Heavy Duty Nutcrackers

I recently purchased a Grandpa’s Goody Getter Nutcracker to crack all the black walnuts I’ve been harvesting. There are lots of other good choices out there, but this is what I ended up with and I wanted to share my experiences with it.

First off, the overall impressions. It’s a big, goofy-looking device, but it seems well built. The operation is pretty smooth, except for I get a little resistance when I try to open the jaws all the way. This is very slight but noticeable, and it only seems to come into play on the largest nuts. I like that it automatically adjusts the bottom ram so that the nut sits tight to the top ram. This way, none of the motion of the cracking stroke is wasted, and it allows the device to wring out every bit of mechanical advantage it can. I also like the return springs, which bring the device back to the ready position with just a little nudge, and also provide a little resistance to aid in precise cracking. If mounted to a board, they do recommend clamping it down to a sturdy table. I can attest that while it’s not necessary, the ease of cracking and the quality of the crack both improve noticeably when the device is anchored down as securely as possible. This makes a big difference when you’re cracking a bunch of nuts at once.

As for actually cracking the nuts, it works great. I tested it on the wild black walnuts, as well as some named varieties of black walnut and hickory that @barkslip was kind enough to supply me with. I was going to take video, but it was super noisy outside that day. So, you’ll have to make do with pictures.

First, here is an idea of the range of nuts I was testing. From left to right, we have one of the larger wild black walnuts, a Pounds 2 black walnut, two different sizes of shagbark hickory, and a Holterman shellbark hickory. According to Dax, Pounds 2 is usually much larger, but its size was impacted by the pollen parent that year. The Goody Getter was able to bust open all of these nuts without any trouble.

Here are the results of cracking the black walnuts. Wild on the left, Pounds 2 on the right. Pounds 2 definitely had smoother kernels that were a bit easier to extract, but they were otherwise pretty similar in cracking difficulty and how much additional fiddling I needed to get all the kernel pieces out.

I tried the hickory nuts both in the sideways orientation recommended by Dax and the end-end orientation specified by the manufacturer. Either way worked pretty well. I think sideways was slightly more likely to result in intact halves, and end-end usually required slightly less fiddling. In all the hickory nut pictures, the sideways crack is on the left, and the end-end crack is on the right.

Here are the results of cracking Holterman (first crack, followed by extracted pieces):

Here are the results for Scholl shellbark:

Here are the results for the large and small shagbarks:

All in all, I think this is a pretty great nutcracker. It’s not cheap, but I expect it will last a good long while. I’ll add some links below to video reviews of other comparable nutcrackers.

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Hunt’s Black Walnut Cracker and Mr. Hickory Nutcracker, featuring our very own @Barkslip:

Master Nut Cracker:

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It may be big with a slot machine arm, but usually the bigger they are the less power you have to put in. Looks like it took down those black walnuts with no problem and will last longer than you. Appears better than the others you posted as well. Now someone needs to come out with an electric one.

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They exist, but for high-volume processing and a price tag to go with it.

This is a very ‘mini-me’ iteration. My son sent it …along with 5 lbs of macadamia nuts from Hawaii. Mac nuts are considered one of the hardest nuts to crack.
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Grandpa’s Goody looks pretty clunky, but I’m sure it does the job. I’d like to get a Master Nut Cracker, but not sure how to order.

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Nut cracker. Very adjustable

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Those are cheap chinese knock offs. Everyone that has one reports major losses.

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I can’t remember how many Master nut crackers I bought over the last 20 years, maybe 5 or 6. I gave one to my mother, my daughter gave one to her band teacher, one for my MIL, and two that I still have.

I used one of Fred Blankenship’s crackers at the KY nut growers meeting back around 2005. There are some varieties of black walnut that it does a fantastic job on, shelling out 1/4’s nearly 100% of the time. Stoker black walnut is one that it works very well on.

I used David Griffith’s Hunt cracker in 2003 and easily cracked out black walnuts with high number of 1/4’s recovered. IMO the Master cracker is both faster to use and a bit less work, but I still would love to have a Hunt.

The GGG cracker jcguarneri purchased looks like it has most of the same usage characteristics of the Hunt with a bit less finagling to adjust the bottom anvil.

Poncirusguy’s native American nutcracker is arguably the most efficient with a set it and forget it mode of operation. Unfortunately, I’ve had 0% nutmeat return when using them.

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Their site reports they are backordered over 1 year.

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That’s too bad. Guess I’ll have to ask one of my children to come up with something. Doesn’t look like rocket science.

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If you are looking to diy, maybe looking for a super heavy duty old school stapler, leather press, or shotgun shell reloader as discussed in this thread Bench Grafter Tool DIY - #20 by Barkslip

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@FarmGirl-Z6A
I bought a copycat version from Roots Harvest:

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That was my first choice, but they are hopelessly backordered. They have a note up on the order form as of Jan 2022 saying no more orders until at least 2023.

There’s something wrong with their homepage (or maybe it’s on purpose). If you add /index.htm to the end of the url, you’ll get the full homepage.

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It’s not rocket science to get something that will crack it open (a vise will do). The trick is getting something that won’t also smash the kernels, consistently get you quarters, and is a pleasure to use.

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This is the best nutcracker I’ve used:

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I bought this off of ebay. So far I’m very pleased with it.

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That’s another one I was strongly considering! I almost went with that, but I’m leary of old cast iron items that I can’t inspect in person. Would you be willing to post video of it in action? I wasn’t able to find any videos of this model, so I think you’d be doing the internet a huge service!

I’ll try

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I have a pair of those but I prefer vice grips on my black walnut.