The Nutcracker Box

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Project by RobH posted 01-05-2008 06:01 AM 4218 views 9 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

In trying to figure out what to enter for the “Not Just Any Box” category, I was trying to figure out something to do that was out of the ordinary or unique in some way. Then, my father reminded me of the box that I made him a few years ago for Christmas. So, I figured I would enter it.

The box looks unassuming from the outside. The sides are made out of air dried black walnut and the top, bottom, and knob are made out of red oak. When opened up it reveals a lever used to crack nuts. The lever mechanism is made of black walnut. In the areas of the lever that require strength, it is sandwiched between two pieces of brass. The box not only contains the nut cracker in it, but is also holds the nuts in store for their ultimate demise.

What makes this box “Not Just Any Box” to me is twofold. The first not just any box to me is the reason for which I made it. When I see it I remember Christmas time as a little boy when dad and I used to get out a kettle full of nuts and sit and crack them with a hammer and eat them. That is a really special memory to me. I made it for dad for us to sit around and crack nuts with and remember the days of my youth.

The other thing that makes this box special is the wood from which it is made. All of the wood came from my grandfather’s farm. I loved that farm as a kid, and I still do. When he passed away, the farm got divided up. Dad ended up with everything except what the old house was on. The Tennessee Valley Authority wanted to run an electrical line across the farm. As part of the deal, an old walnut tree that was down by the creek I played in as a kid was dragged up into the edge of the field to be cut into boards. The oak used in the box was from an old barn that was on the farm. My grandfather used to hang tobacco in that barn every year to dry. The top and bottom were actually made from a piece of siding from that barn. I incorporated a nail hole into the top to add character and I wood-burned the oak lead and acorn on the outside of the top. This and few pieces of lumber that I and my uncle have are all that is left of that old barn. Dad had to tear it down because it was unsafe. We are quite sure that barn lumber is at least 100 years old. The most interesting thing about it is that it was always used to hang tobacco. When I plane the lumber from the tiers in that barn it smells like a fine cigar.

The box is finished with a simple few coats of amber shellac.

To this day, this box sits proudly on my parents hearth and holds nuts ready to be cracked at a moments notice.

I hope you enjoy the entry as well as the story. It was a fun project to make. It is a fun project to use because of the memories it brings back. Just looking at it makes me smile and remember so many things.

Thanks for looking.

-- -- Rob Hix, King George, VA

24 comments so far

View odie's profile


1692 posts in 4641 days

#1 posted 01-05-2008 06:17 AM

With out a doubt this my favorite box and story since I have been a LumberJock. Thank you so much for sharing.

-- Odie, Confucius say, "He who laughs at one's self is BUTT of joke". (my funny blog)

View Karson's profile


35224 posts in 5201 days

#2 posted 01-05-2008 06:21 AM

Great Box and the history of it. A nice job on the construction and purpose.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14182 posts in 4784 days

#3 posted 01-05-2008 06:28 AM

very well written posting. fun to read.

nice simple oak top … very appealing figure and the leaves and acorn look like they belong there !

good luck in the contest

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View TreeBones's profile


1828 posts in 4824 days

#4 posted 01-05-2008 06:35 AM

Great all the way around, special wood with history, my favorite kind of work. Well done.

-- Ron, Twain Harte, Ca. Portable on site Sawmill Service

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6869 posts in 4780 days

#5 posted 01-05-2008 06:36 AM

Hi Rob;

I have to say this. I tried not to.

That’s just nuts. LOL

Great story, I’m sure the sentimental value to both you and your father is immense.

Beautiful box.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Lboy's profile


196 posts in 4883 days

#6 posted 01-05-2008 06:56 AM

Cool idea. The box looks great! Thanks for the story, I think we all like to make things for loved one’s.

View mot's profile


4927 posts in 4837 days

#7 posted 01-05-2008 07:01 AM

Now that was well worth the click! Great, Rob!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 4867 days

#8 posted 01-05-2008 07:02 AM

Rob, I like the box and wish you well in the contest. I personally think that with the memories attached to the box and the fact that it give you and your dad so much pleasure, it’s already a winner – so congratulatons.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4961 days

#9 posted 01-05-2008 01:34 PM

definitely “not just any box”. How very special.
I enjoyed listening to the memories. Tugged at my heat strings.

And the box is awesome. Bravo. Bravo. Bravo.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4806 days

#10 posted 01-05-2008 01:44 PM

Great story and a fantastic box!

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4675 days

#11 posted 01-05-2008 01:52 PM

I love these postings where the wood has a story to tell. Very nice box, too.

View Krisztian's profile


89 posts in 4700 days

#12 posted 01-05-2008 04:16 PM

Very nie box and great story.

-- Krisztian VA My website:

View CharlieM1958's profile


16286 posts in 5019 days

#13 posted 01-05-2008 04:38 PM

Great story and a unique, beautiful box!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4789 days

#14 posted 01-05-2008 07:14 PM

That one very nice box and story!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 4686 days

#15 posted 01-05-2008 08:49 PM

Great post!!!! Could you please more on the construction of the nut cracker mechanism?

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

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