Why Choose Solid Wood Furniture

In the world of furniture, the choices can be overwhelming, from sleek modern designs to trendy materials. 

However, for those who appreciate warmth, durability and timeless beauty, solid wood stands out above the rest.

Solid wood, as opposed to composite or veneer alternatives, is derived from natural timber, offering a unique combination of aesthetic appeal and enduring strength.

Keep reading to explore the reasons why you should consider embracing the charm of solid wood furniture in your home and why we choose to work solely with solid wood for our furniture.

Natural beauty and warmth

One of the most appealing features of solid wood furniture is its natural beauty. 

Each piece boasts unique patterns, grains and colours, making it a work of art in its own right. 

For instance, oak exhibits prominent grain lines and intricate patterns, while maple showcases a smoother, more uniform grain. 

Exotic woods like mahogany or teak introduce rich textures. 

Opting for manufactured, laminated or veneered wood, rather than the authenticity of solid oak, significantly influences people’s sensory and emotional experiences of the end product.

Research indicates that individuals perceive natural and smooth wood surfaces more positively compared to coated surfaces. 

This underscores the significance of preserving the innate texture of wood surfaces during treatment processes. Doing so not only enhances positive touch experiences but also mitigates the risk of unfavourable sensations. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5346587/

'we found that smoother wood surfaces could elicit a higher pleasantness or other positive emotional rating..'

A wonderful real-world illustration of the natural beauty of wood is the philosophy of wabi-sabi in Japanese architecture, which embraces imperfection and transience. 

Crafted with care and age-old techniques, Japanese architecture often reflects a harmonious coexistence with nature. 

For centuries, wood has been the preferred material for constructing Japanese homes and religious structures, celebrating its imperfections and the serene energy it imparts. 

Wabi-sabi is about embracing the evolving character of wood over time and finding beauty in unexpected places and imperfection. 

Whether in the form of a house, furniture or a small object, wood’s enduring lifespan nurtures joy for years to come. (https://konmari.com/wabi-sabi-the-wonders-of-woodwork/).

'When you touch wood, it seems to be alive and breathing. The intricate grain patterns tell a story.

Wood changes character with the passing of time and that’s what wabi-sabi is about—embracing imperfection and finding beauty in unexpected places.'

In a country as rich and diverse as South Africa, incorporating natural elements into your home through solid wood furniture creates a warm and inviting atmosphere. Whether it's the rich tones of indigenous woods or the warmth of globally sourced options, solid wood furniture radiates a welcoming charm that is unmatched by synthetic alternatives.

Durability and longevity

The durability of solid wood furniture is a testament to its robust nature.

Well-crafted pieces can withstand the wear and tear of daily life, making them a reliable choice for your home. 

In regions with fluctuating climates like South Africa, where extreme temperatures and humidity levels can pose challenges, solid wood furniture remains steadfast, resisting cracking and scratches.

The oldest piece of solid wood furniture known to exist is the Tarkhan Dresser, which dates back to around 3100-2890 BCE! 

It was discovered in a tomb at Tarkhan, an ancient Egyptian cemetery, by the British archaeologist Flinders Petrie in 1911. 

The dresser is simple in design, with a rectangular top and two vertical supports, and is considered one of the earliest examples of wooden furniture in human history. 

Environmentally friendly

In a time where sustainability is no longer a choice but a necessity, solid wood furniture, when responsibly sourced, has the added advantage of being a carbon-sequestering beauty.

Studies have shown that ‘the level of carbon emissions from wood production is less than 100kg of carbon dioxide per 1,000kg produced, compared with over 300kg for brick and over 2,000kg for steel’. (https://thermory.com/blog-and-news/wood-sustainability/

'Wood’s lifetime embodied energy – the amount of energy consumed through the production process – is more than three times lower than that of steel, plastic, and concrete, all of which also require more effort and resources to dispose of at the end of their useful life.'

Additionally, solid wood furniture is biodegradable, meaning it will eventually break down and return to the earth. This is in contrast to materials like plastic, which can take hundreds or even thousands of years to decompose. (https://blueandgreentomorrow.com/sustainability/solid-wood-furniture-more-sustainable-choice/

Our solid oak furniture is sustainably sourced through collaboration with the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC). Grown in indigenous forests, the oak supports ecosystems and is harvested at full maturity, around 70 years old, using minimally invasive methods like horse and cart extraction. 

Sourcing oak in this way means the end product is truly carbon-negative. Over its lifetime, each oak tree will have sequestered nearly 2,000kg of carbon dioxide.

Upon harvesting and processing, that carbon is then locked into our furniture. The alternative, if the tree were left to rot, would be carbon leaking back into the atmosphere.

We process the end product using minimal chemicals and carbon-efficient transport methods, which makes our oak the most sustainable material in the world.

Our Preservation Bench is a perfect example of an exploration on the theme of sustainability. Take a look here.

Easy maintenance 

Solid wood furniture is low maintenance, making it an excellent choice for people with busy lifestyles. 

Occasional cleaning and, if necessary, refinishing is all that’s required to keep these pieces looking their best. 

We’ve all experienced the frustration of dealing with a glass table that proves challenging to repair when scratched or a steel table marred by uneven dents. Quite frankly, it’s a nightmare. 

In comparison, solid wood is a much more forgiving material and a more sensible choice for furniture. 

Dust and dirt can be easily removed with a soft cloth, and spills can be wiped up quickly. If you treat your wooden purchases well, you may never have to worry about maintenance beyond the occasional dusting!  

To read more about how to care for your furniture, click here.

A good investment

While solid wood furniture may come with a higher price tag compared to plywood alternatives, the investment is justified by the high-quality materials, meticulous handmade production and enduring value. 

Solid wood offers an enduring elegance that transcends fleeting trends, making it a timeless choice. Unlike synthetic materials that may go out of fashion quickly, solid wood furniture effortlessly adapts to evolving styles and such pieces can be passed down through generations.

The longevity of solid wood becomes evident when compared to certain metal counterparts, where rust and corrosion can compromise aesthetic and structural integrity. 

Unlike glass, which is susceptible to scratching and breakage, solid wood is resilient against daily wear and tear. 

And unlike veneers or laminates that may peel or chip over time, solid wood stands the test of time, maintaining its integrity and aesthetic appeal for generations. 

To read more about the comparisons between solid wood and its MDF counterparts, click here.

Customisation and natural uniqueness 

One of the distinctive advantages of solid wood furniture lies in its versatility and adaptability. Craftsmen and manufacturers offer a myriad of options for personalisation, allowing you to customise your pieces to your heart’s desire. 

From different types of wood to a wide choice of finishes and coatings, the customisation possibilities for solid wood are extensive. (https://homewood.co.za/solid-wood-furniture-why-its-a-great-investment-blog/).

'There is something very distinctive about wood, since no two pieces are the same.....A solid piece of wooden furniture breathes character and style into any space.'

Why we love solid wood

Beyond serving as practical pieces of furniture, choosing solid wood is an invitation to infuse your living spaces with the beauty of nature and craftsmanship.

At Houtlander, we’re proud to work with solid oak as our medium, exploring its potential, versatility, and longevity to create heirloom pieces that are ​​exquisitely made, capture the imagination, and stand the test of time.

Take a look at our website to explore the endless possibilities of solid wood.