Canal Street Cutlery Back in Business After 2015 Closure

Canal Street Cutlery is back after closing its doors in 2015. Now going under the name Canal Street Cutlery Co-Op, it will focus on making very small batches of high quality traditional knives.

CSC is partnering with Red Hill Cutlery for this reboot. Red Hill’s Josh Basham explains that the new ‘Co-Op’ moniker in CSC’s name signals a change in direction. “There’s not a single owner or principal – the guys making the knives have stock in the co-Op.” Before it closed, CSC was fulfilling large contracts for forums and other organizations. Now, it will limit its output to small batch runs of less than 100 pieces. The company plans to start with patterns from its former catalog: the Pinch lockback, Moonpie two-blade Trapper, and the Boy’s Knife. The Boy’s Knife will be available with either a clip point or a wharncliffe blade.

It’s no secret that traditional knives and slipjoints have been riding a massive wave of popularity. In addition to ‘modern traditionals’ like the Benchmade Proper and the Spyderco Roadie, companies including Case, Great Eastern Cutlery, and Buck all produce traditional knives. It could be argued that the market has never been more cutthroat, but Basham doesn’t see it that way.”I don’t think there’s much competition. These are small batch runs of a high quality, better made knives than any other American company.” Wally Gardiner, Founder of CSC, and his group of less than 10 cutlers are making each knife to lofty standards, at a methodical pace, turning out only 4 – 6 knives a day.

Old school methods inform how CSC Co-Op knives are made, but key twists add freshness to the traditional style. In addition to 1095 steel, several models will be offered in 154CM stainless. The small batch mentality also allows Gardiner and co. to experiment with covers, taking advantage of unusual materials not available in large enough quantities for bigger makers to implement. Gardiner also aims to tweak classic patterns for the modern user and collector. “He wants to bring back traditional patterns you don’t see anymore, with a modern twist on them,” Basham says.

He goes on to tell us that CSC’s original closure after more than a decade in the business was not, as many assumed, due to financial reasons. Four members of the CSC shop passed away, and the loss of their highly developed skill sets made it impossible for CSC to keep up with demand for their product. “That wealth of knowledge was irreplaceable,” Basham says. But the Co-Op format allows an even smaller team of veterans and new talent to put out knives that rival those of CSC at the top of its game. “Wally is all about quality, quality, quality. Canal Street is his baby, he’s adamant about top-notch knives.”

Canal Street Cutlery Co-Op’s first batch of knives is available for pre-order now. They are expected to ship between August and October.

Knife featured in image: Canal Street Cutlery Co-Op Boy’s Knife in Scarlet Bone