World’s Master Carver, Ernest “Mooney Warther, Part 3-The Legacy Continues

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Ernest Mooney

This is part 3 on the World’s Master Carver, Ernest “Mooney” Warther and his family.  To see Part 1, click herePart 2 here.

Four grandchildren now carry the legacy of Ernest “Mooney” Warther on their shoulders, passing the carving and woodworking talents onto their children for the future.  The 4 brothers are Dale, David II, Dan, and Mark Warther.

The oldest son, the late Dale Warther went into the Warther Cutlery knife business where he was the director and had his own line of custom cutlery.  Dale had created special cutlery for dignitaries and celebrities such as Nelson MandelaTed KennedyRonald ReaganCharlton HestonCondoleezza Riceand George W. Bush just to name a few.  Mark commented that one of Dale’s boys received a phone call and told Dale, “Some joker called and said his name was Reagan, so I hung up on him!!”  President Reagan called Dale back later to thank him for the pearl handled steak cutlery and they chuckled over the incident.

Ernest Mooney

David Warther II continues his family’s carving legacy with maritime past and present reproductions using ebony and ivory.  You will notice the same flair for detail has been passed down and acquired by David.  Learning from his  dad, David Sr., he is one of the world’s premiere and last ivory carvers.  David stated, “Working with Dad as a kid I learned how it is best to use pins and avoid glue.  By rebuilding Grandpa’s carvings as a teenager I realized how important this really was and by studying ivory carvings from antiquity, the pinning concept was driven home as being extremely important.  I avoid glue like the plague.”

On his heritage, David said, “Growing up Warther, I learned a lot from Grandpa and Dad.  From Grandpa I learned simplicity of life as being key to contentment and happiness.  From Dad I learned industry – long hours and dedication to the work.  Grandpa gave me encouragement – lots of it – and Dad gave me brief carving lessons – how to hold files to achieve smooth file strokes, etc.  Dad taught me how to make carving tools – to rework files and thick hacksaw blades via re-temper, into chisels, knives, scrapers, etc.  As for being genetic, I believe talents are oftentimes so.  I have friends who compose a family of doctors.  They have an inborn and natural interest in curing people and being true doctors.  There are families of dentists, etc. and so in our family I carve, Grandpa carved and his Grandpa carved (Switzerland early to mid 1800′s furniture).

David will have his new public museum grand opening in Sugar Creek, 13 miles West of Dover, Ohio in early May 2013.  This new 10,000 sq. ft. facility will house 80 of David’s ivory maritime carvings.  Check out his web page HERE.  This video shows his expertise and reasons for what he does.

Ernest Mooney

Dan Warther owns and operates Warther Woodworking in Dover, Ohio making unique wooden items including his signature product, the engraved music box bells.  He also produces quality decorative book ends, cutting boards, pen sets, magnets and ornaments, all available at gifts shops throughout the world and on-line.  Dan is a Woodcraft patron of our Parkersburg, WV store and on-line.

All four brothers have kept the family close by building onto their great grandfather’s, grandfather’s and father’s legacy, keeping it in the same area for continuity.  Today, the museum thrives on the history for the future, all because of Mooney and David Sr.

The Warther Museum, located in the Tuscarawas Valley in Ohio, has entertained as a national and international tourist attraction for the small town of Dover since it’s inception in 1963 and continues to draw visitors year after year.  The Warther Family and museum offer group tours, an outdoor wedding gazebo with floral grounds, corporate and dinner events and a place to hold public benefit functions.  For more information please contact Patrick Warther @ (330) 343-7513, ext. 204 or email him at  Today’s Warther Family still owns and operates the museum, along with the restored home and button house, all open to the public, 7 days per week, year round with the exception of 4 holiday closings.

Ernest Mooney

Mark is the owner and president of The Warther Museum and maintains his granddad’s carvings today.  Mark said, “The community was always there to support us, so we wanted to give back to the community.  Three benefits have been set up each year to accomplish this.  The Warthers sponsor a Christmas Tree Festival in November, where the museum is decked for the holidays with many trees and decorations.  Each themed tree is for sale and proceeds from the thousands of visitors go to the Union local hospital auxiliary.”

Check out this video for all the information for the Christmastime event.
Ernest Mooney

Here, Mark (left) celebrates the ribbon cutting grand opening for the restored home of his grandparents with Dover Ohio Mayor Rick Homrighausen, and former First Lady of Ohio, Frances Strickland. Son-in-law, Steve Cunningham (right) invites us into Mooney and Freida’s home for a tour.

Mark continued, “We hold a Taste of Tusk fundraiser in March for the Ohio Erie Canalway Coalition.”  The Coalition provides educational programs, events and publications about the Heritage Canalway while developing strong working relationships with partners to preserve and interpret the natural, historical and recreational resources throughout the corridor.

Every August, there is a Wine Tasting Extravaganza & Auction featuring “Wine, Whistles and a Bit of Jazz” with proceeds going to the Red Cross.

We’ll have 2 more Ernest “Mooney” Warther family blogs from our Woodworking Adventure to The Warther Museum.  Part 4 will be on son-in-law, Steve Cunningham’s chess set carvings and part 5 blog will cover the Warther Cutlery shop tour and business today.  So stay with us!

Carve on,
auf Wiedersehen…Frank!

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