When veneered chipboard furniture gets old it has absolutely no character at all. It just gets old! It has no soul. When I think of this kind of furniture I have a mental picture of out-of-style, tasteless items that no one wants – piled up in dark and musty second-hand furniture stores.

Solid wood country furniture, on the other hand, just gets better with age. Somehow, with time and use, well-made timber pieces take on their own character which just keeps developing. Firstly, that is because they endure – and a well-used piece of furniture that stands the test of time becomes part of the history of a home.

Let me explain: Remember when you came home from shopping and found that the new puppy had used one of your beautiful solid wood table legs to help cut his first sharp little teeth? At the time, you were horrified. But he just wagged his little tail and gave you his best ” But I am only small” look. Twenty years later, whenever your eyes alight on the now more smoothly edged, time-worn indentations, a flood of happy memories of a loyal canine friend who became part of the family and grew up with the children, fills the imagination.

More dents in the kitchen table surface bear witness to an energetic little one-year-old delighting in the sound that his spoon made between mouthfuls of cereal. Then it was a frustration – now it is a precious memory.

And then there is the burn mark Granddad’s cigarette made when it fell out of the ashtray the time he dozed off. He desperately tried to fix it by rubbing in ash, but something like that just does not completely go away no matter how hard you try. He was mortified and Granny did not speak to him for two days. But today recollecting the incident brings a smile, and possibly a tear, of fond remembrance.

That is because “real” furniture has soul!

Dave Meaker is a regular in our shop and his business is editing and writing.