I started making Nut Crackers a few years ago when I could not find a Grinch Nut Cracker for sell. I created 4 in 2014, and in 2015 created Wizard of Oz Nut Crackers... This year was special as my oldest son was getting married on 1/7/17 so I thought I would create Bride and Groom Nut Crackers.
Step 1: Turning the Bodies From the Bottoms of Old Table Legs
The first step is to cut 2 blocks of wood 2 inches longer than the Nut Cracker height and wide enough to turn to size. There is no fixed size, but I tend to strive for a overall height of 8 1/2 inches tall, 2 inch head, 4 inch body and 2 1/2 inch legs. The body is 2 1/4 dia. as is the head. Note that I use a parting tool to cut the head and from the overall block. I trim these on a bandsaw for the final cut.
Step 2: Turning Arms and Legs
The next step is to turn the arms and legs. For this project I used 1/2" x 2 1/2" dowels for the grooms legs, and as the Bride has a full length dress no legs required. Turning the arms I start with a 5/8" dowel and mark it for 3 1/2" arms. Note that the total lenght is about 9" allowing room for the head and tail stick on the lathe
Step 3: Cutting the Cracker Lever Arm and Slot for the Lever Arm.
I next cut the lever arm, mark the bodies and cut the slot in the bodies all on the bandsaw.. Note that the the bottom of the dress is larger than the top so I used a piece of scrap wood to make the body level when I cut and then drilled the body.
Make sure your lever arm has clearance in the slot as you will be painting both parts
Step 4: Drilling the Body for Legs, Arms and Lever Arm Pin
For the Groom I need to add legs, so I mark 2 - 1/2" holes on the bottom of the body and drill these on a drill press. While I have the 1/2" drill in the chuck I will drill 2 holes in 1/2" thick wood that will be used for shoes, see sketch and photo. Next I mark the bodies 1/2" down from the top, where you just cut the slot, and drill 1/4" hole on 2 sides of the body. I mark the arms 1/2" down as well and drill 1/4" holes in each arm 1/4" deep. You can now cut the arms to give them bends or leave them straight. If you cut the arm at a 45 degree angle and rotate the bottom half you get arm bent 90 degrees at the elbow.
I also drill the pin hole to hold the lever arm to the body. This is the hole just back of the arm hole. I drill this with the lever arm in place as a match drill. I use a 3/16" stainless Steel metal pin 1 3/4" in length.
Step 5: Checking Lever Arm Moves Correctly With Head Sat in Place
Now I check that the lever arm stops flat on the bottom of the head and also assure I have a gap to allow for painting.. DO NOT glue the head on. Just sit in place.
Step 6: Painting the Nut Crackers
I use flat craft paint good quality brushes to paint the Nut Crackers.. I find it easer to paint the head off the body before gluing it on. Plus it makes painting lever arm top a lot simpler.. Once you have completed all painting and glued the head on, I spray the entire Nut Cracker with a clear gloss varnish. This brings out the color and protects the paint. I spray this on a piece of cardboard, the same one I use for painting.
Step 7: Adding Hair and Accessories
Now that the Nut Crackers are painted, I will add hair, and all the accessories to complete the look.. This is where you get creative. Hobby Lobby and Michael's have a lot of craft supplies like small pearls, hair, gems, and small flowers.. I created the rose bouquet to match the Brides and added the red rose on the tux with a gold leaf just like my son wore.. I presented these at the reception dinner to the Bride and Groom. My son and daughter in law