Michael Hart, Cabinetmaker

Michael Hart at his workshop in Loanhead, Edinburgh
Michael Hart at his workshop in Loanhead, Edinburgh

I set up on my own a long time ago. I’d done an apprenticeship and then worked for Herald Antiques in Edinburgh before starting my own company in 1984. I really wanted to make much more and I believed that there was more of a market for bespoke furniture. I had been doing a lot of restoration work and making copies of antiques but I wanted to make more and be my own boss. In hindsight, setting up on my own at such a young age was daunting, but it didn’t seem like that at the time. It was exciting. Looking back, I think the exuberance of youth took hold and allowed me to overcome things. My workshop at Loanhead is a purpose-built space. I built it there because 60 to 70% of my work is outside of Edinburgh. This way, because I work all over Scotland and the UK, I am connected in all directions. My role has changed as the business has grown. I don’t really have a typical day, as such. I can be called in to help wherever I’m needed, depending on the jobs that we are working on. I could be needed on the bench, in the cabinet shop, the polishing shop – it just depends on where I’m required. Mostly, now, I’m out meeting clients, taking a brief from them, designing what they ask for, drawing it up and then going through the process in the workshop with the guys who are making the piece. I oversee everything. Today, I’m answering three phones at once!

This is just a taster, you can browse the full article with more stunning photography on pages 67-68, issue 103.

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Interviews Catherine Coyle
Photography Neale Smith