For many households, the holiday season brings beautiful bowls of mixed nuts, and the fun of cracking open the shells to reveal the delicious treats inside. But what happens when you can’t locate a nutcracker? Don’t panic, just reach into your toolbox!
Family Handyman tested using several different hand tools to crack open a variety of nuts. The good news is that all of the tools we used worked, but a couple of them got the job done a bit better. Here’s what we learned:
Just a couple of whacks with a hammer cracked open a Brazil nut, which is known to have a pretty tough shell. We used small pliers to hold the nut (and protect fingers) and placed a cutting board underneath to protect the countertop.
A C-clamp did the job with a pecan, but it wasn’t the most efficient way to crack a nut. It’s somewhat difficult to hold the nut in place while turning the clamp and then loosening it once the shell is broken.
A vise is especially useful if you’re snacking on mixed nuts while working in the shop. Just be sure to catch the cracked nut before it falls to the floor when you’re loosening the vise.
Channellock pliers proved to be the best tool for cracking nuts. The jaws adjust easily, so you can use them to crack large walnuts or small hazelnuts.
Tightening a bulky handscrew clamp around a tiny almond was a bit humorous, but it cracked the nut just like the other tools. It may not be the most efficient choice, but it was fun to try!
The rubber pads on a small ratcheting bar clamp slowed down the process of cracking open a walnut, but it eventually did the job. And the trigger action to tighten the clamp was very simple.