For Christmas, we got a bag of mixed, shelled nuts. The challenge was that our nutcracker was one of those simple wooden hinge jobs. They do work but it is hard to moderate the force and tough nuts to crack either end up resisting, exploding or leading to a very painful pinch (bits of your hand end up far too close to the danger zone). So, we had quite a few nuts left over…
Yesterday, I did a bit of online searching for different nutcracker designs and ended up buying one of these. There is still a lever involved but the two significant benefits are:
- Your hand doesn’t have to be so close to where the force is exerted.
- You can adjust the gap between the closed position of the lever and the opposing plate using a screw thread so you can (in theory) flex the shell of the nut to breaking point but without crushing the meat of the nut
It isn’t perfect. The design could do with a clear guard plate to surround the nut as the lever is closed. The shells still sometimes explode as tension is released and, if you cover with your hand, you can’t pull the lever all the way down. It would be ideal to have an improved mechanism for rotating the screen thread and perhaps some gearing to improve the mechanical advantage and precision of the lever.
Still, it is a good step up from what we were using. It remains to be seen how durable the device is and I’ve already got plans to mount on a larger piece of wood but I’m looking forward to picking up another bag of nuts.