CUSTOMIZING DREAMS BECOME REALITY AT THUNDERDOG WOODWORKING
Named and memorialized after a hardworking German shorthaired pointer companion, ThunderDog Woodworking is a custom woodworking shop in Spring Hill, TN that produces a variety of products from small household goods like cutting boards and bowls to custom furniture pieces. Owner David Doscher has developed a specialty line of boxes tailored to the hunting/shooting enthusiast, that includes gun cleaning boxes, and custom gun cases for shotguns, rifles, and pistols. Every piece is hand-crafted using hand-cut dovetail joinery, hand-planed and finished with time-tested methods only seen in days gone by.
The examples shown can be created from most domestic hardwoods or available exotic wood species. Boxes come in a natural finish or in stains to suit your needs. Custom pieces can be accommodated with specialty hardware, inlays, and carvings at an additional expense.
Recently, I had a chance to visit with my friend. This interview should lend insight into the man behind the beautiful creations I’ve mentioned in this article.
SC: David, tell me a little about your background in the outdoors. You’re a birdman, correct?
DD: I’ve always been an avid outdoorsman. I grew up on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, so I was literally surrounded by fishing and water fowling opportunities. I’ve dabbled in deer and turkey hunting, but my passions lie in upland bird hunting. I’ve always preferred the fast action of a good covey rise of quail or the flush of a rooster pheasant to jolt my senses into action. Couple that with my passion for good German Shorthaired Pointers (I’ve owned and trained several) and vintage double guns, and you get a clear picture of what drives me in the fall. A crisp morning with frost on the ground, trailing a brace of good bird dogs, with a turn of the century LC Smith or Parker in my hands is nothing shy of magical.
SC: Most folks find their creative bents later in life after responsible provision has run its course. What was your primary occupation and when did you get into woodworking?
DD: I’ve always been fascinated by old school craftsmanship and figuring out how things went together. After I graduated high school, I went to work as a detailer/draftsman for a local Architectural firm in my hometown, with the goal of becoming an Architect myself someday. I accomplished that, and for the last 43 years I’ve pursued a career in commercial construction; lately healthcare construction. About 5 years ago my family and friends nudged me into expanding my woodworking hobbies and it took on a life of its own.
SC: Can you help me narrow your focus so readers understand you’re not in the furniture business?
DD: The woodworking shop, now developing into a business, has me diversified in doing anything from small household goods to custom one-off furniture. If I had to pick one aspect of the business as a primary focus, it would be the hunting/shooting line of products that I make. Out of necessity years ago, I needed a solid box to organize a workbench full of gun cleaning tools. I developed a prototype field-box to serve that purpose. That has transitioned into the box that you saw at WingHaven Lodge, which led you to contact me. I also build custom gun cases for vintage shotguns & pistols.
Recently started a line of field bar boxes which are somewhat related. After a day in the field, you break out the handsome wood case with a nice Bourbon in a decanter inside, as well as glasses, and the usual accessories. What better way to wrap-up a great day hunting with the buds. Those items have become a mainstay in what I produce.
SC: I think everyone enjoys a work of beauty when they see it. To what extent or level of discernment one can appreciate it will only be shaped through life experiences and the conscious choice to love aesthetically pleasing things. One man sees a gun cleaning kit made of wood and likes it. Another man sees an oaken heirloom that houses stories and memorabilia alongside his gun oils and rags. For a fair price, you’ll hand each client a piece they will treasure, correct?
DD: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and each person has a specific idea bent as to how that piece will turn out. When you saw the WingHaven box, that struck a particular chord with you. You knew you wanted yours to match your office furniture in a Mission style and hardware and burnt umber stain. The ensuing collaboration resulted in a custom piece that was the realization of your vision. Each piece is a one of a kind, albeit based on a standard product line, but from the choice of the wood to be used, the hardware selection and the finish desired, it takes on a uniqueness that is driven by the client. It can be a simple utility grade box or a fine piece of furniture depending upon the client. The one certainty is that the way I build them, they should last a very long time and become that heirloom that gets handed down.
SC: The custom laser-engraved artwork was the benefit of my own family contact; however, you are open to collaborating with other creative folks to see ideas become realities, correct?
DD: The custom aspects of the pieces I make are limited by the imagination mostly. I have the tools needed, or in some limited cases I have access to those people that have already invested in those tools to be able to make it happen. One aspect that I have lined-up to purchase for the shop is a CNC carving machine with laser engraving capability. Pieces that I have historically done that involved wood carving have been truly `old-school’ wood and chisel work. Beautiful, but very time consuming. Modernizing that will take things to a new level.
SC: What trips Doscher’s trigger?
DD: I’d have to say that doing something that’s new or different does that for me. As I’ve stated before, the passion is in the details and the use of old hand-tools where possible but wrapping those things up in an untried project or process is what revs the engine for me.
Check out David Doscher’s website at www.thunderdogwoodworking.com. You can contact him personally at 931-486-1940 for more information and tell him a satisfied Scott Cummings sent you.