By Cinthia Stimson, Douglas Budget Via Wyoming News Exchange
DOUGLAS — David Schultz has had his hands all over former POTUS Bill Clinton’s custom wooden dressers and television console. He’s also had his hands on former Argentinian President Hugo Chavez’s enormous dining room table, and on Muhammad Ali’s dressers.
At face value, it’s an odd trinity of names to tie together, but the commonality between these otherwise unconnected individuals is one man – David.
He custom built the pieces as a solo master woodworker at times and also as part of a team working for custom furniture design houses in Colorado before he moved to Douglas with his family two years ago.
David’s business, Carpenter Woodworking, took up shop in the Chalk Buttes area Nov. 26, 2017.
Working with his hands comes naturally for David. He finds the work cathartic and loves spending hours in his shop behind the house on his various pieces of equipment, working on restoring antiques.
No challenge is too big, no project too small.
He has a mathematical mind – one that practices geometry and trigonometry without giving it a second thought – joining and turning wood joints as easily as his brain turns corners when puzzling how to fit an intricate piece of furniture together.
David and his wife, Jodi, can often be found at area holiday markets with their boys, Jack, 5, and Jadon, 7, selling David’s beautifully-handcrafted home decor.
Craft fairs allow people to see, touch and take home his creations such as decorative shelving, cutting boards, candle holders, seasonal ornaments and other decorations.
David specializes in heirloom-quality furniture which he conceptualizes, then makes by hand. He has books out for shoppers to flip through, full of photographs that depict examples of his work.
His family is a huge help and he couldn’t do it without them, he said.
“My wife Jodi helps with marketing and sales. My oldest son Jadon is turning into quite the salesman, too. My boys are still a bit too little to help much at this point, but I do give them things to sand or paint. They love working in the shop with me,” he said.
David also named his business after his grandparents.
The original Carpenter Furniture Company was his grandfather’s, Francis Carpenter, and his grandmother’s, Eva Carpenter. The store was on S. 5th Street in Grand Junction, Colorado.
“The store was open until 1945, I believe. My mother cried when I told her that I was naming my business, after my grandfather,” he said.
His custom-built pieces of furniture are full of interesting stories, tidbits – just enough to whet the appetite – but leaves the mind wondering just what the rest of the story is.
Chavez’s dining table is one of those tales.
“It’s a crazy story. I helped build a giant dining room table that broke down into six smaller tables for (former Venezuelan President) Hugo Chavez for his home in Venezuela, so that he could use it for large dinner parties or (take them apart) and turn the room into a ballroom for dances,” David said.
Some of his other notable jobs have included building a “Hobbit Door” and a conference table made from recycled bowling alley flooring for Google’s campus in Boulder, Colo.
“My predominate styles of woodworking range from rustic to modern. Most of my own designs are modern. The details in finishing and joinery are my specialty, even my rustic furniture has a fine furniture quality to it. I am a stickler for sanding and high quality finishes,” David explained.
Asked why David and his family moved to Douglas, he became thoughtful, considering his answer before replying.
“We’d always wanted to live in a small town. We knew we wanted to live in Wyoming,” he said softly, as his hands gripped an old, antique table leg he was preparing to sand the finish off of.
When David and his wife found their house out in Chalk Buttes, they knew it was just what they needed. It had a horse barn behind it, which David spent nine months converting into his perfect wood shop.
Being new to town, it took awhile for David’s business to catch on, he said. He’s designed custom cabinets for a coffee shop in town and is working on restoring antiques. He’s also got numerous custom orders on the books.
“I started here slowly. Word of mouth has gotten around and it’s been quite busy the last six months or so. I’m getting started on a custom kitchen. I just finished a custom dining room table and chairs. Soon, I hope to start my own line of furniture and move out all over Wyoming,” he said.