For the Southern Makers debut, Leldon Maxcy designed and built a 12-foot-tall replica of the state of Alabama, with each of the 67 counties cut out two times, once on reclaimed wood for the front-facing piece, and again on a matching sheet of reinforcing plywood. Then each one was carefully glued into place, like a giant jigsaw puzzle.
Since each piece is reinforced with a matching piece of plywood, Maxcy actually has to make 134 pieces for each image of the State of Alabama.
On each piece, all of the states have to match up with their plywood reinforcement, making it a very tedious process.
CULLMAN - Leldon Maxcy saw his first scroll saw at Big Lots. He was there with his grandpa, and thinks he was about 11 or 12 years old at the time. He looked at it for a while, then shelled out his savings, $40, for the saw. That’s what started it all…
In the ninth grade, Maxcy took a shop class, which was sort of pointless by that time because he had already taught himself the art of working with a delicate hand on many projects. He used a lot of scraps to practice on, and many a sheet of cheap plywood bit the dust under his ever more skillful hands.
By 1997, Maxcy had grown into a skilled craftsman. In time, he grew so proficient with the saw that he graduated from making cutouts of simple wildlife, to making intricate designs on Christmas ornaments.
In 2000, he entered his first craft show. Before that, he did woodwork as a hobby in his basement in Vinemont, but after 14 years of working at a local movie theater, he took the plunge and went out on his own, doing what he loved, woodworking, full-time.
Maxcy says that about 99 percent of his work consists of custom orders, and the other one percent is made up of cutting boards or chopping boards. His specialties include Christmas ornaments, wall art and miscellaneous items.
One of the largest miscellaneous items Maxcy has made is a huge, many segmented, 12-foot-tall image of the state of Alabama with each county painstakingly cut out twice, once on the front facing wooden piece, and again on a piece of matching reinforcing plywood. Then the whole thing is glued together to make what is one of the most striking images of our state that you’ll ever see.
That prototype, the 12-foot-tall replica of the state, was made for a Southern Makers stage prop. “It’s made from various types of reclaimed wood from Southern Accents,” he explained. “Some pieces are in their natural state, others had been painted and were chipping, giving it a rustic look; if there was paint on it, I left it like it was, if it hadn’t been painted, I coated with a clear coat that allowed the wood grain show through.”
The use of various types of reclaimed painted wood, plus the ones showing the grain of the wood, give the pieces a quilt-like appearance, which is very interesting. The details are very tedious and Maxcy does a fabulous job of making each one fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.
Maxcy laughingly refers to that first one as “Big Bama” and to the replicas which are about 6-and-a-half and 4-and-a-half-feet tall, as "Baby Bamas." You can view and purchase Maxcy’s work at Southern Accents in Cullman.
Currently, he is hard at work on various designs that will fill his booth at the upcoming Bloomin’ Festival. “The majority of the items I’ll have there will be in the neighborhood of $50 or less, with a few more expensive, more detailed items,” he said.
People often ask him if he uses a laser or a CNC machine to do such intricate work. Nope.
“I’m the computer,” he laughed.
“This is what I’ve always wanted to do,” he said. “I’ve taken the road less traveled, and it also gives me more time with my family.”
Find out more at www.leldonsscrollsawing.com.
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