Polk Life Magazine August 2014 : Page 27

cr aftsm an Cra F tsman earns n a tion al rep U t a tion F or W ork on Fl orid a s o U thern proje C t By gary white pHOTOgRapHy By ernst peters Wizard in Wood Wearing a pith helmet tells the world you are prepared for difficult undertakings. Think of Henry Morton Stanley, the British explorer, or T.E. Lawrence of Arabia fame. A pith helmet has become a trademark for Tom Sharrett, owner of DeMoss Cabinetry in Lakeland. Sharrett adopted the headgear not for a slog through the African jungles but for a monumental task of his own: craft-ing the meticulously detailed woodwork of the Usonian House, a structure at Florida Southern College based on the demanding design of the renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Sharrett, a Lakeland native, started wear-ing the pith helmet to protect his fair skin from solar radiation during construction of the Usonian House in 2012. He continues to wear it, even when working at his shop in southeast Lakeland. The helmet seems to reflect Sharrett’s quiet confidence in his ability to handle the most challenging as-signments. “My motto has been, ‘If it’s wood, we can do it,’ ” said Sharrett, a lanky man with a placid manner. Sharrett, 42, started experimenting with wood constructions as a boy, crafting rub-ber-band guns in the home workshop of his father, Thomas Sharrett, who had a painting business. Sharrett never took a woodshop class but taught himself enough that by the summer after his graduation from Lakeland Christian School he undertook an ambitious project: building a sailboat based on a de-sign from a Popular Mechanics encyclope-dia. In 2004, Sharrett created his own cabine-try business, opting to use a surname from his mother’s family. His parents provided the seed money that allowed Sharrett to expand from a 25-by-25-foot space to his current shop, which occupies roughly 4,500 square feet in an industrial park. Sharrett’s mother and father are among his five em-ployees. Though he still does work by hand, Shar-rett said his company’s production capac-ity ballooned after he acquired a Holzher Eco-Master computer-controlled router. The device translates lines drawn in com-puter software into precisely calibrated cuts of wood, soft metals or plastics. DeMoss Cabinetry’s notable projects Tom Sharrett, owner of DeMoss Cabinetry, holds a window he built for the Geico gift shop next to the Usonian House at florida Southern College. Sharrett’s crew members cut and placed virtually every piece of wood in the interior and exterior of the structure. P O L K L I F E | 27

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