This Crab is Metal

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Dan McCauley’s shining metal crab awakens from its post-Burning Man slumber and raises its pincers in the lot of Spaulding Construction off U.S. Highway 101 in Eureka. - PHOTO BY JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Photo by Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Dan McCauley’s shining metal crab awakens from its post-Burning Man slumber and raises its pincers in the lot of Spaulding Construction off U.S. Highway 101 in Eureka.

In case the giant silver crab raising its pincers above the chain link fence around Spaulding Construction’s parking lot off U.S. Highway 101 by Kristina’s in Eureka has you wondering, you aren’t hallucinating and you didn’t miss the Kinetic Grand Championship. The shining crustacean on wheels is the work of metal artist Dan McCauley of Dan’s Custom Metals — you may have glimpsed his scrap metal sentinel standing in the same lot or the massive, rusty T-rex gnashing its metal teeth outside his Eureka business on Redmond Road, which is soon to become an outdoor sculpture garden and gallery. For that matter, you may have seen the crab at a 4/20 celebration at Forever Found — yeah, that wasn't the edibles.

The crab, which is 26 feet long and around 15 feet tall, made its debut at Burning Man last summer before returning to Humboldt and resting in pieces at Spaulding Construction. “It all disassembles," says McCauley. "The main shell breaks apart in four sections … the legs individually pull off.” Those legs articulate, too, and the pincers snap. Perched atop the frame of a Ford Ranger, the massive crustacean is comprised of scrap. "It's all old carport and greenhouse tubing and sided with aluminum from RVs that I cleaned up from my property,” says McCauley, who built the beast in a little more than a month and a half "with a few helping hands."

“It’s the biggest thing that I’ve made that I can drive around. My dinosaurs are bigger than this and weigh a lot more,” says McCauley.

Keep an eye out during the Salt and Fog Fish Festival this weekend, as well as the judging station at the Rhododendron Parade on Saturday, and you may see the machine up close and with its lights flashing. Watch the claws.

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