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Monday, October 17, 2011

Essential Hand Tools Without Electricity

Original Article


Lets talk tools. Nearly everyone who is handy, or able to fix things, already has their own supply of various tools to get the job done. There are tools for every trade, many of them specialized for a particular task while others are general purpose. Many tools require power to operate – be it your typical AC wall outlet or today’s more common built-in DC battery pack.
When considering the adequacy of your tool chest for a time of, or following a disaster, or simply for your overall survival preparedness, I wonder how many of us really have what we may need? Think about the number-one requirement for many of our tools… electricity. So, what if there is no electricity for a time? What then?

Alternate power sources
For those with alternative energy sources will do alright provided that the work to be done is right there near your power source for charging or direct access. You might have an array of solar panels with an inverter installed at your home. Or more common, you may own a portable generator. You will fare well so long as you have fuel.

Muscle power
How about hand tools powered the old fashioned way… with muscle power – elbow grease.
Hand tools for a few basic essential categories come to mind…

cutting, drilling, nailing, screwing, gripping and twisting

Hand Saws
Keep a selection of hand saws for various purposes. Some are designed to cut through tree limbs while others are designed for cutting traditional framing lumber, plywood, etc., while still others are designed for cutting through metal or plastics.
The Bow Saw (I own this one) is perfect for slicing through tree limbs. Don’t forget to keep an extra blade or two.

A Hand Saw like this one which I also own, is perfect for cutting through nearly any wood.
I also own this Carpentry Saw, and am amazed at it’s speed while slicing through any wood.
A must-have is a Hack Saw to cut through metals and plastics. Again, don’t forget extra blades.
Although a Chain Saw (I own this one too) requires gasoline (they also make electric chainsaw’s), it is certainly an essential saw for many disaster situations – clearing downed trees, branches. Treat it with great respect – they are dangerous.

I own both of the following hand drills, and have used them many times for quick tasks.
1/4-Inch Hand Drill
Power Grip Hand Drill
I want to get this one next… Ratchet Brace

A traditional hammer as well as a sledge hammer will serve their purpose.

Your typical 16 ounce Claw Hammer will suffice in most situations requiring this sort of tool.
A 3 pound sledge hammer is small enough, but yet heavy enough to drive ground stakes, demolition, etc.

A good quality Screwdriver Set is essential. Be sure to get ‘hardened’.

A precision screwdriver set is perfect for very small applications and is another must-have to gain access to many devices with very small screws.

Nuts and Bolts, Gripping and Twisting
No doubt that you will at some point need to loosen, tighten, or install a bolt of one fashion or another. This 99 Piece Stanely Socket Set should get you through most circumstances.
Another tool that I’ve used countless times for countless tasks is the Pipe Wrench. Keep two on hand, one to grip the piece and the other to twist the mating connection.

What basic kit would be without Channellock pliers or a good ‘ol Crescent Wrench?

OK, hopefully these very few ideas got you to thinking about what you have.
As you know, there are a zillion types of tools out there which would take a thick book to document. For starters, think about your mechanical skill set, and imagine trying to utilize those skills without any source of power. Do you have the tools that you need?
…food for thought

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10 Things That Every Survivalist Needs

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I use the word "survivalist" in the most all-encompassing way, meaning that anyone who wants to/plans to survive a fairly good sized disaster falls into this category. As a survivalist, you need these ten things if you want to have a chance of coming out the other side of a disaster in a rather whole manner.

  1. An emergency fund.  Cash works wonders in most disasters.  It can get you a ride out of town, fill up your gas tank, get you some food, buy you an airline ticket to a better place, etc.  To do: get your emergency fund together now.  I used to recommend $1000 but now I have upped it to $5000.
  2. Basic survival skills.  No matter where you are, can you get/make/barter for/steal/hijack/or otherwise acquire: water, food, clothing, shelter, medication?  To do: if there were a disaster tomorrow, where would you get water (the most vital of necessities in a disaster), food (second most important), clothing (pretty vital), a place to shelter from the elements (ditto), and critical medication?  Make a plan for this and an a back up plan as well.
  3. Material goods.  This can be important for your survival comfort (on the other hand, in many disasters you are often left with what you are wearing on your back and no more, anyway...).  Once you come through the initial disaster, some basic material good will come in handy.  Do you have: a BOB?  Basic camping supplies (even if you live in the middle of a city)? Firearms? Booze (actually useful in multiple ways after a disaster)? Tools? To do: start to acquire a small collection of each of these items.
  4. Knowledge.  The good thing about knowledge is that once you learn something it is yours to keep.  You can't lose/have stolen/have confiscated the things that are in your head.  To do: read widely.  And conduct experiments as necessary.  Reading/studying/practicing should encompass: camping and survival, basic medical care, navigation, how to drive anything that moves, how to grow/forage for/hunt for/fish for your own food, how to process said food, how to make your own electricity, how to make your own medicines, how to defend your home and your person, etc.
  5. Friends.  No man is an island and in a crisis situation, some extra pairs of hands will come in mighty handy.  Obviously you should still prepare on your own but cultivating a group of people who could band together to help each other before/during/after a disaster is quite useful.  To do: help others with general things and expect them to help you in return.  This is the fastest way to see who you can count on in an emergency (if they won't help you with simple, everyday tasks, how useful with they be in a disaster?).  The more you have in common with said people, the better (ie: those you hunt with, fish with, camp with, participate in shooting/exercising/other survival-related events with, the better).
  6. A prepared home.  Did you know that most common survival situation you are statistically likely to encounter is common, every day disasters like a house fire, domestic violence event, health crisis, etc.  To do: while it is great to practice with your handy dandy night vision goggles on a scheduled recon mission of the city park, you actually will be better served to spend some time at home getting your home prepared (all safety items should be in place--fire extinguisher, smoke detector, etc), your people prepared (if there are internal issues in the home that could lead to a dangerous situation such as domestic violence, that needs to be rectified ASAP), and your health prepared (exercise and eat right and you may have a chance of hauling your ass out of a crisis on your own.  If you don't do this you will most likely be left behind hoping someone will come along to save you).
  7. Advanced survival skills.  This is where things get fun.  Anyone can forage for food but how many people can go out and bring back a gourmet salad (something like this).  Anyone can construct a rudimentary shelter during a storm but how many people can make this?  Anyone can point and fire a weapon (well, almost anyone) but how many people have this kind of training? (note: I don't know anything about this particular school, they just had a nifty list of skills to use as an example).  To do: get as many practical, advanced, survival skills under your belt as possible.
  8. People skills.  Oddly enough, much of survival isn't like you see in action films with the hero single-handedly walking into a situation and fighting his way through a gauntlet of gunfire, physical violence, and high-speed chases.  Much of survival has to do with people skills.  Can you talk your way into getting help as quickly as possible?  Can you size up a person's intent quickly and accurately?  Can you talk your way out of a brawl before it starts and diffuse a tense situation?  Can you be a physical threat if necessary? Can you lead a team, especially under high stress conditions?  To do: brush up on your people skills (if necessary, use books, classes, and actual practice to get this done).
  9. Get the hell out of dodge skills.  Sometimes you can do nothing but flee if you want to save your skin and live to fight another day.  To do: plan multiple evacuation routes from your home and work, have the means to evacuate if necessary (everything from a car that works, plenty of gas, a place to stay far away from your home, etc), have a BOB or at the last a small "go bag" that you always carry with you, have the foresight to leave BEFORE it becomes impossible to do so (don't even get me started on those people who hang around home until a hurricane is minutes away before they call 911 for help, never mind that the news has been telling them to evacuate for DAYS).
  10. A heightened sense of awareness.  Again, much of survival is just being aware of whatever situation you happen to be in.  If you live in an earthquake zone, you should know this and be prepared for such an event. If you are heading down to a seedy bar, you should not be surprised if a fight breaks out and someone pulls a gun (why would you want to be there anyway?).  If you are in a public building, you shouldn't have to wonder where the emergency exits are if the fire alarm goes off, you should already have ascertained this information as a matter of habit.  To do: actually practice being more aware of your surroundings/situation.

Quote of the Week: Roosevelt on Action

Original Article

light a candle
It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt