Killer Crab Knife
Sometimes the greatest inventions are accidental discoveries. When teenager Skylar Heyer and his dad, Chris, received an old ship’s rigging knife as a gift, they tucked it into a drawer and promptly forgot about it. But when the knife recently resurfaced, they realized that it could be fashioned into a relatively humane way to kill the Dungeness crabs they trap while on the family’s American Tug. Chris explains: “We’ve used all kinds of methods to clean crab over the years but by far the easiest thing we found came from a knife someone gave me years ago. It had a sharp, thick, fixed blade. When a rigging line needed to be cut, the sailor would hold the knife on the line then hit the top of the blade with a mallet.”
With a wide blade and a large grip, the original knife was easy to wield by just about anyone, but with a few modifications, they reasoned, it could be the perfect instrument to quickly and decisively make the death blow. The new stainless blade didn’t need to have the same sharp, carving-knife edge to it, but it did need a wide, blunt top so that when struck by a mallet the knife would be less prone to twisting or torquing in one’s hand. The handle needed to be of firm, textured polypropelene, so that when handling the blade and mallet, whether in rain or covered in fish slime, you would still have complete control over the implements.
Skylar is the CEO of this company: not a bad debut for this sophomore in high school. n