Tools and such worth owning

Yes, this IS a laziness post to have something that isn’t just regurgitating a news piece from the NRA (latest news: California seems to be adopting more gun control) since that news is of no surprise to anyone.

Given how popular SHTF seems to be and how much I dislike the world is ending and the sky is falling and raining liquid sulfur and diseases sort of attitude, I just worked on a short list of good tools to have for use.

First, any sort of firearm with commonly available yet reasonably powerful ammo, OR a good bow and a good set of arrows.

Hunting your own food is actually pretty cheap. Arrows can frequently be re-used over and over, but any firearm has the benefit of not having to get closer to large dangerous animals. Both allow you to go and in many places quite legally hunt food. As far as putting food on the table, catching your own is quite effective and allows you to do pretty much whatever with the meat. make it into steaks, sausage, grind it and make it into a chili, whatever you want at a cost much lower than that in a supermarket.

Second, a good quality axe and various other hand tools.

I will flat out recommend as far as an axe any using the more American style blade, as the length of the blade is slightly flared, meaning it doesn’t get stuck in whatever tree you are chopping as easily, which is a good thing. Again, this is a cost thing. Have a wood stove? Cutting down a tree or two, or in areas that allow it, cutting up an already fallen tree (many forest areas allow removal of dead wood by people) and makes for very cheap heat, as all you need is some effort and the cost of the axe.

A brush axe is good for removing heavily grown brush plants such as saplings and other things, and a scythe is amazingly effective at grass and weeds and lighter brush. Faster and cheaper than a string trimmer, it takes a little more skill to use, but is easy once you know. American and European scythe designs exist, each has their advantages and is really suited to where you live (hence two different designs from two different places). Both are amazingly good tools and much easier than hauling a strimmer and premix.

An adze, pick, shovel, post hole digger and a crosscut saw are all useful.

An adze lets you make amazingly smooth boards, a pick is utterly amazing for digging, and a shovel is great for removing dirt the pick broke up. If you have to pry, get a real digging bar, prying will just break a shovel. A post hole digger is great when you need a perfect hole for something like a fence post or part of a foundation. A crosscut saw is much faster than an axe for cutting up a fallen tree, bring it down with the axe then cut into pieces, or skip felling if it is already down and go straight to the cutting. Let the wood dry for a long time and the axe makes an effective but not perfect splitting tool (you really want a maul or splitting axe for splitting, but a regular one will work.)

Last for this list, a needle and thread/manual sewing machine.

Okay, half the men reading this now probably turned away. Axes are cool and tough and manly thanks to lumberjacks, but a needle and thread? A sewing machine? Okay, this is actually a two type one, you want both a basic needle as well as a leather rated one. Remember the first listed item? Well, any hunted animal will have a skin, which if you can remove right you can either tan or send out to be tanned. Tanned hides are amazingly durable, leather being basically one of the best materials around for making durable things. jackets, gloves, protective wear is pretty commonly made from leather, so knowing how to stitch it will let you make stuff out of those hides you have. A regular needle and thread is really good for just patching something. Getting a hole in your pants is no fun, it’s even less fun when you for some reason lack a change of pants for some time (say, a week long trip with one pair of pants. Whip out a cheap needle and basic thread and sew that hole back up!

 

You could go and get all the hand tools and learn to use them and make some environmental statement, but that wasn’t why I put this very short list of great things to have up. Honestly, knowing how to use any hand tool means you are never limited by your tool as to what you can make and where. If you want to make a hunting cabin, you can haul gas/petrol or diesel, a generator, power tools, a propane heater and all that other stuff, or a few basic hand tools, dig and build the thing by hand with much less to haul and much less limitations.

Plus, since even assembling Ikea furniture seems to cause people to have a bit more pride in it, building something bigger or even just knowing how to use a tool that doesn’t require gas or extension cords or complicated setup means that once you have the skill you can build anything anywhere. And that is a good feeling.

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