Overview of the role

Producing and assembling bespoke pieces of furniture to meet individual customers’ requirements.

Bespoke furniture maker

Reference Number: ST0639

Details of standard

Occupation summary

This occupation is found in the furniture, furnishings and interiors manufacturing industry.  The UK furniture, bed and furnishings manufacturing industry has seen substantial growth over recent years and makes a significant contribution to the country’s GDP. There are over a quarter of a million people in jobs relating to the industry, with 118,000 in manufacturing alone. As well as manufacturing furniture for residential accommodation, there is also a large market for office and commercial furniture.

The broad purpose of the occupation is to produce and assemble bespoke pieces of furniture to meet individual customers’ requirements. This can cover pieces such as tables, chairs, cabinets, office furniture, kitchens and bedrooms.  Bespoke Furniture Makers work with and need to understand a variety of materials – including wood, metals, glass, plastics, fabric, finishes and other relevant materials.

In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with a range of colleagues including designers, production/manufacturing managers, quality technicians, production leaders and product developers. They will need to work closely with designers and installation teams. Bespoke Furniture Makers will work alone or within small teams with other makers and will be responsible for liaising with colleagues and suppliers and in some roles with customers. They tend to work in small craft workshops but can also work in larger factories.  The usually report to a senior colleague such as the managing director. 

An employee in this occupation will be responsible for interpreting and challenging designs and offering solutions, selecting appropriate materials, making the components and assembling pieces of furniture using machinery and hand production techniques.  Bespoke Furniture Makers also produce prototypes to bring designs to life, they will produce complex jigs and templates. They attend design meetings to contribute to designs regarding feasibility and costs.

Bespoke Furniture Makers will also need to coach and mentor apprentices, trainees and other colleagues.

Typical job titles

Bespoke Furniture Maker, Furniture Maker, Cabinet Maker, Bespoke Furniture Manufacturer

Occupation duties


Criteria for measuring performance


Duty 1 work safely at all times following relevant legislation and regulations ensuring self and others safety

health and safety records


S1, S2, S1


Duty 2 interpret and challenge furniture designs and offer solutions to any issues or problems that may occur

the end product delivered in line with customer expectations/specifications

K2, K3

S4, S5, S6

B2, B3, B4, B5

Duty 3 select appropriate materials for bespoke furniture designs to be produced

delivered in line with agreed timescale/cost/company standards

K4, K5

S7, S8

B6, B7, B8

Duty 4 develop work schedules to meet company objectives and bespoke furniture to be produced

delivered in line with agreed timescale/company standards



B2, B5

Duty 5 make furniture components to meet specifications

delivered in line with agreed timescale/cost/company standards

K7, K8, K9

S12, S13

B2, B5, B7

Duty 6 set up and operate machinery, tools and equipment to make bespoke furniture

to meet furniture specifications and company standards

K10, K11, K12, K13, K14

S12, S13, S14, S15, S16

B1, B5, B7

Duty 7 assemble furniture components to meet specifications

following standard operating procedures and manufacturers instructions

K15, K16, K17, K18

S17, S18, S19, S20

B2, B5, B7

Duty 8 identify any quality issues with bespoke furniture and components produced

delivered in line with company standards

K19, K20

S21, S22, S23

B5, B9

Duty 9 Finish furniture products to meet customer expectations

delivered in line with agreed timescale/cost/company standards

K21, K22

S24, S25, S26

B1, B5, B7, B10

Duty 10 liaise with colleagues and other relevant people to achieve work objectives

products delivered to customers to specification and within agreed timescales



B4, B11, B12, B13

Duty 11 Develop self and others

delivered in line with company policies and procedures.


S28, S29, S30, S31, S32





K1 health, safety and environmental management and risk assessment for example Control Of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH), Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER), Health And Safety At Work Act (HASAWA), Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) and manual handling

K2 furniture making drawings, specifications, scales, technical terms related to furniture making, for example terms such as bunching, beading, chamfer, marquetry and sauvage

K3 visualisation of final furniture making designs

K4 furniture making industry materials - limitations and uses of materials, defects – characteristics including wood and timber, manmade composite materials including plywood, MDF (Medium Density Board) and MFC (Melamine Faced Chipboard), veneers, laminates, edging materials, stains and finishes, fixtures and fittings (including glass, plastics, electrical components and fittings), fabrics, springs, manmade and natural fillings and adhesives

K5 how to reduce waste in furniture making

K6 furniture manufacturing/production methods for example cutting, bending, molding, laminating and assembly

K7 drawings, specifications, scales, technical terms related to furniture making

K8 construction methods for furniture produced for example doweling, jointing, gluing

K9 quality standards and control methods for example British and European standards

K10 current legislation related to furniture machinery and equipment used in your workplace for example Safe Use of Woodworking Machinery Approved Code of Practice

K11 Safe Systems of Work, the formal procedures for safe methods and procedures adopted during work activities, for relevant processes, including use and maintenance of machinery used

K12 how to create complex jigs and templates to meet furniture making specifications

K13 machine tooling used for example drills, blades or profile cutters

K14 how to operate furniture making machinery, tools and equipment used

K15 fixtures and fittings used in furniture making, for example brackets, hinges, runners and handles

K16 assembly methods used in furniture making

K17 joints used in furniture making

K18 adhesives used in furniture making

K19 quality standards you need to meet

K20 faults and problems that could occur and problem-solving techniques for example plan-do-check-act or root cause analysis

K21 furniture finishing preparation methods for example sanding

K22 different furniture finishes, their limitations and uses for example stains, sealers, lacquers/UV (ultravoilet), primers, solvents and water-based materials, paints, waxes, oils, grain fillers, patinas, varnish and polish

K23 effective communication skills and techniques including verbal, written and physical non-verbal

K24 coaching, mentoring and feedback techniques


S1 work safely at all times, wearing appropriate PPE, adhering to COSHH records and completing health and safety records and reports

S2 operate equipment to PUWER regulations

S3 carry out health and safety risk assessments

S4 create furniture making specifications, cutting lists and other relevant information from designs

S5 identify any problems and issues that may occur such as feasibility or cost

S6 challenge furniture making designs and offer solutions to any problems identified, for example can the design be made, is it the wrong wood species

S7 identify materials used in furniture making for example wood and timber, manmade composite materials

S8 select appropriate materials to meet furniture making specification for example wood and timber, manmade composite materials

S9 manage furniture production including setting timescales and priorities to meet company objectives and delegating furniture making work tasks to others

S10 cut, sand, bore, drill, create joints, mould, saw and plane wood and components

S11 calibrate measuring equipment and use accurately

S12 create complex jigs and templates to meet furniture making specifications for example Lock Jigs, Jigs for making Arcs as well as Jigs for making Frieze and Dentil Moulding

S13 set up appropriate tooling to meet furniture making specifications

S14 set up machinery, tools and equipment to meet furniture making specifications

S15 operate and use machinery, tools and equipment to meet furniture making specifications

S16 maintain furniture machinery, tools and equipment within limits of responsibility for example lubricating machinery, keeping machinery clean, sharpening tools

S17 fit, fix and assemble components to meet furniture making specifications

S18 use cramps to assemble components

S19 attach fixtures and fittings to meet furniture making specifications

S20 create joints to meet furniture making specifications

S21 test and check furniture and components against specifications for example open and close drawers

S22 rectify and remedy any faults, for example marking and blisters, defects, scratches, marks, density, holes, weave

S23 identify trends in furniture making faults

S24 prepare surfaces for furniture finishes for example sanding

S25 repair any defects identified for example blooming, moisture, temperature, blotching, runs, streaks, curing, and silicones – orange peel, fish eye

S26 apply appropriate finishes including by hand and by spray gun for example stains, sealers, lacquers/UV, primers, solvents and water-based materials, paints, waxes, oils, grain fillers, patinas, varnish and polish

S27 apply effective communication techniques at all levels including written and verbal communication skills

S28 identify training needs of self and others

S29 maintain own continued professional development (CPD)

S30 give appropriate feedback and support to others

S31 seek constructive feedback on own skills and techniques against current standards

S32 evaluate own skills and expertise


B1 have a safety-first attitude, ensuring the safety of self and others as appropriate

B2 be flexible in changing environment and demands

B3 maintain focus and concentration during furniture making activities

B4 demonstrates a positive can-do attitude by looking at every situation with a sense of enthusiasm

B5 has a methodical approach to furniture making tasks

B6 is decisive when accomplishing furniture making tasks

B7 thorough and accurate when accomplishing furniture making tasks

B8 shows integrity, aims for excellence and manages time effectively

B9 works safely at all times

B10 sets an example to others, is fair, consistent and reliable

B11 be friendly and approachable in a furniture making environment

B12 willing to help and support others

B13 actively participates in discussions

B14 shows ambition, drive and is self-motivated


 English and Maths qualifications

Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the End-Point Assessment.  For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. A British Sign Language (BSL) qualification is an alternative to the English qualification for those whose primary language is BSL. 

Additional details

Occupational Level: 3
Duration (months): 24


This standard will be reviewed after three years.

Crown copyright © 2024. You may re-use this information (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence. Visit www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence

Status: Approved for delivery
Level: 3
Reference: ST0639
Version: 1.0
Date updated: 30/09/2019
Approved for delivery: 30 September 2019
Route: Creative and design
Typical duration to gateway : 24 months (this does not include EPA period)
Maximum funding: £10000
LARS Code: 521
EQA Provider: Ofqual

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Contact us about this apprenticeship

Employers involved in creating the standard: Senator, Simpsons of Greenfield Mill Ltd, Mascari, Harrison Spinks, Hypnos, Airflow, Burbidge, DFS, Mills and Scott

Version log

Version Change detail Earliest start date Latest start date Latest end date
1.0 Approved for delivery 30/09/2019 Not set Not set

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