October 2009 Archives

The wiring grommet is our most popular option for adding wiring/power to a conference table. A 4" hole is cut into the table top, and fitted with a wiring grommet including 2 power and 2 phone/data jacks. The grommet includes a removable cap and is positioned over the pedestal so that wires can be concealed within the pedestal.

In these photos, Stoneline Designs artisan Mace uses a drill press with a diamond bit to cut a grommet hole in a granite conference table top. The table is a multiple piece top, so the grommet must be positioned exactly over the break between two pieces. Clamps hold the pieces secure so they do not shift during the cutting process.
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Cutting each hole requires a steady hand, and takes 10-15 minutes for a granite top, longer for glass. Plus the time to measure and position the hole, and secure the pieces and tools in place.
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Running water keeps the diamond bit cool as it cuts through the granite stone. Without water the heat generated by friction would cause the bit to expand and possibly shatter. 
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The finished hole! Even the inside of a wiring hole, which no one will see, receives the same care and attention to detail as all parts of our tables: it will be sandblasted inside, beveled on the edge, polished to match the top, and then fitted with the grommet.
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A Stoneline by Any Other Name

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This past summer, artist Richard Long held a major retrospective at the Tate Gallery. The exhibition featured a work called "Stone Line".
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We here at Stoneline Designs love Long's work. We were delighted to share our name with a piece in his exhibition, even more when we realized that we created a similar installation earlier this year without even trying. A slab of granite (intended for a conference table top) was our medium and an unexpected wind storm was our artist:
 Is it art, or accident? We'll never tell.
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Choose Your Dining Table

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A formal dining table can be a major purchase. Before you buy, think about what you want from your dining table and how it will fit into your lifestyle.

Size is the first issue most people think of when shopping for a dining table, and it isn't always as simple as it might seem. Of course you must measure your dining room, to make sure the new table will fit. We recommend a minimum of 42" around the dining table on all sides. This leaves room for chairs and to move around the room. 

Also consider how many people will sit around the table, both at everyday family meals and at special events. Do you throw large dinner parties, frequently enough that your table needs to accommodate 12 people or even more on a regular basis? Or does an event like that only happen once in a blue moon? This will affect the size of table you need.

If you plan to use the same dining table both for intimate family meals and for large gatherings, we recommend removing most of the chairs from the table for everyday use. Two or three people clustered at the end of a massive dining table, staring at a row of empty chairs, can feel lonely and distancing. Removing the extra chairs will help make the table feel like a comfortable size for the family. 

Will your table be used for other purposes besides meals? How? Will the kids do their homework at the dining table, and need room to spread out? Are there any social clubs or study groups which will meet in your dining room? Or perhaps a family member, lacking a dedicated craft room, will use the dining table for project workspace. (Be sure your family crafter protects the tabletop before using glue, markers or tools!) Consider all these possible uses when choosing the size and style of your dining table. A dining room which is rarely used except for special occasion meals will be much more formal and sophisticated than an informal space which is used for everyday family meals. 
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We all know that subtle changes in environment can unconsciously change people's behavior. Brick and mortar businesses have long used this to their advantage by hiring design experts to create a space which will steer customers towards desired behavior. For instance, a high-end restaurant may design their space to encourage lingering, so that customers will order more food and drink while they sit. While a casual restaurant with lower prices might prefer a layout (for instance, a grid of small tables very close together) which encourages customers to eat quickly and leave, turning over the tables more frequently.

Ruth Haag's article "The Shape of the Conference Table Determines Success or Failure" applies the same principles to conference table design. Haag examines different conference table shapes and what kind of behaviors they encourage in attendees. Some of her examples:

  • Round conference tables encourage free discussion and discourage leadership. Round tables are therefore bad for an unruly group, or for a conference requiring strict organizational rules.
  • Long, thin conference tables (such as formed by stringing together several small tables) encourage cliques and discourage unity, by making it hard for the people at one end of the table to see the people at the other end.
  • U-shaped tables encourage hostility by placing attendees so far apart that they do not feel a connection with each other. The U-shape also encourages the attendees to ignore the leader because they are not looking directly at him/her.

For the highest productivity and best environment, Haag recommends that "The attendees need to be close enough that they feel they cannot say rude, threatening things to one another, but far enough away that they cannot form into unruly cliques. I propose, therefore, that the best conference table is one that is rectangular, but wide enough that those on either side cannot easily whisper to one another, about 5 feet."

We agree, though we find that while a 60" wide table is nicely spacious, a 48" width also provides enough distance across the table. We'll add one more tip: a boat shaped table can improve the conference room environment even further. The boat shape, a rectangle which is narrower at each end, has all the benefits of a rectangle plus a gentle curve which improves line of sight from the ends of the table. This makes it much easier for people seated at the far end of the table to see, and remain focused on, the conference leader.

Conference Tables in History

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AtThePeaceConference.jpgPolitical satire has a long tradition of both reflecting and shaping public opinion. In this Swiss WWI-era cartoon titled "At the Peace Conference," the nations of France, England, the US, Belgium and Italy sit around the conference table smoking pipes together, with a PAX statue in the center of the table. The conference table is supported by a platform of bombs and powder kegs, labeled "World Revolution." 

The caption reads, "I hope they will soon get through with this Peace Pipe smoking. A spark might fall underneath, and then--!!!?" The cartoon was published during the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, and reflects fears that the victors of WWI, by attempting to create a lasting peace would instead destabilize Europe.
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Stoneline's Axis and Radian lines feature brushed steel leg plates for a bold, modern look. Our steel plates are hot rolled: at the mill, molten steel is passed through rollers to flatten & shape the bar of steel. The rollers leave unpredictable character on the steel surface, often in a linear pattern. This is due to bits of slag being pressed through the rollers on top of the steel plate. 

We rub over and highlight this character with our regimented scratching technique, to create our Cross-Hatch and Light Cross-Hatch steel finishes. Our cross-hatch finish dominates the look, though the underlying texture will be visible on each leg plate. 

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Occasionally our clients prefer a pristine cross-hatch design with no unpredictable texture. In those cases, for an additional charge we can use cold-pressed steel for our leg plates. Cold pressing does not create slag to leave marks on the steel. 

However, we encourage our customers to see the texture from hot pressing as we do: one of the details that make our tables special. Not a flaw but character that makes the table unique. 

Conference Tables in History

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A nation gains independence and conference tables are there! The Dutch-Indonesian Round Table Conference of 1949 formalized the end of Dutch colonialism in what was then called the "Dutch East Indies," and recognition of Indonesia as a sovereign country.
We just received this note from a customer who had purchased a conference table with built in power/data, and matching credenza. It really made our day.

The furniture arrived yesterday. It is unbelievable, and completely exceeded my expectations. I am a very details oriented person, and Monte's attention to details and use of quality materials is unlike anything I've ever seen. Things like matching covers over screw holes, routed indentations so the center outlet cup doesn't hang up on screw holes, grommeted cord pass-throughs and vents in the credenza, routed finger pulls, set screws in the power cups to perfectly adjust their height, soft felt backing on the back of the outlet cup covers so they don't scratch the glass, and so on. The weight and quality of the materials also deserves note. The 3/4" scratched glass is beautiful. The steel box tubing and 1/4" steel pipe used for the outlet cups is substantial. The stuff is weighty, beautiful, and functional. I purchase a lot of high-end "designer" furniture, but none of it compares to this. I literally stumbled across Stoneline Designs doing a web search for a conference table, and I couldn't be more satisfied with my decision to use you guys. In a world of poorly designed, mass-produced, cheaply constructed furniture, you guys stand alone in my opinion. Cutting edge contemporary designs crafted with true artisan hand-made craftsmanship. Rock on Stoneline.
--Thanks, Don
Bass & Company Management Consultants

Thanks Don, we're so glad the conference table and credenza are happy in their new home. Rock on!