Our six step design process enables you to develop a vision for your custom restaurant table design from the comfort of your office. Use our simple Specification Guide below to choose your inset, frame, décor, colors, finish and table size.
Of course, our experienced design team is available to walk you through every step of the process. Feel free to contact us at any point as you plan to invest in the highest quality custom restaurant tables.
When it comes to designing your table tops, the creative possibilities are nearly endless. In order to better understand the options available to you, let’s walk through the design process.
First, decide what inset (center of the table) that you want. You may want the inset to be wood, or something more unusual like metal, a graphic image/photo, stone, wallpaper/fabric or a handmade specialty material like Table Topics’ Meteorite.
Wood Species: If you want a table with a wooden inset, you must select a wood species. If you aren’t sure what wood species you are interested in, flip through the wood section of the full color Inspiration Cards. There, you will find several pages showing full color images of a large variety of wood species. Any of these woods can be custom stained.
Veneer: Many species of wood are available in veneer form with two different grain patterns: Flat Cut and Quartersawn. See pattern variation between the two cuts below. A wood veneer is a thin sheet of real wood which is then glued over a core of recycled 1.25″ thick MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard). A wood veneer can create the appearance of a solid wood table, but veneers have several important advantages over solid woods.
Many species of wood are scarce due to overharvesting, the naturally limited distribution of the wood, or the diminuitive size of the tree. A veneer allows you to create a particular look without using as much wood.
Patterns: Unlike solid woods which can only be assembled as long boards glued side to side, veneers can be laid in decorative patterns such a diamond boxes, sunbursts, assymetrical patterns or imaginative inlays.
Scarce Woods: Some wood species/features are so rare that Table Topics has engineered another option. Our graphic veneers are very realistic but create minimal environmental impact and allow you to build tables with threatened and endangered species without harming them. By selecting a graphic veneer, you can choose a wood species which is so rare, no one you know will ever have seen it. These highly unusual woods are also some of the most exquisitely beautiful. Images of these rare beauties appear in the full color Inspiration Cards.
Barnboard: For a more rustic look, we also have barnboard table tops. These tables are made with strips of wood recycled from our factory. These strips are assembled into careful patterns, then hand distressed and burned for a unique rustic appearance.
Solid Wood: Suppose, however, that you want the classic styling of a solid wood table top. Table Topics can build solid wood tables using Ash, Maple, Cherry, Mahogany and Walnut. Other species are not readily available in solid form or have poor long term durablility (too soft, tendencies to crack). Images of solid wood tables, without stain, are shown in the Inspiration Cards.
Solid wood tables can be constructed several different ways. Our premium wood tables feature planks running the full length of the table, typically with random widths varying between 1.25″ and 3.5″. We also offer these full length planks in a Butcher Block style, with even widths. These widths can be 1″, 1.75″ or oversized.
Please refer to the illustrations below for the differences in appearance resulting from these assembly patterns.
Durability: We use a multi step curing process to insure the soundness of all wood joints and individual wood planks. Years of experience have demonstrated that our curing process eliminates most cracking that would occur during normal use. Our curing methods have been highly tested on ash, maple, cherry, mahogany and walnut. If you require a different species of wood, we will need additional wood for testing and 3-4 weeks during which we will verify that the wood meets our standards for durbaility. Should your specialty wood crack during testing, we will be obliged to substitute a proven wood species. Please factor this testing time into your plans when specialty solid woods are required.
Beyond Wood: If wood isn’t what you’re after, there is a whole universe of special effects options. Let’s start with graphic table tops. In the past, graphic tables were made with paper posters, sealed to protect them, then glued to a substrate & finished. This construction creates a risk of delamination over time, inks fading and damage to the image itself by finishing chemicals. Now, Table Topics uses a print process that imbeds the pigment in the actual table finish, completely eliminating the durability issues faced by posters. Our print process generates crisp beautiful tables without pixellation.
Digital Insets & Graphic Art: There are an infinite range of possibilities for the content of a graphic inset. To name a few, you can include a logo, photographs, leather and textile patterns or modern abstract forms. Relating to wood insets, you can create the appearance that wood has been burned or carved in meticulous patterns, and you can create “veneer” inlay designs using all manner of species, quickly and easily, without the high labor and material costs associated with genuine inlays.
Art Submission Guidelines: If you have graphic art that your would like to include in a table inset, please adhere to the following guidelines.
Solid Colors: When ordering Solid Color tops, you must consult a factory representative before making your color selection. Some colors, including titanium white and some pastels, may not be achievable. A representative can help you select a color that will look great. Solid colors can be used for insets, frames and self edges.
The insets we’ve listed don’t quite cover everything. We also have woven palm leaf and acid washed steel. Plus, we can combine many different materials to create dynamic mixed media tops, & we develop new materials when inspiration strikes. Sometimes, we even put real sand and seashells in table tops, so don’t hesitate to ask if you have a new idea in mind. Our custom shop can work with you to create any look you can imagine.
Inset Review: Let’s recap materials available for table insets.
To complete your project, we can also build white vinyl and laminate tops.
Once you have worked through all the possibilites for table insets and have made your selection, you will need to choose a frame. All our insets are available with a frame 2″ wide by 1.75″ thick (Deluxe) or with a frame .5″ wide by 1.5″ thick (Budget). These frames can be painted or made from maple, ash, cherry, mahogany, walnut or knotty pine. Please note, custom sized frames are also available upon request.
Deluxe 2″ wide table frames can be routed to a variety of different edge profiles (bullnose, eased, ogee, waterfall, etc.). Look over the Profile chart on the next page to determine the edge profile shape that suits your project.
We can also lay veneer to the edge of a table, creating a look very similar to solid wood. Veneer to edge tables are limited to a Thin Eased profile (see figures A, B, & C below for a drawing). These tables may have a solid wood edge or in the cases of exotic veneers, a veneer edge.
Designer Frames: For thirty years, we at Table Topics have prided ourselves on leading innovation in quality and design concepts. We are now offering veneer frames with unusual, designer shapes around the inset. These frames allow you use exotic woods which are not available in solid form and traditional woods in an innovative way.
We are currently offering 20 different veneer frame patterns (see pg 16). The only available edge profile for this style of table is thin eased–a slight round-over on top edges and corners.
Standard size is 1.5” thick and 3” wide at the maximum depth. Custom sizes are available upon request.
Species: We recommend the following veneers for veneer frames:
Classic: Pine, Ash, Maple, Cherry, Mahogany, Walnut (all above quartersawn, unless otherwise requested)
Exotic: Tiger Maple, Anigre, Plyboo, Birdseye Maple, Zebrawood, Red Oak (Quartersawn), Rosewood (Flat Cut & QS), Sapelli, Lacewood, Pecan, Aromatic Cedar, Teak (QS), Grey Lacewood, Macasser Ebony (FC & QC), Wenge (FC & QS)
Choose from the shapes below. Be sure to specify both shape and grain pattern when placing your order.
Veneer to Edge: With their solid, clean lined appearance, veneer to edge tables work great for establishments with modern styling.
Edges: When you order veneer to edge tables—designer veneers frame or inset to edge— you must decide how you want to treat the edge.
Solid Wood Edge: When exotic veneers are applied to the inset of a table, the same species of solid wood is often not available for the frame. In this case, you must select a compatible solid wood (pine, ash, maple, cherry, mahogany or walnut). Remember, although we cannot alter the grain pattern of wood, we can stain a solid frame to match your chosen inset.
The edge on this style table is thin eased. To get an idea of the appearance of the edge, see figure A.
Veneer Wrap Edge: If you want veneer on the edge, there are several options. With some veneers, it is possible to wrap the veneer around the corners. See figure B (over). This technique cannot be used with highly figured or flaked woods because they are too brittle. Talk to a customer service representative about wood species proven to work with this application method.
Veneer Square Edge: When veneer cannot be wrapped around the corner, it must be applied separately to each face. The corners on all tables must be rounded, .25” minimum, in order for finish to properly adhere to the surface. This roundover exposes a small bit of the material underneath. If, as is typical, MDF is the substrate, a small line of MDF will be visible along the corner and top edge. If your table is being stained, these edges will be stained along with the veneer, although they may appear to be a slightly different colored if the veneer itself has strong natural coloration. See figure C.
All of our tabletops are protected by Acralyte. Please read about the features of Acralyte on page 5.
Bar Tops: We can also construct custom bar tops. Specify your bar top with the inset/ frame pattern in the same way you would a table. We do not offer gloss bartops.
Below are some rail profiles specifically for bars.
Frame Review: A review of table frame options.
Standard 2″ wide by 1.75″ thick Frame
Budget .5″ wide by 1.5″ thick Frame
Select 1.25″ thick, No Frame
Designer Veneer: 3” wide (variable) by 1.5” thick
We can also construct tables with plastic and metal T- Mold Edges.
Bar Tops: 3-3.5″ thick with Frame
If you want to add a little extra decoration to your table, we offer a large selection of veneer marquetry trim options, available in real veneer and digitally. Custom colors are available for digital marquetry. Please see the below Card for full color images of marquetry trim.
We can add real copper, brass and chrome trim to tables, or paint pinstripes in any color including metallics.
If you want a rustic look, we can faux burn, hand distress, and plank any wooden table and hand hew any solid wood edges.
An attractive option is to add a metal or faux metal (Bling) edge band. TableTopics offers both with the option of decorative rivets or nail heads.
After selecting your inset and frame, you will need to choose stain colors. You may elect to have the inset and the frame be the same color or they may be different colors. Our factory stain colors are available on Maple, Ash & Mahogany. You may also choose a custom color from any wood chip, laminate chip, sample or paint chip. We can match your custom colors for a small fee. Factory Stains are shown under the STAIN & MARQUETRY section of the Website.
Please note that wood grain patterns and natural color will vary somewhat from piece to piece, tree to tree. We will work to match your colors as closely as possible but a some amount of variation should be expected. Additionally, different species of wood will accept stain differently. For instance, a color on Ash will pool heavily in the grain, creating a much darker grain than the surrounding spring wood. The same color on maple will not bring out a darker grain pattern because maple has a very uniform texture. Note: Colors appear differently depending on light source.
Colors chosen from laminate chips, including our factory stain colors, may have a slightly different appearance on real wood due to the depth and reflectivity of natural wood.
Table tops with budget frames, painted frames and self edges must be finished with Full Filled Acralyte to protect more vulnerable design elements and in the case of the faux stones and hand made materials, to even out the surface and allow effective cleaning.
Veneer tables with two inch wide wood frames may be finished entirely with Open Grain Acralyte if desired.
Solid wood tables may only be finished with Open Grain Acralyte. If a thicker finish were applied, the gradual expansion and contraction of natural wood during varying climates would cause the top to bow.
Regardless of inset, table tops with solid wood frames over 1.5″ wide can be built with an Open Grain frame and a Full Filled inset. This protects the inset features but allows the natural texture of the wood to be experienced also.
You’ve chosen your inset, your frame, your decoration, your color, your finish. Now, the final step is to specify your shapes, sizes & quantities.
The drawings below show some typical table shapes. When identifying your tables, you must include length and width, the radius sizes for any custom radius corners, the sizes of clipped corners and any other design features you need the top to include.
Accepted trade practice allows for up to .25” tolerance.
Flip Tops: Table Topics uses an exclusive heavy duty flip mechanism for drop leaf tables. Unlike many other drop leaf latches, this strong mechanism will not droop over time, nor will it break and injure patrons. These mechanisms are custom made for Table Topics.
Bases: A limited selection of bases is available. Refer to tabletopics.biz or consult a factory representative for an explanation of currently available bases.