Wawarsing Historical Society and Knife Museum

This forum is dedicated to the discussion and display of old knives. The rich history of all the many companies that made them through the early years will be found here as well as many fine examples of the cutlers art. Share pictures of your old knives and your knowledge here!
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lt632ret
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Re: Wawarsing Historical Society and Knife Museum

Postby lt632ret » Sat Oct 11, 2014 4:45 pm

A few weeks ago I was contacted by one of our members (on AAPK) , Dimitri ( AKA Miller Bros ) . I was informed that he and some of our fellow AAPK member would be in the area and would it be possible ( even though the museum is closed for the season) to be able to get a private tour. The date in question was Friday October 10, ( yesterday). I explained that my schedule was pretty tight right now and I had been down with the flu so I was not sure if I would be able to get there. However Eric Alber who also posts on AAPK and is well known is also a member of our board of directors and he said that he would be available, also since he is a cutler at Canal street cutlery which is right down the road he would arrange for a tour of the factory as well. As it turned out I was able to make it over in time, and met everyone aound 2:30 PM. At the museum.

I have known via email, forums, and telephone calls all of these four men for many years however I had never met any of them in person. It was for me a wonderful experience. The four individuals were Dimitri, Glenn, Myron, and Neal. All four of these people are well respected knowledgeable individuals whose support and opinions I have been privledged to and respected for years. It was truly enjoyable for me to be able to finally discuss with them years of topics that can only be correctly addressed in person.

Myron and Neal are of course automatic guys and I am afraid that we really monopolized a lot of the time. I truly wish that I could have had more time with Dimitri and Glenn . Years ago Glenn did a sheath for me and I wanted to show him how it was being used. and while I did thank him I forgot to bring it to show him. He has been a friend and supporter for years. I really never got to tell him how important that support was to me. Dimitri again is another who followed and supported our efforts for years. Besides that I really wanted to ask him some questions about some of his specialitys like Miller Bros gravity knives ( Of which I have only one ). I truly hope no one felt slighted I was like a kid in a candy store having so many knowledgable resourses available at once but for such a short time.

Our museum represents an entire history line of 175 years of the cutlery industry in the Hudson Valley as such and having limited space I have to limit displays to being representative exhibits. However knowing who was coming I did bring a small display case with some special automatics. It would have been great if everyone could have come to my house ( which is 25 miles away ) and I could have completed the tour showing the hundreds more automatics as well as all the other artifacts and history involved. Even a tour of Walden NY ( 3 miles from my house ). I could have shown where all the knife companies were. People are by nature greedy so I guess I should be happy to at least had the opportunity to meet and finally spend some time with these guys.

I hope they all enjoyed the experience. Upon saying goodbye I did suggest another visit only this time to include a trip to my home which besides the knife talk we could crack open a half gallon of Crown Royal and some venison steaks. I did suggest that this time we not wait as long since most of us were already becoming artifacts ourselves. Neal donated a copy of his latest book Art of the Switchblade by Neal Punchard and Dan Fuller. I must say that when got home and started reading it I was quite impressed. The physical book is of amazing quality ( it is beautiful ). The pictures are great high gloss and perfect. The knives pictured are in some cases the only examples that I have ever seen in print. It is an amazing effort and will be a lasting historical example for the future. I had not read the book before so I felt a little gratified when I realized that over half of the dozen knives I had put together to bring with me to show these guys were ones in the book All in all I truly hope everyone enjoyed themselves as much as I did and I want to thank everyone for not falling asleep during the tour. Highest regards LT
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Re: Wawarsing Historical Society and Knife Museum

Postby Miller Bro's » Sat Oct 11, 2014 8:44 pm

Speaking for myself I would say this trip was the highlight of my year! I am pretty sure it was for the others in our group as well that made the trip out there but I will let them speak for themselves.

We originally were going to visit on Saturday but it was later decided to arrive on Friday so we could tour the Canal St. Cutlery factory during normal operation, on Saturday it would be closed. This way we could see the different steps in the manufacture of the knives. Upon arrival we we greeted by Eric Albers at the entrance and were led into the building, we took a stairs up one flight and we entered the manufacturing area, what a sight it was to see! I was told by Eric originally this part of the building was the original Ulster Knife Co. factory which later was taken over by Schrade, the building was sold and a new facility was built right up the road, but that is another story I will get to that later.

Eric led us through the factory showing us the different steps in the manufacturing process, for guys like me and Glenn this was very educational and of great interest since we both like to tinker with old knives.Many of the old Imperial-Schrade machines are still being used that were bought from the auction as well as newer machines. The first hand knowledge that can be gained from such as visit is priceless. To see the equipment in operation and have it explained to us was very exciting!

A little later Wally arrived and took over the tour as he wanted Eric to get back to work! Here is a man who has many years of experience in the cutlery industry. He has lots of knowledge and we stood there soaking up all he had to offer as we were led through the different work areas, my favorite was the room where they kept the handle material, all that jigged bone, stag, and various other handle material in there was unreal. We also seen bucket of knife blades, bolster forming machines, pin head spinners, etc. It would take pages to list all the stuff we seen. Let me say this, I have never owned a Canal St. Cutlery knife before, these knives are all hand made no expensive machines punching them out by the thousands there are so many hand operation involved in making these knives it has to be seen to be fully understood. I was very impressed with the knives I seen that day and at the end of our tour we each bought a beautiful knife, Wally let us pick and choose what we wanted. This is the last knife factory in north east folks, if you don`t want to see it disappear then we need to keep buying American made knives to support them, please do your part.

We departed the Canal St. factory saying goodby to our new found friends and proceeded to find a place to have lunch, meanwhile I tried to contact LT but could not reach him, we all would have been disappointed if we did not get to meet LT. On our way to the knife museum we stopped at the now deteriorating Imperial-Schrade plant. It was so sad to see the state of disrepair the building was in and let me tell you the size of this place is enormous! After a few picture taking opportunities we departed for the museum. We waited for Eric to get off work and we met him at the Warwarsing museum, to our surprise LT was waiting there as well and a few minutes later Dr. Richard Craft arrived! We all shook hands and eventually made it into the museum. Lt gave us a step by step guided tour which lasted several hours. There is only a fraction of what could be displayed there but what Doc Crafts Napanoch ax and knife collection is incredible. Lt`s Schrade knife collection is a marvel and through a generous donation from The National Knife museum they have a lot of primo pocket knives displayed. It is one thing to visit a web site and look a pictures of knives and a totally different thing to have someone like LT and Dr. Craft who are so passionate about the history of the knives give you a tour and first hand knowledge of their experiences with the knives and the people who made them.

Many subjects were covered in our conversations but in reality we could have talked for days on end and still not covered everything. I want to thank Richard, Eric, Doc Craft, Wally and all the others we met and talked to on this trip, we have not even scratched the surface and as LT has mentioned we need to visit his home and view the the numerous other knives and cutlery related items he has so graciously offered to all who want to see them. I must say without this group of men this history would be lost and I can`t say enough how impressed I was with each and every one of them, the knowledge, passion and accommodation they provided for our group went above and beyond what we expected. Honestly the highlight of the day was meeting all these fine people.

To all who read this, if you have the ability to visit this museum please do so they need your support to maintain what has been created here and you will be impressed with the the people you meet and talk to I am sure. I unfortunately did not bring a camera but Glenn and the others did, so they will post some pictures of some of the things we seen on our visit. This is probably the longest post I ever made on this web site and it barely covers what I could say about this trip, sorry I went on and on.

LT as long as I am sucking air next year please expect me to take you up on your offer, the crown royal and venison sound very good to me! ::handshake::
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Re: Wawarsing Historical Society and Knife Museum

Postby wiseguy » Sat Oct 11, 2014 8:54 pm

I hope to make the 1000+ mile motorcycle ride out there some day ....... it`s on my bucket list ::tu::

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Re: Wawarsing Historical Society and Knife Museum

Postby tjmurphy » Sat Oct 11, 2014 9:22 pm

Two grrrrrrrrrrr8 posts from LT and Dimitri. Normally I don't read great long posts, but in this case I am really glad I did. It sounds as if you all had a great day. I especially enjoyed Dimitri's praise of the Canal Street factory, though it sounds like more of an artisan center than a factory. Though I've always like Canal Street knives, I have a greater appreciation for them now. Thanks for your posts fellerz. ::tu::
"There are none so blind as those that refuse to see"

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Re: Wawarsing Historical Society and Knife Museum

Postby glennbad » Sat Oct 11, 2014 10:55 pm

Now that I have rested from our epic day, time to get caught up.

Dimitri has already echoed a lot of the things I would have said, but I will add what I can. We started out very early, so we could pick the rest of our crew and hit the road. Might I say that we do meet a lot of "knife" people in this hobby, and I couldn't have had a better group to do a road trip with. I only knew Dimitri, but made fast friends with the others, which only added to the enjoyment of the events.

I have A LOT of pictures, so I apologize if people have seen these before. Also, the pics at the museum were hard to get good shots, as things were under glass and there was some glare from the lights.

So as Dimitri said, we arrived at Canal Street Cutlery and were immediately welcomed by Eric. Although there is no official tour, we were given pretty much free reign to look at everything, and all our silly questions were answered. Here are some pics, if I am wrong with the machine and parts descriptions, perhaps Eric or someone else can chime in and correct me.


What a great looking bench! All the tools of the trade. I wanted to sit right down and get to work... ::tu::
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Another busy workbench
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Great looking stiddy!
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This machine is used to spot weld stainless bolsters to liners.
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Rough and fine buffing wheels
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This machine is used to sand a specific angled bevel on the end of the spring where it will contact the blade tang
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Many of these machines came from the old Schrade plant
machine edge sander (Imperial Schrade).JPG



Here's our local celebrity Eric, demostrating some knife hafting on a folder that he assembled.
machine eric hafting.JPG
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Re: Wawarsing Historical Society and Knife Museum

Postby glennbad » Sat Oct 11, 2014 10:56 pm

One of the cool stools for sitting at the belt sanders.
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Here are 2 awesome presses used for stamping out liners.
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I wish I had one of these. It's used to cut nail nicks into blades!
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This cool machine is an oscillationg file. You can put different shaped files into it to help shape things on knives
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Some machines may have been created specifically for certain tasks, like this cool one. It is used to spin pins on both sides of a knife at the same time.
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Polishing wheels
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We watched one of the employees sharpening finished knives on this wheel. After sharpening, he took the white paper and ran the edge to make sure it cut through the paper.
machine sharpening wheel.JPG



I believe they said the machine was used to press tang stamps into blades.
machine tang stamp press.JPG

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Re: Wawarsing Historical Society and Knife Museum

Postby glennbad » Sat Oct 11, 2014 10:57 pm

It is known that when CSC first started, they used some parts from Queen Cutlery to help get going. Since Canal Street carries a lifetime warranty, they have to keep some of these parts on hand in case of a repair.
Queen parts.JPG


Random stuff. Regardless, it's cool!
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One of the benches where they were doing warranty repairs. We talked with one of the guys doing them. He was a retired Schrade employee, I believe. He was working there to help out. He showed us a cannitler that looked like it was put through world war 3. They were replacing it, I think. CSC has a great warranty, and stands by their products, as long as they are not abused.
repair 1.JPG


The other bench had this awesome Gerstner machinist tool box on it!
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Here's a shelf full of what looks like dies of some kind.
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There was this cool room in the back, where they kept all the supplies. Handle material, blades, sanding belts, you name it.
supply 1.JPG

Nice Rack! :shock: 8)
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This bench was so cool. It had such a hodge podge of different materials on it.
supply 5.JPG

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Re: Wawarsing Historical Society and Knife Museum

Postby glennbad » Sat Oct 11, 2014 10:57 pm

The templates are used to check against WIP, to make sure everything looks just right.
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I'd love to cool have this cool old picture. Kinda dusty, but it's the town of Walden. Not sure of the date.
walden.JPG



We all were drooling over this great poster. It shows many of the cutleries in the Hudson Valley!
cutlery poster.JPG



I took many pictures of WIP. There was some great looking pieces being built, along with SFO's for Kabar and Browning. Yes, those are copper bolsters that you are seeing, awesome!
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Re: Wawarsing Historical Society and Knife Museum

Postby glennbad » Sat Oct 11, 2014 10:59 pm

More WIP

Hmmm....those 3 lockbacks with the clips look interesting!
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Look at that burl! :shock:
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Re: Wawarsing Historical Society and Knife Museum

Postby glennbad » Sun Oct 12, 2014 1:19 am

As Dimitri mentioned, Wally himself finished the tour with us, and at the end, was kind enough to indulge our request to purchase a knife. He pulled out some finished products that were set aside for VIP's like us, LOL. ::facepalm::
I chose this amazing English Barlow in smooth sunset bone. I took a quick few pics inside today as it was raining outside earlier.


English Barlow 1.JPG

English Barlow 2.JPG





I would like to close out this portion of my posting by saying that all the people over at Canal Street Cutlery, Wally, Eric, and the other employees were extremely gracious and welcoming, allowing us to visit their facility and watch all the inner workings of their business. Not many companies do this. Special thanks to Eric, whose enthusiasm to the cutlery industry and the work he does is clear to see. Chances are if you have bought a CSC folder recently, he assembled it, and takes a tremendous amount of pride in the work that he does and products they produce, as does everyone over at CSC. ::tu:: ::tu:: ::tu::

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Re: Wawarsing Historical Society and Knife Museum

Postby glennbad » Sun Oct 12, 2014 1:19 am

So, we had a little time to kill before the museum, so we stopped by the old Schrade plant. So sad to see such a great icon relegated to ghost town status...


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Re: Wawarsing Historical Society and Knife Museum

Postby glennbad » Sun Oct 12, 2014 1:20 am

We made our way over to the Museum. Rich (LT) was waiting for us, and Eric came over as well. Doc stopped by, and a few other interested people came by while we were there.

BTW, it has to be said, although most know it already, Rich is a champion for the cutlery industry. It shows in his enthusiasm in talking about knives and their history. There is no doubt in my mind that he has been one of the key people responsible for getting this knife museum up and running. There are many others equally responsible, but I daresay none as vocal or passionate. Rich, please don't feel that any of us were neglected. We had a lot of ground to cover, we all had an amazing time. You were a great host, thank you so much for your time. Perhaps we can get out again soon, and pick up where we left off!

I have pics to share, but they are not necessarily the best. The items are behind glass, as they have to be, so that does not make for the best picture taking. The lights also threw off a glare. I did my best to capture the amazing displays, but you honestly have to see everything in person to truly appreciate the amount of history gathered in that space.

Without further ado, here are some pics...

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Re: Wawarsing Historical Society and Knife Museum

Postby glennbad » Sun Oct 12, 2014 1:20 am

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Re: Wawarsing Historical Society and Knife Museum

Postby glennbad » Sun Oct 12, 2014 1:21 am

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Re: Wawarsing Historical Society and Knife Museum

Postby glennbad » Sun Oct 12, 2014 1:21 am

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