Using A Sledgehammer To Crack A Nut

sledgehammerthumb.JPGSo what's it really like to crack a nut using a sledgehammer? Can it be done?

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Here are our test subjects - clockwise from bottom left:

Walnut

Almond

Hazelnut

Brazil Nut

Pecan

sledgehammer1.JPGEach of these was placed in turn on a sturdy wooden block and struck with full force by a five - pound steel sledgehammer.

sledgehammer3.JPGThe walnut exploded into an oily mist. Fragments of shell and kernel were discovered lying up to ten feet away.

The pecan (aftermath not depicted) fared little better.

The brazil nut just made a mess.

sledgehammer4.JPGThe hazelnut stayed put on the wooden block, but only in the form of a compressed pancake mixture of shell and nut.

Not appetising.

sledgehammer6.JPGOf the five, the almond (caught here a fraction of a second before impact) came closest to surviving - the thick shell crumbled, softening the blow.

The kernel was crushed a little, but remained in one piece.

Conclusion

sledgehammer5.JPGWell, there's a surprise - it turns out that a sledgehammer is not really a very useful nutcracker - not because it's ineffective - quite the contrary - it's too effective.

However, by holding the hammer just below the head and just making gingerly taps, it is possible to use a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Pecans were best at surviving this more measured approach

A Tougher Nut To Crack

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Of course, there is one kind of nut for which a sledgehammer is a quite appropriate tool...

 

Comments

1. On Wednesday, August 26, 2009, 11:35 by Coconut

The 'coconut' you hit is only the seed - a coconut is the whole thingy including the stringy husk. Repeat the experiment please...

2. On Wednesday, August 26, 2009, 21:50 by Mike (from Atomic Shrimp)

True, however, the coconut was given equal treatment to the other nuts - Almonds, Walnuts and Pecans grow inside a fleshy capsule, which has been stripped away prior to attack with the sledgehammer. Brazil nuts grow packed inside a hard woody, spheric

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