Mike Spencer
Artist Blacksmith


The model that posed for this sculpture was collected from the floor of Long Cove in southwestern Nova Scotia by two enthusiastic boys with a rowboat. Carefully dried and preserved, it traveled with me to the ABANA conference in DePere, Wisconsin where I demonstrated the making of crustacean legs and claws. I haven't seen it since. Did you attend the conference and go home with a dessicated crab?
[Crab image]

The carapace of this crab -- the metal one -- was cut from a piece of rusty, deeply pitted steel and no hammer blow was struck on the dorsal surface. All hammering was done on the edges and interior surface, using a woodblock for an anvil when necessary, so that the rich natural texture would be preserved.

The shaping of the claws and legs was done under a 25-pound power hammer. Then the joints were incised and the claws split with a thin chisel.

The underside of the crab is finished with a formed and planished plastron from 16ga. sheet. It is flexible enough to snap into place like a locket cover. If the piece is damaged at some time and needs repair, the plastron will snap off allowing access to the interior where the legs and claws are joined to the carapace.

About 18" in maximum dimension, phosphated, lightly polished and waxed.

Original photo by Peter Barss
Updated 9 May 2000 -- Mike Spencer