely recommend the Paul Downs team for any other custom work desired.
20:19 20 Jul 21
From start to finish, the Paul Downs Custom Furniture process was top notch. The designers took my vision and space and created a beautiful quality piece at a fair price. I highly recommend them for your next custom table project.
16:31 17 Jun 21
Had a great experience getting our conference table from Paul Downs. From the design phase with Nate to the delivery with Andy and Carolina, everyone was extremely helpful and made the experience one of a kind. Easily some of the best customer service I have ever experienced and very thorough in there process.
16:03 10 Jun 21
We had our conference table completed yesterday and looks fantastic in our new facility!The level of service and the quality of our Table far exceeded my expectations for our conference room.Thank you from all of us @CHICAGO ANODIZING COMPANY !
16:24 04 Jun 21
Just received our new conference table. Super pleased with how it turned out. PDC was very professional and communicated well throughout the entire process. They have a good team and I would highly recommend them.
14:35 07 May 21
From the moment we had our first call to the installation of our conference room furniture, the level of service was impeccable. The design and craftsmanship of our conference room tables and credenzas is outstanding. We are proud to have such beautiful pieces part of our newly renovated law firm office.
00:21 23 Apr 21
Former employee and wanted to let people know how other American woodworking and conference table manufacturers should operate! Paul Downs Cabinetmakers is a great example.The owner treats his employees like a part of his family. From the guy sweeping the floor all the way to the top, everyone is treated as a valued team member who is actually heard throughout the organization. Everyone’s input is valued.I spent 3-1/2 years working for Paul Downs and it was a wonderfully unique experience in a trade that is often underpaid and undervalued.The team works very well together, from an open initial brainstorming process, to fabrication, to packaging and final installation.You set your own schedule, and there’s never an issue if you have something come up.Pay was great with the owner trying to ensure his biggest asset, his employees, had a livable wage and benefits.It was a great team, great work I could be proud of, and an awesome experience! Keep making gorgeous stuff guys!
20:12 16 Apr 21
The entire team at Paul Downs did an amazing job. They built our law firm a beautiful boardroom table and matching credenza. Everyone (shipping coordinators, project managers, engineers, etc.) went above and beyond to make sure that all of our needs were met. They explained everything and were very responsive throughout the entire process. I highly recommend them!
14:38 14 Apr 21
As an interior designer working on commercial projects, it can be challenging to find quality conference tables for clients. Paul downs created a gorgeous custom modular table for my country club client that allows flexibility to configure tables into one large table , two tables or four tables. They worked with me throughout the entire process and provided the necessary drawings and details. The table finish and workmanship is beautiful! I am so impressed with the quality and the service provided by Paul Downs' project team. I look forward to working with Paul Downs in the future.
17:51 17 Mar 21
Working with Paul Downs to design, create and install our company's boardroom table was a seamless process and the finished product absolutely exceeded our expectations. Every team member, from designer to project manager, was super responsive, friendly and demonstrated complete expertise.I wouldn't hesitate to work with the Paul Downs company again and can't recommend them more highly! A truly great experience from start to finish with a beautiful table to show for it!!
16:44 16 Mar 21
The table was exactly as designed and they met the deadline that was promised. They communicated throughout the process and installation went off without a hitch. Everyone is pleased by the new addition to our board room.
13:49 12 Jan 21
This was the very best customer experience I have every had with a custom conference table manufacturer in my 35 years of business in this industry.From the design to the interaction with Paul Downs with the end user to the installation; it was a 10 out of 10 in every way.The end user is even more pleased with the end result than we are!
18:49 04 Jan 21
This has been a wonderful experience. My table is beautiful and everyone was very helpful.
16:09 04 Jan 21
We would certainly recommend Paul Downs for not only the beautiful conference table and credenza they made for our church but willingness to help us thru the process and patience as we made decisions. Great organization.
22:35 24 Nov 20
Always great working with Paul Downs and their superb craftsmen. Our second conference room table complements our first one that was designed five years ago. High marks from the start of the project to final delivery and assembly at our new offices. Chuck Mosser, EVP/CFO @ IntelliGenesis, LLC
18:00 27 Oct 20
Nate did a wonderful job designing our conference room table incorporating our logo. He was easy to work with and patient when we went through different variations. The final product is absolutely stunning and will be proudly used in my main conference room for years to come.
19:09 21 Sep 20
Hard to express how satisfied we are, not only with the product which is absolutely beautiful but this is the way business should be done! If more companies in the U.S. would provide "real service" like Paul Downs does we would not even consider buying from another country. Every step of the way was a pleasure and extremely professional. Other companies should take note of the customer service and relationship development from Paul Downs. 5 STARS PLUS!
21:14 27 Aug 20
Paul Downs made a custom dining room table and 8 chairs for me years ago. I still love it, and it is in wonderful shape and just as beautiful as when I first bought it. He worked with me to design exactly what I wanted and even went on his own to a furniture shop to see a table that I liked. He designed one that was 10 times better- more solid and stable, more beautiful and with leaves that just magically slid out when I needed a bigger table! I have to say it was one of the best business experiences I have had with anyone. He was patient, nice, flexible and most important, a straight shooter who did what he said. His talent and high standards are obvious once you start working with him. He is a true artist with wood!
12:21 18 Aug 20
Top Notch Company! Excellent customer service and genuinely good craftsmanship. Initially they crafted a beautiful custom table and matching credenza for our boardroom. A year later we asked for another custom table to match the large table and catering credenza that would house a small fridge. They knocked it out of the park on both projects....completely exceeded our expectations! The pictures do no justice to these beautiful pieces. I highly recommend Paul Downs Cabinetmakers if you're looking for quality, custom work.
12:30 13 Aug 20
Paul Downs Cabinetmakers exceeded our expectations, from the very beginning of the design process all the way through to the installation of our conference table and credenza. Great communication and are engaged each step during the process of design, production and installation. We could not be happier with the entire experience.Property Manager Brethren Mutual Insurance Company
23:45 27 Jul 20
Paul Downs delivered a beautiful and well constructed table. They maintained great communication throughout our project and made sure we got exactly what we wanted. Our installation was professional and quick. Even during the Covid pandemic, Paul Downs stayed in contact and kept our project moving. We are excited to gather around our table for many years to come.
17:16 15 Jun 20
We were looking for a modular elegant looking board for our boardroom and were challenged with finding a table that would fit in our rectangular space. The whole process start to finish was professional and Paul Downs staff were accommodating and provided options for our needs. We ended up purchasing the board table, presenter table and two small movable tables. The logo was an option that was suggested by the designer and it was a great addition. The table was assembled by our staff and the documentation provided to us was spot on. The quality of the table and the workmanship is meticulous and you can tell that there was a lot of thought and care put into the design and construction of the table.
16:58 31 Mar 20
A fantastic place to work if you are given the opportunity. Paul has assembled a group of hard working, intelligent, and passionate group of people to deliver a fantastic and unmatched end product. As an engineer, I was offered competitive pay and opportunity to work on exciting projects with diverse challenges. This job takes place in a fast paced manufacturing environment where you will succeed if you have a good attention to detail and are as committed to the end product as everyone else that works here.
14:43 04 Feb 20
To get the idea what Paul Downs is about, you can read Paul's excellent book 'Boss Life' about running a small business or you can take a look at his archive of NY Times columns, you can also ask to discuses their operating manifesto on Culture, Craftsmanship & Prosperity.But seeing his shop in action is really something to witness.In a high-tech sales and design studio, engineers interface virtually with clients around the world designing one of a kind conference tables in real time. After their work has been finalized it goes onto the shop floor where artisan woodworkers and craftsmen use a process of continuous improvement to make custom conference tables and some other furniture pieces.Everything about this shop screams perfectionism. The floors are swept, every stack of vernier or wood board is organized. Work that is better done by machine is done with CNC and other woodworking technology. Finished pieces are assembled and inspected prior to shipping These guys do their work as true craft and design professionals.The final tables can be seen on their website and social media are second to none.This is a high end process for businesses who are ready to invest in the look of a killer conference room that the Paul Downs team can bring to reality.
14:30 20 Sep 19
My experience with purchasing our conference room table from Paul Downs was excellent. They assisted us throughout the process, incorporated our changes, and stored the table until we were ready for delivery. The quality is excellent. Delivery and set up was perfect. Very satisfied.
17:10 09 Sep 19
Great experience from start to finish. Great service and we ended up with an amazing table and desk for our conference room. We gave them our vision and they made it happen. Thank you!
19:13 12 Aug 19
The most professional company we worked with throughout our construction job. Nate (design) and Andy (project management) were our main contacts. They were engaged throughout the process. They presented multiple options every step of the way. They were extremely responsive and helpful. They delivered on time. Quality of work was incredible. We'll be using them again for other custom furniture needs coming up. Highly, highly recommend them.
02:44 23 Jul 19
I am an architect and interior designer and was seeking a custom made conference table for my husband’s company. I am very particular and highly appreciate quality craftsmanship. Paul Downs made the entire process seamless and efficient, which is important to me...and I am sure to many. Everything was pinpointed and accurate so that there was no question that all my wishes were addressed. The table is exquisite and the quality is top notch. I would definitely recommend them to anyone. Now if I could only convince them to branch into private residential tables!
14:15 18 Jul 19
Great quality work on our board room table. Very professional.
13:27 18 Jul 19
Paul Downs Cabinetmakers were recommended to build a conference room table for our firm. The table needed to fit into our new conference room. Every step in the process was mapped out and double checked by Paul Downs so the end product not only fit but was a magnificent object of beauty. Their craftsmanship exceeded our expectations and we are delighted to show our clients the end product.
16:08 17 Jul 19
From the design process to the delivery, everything was flawless. Our company conference room table gets tons of compliments.
17:01 15 Jul 19
We needed a larger conference room table with lots of technology added so it could also function as our Emergency Operations Center. Our Paul Downs Design Engineer showed us a host of options, talked us through the pro and cons and really made the process easy. Now we have the table. It's exactly as designed and expected. Thank you for a great experience. And it was affordable.
14:44 15 Jul 19
Paul, did a great job in a timely fashion and I would use him again for any future cabinet needs.
14:53 10 Jul 19
We love our table. It sits in our companies largest and most used room. When you walk in the table exceeds the look and feel we wanted in our board room. The process of designing and installation went smoothly and easily. Thanks!!!
00:31 10 Jul 19
I have received TOP NOTCH service at every stage of my project.My project is likely one they are not aiming to get (two flip up 3'x6' custom conference room tables) but they certainly made me feel like it was a BIG deal to them.The attention I received at every stage was great. Small questions were welcomed and answered to my satisfaction.Fantastic company to work with!
20:26 09 Jul 19
My law office needed a fabulous new conference room table. One large enough to hold a room of attorneys, and one beautiful enough to fit in with our historical office. Paul Downs delivered and we could not be happier - with the process AND the outcome!
12:17 05 Jul 19
The process of getting an idea to seeing the idea come to life is awesome. The Paul Downs team is great in relaying information and walking you through the process of getting exactly what you want and helping you fill your space.
17:30 02 Jul 19
Very good experience. Would use again.
15:10 01 Jul 19
The Paul Downs team did a fantastic job of turning my idea into reality. I'd been looking for the "right" conference table for 3 years when I found Paul Downs Cabinetmakers on the internet. After a brief conversation and a design consultation, they provided renderings for approval and then produced a beautiful conference table and credenza. Their work is first rate. I recommend them without reservation.