Killer Crab Knife

Passage Maker - - Contents - Jonathan Cooper

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

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