David at work on the New Warther Pocket Knives Today
Model 1923 with ivory handles under construction
My Father Dave (Front left), My Grandfather Mooney (Center) and my uncle Tom Warther.
Working in the Warther knife shop circa 1950.
The original workshop for carving and knife making
Dover, Ohio circa 1907
Original Mooney Warther pocket knives
How We Began Again
When I started thinking a few years ago about bringing the Warther pocket knife back into limited production I was faced with many challenges and with several important decisions. It became my objective to be true to the knife itself - the knife grandpa envisioned, designed and made, starting in 1905. I decided I would only make improvements if they did not alter the knife and its core personality.
As an example, I decided to make the blade and back spring of 1095 tool steel. This was my dad's favorite knife steel and it was nearly identical to the steel grandpa forged himself over a century ago for the first Warther pocket knives. Modern metallurgists have discovered that cryogenic quench treatment of this steel creates a molecular compactness within the material itself that makes this time honored steel stronger. This treatment also gives the steel better edge holding properties for a knife. We do this cryogenic treatment as it improves the knife without detracting from the knife. As with dad and grandpa, the blades are then tempered to 58-60 Rockwell on the C scale and the back springs to 45 Rockwell.
Alternately, I have been encouraged to improve the knife by implanting a miniature ball bearing for the blade pivot. This and several other suggested ideas would improve the knife, in a sense, but such innovations would alter the knife to where it would no longer be the Warther knife that has been with us for over 100 years. Warther knives have a certain "walk and talk" - an old knife maker's term for how the blade feels while being opened and closed. The bearing would have changed all of that and the knife would have felt different. No bearings. No bells and whistles - just a good solid Warther pocket knife.
As you look at each model on this site you will learn of how the handle material of each knife model correlates to a year and era in grandpa's life and in the design of the knife. The boxes we make to hold the knives are made of a species of wood that also correlates to the model number and hence the year.
Where possible I have improved the accuracy of the fitting of the handle, bolsters and other fitted parts with the use of more precise equipment than dad or grandpa had in their shops and yet the majority of the work is in hand grinding and polishing with the same tools and limited technology they had.
The bolsters are made of nickel silver. This has been the traditional bolster material since these knives were first made over a century ago - Dale, dad and grandpa very seldom used anything else. Nickel Silver, also known as German Silver, is a very tactile material that holds a warmth, a specific feel and an alluring weight that speaks well to the holder. Nickel Silver retains an old world medieval depth of character that lets you know it is not stainless steel. This look and feel is an earmark of the Warther pocketknife.
I have improved the knife and I have allowed it to remain unchanged at the same time. I would like to think that grandpa, dad and Dale would all approve. We hope you do as well.
Changes and improvements and yet you are holding a Warther knife.
David Warther II