April 2009 Archives

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Buying custom office furniture online doesn't have to be a mystery. The key is to build trust with your supplier. Here are a few questions to ask:

Where is the company located? Can you reach them by phone? You want to be able to pick up the phone and speak to a real person about your order, especially if the furniture will be made to order. Think twice about sending money to a furniture company if you cannot determine from their website where the business is located, or how to get in touch with a live person. A reputable business will not hide this information.

Do they make the furniture themselves? If not, where is it manufactured? Hand-built furniture is an investment and you want to know exactly what you are getting.

Are technical drawings available? Just as you would bring measurements of your room to a furniture store, when buying online you want to be absolutely sure the furniture will fit your space. Diagrams with precise measurements are essential, especially for a large piece. When buying a piece with electrical wiring, such as a conference table, many clients opt to have the installer or electrician come in advance to measure the space and compare with the diagrams.

Are material samples available? If you are concerned about whether your new table will look the same in your dining room as it does in the photo on the website, samples of the actual materials can be very helpful. Note that samples of heavy materials such as granite or metal can be expensive to produce and ship. Many furniture companies require potential customers to purchase samples. This charge is usually deducted from your furniture order.

What are their payment terms? Does the price include freight? Be sure your quote itemizes all charges, and clearly indicates any charges which are not included such as freight. (Freight charges are often based on weight and sometimes cannot be calculated until the size and design of the piece is determined.)

Do they have a showroom open to the public? If not, can you visit their facility? Having a public showroom is not a necessity. After all, the benefit of online sales is to connect with customers all over the country and the world, who wouldn't be able to visit a showroom in a city far away. If there is no showroom, the company should be agreeable to you visiting their factory/facility, distance permitting. On a factory tour you should get to meet the artisans and see the furniture being made -- maybe even your own piece.

Can you see examples of their work in your area? If they have no showroom and you cannot travel to their facility, ask if there are examples of previous sales in your area which you can view. An established business often has a history of happy customers who are willing to let others visit on-site and see the furniture. Of course this will largely depend on your location: if you live in a major metropolitan area this is a much more likely option. An added benefit to visiting a past client is getting to speak with them about their experience working with the furniture company.

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Honing black granite creates a beautiful satin finish. However, the Honed finish is not as impervious as Polished. Honed granite will show discoloration from fingerprints or liquid stains, which must be treated with regular maintenance. Because of this, Absolute Black Granite, Honed Finish is somewhat controversial for home use. We do not recommend Honed Black Granite for kitchen countertops.

A homeowner expecting Honed Absolute Black Granite to be as carefree as its Polished counterpart is bound for disappointment. However, with proper maintenance Honed Black Granite is an attractive option for conference tables, formal dining tables and occasional tables (end, coffee and console tables). It can even be used for a more frequently used family dinner table, if the homeowner is aware of the fingerprint issue.

Daily maintenance: For general day to day cleaning, use a sponge and water only. Window cleaner and dish soap can also be used when necessary. Some discolorations (such as an oily spill or heavy fingerprint use) may take a couple of washings to even out.

Dealing with Problems: If your Honed Absolute Black Granite table top has a scratch or an area that has been polished to a higher sheen (usually by rubbing against something during transit), you can generally sand the surface back to the matte finish. Use 320 wet/dry sandpaper with water and sand by hand. Then use a Scotch-Brite rub out page (Grey super fine) as the final texture. Try localized sanding first in a small area, and go through the sealer steps. If the sanded area does not blend in well, it may be necessary to evenly sand and refinish the entire surface.

Resealing: Should the top need resealing, we recommend Premium Impregnator #314P from Gran Quartz (800-458-6222). This is the same product used to seal the granite surface in our factory. To reapply sealer, first clean the sandblasted border area and Honed surface with soap and water. Rinse well and let dry. Then apply two or three coats of sealer to the textured border and Honed surface. The border will absorb far more sealer than the Honed surface. Rub off the excess on the Honed surface, but leave the textured border wet. Let dry a few hours between coats. On the final coat, the sealer needs to be buffed off of the Honed area immediately with a clean cloth while it is still wet. If it dries, it becomes cloudy and is difficult to remove. Work quickly, moving around the entire top to buff off the excess before it flashes and dries on the surface. If it dries cloudy, reapply a small amount of sealer and re-buff the whole surface to an even appearance.

Stoneline Designs' Absolute Black Granite is a deep black stone from Zimbabwe with no veining and consistent coloring. We offer granite in either Honed or Polished finish. A 1" sandblasted border and edge detail is standard on all our granite table tops. Standard granite width is 3/4" thick. Stoneline produces granite table tops in any size up to 66x116". (72" width and 120" length as available.) Larger table tops are built in multiple sections, up to 30 feet long.

See also: Absolute Black Granite, Polished Finish

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Granite is a very hard and durable stone, making it a popular choice for home and office. Stoneline Designs offers Absolute Black Granite in two finishes, Polished and Honed. Today we'll look at the Polished finish.

Polished Absolute Black Granite is a glossy finish which leaves the stone surface impervious to liquids and resistant to scratching. It is an excellent choice for high use applications like a family dinner table or kitchen countertops, and also attractive as a formal dining table, conference table or occasional table.

No maintenance is required for a Polished granite table top. To clean the table top, simply wipe off with a sponge and water. Dish soap or window cleaner can also be used when necessary.

Stoneline Designs' Absolute Black Granite is a deep black stone from Zimbabwe with no veining and consistent coloring. A 1" sandblasted border and edge detail is standard on all our granite table tops. Standard granite width is 3/4" thick. Stoneline produces granite table tops in any size up to 66x116". (72" width and 120" length as available.) Larger table tops are built in multiple sections, up to 30 feet long.

Next time we'll look at care and maintenance of Honed Absolute Black Granite table tops.

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Option: Wiring Trough with Sliding Covers. Our wiring trough option is available for the Crescent or Vector series only. A double rail system is used through the center of the conference table to support the top. The rails incorporate a track system that guides sliding covers. These covers can be finished in Brushed Aluminum, Powder-coated or veneered with Wood. Covers slide open to expose wiring plates that can be fitted with a variety of power and data jacks. There are fixed covers between the sliding ones that hide the top of the wiring trough. Wires are fed through the pedestal and hardwired to the electrical plates. The trough can be used as a raceway to run wires between pedestals, so that it is possible to feed wires up through only 1 location.
Wiring plates can be specified with 1, 2 or 3 duplex power outlets. Data outlets are fitted in 3 or 4 removable inserts per plate. The inserts can house duplex data jacks (cat.5 rj45 as standard) or a variety of other outlets including VGA, audio, etc.

Alternate Wiring Options. Several flip-top style wiring modules are available, and can be incorporated into any of our conference tables. Occasionally a client will specify a particular module from a different vendor and we work with them to fit it in our tables. These modules often have a small lip on the top that is designed to set on the top of the table surface.

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Stoneline Designs has just completed design and installation of a home office including computer desk and custom wall unit. The client needed modern furniture for a beautiful contemporary home in Austin TX. The room where the office was to be located includes a glass wall overlooking a garden. Such strong architectural design demands equally strong furniture design. So they turned to Stoneline.

The computer desk, from our Axis line of office furniture, includes a wiring channel to conceal cables running to the computer stored under the desk. The wall unit was custom designed for the space and to coordinate with the Axis desk.

Next time: more photos and a report on the project from our on-site installer.

Contact Stoneline for a quote on your next contemporary furniture project.

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Option: Wiring Grommet. The wiring grommet is an excellent solution to build power/ wiring into a conference table. It is unobtrusive when not in use, and provides basic outlets plus the flexibility to add additional cables through the pass-through hole. If more outlets are required multiple grommets can be installed, up to one per pedestal.

Our 4"d wiring grommet includes 2 power, 2 phone/data (cat.5 rj 45) outlets as standard. The duplex data/phone jacks can be replaced with a variety of other jacks, but there is an alternative designed into the grommet to accommodate another corded outlet. The grommet is recessed below the surface of the conference table top and includes a 1x2" pass-through opening. A corded VGA outlet (or similar) can be passed through this opening and left loose inside the cup when not in use. The cord can be pulled out to connect directly to a laptop without the need for a patch cord to connect to a fixed jack. If an audio jack is needed in combination with the VGA, the cords can be tied together and pulled out in tandem.

Pricing for the 4"d wiring grommet includes the grommet with outlets, a housing (secured to the pedestal with set-screws from inside the grommet), a finished hole through the table top, (Hand-polished in Glass tops, Sandblasted finish in Stone tops), and a removable Brushed Aluminum cap. The round cap has overlapping cutouts that can be closed or spun open to allow wires to pass. The grommet is fixed at 3/8" below the top surface of the table to allow a place for the cap to sit where it is captured by the exposed sides of the Stone or Glass top. This detail highlights the material of the top rather than hiding the transition with a lip that sits on the surface.
The grommet ships with a 6' power pigtail that can be plugged directly into a floor outlet. The data jack need to be hardwired as they can be configured several different ways (such as for data or phone connectivity). The grommet is removable from above, through the top, so it can be serviced after the table is set-up.

Next time we'll look at another option: the wiring trough.