Monday, January 6, 2014

forever tools


FOREVER TOOLS

Currently I’m reading “The Disaster Diaries” by Sam Sheridan.  This is the second New York City publisher book I’ve seen in ten years that had the author pay Super Mega Deluxe Bucks to get celebrity experts to teach them The Survival Way.  It makes for lightly entertaining reading but not what I’d call real practical for the impoverished readership that somehow scraped up the $15 for the price of admission.  Oh, it is a well written book and has many fine and excellent teachable points ( such as the great section on the brain chemistry and stress ).  But I would probably steer you towards a more specific, less generalized narrative elsewhere unless you have the money to spare.  I’m enjoying the section on wilderness survival not because I’m learning the Preaching Points of the chapter ( group cooperation is needed ), but because it got me thinking in lines towards this article.  Post-Apocalypse, what are some Forever Tools I can take forward from the modern age?

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So many of our modern wonders are not going to make it all that long into the future.  Anything requiring electricity will fall into fewer and fewer hands until one critical component renders each persons treasures scrap.   Firearms, even flintlocks, need a repair and replacement infrastructure in place.  It might be three generations before a small part fails and can’t be improvised, but it will happen sometime.   My question became, given a Stone Age existence ( worse case, obviously ), what could I have in tools from today that made life a heck of a lot easier and at the same time would last nearly forever?  I came up with four, and please, before you rush to pile on everything and the kitchen sink, keep in mind these are for extreme primitive living.  Almost as if it were an extinction level event and it wasn’t much more than just your small group.  No outside trade. 

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They are: The permanent green glow stick ( tooblite brand ).  The magnifying glass.  Stainless steel knives and Metal Pots.  These four replace a lot of hard work and a lot of resource waste, and have a near forever quality.   Yes, obviously there is breakage and a knife can’t be sharpened forever before it’s a mere nub, but these are also cheap enough that you buy multiples to achieve the longevity.   A minion has been riding me like a rabid pony on its way to the glue factory about buying a fistful of tube lights.  I tried one and didn’t much care for it, being more of a marker than a light emitter.   Yet, the thought has been nagging at me.  After all the LED’s and rechargeable batteries are gone, do I really want to rely on animal fat burning candles?  Not if I can help it, because candles are only viable in a calorie surplus environment.  So, as feeble as this product is, it uses the sun and never wears out.  If I did indeed have a handful, I could get a minimal level of soft diffuse light.  A magnifying glass is obvious.  Do I want to burn hundreds of calories with a fire bow trying to generate a spark, or do I want to I want to get one going in minutes with a piece of glass?  Obviously there are limitations, the sun being the fickle bitch she is. 

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A metal pot, hopefully aluminum or stainless steel but in a pinch any metal, is going to keep you from making pottery or throwing hot rocks in a reed basket to heat water for your rat stew.  I would be stockpiling from the thrift store if I were you.   Yes, cast iron is great.  Yet, they are expensive, don’t travel well and require that oil you might prefer to eat for survival. And a knife.  Yes, stainless steel is inferior.  To a carbon steel knife.  Not to a stone flint knife.  And they are dirt cheap.  Buy the crap out of them.  Compared to a rock sharpened stick of concrete rebar, stainless steel Chinese knifes will rock.

END
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34 comments:

  1. Yeah, I have to agree.

    Forever fools. Oh. wait a sec. It's tools.

    My mistake, I tought you were talking about yourself.


    Brandy.

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  2. I enjoyed Sheridan's book but have always recommended books by two of the guys he learned stone-age survival from: McPhearson and Lundin. Lundin's When All Hell Breaks Loose is one of the best bugging in books around and McPhearson is, well he is the guy who taught Lundin.
    Along the same line as Sheridan is Neal Strauss' Emergency. Another shop till you drop Yuppie Panic Attack. It does have some very good tips for urban survival buried in it. Your mileage may very.
    Beside knives and steel pots make sure you have files and whetstones and a good heavy hammer. Stock up on some dollar store spoons and forks that, later can be re-purposed into broadheads and frog gigs. Old kitchen knives can become spear heads and etc. Oh, and get some heavy duty needles and waxed (non mint) dental floss for general repairs - ripped pants are forever!

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    1. I like the $ store flatwear idea. Eating with your fingers sucks. "Emergency" was the one I was trying to think of, thanks. I'd vote for McPhearson myself. Have his popular one.

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  3. 01-03-14 Vlad said

    "My best Lee dipper groups were three JHP in 15/16 c-to-c;
    and three cast 30-80-FN in 1.375 at 100 yards."

    One minute of arc groups (Close enough for govt work) doesn't sound too shabby to me, coming from a Lee dipper set.

    I don't know what types of powder that the Lee set calls for in their loads, but it would seem that such results would be easier produced using the finer, more consistent granulations.

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  4. not to contradict the Great One...
    If it is something to last generations, you might want to rethink on the longevity metal pots. There used to be a profession called Tinker. They went around and mended pots that the bottoms had worn out of. We don't see it these days because smooth cooking surfaces don't wear on the pots as much, but when you are using rocks for your fireplace, they scrape as you move them and wear a tiny amount off the bottom. 10 or 15 years of that takes its toll.

    I am not saying metal pots are not a good idea, just be aware that by the 2nd or 3 rd generation, they will need repair... so you might want to treat them like you do the cheap knives.. buy deep and store for reserves down the line.

    TMM

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    Replies
    1. Not a contradiction, just a refinement on my article. Which is appreciated. Even contradictions are appreciated, if I slipped and fell and my head landed up my ass.

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  5. All good choices.

    Having an easy way to start a fire is a big one. Too many keyboard commandos have never actually started fires using primitive methods. I've done it with a bow drill. With good materials it can be done fairly fast, but if things are less than perfect it can be a royal pain or just impossible.

    The first thing I thought of was a knife. We are going to miss decent mass produced knives. There's a reason they were such popular trade goods back in the bad.

    One of the big bonuses of civilization is clean and easy light. Anything to keep that going for a while is good. Imagine trying to stitch up wounds in the dark.

    I just bought a good heavy stainless steel pot for my boat to replace the cheap aluminum one I had. Hard to cook without a good pot.

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    1. We'll always have knives as long as we have excess fuel and ore, but I think you are right. Mas produced, cheap, trade good knives will always be in demand.

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    2. Sometimes the cheap ones can surprise you. Sheath is a bit dodgy though.
      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BRZZUC/ref=pd_1ctyhuc__sbs_04_03
      And I second Sixbears - stock up on magnesium fire starters. Wood on wood and flint and steel in high humidity sucks!

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    3. I'll get one-thanks for the link.

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    4. As much as I hate it, you might want to include polypropylene line. I like other fibers better but they don't stand UV light as well. You can make cordage but cheap, strong, loooong pieces of line are very time intensive or impossible.

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  6. Wow, talk about great timing. I just received my UVPaqlite Christmas special package this weekend, those GID units are nice! Fwiw, the tublite smooth cylinders are 'okay', but I think the flatter (and less stronger) plastic wrapped crystals imo emit more lite. Could be the surrounding acylic diffuses the light - just guessing. But the whole concept works pretty well - thank you for its inclusion.

    The metal pot - hell yeah, just try and boil water out of anything you make in nature. Yeah, lined hole with membrane and boiling rocks works but the metal pot is way WAY easier to use. I think a big mixing bowl works well here too - round is easy to clean and heats uniformly.

    Metal knife - yes, but sharp rocks are pretty good too. Can be found in nature. And I think the original magnifying lens was a globe of water ?

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    1. I don't think I heard that about the water lens before. Interesting. I'd go with the cylinders are better, just because the longevity factor.

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  7. Make candles from Bees wax. Keep the bees for the honey. Forget silly little chemical lights. Anything that sets in the sun will degenerate, the sun is worse on things than the weather.

    Look into building a charcoal forge with that you can make a knife from just about any scrap steel.

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    1. Fine advice. It doesn't go real well with survival shopping though, dammit. But seriously, I was thinking more along the lines of nomadic wilderness life.

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    2. Man make fire. Smoke kill bees. Man get honey and beeswax. Ardmore make stupid looking candles.

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    3. They're not stupid looking, just craft-y

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  8. I like the ColdSteel brand of machete, they're fairly cheap and hold up to tough use. I've been using one to clear brush for several years. It cost about 15 dollars and beats the heck out of a hatchet, even when I had a 2 stroke brush trimmer the machete was better at getting through the tough stuff.

    Going to have to check out that glow stick, never heard of that before.

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    Replies
    1. Rawles had a review of the stick, which is where I heard of it.

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    2. some of the amazon reviews are not very good

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    3. The Cold Steel Jungle machete is my friend. Also the Gerber Gator Jr. Though its only good for light brush, vines and such, the saw back actually will cut hardwood - its more of a jungle knife actually.

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    4. Who is the big knife company? Something with a "B" I think. Anyway, used to shop with them, sometimes you could get $5 knives if you bought in multiples. If you ignore brand names, sometimes you can save big bucks.

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    5. "Who is the big knife company? Something with a "B" I think."

      You're probably thinking of BudK James?

      By the way, the Ferrorods work very well for starting fires, but I would also have a low tech solution on hand as well in the form of a high carbon steel striker. I'll try and summarise this here, so as to save you some unesseary research.

      You will need to have charcloth, which is carbonized cotton (100% cotton)cloth that is made by being placed in a metal container on a stove with a small air hole, and cooked until the smoke just stops coming out of the hole. The cotton is typically cut up into 1" or 2" squares, and catches the faint spark from the steel striker really well. Many of the early natives used carbonized punky wood, that had a sort of a "cork like" texture to it, which is good to know if you do not have any spare cotton on hand. Even small wood chips will work in a pinch, but it must all be well carbonized as described above.

      The strikers can be bought at a variety of places, but track of the wolf, as well as the place below sell them. Track of the wolf also sells a combo high carbon steel knife/striker, but it's expensive, and any high carbon steel knife will work if the strikng area has had its coating removed. You can make your own striker with an old file. Heat the file and shape it to form. Heat it again cherry red, and then dowse it in brine water; done!

      The stone can be any very hard stone that is 7 or greater on the Mohs scale of hardness. It must have at least one angular edge to strike on. The reason is that you are actually shaving very small particles of steel shavings (Which in turn are oxidizing and glowing red hot) from the striker with this rock (Which is why the steel has to be so hard and brittle). For practical purposes, I'm just going say concentrate on the quartzites, since they are common, and can be found practically anywhere. But any hard stone will work. Just try a few different ones to check for hardness.

      budk.com

      http://possibleshop.com/c-g-fire-starter.html

      http://www.trackofthewolf.com/

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    6. Yep- BudK sounds about right. Thanks. I like the carbonized wood shaving idea.

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    7. Char cloth is the best form of char but I have also used dry-rotted wood, light weight dried mushroom and fungus that I charred the same as cotton.

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  9. amazon.com offers fresnel lenses.
    http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Afresnel%20lenses
    I have a credit card size lens in 22 rifle butt pouch.

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    Replies
    1. I love those lenses, but didn't include them because you can't always get them for a buck like you can a magnafying lens. I'm not sure which one is more prone to breakage- glass or plastic.

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  10. The Cold Steel Bowie machete works okay as a knife, the fine point isn't a pen knife, but far easier to work with than the standard machete.

    Anon 9:13 - good point on metal pot longevity. I never thought of it that way, but your logic makes sense. Storing a couple of them would be a good idea.

    Yes, a field magnifying glass can be made with a blade of grass which end is doubled into circle - maybe 1/8" diameter ?. Gather some water in the cavity - makeshift magnifying glass. Making fire from this - hmmm.

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  11. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004ZAIXSC/ref=oh_details_o05_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0064N42VU/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0064N42VU/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    You can't go wrong with theses and order through Jim's link

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  12. Thanks for pimpin my commission, yo!

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  13. Barry Manilow Songs....Make for great psy-ops weapon that needs no reloading. Once you sing one they will never get them out of their head until it drives them crazy. Or they just have to go around with their fingers stuck in their ears. You and your later generations could be some sort of wicked warlock.

    "I write the songs that make the whole world sing, I write the songs of love and special things".....

    or

    "At the Copa Copacabana; The hottest spot north of Havana"...

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    Replies
    1. you are an evil, vicious, wicked bastard. i love that about you

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