The Nutcracker project began as a result of having several hundred black walnuts to crack, and only a hammer with which to crack them. I had an idea for a lever-type nutcracker using good old leverage.
While the idea congealed, I spotted one like I had in mind in a catalog for more than I cared to spend for a nutcracker. I knew I could build mine inexpensively and in only a short period of time.
The nutcracker behaved beautifully and sailed through several hundred walnuts in a fraction of the time the hammer would have done, and in a very controlled manner - no pieces flying as shrapnel like the hammer method does.