The Coco-Nutcracker

Coconut is a delicious and versatile food but if you’ve ever tried to open one you know they can be a hard nut to crack. Those of us who live in the tropics where they are common might reach for a machete, drill, or saw to open them, which is often a messy and sometimes dangerous ordeal. Realizing that a coconut is just a large nut with a shell like any other, [Paul] of [Jackman Works] decided to build a nutcracker big enough to crack a coconut, which turns out to be almost exactly human-sized.

The nutcracker is built almost entirely out of reclaimed wood. Several rings made of many blocks of wood were constructed on the table saw before being glued and clamped together. Once the rings were stacked and glued to each other, [Paul] put them on a lathe to get a smooth finish. Then the arms, legs, body, and head were all assembled. The actual nutcracking mechanism is one of the few metal parts in this build, a long threaded rod which is needed to handle the large forces required for cracking the coconut.

Once the finishing touches were put on the nutcracker, including boots, a beard, some hair, and of course a pom-pom for his hat, [Paul] successfully tested it by cracking a coconut open. This build is exceptionally high quality and is definitely worth scrolling through. He runs a wood shop in DC where he builds all sorts of interesting things like this, including a giant wooden utility knife.

10 thoughts on “The Coco-Nutcracker

  1. Spectacular device, but there is a much easier way to open them :( Using the *back* of a big kitchen knife (or a machete like the locals) tap firmly all the way around the coconut’s “equator”, around and around. After several circuits around the nut, it will crack open! True.

  2. Am I the only one who clicks into a story with such a lede, anxious to be surprised by where the hack is? Okay, this looks like it’s about very traditional woodworking, it’ll be really interesting to see how the editors have cleverly disguised the hack, because I’m sure they must have….


    I’ve been reading and commenting on hackaday since 2004, and I’ve kept my opinions on the matter mostly to myself. But for some reason, this broke the camel’s back. Calling something a hack is a high bar of elegance and cleverness and technical acuity, and most of the time, apparently-not-a-hack stories turn out to have a zinger below the fold. Seeing how someone solved an apparently-mundane problem in a really creative way is why I come here. It’s great when it happens. But when it doesn’t happen that way, it’s just disappointing, and I end up feeling like I’ve been duped.

    Do this too often, and readers end up feeling like Charlie Brown foolishly kicking that football for the 3,274th time.

    I feel like perhaps it’s time for a spinoff “Handcraft-a-day” or something, same editors, just a place to park all the neat non-hack stuff that comes in the tip-line. Does it deserve the light of day? Absolutely! Is it interesting? Sure. Is it funny? Often, yeah. But I like to think language still means something, and as long as this site is called Hackaday, people (perhaps foolishly) are going to expect hacks to be featured here. Don’t make me a fool, please.

    1. Did at least one article today feature a hack for you? Yes? Good! As language is important to you they’ve met their promised hack a day then. Once the site moved to multiple articles per day you could afford to be more forgiving if one particular story isn’t completely hack based as you so seem obsessed with.

      Keep up the interesting content team. I love it.

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