Silverware Deadfall

by Ken Youngquist



One evening I sat at my kitchen table while my wife was on the phone. It was a call to our folks who live out-of-town and was becoming rather lengthy. As usual my listening skills began to wane and I began to entertain myself with the silverware that was left on the table after dinner. I began interlocking them and the thought occurred to me that I might be able to create a figure-4 type trigger for a deadfall trap. After several trys, I came up with a workable configuration.

It begins with a spoon placed on the table face-up. Then the tip of a fork handle is placed in the bowl of the spoon and is held upright. As you slide the fork handle toward the tip of the spoon, the spoon handle will rise up. Continue to hold the downward pressure of the fork on the spoon to keep the handle floating up, then place a butter knife with the spline between the fork tines and the heavier handle resting on the floating spoon handle. When the weight of the deadfall is placed on the fork’s tip, the pressure will keep the assembly in balance. Because of the spoon’s slippery nature and the delicate counter weight of the knife, it’s quite easy to trigger. Of course, don’t forget to put bait on the handle of the spoon, which should be facing inside and under the leaning deadfall. The bait can be peanut butter, butter or grease . . . something that will stay adhered to the handle.

This is a modern adaptation of a primitive technology . . . using the most basic tools for living and staying alive. Over the years, the principle tools remain, but the materials change, and so man adapts and improves as he goes through history. It's my contention that we should learn the basics and apply materials that are available to us, and in an emergency situation this can be life saving. To share this perspective, I developed a website called Survivaltek, found at, where I try to help readers learn survival techniques using resources that surround them.



E-mail your comments to "Ken Youngquist" at
For more information about survival skills and being prepared for emergency situations, visit Ken's website at

PrimitiveWays Home Page

We hope the information on the PrimitiveWays website is both instructional and enjoyable. Understand that no warranty or guarantee is included. We expect adults to act responsibly and children to be supervised by a responsible adult. If you use the information on this site to create your own projects or if you try techniques described on PrimitiveWays, behave in accordance with applicable laws, and think about the sustainability of natural resources. Using tools or techniques described on PrimitiveWays can be dangerous with exposure to heavy, sharp or pointed objects, fire, stone tools and hazards present in outdoor settings. Without proper care and caution, or if done incorrectly, there is a risk of property damage, personal injury or even death. So, be advised: Anyone using any information provided on the PrimitiveWays website assumes responsibility for using proper care and caution to protect property, the life, health and safety of himself or herself and all others. He or she expressly assumes all risk of harm or damage to all persons or property proximately caused by the use of this information.

© PrimitiveWays 2013