Carpenter-turned-musician when he figured out the trick of playing a saw with a violin bow. A young fictional composer P.D.Q. Bach apprenticed under him in 1755, in the fictional German town of Dudeldorf, accompanying Zahnstocher on the clavier. When his secret to playing was revealed in the local press, people lost interest and he and Bach returned to carpentry. They collaborated on a number of music-related inventions, with disastrous results.
His son Kleiner Zahnstocher was a violinist in the Mannheim Orchestra.
"Zahnstocher" is German for "toothpick."