Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Economic Options And Future Contingencies

Riffing off of Fabbersmith's thoughts, courtesy of WRSA
Suppose you wanted to set up your own (machine shop, ham shack, gunsmithy, etc.), out of sight and so on, what would you do?

My reply turned into a post-length stream of consciousness:

The gutted RV idea is genius.
FWIW, Hollyweird productions are essentially a caravan of bobtail trucks, and multiple departments are precisely the makerspace set-up you're envisioning, with full construction shops and machine shops set up to go anywhere on location. A boxvan and occasional cash work as a handyman/jack-of-all-trades is all the cover anyone needs. That also explains a towed genny.

As for range/no range, don't overlook the ability to trench and drop in box or pipe culvert in suitable sizes and lengths, and bury the whole thing literally underground. They're designed to hold up interstates, so all you have to add is the line end and the target end. How much is between the two is a question of desire, plus available funds and space.
The makerspace could be handled the same way, directly adjacent, provided you aren't in a flood plain and don't have a high water table.

Couple either or both to solar, wind, or microhydro power supply as available, and you can hide the entire thing in plain sight on a few acres of anywhere. You now have a quiet, invisible year-around 55-degree giant root cellar you could light with LEDs, heat minimally with radiant electric etc., and ventilate with simple push and pull fans. Hydropowered would be completely unseen, wind or solar-powered minimally noted.

That's grid-free; obviously tying into the grid with an outbuilding subpanel, and/or a couple of carbon-fueled gensets for surge capacity is always an option.

If one is willing to make haste slowly, the whole thing could be built inside and under a temporary pole barn during construction, and once things are set in and covered over, the building removed and returned to pasture, corral, or scrub. >Poof!< All gone, except for a discreet entrance and an alternate exit.

Over time, a full-on mini-cluster is possible, with nothing visible from outside or above but perhaps some solar panels and such.

I'd also give some serious thought to the Disneyland approach to privacy, over time:
trenching around a property line, berming up the removed soil inside the trench line, and planting it in something not likely to be climbed through (e.g thorny berries, or wild cactus out west) solves basic privacy problems and adds a measure of sight and noise security for day-to-day activities, and the potential for additional food supply. It can also be used to canalize visitors, both expected and unexpected.
Whether one elects to burrow into or emplace structures within such a berm for other considerations is entirely a personal decision, but a few seasons after it's emplaced, it grows into being part of the landscape, exactly like French hedgerows. In flat lands it gives the property owner additional elevation for observation, while denying it to ground level viewers outside, and provides a line to plant trees for a windbreak, which can provide wood fuel and food, all of which looks completely pastoral, agricultural, and innocuous.

All of the above can also provide a modest (or more) hobby farm operation, which can pay for itself and provide additional explanatory cover. The number of suburban and urban farmer's markets grow annually, which gives one a reason for transient pass-through of personnel, daily visitors, and weekly trips to market and such.

One property, time and forethought, plus a lot of sweat equity, and you've re-created the infrastructure sufficient to feed you, shelter you, and form the nucleus of a local auxiliary economy for yourself and any number of good, thoughtful, rational contingency reasons. That's true both now and in any number of possible future societies, good and ill.

There's a reason that the guys who signed the Declaration of Independence and the majority of those who tagged along were all merchants, tradesmen, and professional men: money is the mother's milk of every other worthwhile human endeavor, from art to charity to politics to war. Income = possibilities. The more streams that feed it, the bigger the ocean of one's options. That's just as true right now as it was in 1770 or any other time in history, and may become important again rather urgently.


Bezzle said...

After weeks of gushing praise from the world's collectivist press, it didn't take long for Cuba's slave doctors to reel off their first casualty to Ebola (this after losing one to malaria a week ago).

Anonymous said...

Oh look; Reddit has censors. You can't not say nice things about Cuba.

Boat Guy said...

Food for thought. I'll have to wait till I get home to look at WRSA now (pears work droids have blocked it)bit a great idea on the culvert even if I decide to leave the building up.
On a related preparedness note; your piece on water was GREAT. P'raps you might follow up with one on sanitation for when the pandemic goes hot again.
Thanks for your writing! I rely on it.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see that I'm not the only one thinking along these lines.

Amateurs study tactics. Professional implement logistics and supply chains.

Quonset S type structures are also a great option - cut into a hill, build a proper foundation with insulation and radiant heating pipes, put the long side against a the hill, add rebar, then add 6+ inches of shotcrete, then add insulating foam, then add another inch of shotcrete, then cover with dirt to reshape the hill. Reseed / replant your "green" roof. Finish the inside to suit.

Anonymous said...

The problem with RV vehicles is that cops are always on the lookout for mobile meth labs in them.

You would be better off with a under 28k pound vehicle (no weight station or need for cdl) think U Haul truck.

A old school bus, would work too.

If mobility was your thing.

Frankly the expensive way suggested above with shotcrete, kind of misses the point. Would you rather have better tools in a home despot shed, or a nice building full of harbor freight junk?

The pie in the sky suggestions are the types of things that will keep guys from doing anything cause not too many people maintain a 30k personal checking account balance.

Start small.

A bench vise. Wrenches. Etc. find a farm auction. Hell even a government auction. The .gov is always throwing away new tools. What a better use for them than this?

Aesop said...

Perhaps, but a lot of the problem with cops looking for anything is being an 18-45 y.o. unaccompanied guy, looking like trouble.

They occasionally investigate retired grandparent-looking couples, but it's pretty rare, and the more respectable you look and act, the more respectable you tend to get treated.

Nothing wrong with either suggestion set above, but remember, it's not either/or, it's both, perhaps at different times.

When you're in the infantry, there's never "nothing to do", because if you aren't doing anything else, you're improving your position.

The same should be true with contingency preparations. And bank balances are only a problem if you don't break a task into bite-sized pieces. It's a lot easier to do things in steps, as funds and time are chiseled out of your everyday life.

Anonymous said...

I would add that having a mental list (or written) with alternates, for stuff you would like to get will help immensely. It lets you take advantage of opportunity.

For example, you would like to improve your comms. If you think linearly you will need to study, get your ham license, buy a radio, antenna, power, etc. If you think it thru ahead of time, you can pick up an antenna at an estate sale, then a radio at a yard sale, then take the test, etc.

I guess my point is that you should develop at least a rough plan and list, so that you are aware, and looking out for things, no matter where you are in your linear progression toward your end goal. Don't take this to extremes- like buying a MASH unit at a .gov surplus sale when you don't even know how to put on a bandaid (unless it's $100, then BUY.)

This is a strategy for doing it cheaply. I wouldn't use this approach if I was buying retail. You also need to be careful of 'putting the cart before the horse' but by taking the opportunities that present themselves for small $ amounts, you will avoid much of that.

Once you've got the basics covered, you can start filling in the gaps and building from there.


Anonymous said...


You said RE: Underground ranges: "As for range/no range, don't overlook the ability to trench and drop in box or pipe culvert in suitable sizes and lengths, and bury the whole thing literally underground... (snip) How much is between the two is a question of desire, plus available funds and space."

I would like to add ballistics as another limiting factor.

Some rounds shoot flatter than others, but, it's an issue.

Let's say you've got enough land, time and money. You build your underground range a moderate 400 meters long. You used 4 foot diameter pipe.

That there will be a problem..

Let's say you're running an AR platform rifle and standard battle rattle M855 ball - a combination so popular, I think it's a law in some states.

If you zero the rifle for 400 meters - meaning you hold dead nuts on at 400 and the round will strike center mass, the ballistic track of the bullet will be an issue.

-Pipe diameter: 48 inches.
-Rise of the bullet with 400 meter zero: 49+ inches.

Meaning, the bullet's rise is higher than the diameter of the pipe. The projectile will hit the inside of the pipe at some point, which is not conducive to accurate shooting.

If you built your underground range to 300 meters and used 48" pipe, that would be fine, since the bullet's rise would only be about 2 feet.

And certain rounds shed velocity faster than others, depending on weight, BC, etc. Which means their rise and fall will be greater than plain-vanilla M855 out of an AR.

When I was stationed in Germany, a friend of mine - German - built a 400 meter shooting range in an old train tunnel that had been decommissioned. No worries about hitting the ceiling there...

Just saying you have to take into account which rounds you'll be using. Don't want to invest some serious coin building your über-range, only to find out your rounds are hitting the ceiling halfway to the target...

Aesop said...

The longest underground range I could envision anyone putting in would be larger than that, like say 6' or better, so that you could walk the targets, and probably not longer than 100M/yds. That's sufficient to zero long-range weapons, and extrapolate zeros for longer ranges. It also completely eliminates windage as a range factor, along with being completely discreet.

If anyone has the wherewithal for something longer than that, ROWYBS. I'm sure they would be able to take ballistics into account as well.

Tucanae Services said...

For some ideas on mobile production --

This is for a woodshop. But same concept could be applied to other crafts as well.

As to the concept of disguise. Look most PoPo would not know the difference between a torx screw and a box plane, or what 6061 stick rods are for. So as long as the shop did not keep any in-process materials on site for any length of time the authorities would have little to go for. They would have to spend resources they would rather not expend to catch you in the act of boring out a AR lower receiver for example.

Anonymous said...

Since you were talking about this appearing to be a farm... just... farm. Farms and ranches have quite a bit in barns and outbuildings and what not. Hiding in plain sight and looking respectable is what Grandpa does. If the blue group comes around and sees I have an underground range - and they have magnetic anomaly detection and etc (can't hide brass at one end and lead at the other forever) - I'd need a real plausible story... if I have my AR and my lever action scoped 30 30 Winchester leaning in the barn for varmints, and my ol' Ruger Blackhawk on my hip, I'm just an old curmudgeon on a farm with "too many guns".
Of course, that all presupposes that they get all the way up the road anyway... maybe I'm missing something. But I'm old, so if I did, forgive please and enlighten me. Ain't too old to learn.

Aesop said...

There's nothing illegal about an underground range, so if they found one they'd have...what, exactly?

In the meantime, they have no reason to look in the first place, because there's no sound signature, nothing visible to overflights, no neighbor's reports, and no reason to snoop around underground at your acreage as opposed to any number of countless other farmsteads in the first place. It is, for practical purposes, Atlantis, or Noah's Ark. How's the search for those going, so far?

They can't find what they can't see unless they fall into it.

Anonymous said...

If you put manure on top, they'd fall into that... might be fun to watch