Woodworking is a family affair

a man and three women standing next to a counter with cutting boards sitting on it
A pandemic diversion grew into a family business. Buck Maxcy, his wife, Sara Maxcy and sisters Riley Maxcy and Kelli Bovay are all part of the FourTwelve Woodworks team. /Photo: Tom O’Connor

Some of us baked bread during the pandemic. Others learned a foreign language or practiced yoga.

Jerry (Buck) Maxcy, Oxford Boulevard, took up woodworking. Big time.

“When we got married, he was the least handy person ever!” said his wife, Sara Maxcy. “He taught himself all of this.”

She was referring to FourTwelve Woodworks, the family business that grew out of Buck’s determination to teach himself how to make beautiful objects out of wood.

“It all originated out of COVID,” said Buck. “I was restless and needed to keep my mind occupied. I started with pens, then took a leap and bought a planer and said I’m going to try to make a cutting board.”

“I will say that if Jerry wants to do something, he’s not going to do it halfway,” said his younger sister, Riley Maxcy, who is also part of the business. “He’s going to buy the tools he needs, and he’s going to be all in.”

a product rack showing several custom made cuttingboards
During the pandemic, Buck Maxcy learned woodworking well enough to turn pro.

The first year of COVID, Sara was planning a big Thanksgiving get-together, and they needed a bigger table. So Buck made one.

Soon after, he got the hang of producing elegant cutting and serving boards. Then his wife and sisters decided to make it a family affair by joining the FourTwelve team, even though they all continue to work full time at their regular jobs.

“It started off as a hobby,” said Buck. “Then it grew in popularity well beyond what we thought it was going to be. Everybody gets involved.”

“Apparently we’re gluttons for punishment,” agreed Riley. “We like to be very busy.” They soon expanded their product line by adding resins to the woodworking.

“Resins are really annoying!” according to Riley. “It’s an adhesive, like plastic. It attaches itself as it cures. And you can mess it up in 1,000 different ways.”

The pouring of the resin soon fell to older sister Kelli Bovay, who works out of her basement on Shadowlawn Avenue. “It did take us some time to perfect what we do now,” she conceded. “Buck did the first one in his basement and it leaked. So it became a big plastic thing on their carpet that they can’t get out!”

The four of them work out of their respective homes, shuttling the products between houses. Buck does the woodworking; Riley, who lives in Scott Township, does the sanding, polishing, and social media; Kelli handles the resins; and Sara does customer service and shipping. Their website, fourtwelvewoodworks.com, showcases the products, since they don’t sell through a retail space.

Their output has grown past cutting and serving boards to include lazy susans, ottomans, cribbage and paddle boards, and cheese slicers in a variety of woods, with and without resin. They also do custom inlay products.

For the moment no one is looking to quit their day jobs. Buck is in the financial services industry, Kelli is a paralegal, and Riley and Sara are both nurses. The kids sometimes pitch in with getting products ready to ship and helping out at craft shows. A crucial support team of mothers, Sandy Maxcy and Cheryl Colosimo, and Riley’s boyfriend, Sam Fairley, also comes into play for babysitting duties.

“Probably the only thing we would consider is a store where we could take turns working,” said Riley.

Kelli added, “I think we still have room to grow as we are, without affecting our jobs or kids.”

Sara and Buck have daughters ages 6 and 8, and a son, 4, while Kelli and her husband Andy are parents to two boys, ages 6 and 8.

The four members of the woodworking team all graduated from Mt. Lebanon High School, and their children are the fourth generation of the family to live in Mt. Lebanon.

“Our mom was very thrilled that we all migrated back here after college,” said Riley. “She said our roots are here.”