Meet the team: Simon Bulley


We would like to introduce you to our team!  We continue our series with Simon Bulley who joined the workshop in September 2017 having spent two years at the Rycotewood Furniture Centre

What did you do before you started as an apprentice at the Barnsley Workshop?

I studied a foundation degree in furniture design and making at the Rycotewood Furniture Centre. Before that, I worked as a site carpenter for a company in Oxfordshire, refurbishing listed buildings.

What attracted you to the Barnsley Workshop apprenticeship?

Mainly the opportunity to learn traditional hand skills and cabinet-making process. I am also very interested in crafting solid hardwood pieces. What better way to learn how to do so than in a unique setting that has been involved for over 100 years in the design and making of arts and crafts style furniture?

How did you feel when you first started your training?

Very excited, yet apprehensive; my main concern was whether or not I could work to the high standards set by previous and current apprentices and craftsmen.

Looking back what was for you the most significant lesson?

The most significant thing that I’ve learnt so far, (which I didn’t fully appreciate the importance of), is how important hand-tool set-up is when accurately crafting furniture. I’ve also enjoyed learning about the sharpening process (including saw sharpening) and timber selection.

What have been the highlights of your time at the workshop?

I have thoroughly enjoyed all of my projects so far, but a highlight was getting to talk to a variety of people on the Workshop Open Day in October. I was very happy when a coin tray I made was sold.

If you could choose to make anything, what would be your dream project?

A set of library steps and the Treasure Chest jewellery box, as these were the first pieces that I saw from the Edward Barnsley Workshop, and they led to me applying for an apprenticeship. I would also really like to make a rocking chair as I feel it has the potential to be one of the most challenging pieces.