Classic: in keeping with classical art... traditionally accepted... excellent standard... doesn’t soon go out of fashion... marked by beauty of form, good taste, restraint and clarity. These, just a few of the definitions offered by the Chambers dictionary, are in furniture terms a Roman mile away from the style and quality of the beds, dining sets and kitchens to be had on a nothing-to-pay-for-a-year-but-just-watch-the-interest-mount-up basis from the lower end of the high street.

So aren’t we woodworkers fortunate? Not for us the often shoddy furniture of questionable durability and clunky looks, for we have only to leaf through books or woodworking magazines like this one, go and visit a grand house or spend time in our museums to see what properly designed and executed pieces should look like. Then we can go off to the timber store armed with a brief and start making an heirloom piece for ourselves.

OK, it’s not quite so simple, but the projects contained in this issue should whet your appetite for classic. Because by classic we are not referring exclusively to the classical interpretations of the likes of Chippendale, Sheraton and Hepplewhite, but to enduring style that has developed from the great designers, from Ancient Egypt – see our Savonarola chair – to Art Deco via Georgian and Arts & Crafts workmanship. These all involve complex techniques that allowed refined design to supersede stolid pieces that had to be embellished with carving. And today we have the tools and machines to make it all happen. Enjoy!