Craftsman Experience Projects

      Find By Project

      • A - Hard wood (in this case we used poplar and oak) and pine
      • B - 1x6 (by 1" as well as ) stock
      • C - Oak dowels (of various size for the legs and arms and sword, 1.5", 1", .25")
      • D - Metal dowel for the inner mechanism
      • E - Drawer pulls (for the hands)
      • F - Pine feet (for the hat and head)
      • G - Wood filler
      • H - Sand paper
      • I - Paint

      Holiday Nutcracker

      Holiday Nutcracker

      Paint this nutcracker the traditional red, or go with any other style of your choosing!


      Date: December 20, 2011

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      1. Start by gluing 3 pieces of 1" thick (stock) together and clamping them tight let them sit for at least a few hours (overnight is best).

      2. (You can wait for that to set, or you can start with the arms, legs, feet and stand)

      • Cut your 1.5"" oak dowels to the appropriate lengths for the legs.
      • Determine where the boots will sit and set your table saw blade to about an 1/8" of an inch and run the dowel over the blade repeatedly turning the dowel so you get a discernible boot line.
      • Then drill a hole in each top of the leg about 1.5" deep and insert a dowel in each hole

      3. For the arms use the 1" dowel and again cut the appropriate lengths.

      • One arm will be straight and one will have a 90 degree bend in it. For the one with the bend cut the dowel on a 45 degree cut and glue the dowel back together, but by inverting and joining the cut pieces you make a perfect 90 degree angle. Glue and let sit.

      4. For both the straight as well as the bent arm you want to make the shoulder pieces as well as the cuffs.

      • For the shoulder pieces, just cut about 1.5" off of the 1.5" dowel (one for each arm).

      5. For the cuffs, take your 1.5" dowel to the bench sander and, on a slight angle, press the dowel while rotating evenly against the sanding belt to get a nice even and smooth tapered edge.

      6. Once you have that, cut the dowel off using the miter saw at the point where your sanded angle once again becomes the straight dowel (Should be about 1.25-1.5" long).

      7. Glue on the shoulder and cuffs to each arm.

      8. Take your .25" dowel and cut it down to sword length, then sand to a point at the end. Take another drawer pull and drill a .25" hole in the center. Glue and insert the sword into the drilled hole, then glue the whole sword set up on top of the sanded down edge of the hand on the bent arm. Let both arms set.

      9. Take the .25" 1x6 board and cut a square for the platform.

      10. Take the same board and cut two feet out of it. Make sure the back of the feet have a slight curve so they can butt up right next to the legs.

      11. Glue the feet onto the board right next to each other.

      • Glue the legs onto the board and to the feet.

      12. Now, take the same board and cut a nose out of it using the pine furniture foot as a guide for the angle of the nose that sits flush against the head.

      13. Once cut out, glue onto the head piece

      14. Now the body should be set and you'll be able to unclamp and cut the pieces as one.

      15. Cut a section roughly 6.5" inches long and then cut the corners off of it to make it semi round.

      16. Then cut a channel in the back where the mechanism for cracking the nuts will sit in, about 1.5" wide and 1" deep the whole length of the body.

      17. The top half of the channel should run through the entire body so that the nut-cracking lever can sit in it and act as the bottom part of the jaw.

      18. Cut the nut-cracking mechanism out of those same glued boards. Figure out the best angle so that the lever both can clear the back of the head as well as close the mouth to the upper part (the bottom of the head).

      19. Once the piece is cut and made (will most likely be two pieces glued and screwed together), use the drill press to drill a single hole through the entire body and mech lever.

      20. Once drilled, cut a dowel that will run through the body and nut-cracking mechanism (just short of from one side to another) and fill with wood filler to close up the holes.

      21. All your pieces are ready to be assembled.

      22. Take your arms and drill a small hole in each and insert a dowel. Drill a corresponding hole into the body of the nutcracker and fill with glue, then insert the arms and dowels into the holes.

      23. Drill holes in the bottom of the body for the dowels of the legs to go into, fill with glue and insert the legs/stand portion into the body.

      24. Glue the head set up onto the top of the body.

      25. Sand, prime and paint.

      26. Enjoy!