I began work on the Shark Applicutter more than five years ago, and the reason I invented it was a safety issue. I had started using the smallest rotary cutter I could find, an 18mm, to cut out the shapes used in my Endangered Species project. These quilts featured an “up close and personal” portrait of each endangered animal and required a lot of intricate cutting. As we all know, necessity is the mother of invention, so I started using my rotary cutter in a new way, holding it like a pen instead of using an overhand grip. When I used it this way, I could twist and move it more freely, but it had a few drawbacks. I started teaching my classes with the 18mm rotary cutter, but I noticed that many people were struggling to cut with it safely and accurately due to arthritis and other issues. As I listened to their concerns, I realized that adding a bump, like the dorsal fin on a shark, would make it safer to use and more accurate.
While I was on a teaching trip in Hawaii, I found myself sitting on a beach in Kona, mulling over a few ideas when inspiration struck me. I looked over at this chunk of old surfboard sticking out of the sand next to me and suddenly realized that I could use resin to make an amazing handle for the applicutter. At the same time I had been working on the rotary cutter handle back home, I was also making plastic water bottle spaceships with my son. The two projects came together in my mind right there on the beach. My son and I had been adding these little plexiglas wings onto water bottles and as I looked at that surfboard I realized I could make a handle from the same materials. Right when I got home, I went right to work creating the first prototype and immediately proved to myself that it worked fantastically. Now all I needed was a company to make it.
I saw a need in the industry for a better tool and a safer tool and I feel really proud of what I’ve created. It took a couple years for everything to come together and by the time I was about ready to sell it at quilt market, I began talking to people at Missouri Star Quilt Co. about the Shark Applicutter and they helped open the door. It was actually part of my interview when I joined the company. I had a silver, James Bond briefcase with me and I presented my product to them. They thought it was genius! I was ecstatic to join the MSQC family as the face of Man Sewing, and amazed that they believed in my product and in me.
It has been a five-year process to bring the Shark Applicutter to where it is today and the time just flew by. I had been so busy with everything else in my life that I felt like God helped me from start to finish. It was such a fun mission for me to take on; it has really been a fantastic ride. I can’t wait to see where it will go from here!
Shark Applicutter features:
- Fits both 14mm and 18mm blades
- Can be used in either the left or right hand
- Designed for cutting organic shapes without a ruler
- Has the same hardware as most rotary cutters
- Includes a soft grip for comfort
- The Safety Fin keeps your finger out of harm’s way!
- Handle can be used as hera marker for creasing fabric (when the cap is on, of course!)