New Skill Centre course – how to make a traditional nutcracker

Axminster Skill Centre has just introduced a new woodturning course to its already diverse range of courses. The new two-day course during which students will learn to make a traditional German nutcracker will run in October. Christmas may seem a long way off at the moment but come October many of us will start to think about the forthcoming festive season.

Nutcrackers have a long history and been produced in Germany for many centuries. In recent times they have become popular on a more global scale and are often given as a present at Christmas. According to German folklore, the giving of a nutcracker will guard over the recipient and scare away any bad spirits.  A fierce protector, the nutcracker will bare its teeth and act as the traditional messenger of good luck and goodwill.  For this reason the nutcracker is often represented in the form of an authoritative character such as a soldier or king.  Although originating from Germany, the nutcracker‘s popularity spread when American troops brought them back to the USA in the late 1940s after the war and subsequently they became popular here. Today wooden nutcrackers are more decorative than functional as the cracker mechanism is neither large nor strong enough to crack nuts.

nutcracker-woodturning-routing-woodturning course

On this new course, students will make a nutcracker from scratch which, depending on style, may consist of up to 13 pieces. The course, designed for all ability levels, incorporates very basic turning techniques but still covers all the main chisel types. As well as turning the main components, there will be the need to use the router and the opportunity to look at a simple router box construction. Students will look at paints, airbrushing and embellishment with the final finishing being done at home where paints and varnishes can dry. The course will also look at different timbers and why some would be used over others. 

Course cost: £255                                    Dates: 20-21 October and 23-24 October 2014 

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Image: Nutcrackers made by Colwin Way, one of our Skill Centre tutors