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Stone Top Tables - Ridge Coffee Table Black Terrazzo - Close Up

Stone Top Tables: 3 Things To Know

At Beeline Design we’ve long had the idea to create a range of stone top tables, but we didn’t really have the opportunity to do so until last year with the release of our Ridge Collection.

Stone has always been an important material when it comes to home decorating. Stone is strong and heavy, durable and hard wearing, and it can also be bold and visually striking. Stone tables can be traced back through time to well before the Egyptian and Roman Empires, and examples of ancient stone top tables can be found all around the world.

Stone tables were used for anything and everything, from home decor and private residences, public buildings, foyers and ammenities, to ceremonial purposes, sporting venues and even human sacrifices (unfortunately). Just about anything you could think of was done on stone tables.

As far as home furnishings are concerned, stone can be used for a variety of purposes, such as stone bench tops and countertops, stone top dining tables, coffee tables and side tables, as well as other uses. Stone was a popular material for other furniture too, not just stonetop tables. At the beginning of the 20th century it was used for stone top dressers, buffets, vanity units and standalone cupboards – many of which still survive today.

Stone Top Tables - Ridge Coffee and Side Tables

Ridge Collection of stone top tables.

Stone Top Tables For Beeline Design

With the introduction of our Ridge Collection we included a series of smaller stone top tables, such as our Ridge Coffee Table and Ridge Side Table. So far these have proven to be quite popular with the public and we’ve increased our production accordingly. We offer these stone top tables in a variety of different stone, from Carrara marble to black, blush and bianca terrazzo. Terrazzo is really an ingenious process where otherwise discarded and broken pieces of stone and rock are mixed with a bonding agent to create a new and versatile product. It’s recycling at its finest.

Later on this year (2019) we plan to include stone top dining tables to the Ridge Collection. We have had some interest from the public to produce a larger round dining table, suitable for at least 4 people but possibly 6 or more. Of course there are many considerations that need to be made when producing larger round tables – especially stone top dining tables. The sheer size and weight of the stone alone needs to be taken into account when designing the table.

Round tables can be quite useful in smaller areas that might not be able to fit a larger table. For example your kitchen area might not be quite big enough for an average-sized rectangular dining table, however in the case of a round tables the choice might be ideal.

So, what are 3 important things to know when choosing stone top tables? Read on below…

1:- Size

As a natural material, not all sizes are available when it comes to making stone top tables, and the buyer needs to be made aware of that. For example you might not be able to find that large slab of marble that can be used in making 12 seater stone top dining tables, but you might find a suitable piece for making 4 seater round tables.

Likewise you might find that stone suitable for 4 seater round tables is available, but the same type of stone suitable for making 6 seater round tables is not available. It just depends on what you can find on any given day or week.

Another question you might want to ask is whether the stone used for smaller round tables is even suitable for larger stone top dining tables? Chances are that while it might be strong enough in smaller sections, it might not be so good for larger tops. So the type of stone itself needs to be taken into account.

2:- Construction

The construction methods used in making stone top tables is very important. It goes without saying that the base of the table needs to be very strong and well made, but also well designed to cater to the weight of the stone top that it is supporting.

This is especially true when it comes to the larger stone top dining tables, where the weight can be quite considerable. It simply won’t do to have a flimsy table base, and it can even be quite dangerous. The last thing you need is for the base to collapse under the strain of the table top, sending the stone crashing to the floor. Even if there are no injuries to loved ones or pets, I can tell you now the stone top itself will not fair well, and neither will your hip pocket.

So when it comes to construction there are a few things to ask your table maker. Once a general idea of the design has been mapped out and agreed upon, there are several other questions that need to be answered.

The first thing to ask is what materials are going to be used? You might have your own idea as to the species, colour or tone of the timber or the type of stone that you would like for the top. For instance, you might want a jarrah base with a Carrara marble top, or you may want a walnut base with a black terrazzo top. This all comes down to personal taste, budget and availability of materials.

The second thing to ask is how the piece is going to be constructed? Is the base going to be made with wood or metal? Is the base frame going to be properly morticed and tenoned (a traditional construction method) or will it be made using biscuits and then screwed? How are the legs going to be fastened? How is the top going to be fixed to the base? All of these questions need to be answered satisfactorily before any building commences. A good maker should have no problem in answering your questions in this regard.

If the maker seems a little hesitant, or even evasive, in letting you know just how the piece is going to be made, then perhaps you need to think about going to another maker? You really don’t want to cut corners when it comes to making stone top tables.

3:- Care

Generally speaking, stone top tables are very much like any other piece of furniture in regards to care and maintenance. However, stone top tables also have their own special requirements to consider. After all, just like everything else in life, when it comes to looking after your investment, knowledge is power.

Just like other surfaces – whether they’re timber, Corian, laminex etc. – stone will absorb stain and, depending on the stone used, the results can be quite upsetting. Spills, such as fruit juices, citrus or vinegar, are acidic by nature and will eventually eat into the stone if not wiped up quickly. This is especially true for stone tops such as marble and limestone. Have you ever seen cola used for cleaning copper and brass? Yup, soft drinks will also eat away at the stone if you’re not careful, so be vigilant in your cleaning up.

Other foods and liquids, such as beetroot, red wine, fats and oils, can discolour and stain stone top tables. In the bathroom – should you have a stone top vanity, for instance – soap, mouthwash, nail polish remover, perfume, even toothpaste, can stain the stone top. Even metal items, such as tin cans or canisters, can cause rust stains to occur if you’re not careful. Again, make sure to clean up properly after you and you should be fine.

On the subject of cleaning, use ordinary warm water and a damp cloth to wipe down all the surfaces. Methylated spirits can also be used to help get rid of streaks but, generally speaking, just a plain damp cloth will suffice. Never use an abrasive cleaner such as Jif or Ajax. Likewise don’t ever use scouring pads or scrubbers made for washing up your pots and pans. These are far too harsh on your stone top tables.

Don’t ever stand or sit on stone top tables as it could be a very expensive process if the stone fractures or the base gives out under the combined weight of the top and you. Also, try not to put any extremely hot things, such as pots fresh from the stove, on your stone tops. Stone is heat resistant – but it’s not heat proof.

Be careful not to knock the edges of your table with plates, cups, pots etc. – especially around the area above the dishwasher. It also goes without saying that you shouldn’t use your stone top tables as chopping boards. After all, that’s what real chopping boards are for.

Other considerations

While I’ve listed a few of the most important things to know or ask, there are other factors that may be due for consideration when it comes to buying stone top tables. I’ve already mentioned availability of materials, but differences within the same material also needs to be understood. For instance, one piece of Carrara stone might look very different from another piece of Carrara stone – even if it’s cut from the very same slab. Stone, being a natural material, has many variations within the same type, just as timber has similar variations.

When it comes to, say, marble for instance the choices are many. Wikipedia lists quite a few types of marble on its website, but not all are available nowadays, unfortunately.

Price could be another consideration, but stone top tables, by their very nature, often cost more than their timber cousins. Stone can be very expensive! Granted, some timbers can be expensive as well but, generally speaking, stone is more expensive than timber. However, it needs to be understood that people wanting to buy stone top tables usually expect that they will come at a higher price, and therefore allow for that.

All in all it is important to remember to do some research. A good quality dining table can be a fairly large investment for the family home, so you want to made doubly sure that you’re making the right decision. Think about the materials you want to use, the design you like and how you imagine the piece should be made. Also look for positive reviews on the internet or in magazines or personal recommendations from friends when it comes to the maker, or company, you choose to make your stone top table. I hope that this article has gone at least some way in helping you make that choice.

Adam Brislin,
Furniture maker Melbourne.

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