World’s Master Carver, Ernest “Mooney” Warther, Part 2 – Whittling Basswood Pliers with David Warther

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This is part 2 on the World’s Master Carver, Ernest “Mooney” Warther and his family.  To see Part 1, click here.  In that blog, we mentioned that Mooney and Freida had 5 children.  One of which is the late David Warther (below).  Dave and his wife had 4 boys, Dale, Dave Jr., Dan and the youngest, Mark who operates the Warther Museum today.  The 3rd and 4th generation Warther family does many things for their community, and especially each visiting child to the Warther Museum.

Over the years, Mooney Warther with his son Dave,  have made and given out over 1.5 million souvenir basswood pliers to these children.

Today, Mark (right) is on track with his dad and granddad’s numbers, carrying on the same tradition, giving out over 20,000 pliers per year for the last 20 plus years, and continues to do so today.  Mark is the owner and operator of the Warther Museum and maintains Mooney’s carvings along with the assistance of his son-in-law, Steve Cunningham (below-right).

In this video, David will show you the 10-cut process in whittling these pliers made from basswood.


“Silence in your life goes a long way, noise in your ears doesn’t accomplish that!”…Ernest “Mooney” Warther

Mooney was the artist who created the carved collections.  His son Dave became the preservationist, by building the museum and today’s family cutlery business.   According to Mark, “My father was the glue behind the story in building the knife industry and the museum.  Being the youngest of the five kids, dad was the closest clone of granddad.”  The museum was dedicated to Ernest “Mooney” Warther as the world’s master carver, so named by the Passion Carvers of Oberammergau, Germanybecause they could not duplicate Mooney’s proficient level of carving.


Mark continued, “They both operated on the premise of having a great work ethic and proper family values.  Granddad said, “Silence in your life goes a long way, noise in your ears doesn’t accomplish that!”  It was Mooney’s way of saying that quiet times, concentration and work ethic all went hand-in-hand in his carvings and beliefs.  This definitely shows in all of Mooney’s accomplishments, right down through the family generations.

Dave firmly believed that you couldn’t teach anyone anything until you truly wanted to learn.  The moment each of his 4 boys showed this enthusiasm, Dave was there to pass on his craftsmanship to them.  Each of Dave’s kids went on in some fashion, following in the footsteps of all that was before them.

We will continue this story of the World’s Master Carver, Ernest “Mooney Warther in Part 3-The Legacy Continues.  We’ll talk about the benefits provided by the Warther family to their community, who is carrying on carving and woodworking traditions today, and how they are making their own legacies.

Enjoy and have fun, safely carving your own pliers!

auf Wiedersehen…Frank!

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