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Leo Sharkey with goats

Leo Sharkey


I've been making fine, hand-crafted furniture for over 20 years.  I left the corporate world to pursue an alternate career while woodworking nearly full time.  My academic training is in Chemistry, Mechanical Engineering and Business Management and this background complements my interest in woodworking.


I’ve trained in Vermont, Massachusetts and Minnesota and currently reside on a hobby farm in southern, central Massachusetts.  My home, built in 1776, was once part of the underground railroad.


The thrust of my work is to build heirloom pieces intended for function as much as form. By using highly figured woods blended together to create an aesthetic beauty, my work offers something that cannot be obtained in commercial furniture.  


The use of traditional mortise and tenon joinery, insures that the pieces are designed and built to last multiple lifetimes to be passed on to future generations.


My construction methods are a blend of old and new.  I do not shy away from power tools, but at the same time prefer to use hand tools wherever possible.  


For example, when making mortise and tenon joints, I make the mortises using a 1 hp mortising machine and rough out tenons on my table saw.  The mortising machine cuts extremely accurate and precise mortises much more quickly than is possible by hand. The table saw removes bulk material quickly, but is too rough for final finish work.  


So, I cut the tenons oversize and then use a shoulder or rabbeting plane to trim the tenons for a precise fit. This mixture of power and hand tools enables me to save time where possible but preserve the fit and finish that are only possible using hand tools.