Fact & Theory
The respository where you'll find definitions, philosophy, and the long answers to questions you didn't even ask yet.
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it also gave us one that is both alive and dead until we open the box.
DEFINITIONS AND EXPOSITIONS
'Heirloom quality' has become a marketing phrase of indefinite meaning. As always, we try to define our terms at Geek Chic, so marketing jibba-jabba doesn't make you feel as if you're in a game of Three-card Monte. Heirloom Quality simply means we have constructed the piece with the materials and joinery techniques that will outlast you.
As an example, The Sultan gaming table is constructed with extensive dovetail joinery. Dovetails allow pieces that come together at 90° to be fit together like puzzle pieces. In fact, the Sultan is completely 'dry-fitted' before final glue-up. Without a drop of glue, the Sultan holds itself together. This kind of construction is not quick, but it does endure.
We also use solid hardwoods on our tables. Most furniture today is made with veneers over plywood, particleboard, or even less desirable composite materials; damage that your furniture inevitably sustains can break through the veneer, revealing the less attractive core. While all furniture, if used, will sustain wear and damage over its lifetime, solid hardwoods often aquire a "character" in this process, as natural dings and dents don't draw attention to themselves in a negative way. If, however, one day, you decide that your furniture looks shabby, refinishing your furniture will result in a piece that is literally good as new.
There is one more benefit to Heirloom Quality furniture that we believe warrants mentioning: Heirloom Quality is an essential step towards environmentally sound living. If you want to buy something that has low environmental impact, buy something you don't intend to throw away.
What we call extra-custom pieces of furniture. It doesn't really apply to custom-engraved tower flags, for instance, so much as it applies to gaming furniture that you have highly modified to make your own. It's a degree of tailoring.
EMERGE EX HYPOGAEO
Our Latin motto, of sorts. It means, "Come out of the basement!"
Why you want to wait
Waiting is without question the worst part of ordering a piece of furniture from Geek Chic. While some of the sometimes torturous length is due to the overwhelming demand you put on us (thank you), some of it is a necessary byproduct of the custom furniture process, to which we are inexorably committed. Here are a couple of those byproducts explained in more detail.
1. The Trilemma: You may be familiar with the expression,"Quick, cheap, or good. Pick two." Well, as we get to choose two, we’ll split it with you. We choose quality. We just don’t know how, or want to know how to make things shoddier, so we chose quality.
The next bit is an assumption. We assume you would like us to make our goods as affordable as possible. If this is the case, we now agree that time is the thing we can’t control. This is what leads to longer than pleasant wait times, as well as missed deadlines.
We are constantly encouraged by well meaning experts to charge more for our products. While the temptation of "easier money&qout; can be compelling, we have always been committed to not making "furniture for rich people". While we know our furniture is expensive, it does make a whole category of custom-designed heirloom quality furniture accessible to anyone dedicated to making their lives Geek Chic.
2. We won't compromise your furniture to make sure someone else gets theirs on schedule. Feel good about that? Good. So do we. However, that also means that we won’t compromise someone else's table to make sure you get yours on schedule. That may sting a little, but remember the first part can’t be true without the second, and ultimately, that’s why you trusted us to make your furniture in the first place.
3. Heirloom quality furniture requires time in the making-- but also time in the choosing. Anything you manage to get wrong will be wrong longer than you will be around to experience it. That is why, even given the ability to make your furniture within a week, we wouldn’t do so. You need some time to consult with our Valets and consider, with their guidance, how it will function over a longer timeline than most people routinely consider.
Hopefully, you now have a few of the many important reasons why waiting is and always will be a part of the Geek Chic custom experience.
''Why isn't there a [insert high tech gadget name here] in the table?'
We are determined to give you a table that will withstand the test of time.
For example, if you wanted a music player in your table in the 1970s, you wanted an 8-track tape deck. 1980s, a casette tape deck.1990s a CD player, 2000s an iPod docking station, 2010s a streaming device, and 2020s the small spike that you impale into the listener's tympanic bone, which is now the only way to listen to music, rendering the installation of any of the previous technology a useless scar upon your beautiful table. (No, we don't actually know if that last one is where music is heading, but if it does, you heard it here first.)
The same goes for laptop electrical cords. We can install attachments to deal with power cords, but at the rate battery technology is changing, like your cellular phone or mp3 player, you may just have a docking station you set it on at night, rendering the need for cords obsolete.
"What table should I get?"
That really depends on your requirements.
Need it to function as a dining table and a game table? The Emissary, Portal, or the Vizier are your best choices. Want a dedicated game room table for miniature battles? Consider The Spartan. Do you want to play RPGs and Miniatures on the same table in a dedicated game room? That's Sultan territory.
Your valet will also help you with this decision.
"Where do you get your wood?"
The question you are really asking is, are we building our tables in an environmentally conscious way? The answer is a resounding yes. We use only domestic hardwoods from sustainable forests with real oversight. We are constantly evaluating manufacture to reduce our environmental impact.
" I have a great furniture/product idea to send you!"
Noooooo! Please don't!
It's not that we don't appreciate you. But in order to protect ourselves legally, we must stick to a strict "no submissions, please" policy.
If you want to commission a custom piece, you can contact sales and outline your current need (Ex. my computer desk sucks or I own this particular game and want something custom built for it.) Do not send plans, pictures, or anything beyond what your problem is, or we cannot and will not respond to you. We can then let you know if there is something we already have on our list, or something that will be coming out soon-- or if that really is a custom project you have on your hands.
Your Geek Chic table, described in layers from the top down, involves: The Tabletop (formed by a gamekeeper such as hardwood leaves or a fabric lid). The Game Vault, containing: the Acrylic Layer, Insets (Optional), Printing (Optional), and the Vault Floor. Possibly, your table has drawers or storage. And finally, it's got legs, and you should know how to use them.
Let's go down the list.
The TABLE TOP is the uppermost surface of a Geek Chic table. (It is in the same place as the top of a traditional table-- which may seem obvious to you, but since our tables go through some serious transformations, we like to give context.)
TABLE TOP SIZE
Referred to when fitting a table to a room, as it indicates the full exterior dimensions of your chosen table. (As distinguished from the GAME VAULT SIZE, which describes the dimensions of the interior play surface.)
A GAME KEEPER covers the GAME VAULT to provide you with a table top surface. This includes HARDWOOD LEAVES and FABRIC LIDS.
The rabbet is the small 3/8'' ledge that your hardwood leaves or fabric lid rest on to create your table top. It is a good idea to wax the rabbet on a regular basis.
Hardwood leaves are wooden panels that fit together to form what looks like a traditional tabletop.
Traditional hardwood leaves are used in an expanding table to fill in the center, and create a longer tabletop to accommodate extra guests. On a Geek Chic table, we chose to build up instead of out: hardwood leaves cover the GAME VAULT, and provide a dining surface while your game remains safe below.
Our leaves are 10'' wide, tongue-and-groove, and feature built-in spring tensioners that ensure the right fit while compensating for the natural expansion and contraction of hardwood through the seasons.
A FABRIC LID is sits on the RABBET and forms your TABLE TOP. If you have a game being paused in your GAME VAULT (say an ongoing RPG), and you would like to play a card or board game on your table's surface, then a fabric lid is a good option. It comes in a variety of fabrics (see below) and allows you to easily pick up small pieces. It also has a craftboard back, in case you want to do any destructive projects.
Every Geek Chic has a secondary surface beneath the table top, called the GAME VAULT. This is a dropped play area where you keep your games safe, flat, and spill-proof.
The GAME VAULT describes the entire space under the hardwood leaves or fabric lid that creates your table top. It can include an INSET. It definitely includes the ACRYLIC LAYER, any PRINTING like maps, grids, or hexes, and the VAULT FLOOR.
GAME VAULT SIZE
The GAME VAULT SIZE describes is the interior dimensions of your table-- the dropped play surface-- as opposed to the exterior dimensions of your table-- like the table top, or how big it is once the drawers are pulled out.
This is in many ways the most important metric-- since your Valet will need to help size your custom table to the games you play.
GAME VAULT DEPTH
The VAULT DEPTH describes the open space between the underside of your tabletop and the VAULT FLOOR. Every table offers at least 2 ¼'' of this protected space in which to lay out your games-- neatly accommodating minis, boards, cards, auxiliary terrain, and PRINTING items like maps and grid/hex overlays.
Tables come standard with that 2 ¼'' depth, although some (like our wargaming tables) can be rather deeper. Don't worry; your Valet will help you with this.
Your table has a secret button that allows you to open it!
Somewhere along the bottom edge of your table, you'll feel a small square wooden button. Press it, and it causes a brass ejector rod to pop up along the rabbet of your table. When your table is fully closed, this causes your tabletop (either hardwood leaves or a fabric lid) to pop up with it, allowing you to grab hold of and remove it.
This allows safe access to the game vault, as opposed to jimmying your table open with a butter knife-- which as it turns out, isn't as safe as you'd think.
The ACRYLIC LAYER is the top layer in the GAME VAULT. It is a clear piece of 1/8'' thick acrylic (Plexiglas is a common brand name) that can be lifted with a SUCTION CUP (included). You place your board game, map, grid, hex, etc. underneath it to keep them flat, safe, and spill-proof.
The ACRYLIC LAYER doubles as a wet/dry erase surface. Now your table can act as a whiteboard! Make notes, draw a dungeon, mark initiatives, keep score, doodle monsters, or draw radii directly overtop your map or board. And use it to write down who went last-- because with the Game Vault, you don't have to break your game down, you can just cover an in-progress game until your group reconvenes.
Every table comes with a SUCTION CUP.
The suction cup allows you to lift the ACRYLIC LAYER on your table so you can place PRINTING like maps, grids, or hexes underneath it.
Make sure you lift the acrylic layer from a corner of your table, and not from the middle. If you lift from the middle, you will overtax your suction cup and it will break… and you probably won't have lifted your acrylic layer. Attach your suction cup at a corner, then wiggle from side to side a little to break the tension between the ACRYLIC LAYER and the VAULT FLOOR.
PRINTING: GRID AND HEX OVERLAYS
These are clear acetate overlays with a grid or hex pattern on them, used over a map to denote scale and to standardize movement. Our standard sizes are 1”, 1.5”, 2”, 2.5”, or 3” – custom sizes are available.
The VAULT FLOOR is the bottom-most layer on your table. It comes in standard white, but may be upgraded to bamboo.
White is best if you use large maps, and will never really see much of the vault floor-- or, alternately, if you're going to use an overhead projector to project a game map downward onto your table
If you are going to be seeing the Vault Floor often, we tend to prefer the wood look of the bamboo. And bonus: it's refinishable.
GAME VAULT ACCESSORIES
If you choose to leave one HARDWOOD LEAF in the GAME VAULT to use for extra desk space, you want to use a LEAF GUARD with it. This is an accessory, a slat of wood that slides in at a 90 degree angle to support the leaf-- as well as preventing any wayward game pieces from going underneath.
LEAF DESKS work with LEAF GUARDS to make a ring of desks around your table. For those who play both very large and very small games, this system helps accommodate both.
An INSET is an accessory that fits inside the GAME VAULT, on top of the ACRYLIC LAYER. It provides a different kind of dropped surface environment-- FABRIC, FERROUS, or LEGO.
Insets fit snugly inside your GAME VAULT, but include cloth tabs so you can lift and remove them.
A ferrous inset has whiteboard on one side and metal on the other.
Should you wish to use any magnetically anchored terrain, this would be ideal for you.
Ferrous insets are thinner than our normal insets because they can be used in conjunction with Lego insets.
Our insets have two small ribbons on one side that you can use like a pull-tab to remove the inset from your table.
Legos are awesome. Your table is awesome. The two together are awesome to the nth degree.
You can turn a Geek Chic table into a Lego table with some terrain and our ferrous inset. Once the metal plate is in place, add magnetized Lego terrain in whatever configuration you desire. The great part is this isn't permanent and you can still remove all the Lego accessories and use it as a normal Geek Chic table. (Our version of normal, anyway!)
We can fill the table with Lego baseplates when you order, or you can use your own and attach some magnets.
1/23/15: In what we can only assume is an aggressive stance on the state of global ecology, LEGO has discontinued blue baseplates in favor of brick-yellow (aka "sand") baseplates. LEGO execs were unavailable for comment, stating only, "The spice must flow."
FABRIC LIDS VS. INSETS
It depends how you want to use your table. This is not an either/or situation; you could have both.
FABRIC LIDS come in one piece, have a lightweight foam core, have fabric on one side, and a craft surface on the other side.
No:We don't put hardwood on one side and fabric on the other. It seems like a good idea, but because they're all in one piece, they'er too heavy and non-maneuverable. (Seriously, heavy. There is a reason the hardwood leaves are only 10'' wide.)
The benefits of a FABRIC LID include having a removable, replaceable surface with a craft board back for projects. It covers your GAME VAULT, and you can easily play games on top and have a game going underneath. The fabric side is great for gaming, allowing you to easily pick up small bits and pieces and prevents too much sliding. The craftboard side is excellent if you have projects that would potentially damage the hardwood leaves of your table (like painting miniatures, or using a glue gun, rotary blade, or sharpie). We call this the "destroy me" surface, just in case you need some backup.
An INSET can be FABRIC (using any of the fabrics we use for lids), or FERROUS (for use with Legos or magnetic pieces). Insets sit inside the GAME VAULT instead of on top of it. Playing inside the Game Vault means your tiny pieces and playing cards don't go skittering off the table (and right into the Sarlacc Pit! I wish you wouldn't keep that thing in the living room, Gary!). It also lets you line cards, etc., up along the edges. Puzzle enthusiasts may also benefit greatly from the game vault's containment.
For fabric insets and lids.
Great for small pieces! Velvet makes it hard for them to slide around, yet makes it easy for you to pick them up. This fabric has a nap, and is a little softer than the velveteen. We offer five colors: Pecan, Aubergine, Taupe, Merlot, and Navy.
Did you know? "Velvet" isn't what a fabric is made of (like silk or cotton), it describes a particular texture of fabric. By definition, velvet is a woven tufted fabric with evenly distributed threads and a short dense pile. The fuzzy part is called the nap.
Stretched Velveteen has no nap (when you brush it up or down, it won't look lighter or darker). Cards slide across its surface more easily than the plush velvet. We offer six colors: Navy, Green, Burgundy, Royal Blue, and Black.
For all you dealt card players out there (poker, rummy, crazy eights…), speed cloth is a low-friction woven surface that allows cards to skip smoothly and quickly across the surface, like you'd find on a poker table. Playing dealt card games on an inset is more comfortable as it gives your arms a ledge to rest on, and saves the dealer from accidentally dealing cards onto the floor. The sides of the Game Vault stop those kinds of shenanigans. We offer four colors: Burgundy, Green, Blue, and Purple.