Henry Wacha Stay Sharp - Any information???

Dennis Morland

I was given this knife. I was told it is called a Henry Wacha Stay Sharp. It makes some sense because the brass guard has HWSS stamped in it,

Supposedly, Henry Wacha made knives in Clarkson, Nebraska at or about the same time as F.J. Richtig.

I have tried to find out more about the knife and Mr. Wacha to very little avail. I have found one knife for sale on the internet. It is similar to this one.

If anyone can help me out, it would be greatly appreciated.


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New Member
Cool, my account was approved so I will reply here.

Yes that does look like a knife that Henry made.

For the history: Disclaimer; this is not in writing anywhere that I know of, it is simply a recount of how I remember our family history as I have experienced or told to me by my Father/Mother/other relative.

Somewhere around 1940, Julius Wacha (retired general store owner)(Feb 1877 - July 1952) worked with Frank Richtig (Rychtig original spelling) on an order by mail system for Frank's knives.
Julius would have been my Great-Great Grandfathers brother. Henry (mar 1912- aug 1989) was my grandfathers brother. So that would make Henry a nephew to Julius. Clarkson Nebraska is a very small town, and most everybody knows everyone. One way or another the Richtig knives touched many people from Clarkson, but knife making isn't any more special there then anywhere else. It is amazing to see what a Richtig knife will sell for these days. Makes me wish that I used less of them and saved more of them.

On the Henry knives, the "HWSS" is the typical marking. He used leather and colored plastic from old containers for his handle. The guard and butt were usually brass (if I use the wrong terms, Please don't beat me up, I don't make knives) I believe his window of knife making was 1955-1970's, I don't remember any new ones in the '80s. For the blade material, he commonly used retired metal files. Some of his knives still had the faint pattern from the file on the spine. New; his knives looked awesome. Used, most locals used them for utility knives and most used ones that I run across look like that they were sharpened with a right angle grinder or simply rubbed on the sidewalk.
The knife usually came with a custom sheath, it was leather had the HWSS on the back, slots cut for hanging it on your belt and the ones that I recall, he used small copper wire to connect the front to the back. I will look in the ammo crate and see if I have one that is short a knife.

Are they valuable, I think most people try to market the Clarkson Nebraska aspect of the knife. On Ebay I did see one for sale, I'm not sure if it sold.
Did Henry get any training or advice from Frank Richtig? I have no clue. It is a small town, I'm sure they talked.
The HWSS on his knife, I was always told it was Henry Wacha Super Sharp, I have heard people say Stay Sharp also. Either way, it is sharp.
As for the number of knives that he made, I don't have a clue. From what I remember it was a retirement hobby and that was the extent of it.

I hope that helps. Take care of it, and if you ever need a new home for it, let me know I'll always have a home for those blades.

Dennis Morland


Thank you for your invaluable input. As we discussed, I knew nothing about your great-uncle, Henry Wacha. But for a very generous gift of this knife, I would still know nothing about your great-uncle, Henry Wacha. I certainly appreciate the story behind the knife. He sounds like a great character. I wish I would have shared a beer or two with him during his lifetime.

I tried in vane to find information on the internet about the knife. To date, very little information was available. I did notice the somewhat stale e-bay listing.

If you come across any more information - please contact me.

If I ever part with the knife - you will be at the top of the list.

Thank you again.