TOOLS OF THE DEVIL*
note: Gary in TN, thanks for the snail mail donation. Glad you're still reading my crap and Happy Festivus to you also!
note: Sixbears-a long overdue shout out. Your site is the only consistent large source of traffic I get. Many thanks ( http://sixbearsinthewoods.blogspot.com/ )
Man is a tool using animal. You can blather and postulate all you wish as to how knowledge is the most important tool, but I think you would die long before you put all your knowledge to work. First, you need tools. Then knowledge gets you far more tools, more sustainable tools, tradable tools and whatever else. If you were suddenly stranded in the woods because your dumb ass lived in the big city and instead of watching TV you took karate classes and knew how to knap rocks and were in great physical shape going to the gym and everything else, you would still die without tools if you were in a resource scarce area.
Now, I’m not discounting Stone Age Tech or wilderness survival knowledge. It certainly could be helpful. But it doesn’t GUARANTEE survival. You might be a really good Ninja Warrior with your M4 and red site, clearing rooms all tacticool like the big boys over in Iraq, but if the town has been stripped of supplies you can’t fight and steal and take food that isn’t there. You’d have been better off with wheat than more ammo. If you are in the wilderness and the food supply is less than your daily needs, you will die surrounded by edible weeds and insects. That crap is for getting rescued, not survivalism.
And I think most of us realize the primary importance of tools. Without them we are naked apes at the mercy of Mother Nature. We hate that vile bitch so much that we engage in more destruction of Nature than is even necessary, as a form of retribution, and all the primal screeches of the Tree Huggers shan’t change our minds. We don’t care about preserving nature. At most, we just don’t want to run out of resources for our grandchildren. Birkenstock wearing Volvo driving female armpit hair weaving freaks have no idea how insane it would be to be IN nature rather than visiting her fully equipped.
The problem with Yuppie Scum Survivalists is that they rely too much on the wrong kinds of equipment. No one thinks it is a great idea to Stone Age Survival ( a great strategy that falls apart when you don’t have enough hunting and gathering space empty of other people ) the apocalypse, but they go far too far going High Tech. A middle ground is much more desirable. We all needs tools. There is no such thing as being able to be self sufficient in tools ( other than Stone Tech ). As soon as man started smelting ores for metals, he entered the Agricultural Age trap of depleting resources.
Depleting soil for food and depleting ores for tools, which both farmed and protected the farm. I’m under no romantic illusions of hunters and gatherers. Theirs was a much better social structure and a much better profession ( warriors and hunters are our natural occupations, not farmers or merchants or craftsmen exclusively [ crafting your weapons of war was another matter ] ). But they were just as bad at depleting resources as their successors the farmers-the big difference was there weren‘t enough of them to do as much lasting harm. The hunters depleted game and firewood, where the farmers depleted ore and soil ( and game and wood ). Man never could survive without depletion.
All you can do in your generation is to minimize the depletion. Which you won’t be able to do with high tech tools, because as soon as they break or run out of consumables, you will be forced to waste resources replacing them. Without the proper tools, you waste resources, the most obvious being wood. If you don’t have a proper stove, you burn much more wood for far less retained heat. If you can’t salt or smoke or can, you butcher an animal and feast until sated and then the rest of the meat is wasted.
Without middle tech prep, you don’t have the means of conserving resources. In a conventional stick built McMansion, you need that chainsaw to fell forests to deliver a lot of heat from a hog of a stove. In a dug-out with solar gain and a rocket stove mass heater, you need far less wood. So much less you don’t need the chainsaw. Even an AR, which needs jacketed bullets rather than lead, makes ammunition a higher tech item. As if ammo wasn’t problematic enough once the factories shut down. This is what I mean about going to a lower level of technology. So that you can lessen your vulnerability.
That said, sometimes it is harder to go low tech and sometimes it is far more expensive to do so. There is a compelling case to be made for all the Yuppie Scum Kit. The only restriction is that it must be recognized as more temperamental, less resilient, less repairable and having the certainty of being wholly abandoned at the end of its life. You can enjoy them, but don’t rely on them long term. Have your lower tech in place FIRST, then you may gay up your preps with higher tech. Don’t get the fiberglass compound bow with Dacron string first. Get the longbow made of hardwood. Then get the modern bow.
I’ve been content to stay at 1900’s level of preps. Most folks prefer to get to 1950 for theirs, a time of lightweight metals and advanced plastics and progress towards computer chips. And while I certainly emphatically do NOT recommend any Yuppie Scum gear, I can see a use for it if used sparingly, somewhat modified and not relied upon for your long term preps ( even if you are a selfish old humper and know you won’t last long and so are content with MRE’s and AR’s on high volume of fire, try to think of your descendents or at least your tribe being able to use what you leave behind ).
Tomorrow I’ll cover all the crap you want but which I don’t recommend and do my dandiest to make a compelling case for each one of them. Concrete bunkers atop the mountain, MRE’s and freeze dried foods, AR-15’s, property in the redoubt, bug-out bags, chainsaws and whatever else I can come up with.
END ( today's related link http://amzn.to/2iKc7kM )
* By the by, all my writing is copyrighted. For the obtuse out there
Which came first, the brain or the hammer?ReplyDelete
The brain, for without that there would be no hammer. Then, brain and hammer combined, more tools were created. But all things must start in the brain for, as long as I've been around, I've never been walking the woods and stumbled upon a set of tools created by nature.
Anyway, you have to plan, and plan ahead. Living remotely, planning ahead isn't a luxury but a requirement. Last night in a conversation with our son in FL he said he had to run to Target yesterday to pick something up and the crowds were unbelievable. I chuckled and told him I'm going to the store on the 27th. There was a pause then he asked me what I meant. I told him again that I'm going to the store on the 27th and nowhere else between now and then. Another pause. Then I reminded him that it was cold here, very cold, and it is much more costly to go to the store when it is cold, so I don't do it often. I told him that when I go to the store I will spend several hundred dollars cause I don't plan on going again until late February. He finally said, "I don't see why you people live that way". To which I replied, "I don't see how you people live with the constant aggravation of enormous sums of people everywhere, like you just got thru complaining about." "Why don't you plan ahead and just go to the store say, once a month or so."
My words were falling on disabled ears.
So I shut my ass and hung up.
Society, so it seems, is a crutch before the fact. Society disables people completely then offers a cure for the disease, and all you have to give it in return is your whole life.
This is the only life I am ever going to own and I am living it as I see fit and nobody else gets to say a word about it. I will not be pulled every which way by conceptuals like society's or herd's or any other groupage.
"Which came first, the brain or the hammer"Delete
You need the brain to build the hammer, but to build the hammer you need THAT infrastructure. Which, if missing, means the brain is helpless. That was my point.
Good, simple and overlooked tool that is essentially a manual rototiller: Broadfork. One piece, heavy-duty welded all steel, use your body weight to stand on cross bar and drive four 14" inch tines into soil, lean back and the tines arc through ground loosening anything in way (tree roots, sod, compacted soil). Fast and does better job than rototiller without the petroleum requirement, mechanical headaches and noise signature.ReplyDelete
Highly recommended for preparing ground for food production.
S in Fla.
Most models don't seem to have enough reviews to make an educated choice, though. Seems like a darn good investment if you find the right one.
Also, past comments had mentioned Silky saws. The Japanese definitely make kick-ass saws. They cut fast on the pull stroke (as opposed to English saws cutting on push stroke). All Silky saws have been well worth it for me. The blades are generally impulse hardened and last a long time.ReplyDelete
Vaughan sold an inexpensive Japanese bladed saw at Lowes for some years called the Bear Saw. There were a few different blades/courseness of cut. As an example of longevity, I used the same saw to make all cuts building a fairly elaborate chicken coop and A-frame rafter-roofed rabbitry. Saw still cuts quick and well.
The Silky "manual chainsaw" model is the Genki Temagari 500 (500 mm. Blade, about 22"). Aggresive tooth, pull cut. I used after the recent hurricane here to cut away an Australian Pine leaning on my house. Fast. The best possible for a hand saw. I also broke out a two-man vintage saw. Pain in the ass. I should sell it to a Cracker Barrel and they can hang it on their wall.
S in Fla.
“but they go far too far going High Tech. A middle ground is much more desirable.”ReplyDelete
This is pretty much my line of thought on the matter as well. I prefer the simplicity and durability of lower tech whenever possible. I’ve wishlisted Dave Canterbury’s book: Bushcraft 101, and plan to get it at some point. It’s my understanding that he covers lower tech bushcraft skills in this book, and this appeals to me. Obviously there are situations in which high tech would be superior (The -50 degree sleeping bag for that Arctic expedition vs the wool blanket that Canterbury suggests) but overall, I prefer Canterbury’s approach.
I'll be the first to admit putting synthetic jacket over wool sweaters rather than a cotton jacket makes a huge difference here in the winter. Granted, I could get that performance with a natural material, but it would be rather expensive. Pains me to say it but middle tech can be a boon financially.Delete
Another tool worth thinking about - CINVA-RAM block press. A steel press that forms soil-cement into building blocks (i.e. large bricks) for structure construction. Like adobe, but more stable.ReplyDelete
To make this a business, you would have to provide transportation for taking it on site. About 200 pounds, not a huge load.
To get you started on building a press:Delete
Thanks for the shout out. Glad to send some traffic your way.ReplyDelete
I've done the survive in the woods with nothing gig -when I was younger, more foolish, wanted to test things, and it was summer. Yeah, it can be done.
However, a few basic items make all the difference. Take a tarp for instance. Waterproof shelter in two minutes. It takes most of the day to make a sorta waterproof shelter using the natural materials I have around here.
Combine that with a warm sleeping bag and life is so much better. If your fire goes out you won't freeze and die.
I can make fire using a bow drill, but it takes time and energy. Now imagine making that bow with a sharp rock and making your own cordage for the string. Try doing that with frozen fingers.
Food storage means you don't have to forage for food every day. That's huge. You can hunker down and hide when dangerous people are about. You can sit out a nasty rainy day.
Tarp, sleeping bag, lighters, knife, axe, and some basic foods boosts your survival chances way up and immediately makes life more comfortable.
And you could all that at Wally for under $50. Not saying the quality is what you want, just pointing out how easy it is to be set with basic tools in the woods.Delete