Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Man, The Tool-Maker

h/t WRSA

I am no slouch at tool-using, but it's an acquired habit. (And not my profession, strictly speaking.) Nonetheless, I have built beds, tables, furniture, cabinets, shelves, boxes, and two small cabins in my day, demolished houses and built rooves (roofs for English grammar-averse troglodytes), and any number of other things, including helping to erect and tear down goodly chunks of the village that is the original RennFaire for an embarrassing number of years. I've done 3 1/2 room additions here at Castle Anthrax solo, and before I'm too decrepit, I expect to erect the entire SHTF lair at Camp Snoopy that will put Bond Villain Lairs to shame. Including the pond, greenhouses, bunkers, trenches, concertina wire, and heavy weapons pits. (Yes, I'm serious.)

And, on my best day, I'm but a journeyman.

Point being, now or WTSHTF, there will be tool-users, and casualties. There will be no third option. In seriously distressing times, anybody healthy enough to eat but not bright enough to swing a hammer will find out what contractors mean by "construction laborer" in short order, or they will learn the meaning of John Smith's dictum that "He who does not work, neither shall he eat." (Liberal Idiots - but I repeat myself - that is what Reagan meant when he told you in the 1980s that "The best welfare program is a JOB.")

Pioneer is a verb.

Tools are why pioneer wagons were so heavy and moved so slowly from 1800-1900.

A man with the right tools can do anything.
A man who can make the right tools will have the money of the man who can do anything.
This is why most of the gold discovered out west started in the pockets of the miners, and ended up in the pockets of the smiths and shopkeepers who sold them those tools.

Working on TV and movie locations, it saddens me to have to explain to twenty-somethings that the 100+ year-old house they’re shooting in was built entirely with hand tools (No, really! Before electricity and indoor plumbing!), from materials hauled in by horse-drawn freight wagons from the nearest train depot, which is why the driveways are so big and curving; and that the reason the garage out back is so short, and has two small stalls not big enough for a SmartCar is because back in the day, that was the barn for the family horse(s). And that those sticks on the back side of an exposed wall are simply the 1900-era version of sheetrock, back when it was called plaster-and-lathe.

You can literally see their heads pop from the swelling at that point, like you just landed from a spaceship and asked to be taken to their leader.

Then they go back to texting and playing videogames on their surveillance phones.

Meanwhile, over at Zero-Gov's website, is a very cursory primer on the subject of tool assemblage. If this is news to you, go and learn.

You can also note that some of the worthiest sections of ,Rawles' three worthwhile written offerings*, and no small amount of his SurvivalBlog deal with tools, tool acquiring, and specifically what and which to get your hands on.

Most of us already know all this, and have made decent headway at becoming the jacks-of-all-trades we ought to be, both for self-satisfaction and the pride of creation, and for the collection of life-saving skills if/when Ugly Times come upon us again.

But for those who've concentrated on more immediate things, and those too new to have heard or apprehended that a sexy rifle and case of MREs aren't going to git 'r done in challenging circumstances, go read up on those resources.

Then, as now, skills at carpentry and woodworking, metalsmithing and metal fabrication, civil engineering/construction, plumbing, electrical work, welding, gunsmithing, automotive and engine-using skills, and the like, will be the entry ante to survive and thrive, not to mention among the millions of good-paying, good-benefits trades and job openings Mike Rowe is always on about right this minute, which can't be outsourced to China or India ever, and require no college, minimal training, and mainly just basic math and eye-hand co-ordination, with a modicum of attention to detail. Got a GED, not afraid to get your hands dirty, and don't want to squander $100K and up for a communist-indoctrination fap-fest at the local Uselessversity Re-Education Center, but still want to make upwards of $100K in a couple of years (while your liberal arts peers are still only juniors at State U. trying to master beer pong)? Caterpillar (little company in Peoria IL, maybe you've heard of them?) is always crying for guys - or hell, girls too - to learn things like heavy equipment maintenance , for going on 40 years. Three years out, and you're pulling $100K /yr or so. But no, stay in that clean-hands barrista gig, Snowflake. Coffee-slinging Latte Monkey will be a yuuuuuge gig during the Zompocalypse, right?

They're also fun, and if you're so inclined, can keep food on your table, a roof over your head (possibly even one you built your ownself), and money in your pocket.

So if necessary, go read Buppert's piece, and get busy getting what you'll need and learning to use what you've got if we ever become Venezuela - or the Eloi.

Survival is graded pass fail, not on the curve. And it's pretty much set at the 90/10 percentile, if not right at 100/0.

*(this one, this one, and this one, and in that order, if you were wondering; the rest are mostly a waste of time or money for the most part, IMHO)


Anonymous said...

every once in while, i will come across an old cabin back in the woods, at least 80 years old. hand fell logs, hand hew logs, hand hew corners, still in fixable, liveable condition. I make a note of each one. if shit gets bad having 50% of a home is better than no home at all. even more so when winter sets in. only takes one generation for knowledge to be lost.

Cederq said...

Oh to be young again, I would jump on the chance to become one of the Heavy Equipment Maintenance Techs. Sadly they don't take 60 year old men for apprentices...

Anonymous said...

It is a great article, and timely.
Having the tools and skills necessary to just maintain your dwelling is mandatory.
As a career builder, one note stuck out: A nail set is for "setting" a nail FLUSH with the surface of the wood so as to avoid marring the wood's surface. You would be astounded how many "carpenters" don't know this. I've met only a handful that do in over 30 years in the business.
In addition, I would stress the importance of having at least two of everything. I've broken lots of hammers in my life, mainly because I prefer wooden handled ones because they work better (don't try to debate this, it's true).
Also, have as many task-specific tools as you can, even if you only have rare occasion to use it. Yes, a screwdriver will open a paint can, but that little painters tool, you know the one with the bottle opener on one end (go figure) doesn't bugger up the lid edges and saves time.
I have always told the young-uns in the business that there is nothing more valuable than knowing a trade, especially when you know your trade better than everyone else!
When you have a trade, you can literally find work anywhere no matter how remote the location. You will never go hungry.

Anonymous said...

I have a nephew whose love is music and who wants to be a musician. I advised him (and his father agreed) that he ought to learn something he can make a living with (I recommended a skilled trade, electrician/carpenter for instance). I've known a lot of would-be musicians and actors, they were all scraping by as bartenders and waiters, which means that the nights when they have the best chance of making money are also the nights when they COULD be performing were it not for the requirement of eating and living indoors.

Plus, it's a lot easier to do music on the side when you can work 40 hours a week to pay the bills, instead of having to work 60-70. If the music career takes off you can always quit your day job, but until such time it's good to have a plan B.

Mark D

MMinWA said...

If I was 19 again, I would learn shipfitting. Right now, their union will help you with the classroom portion and put you to work on top of it. Once you've learned, you can get work pretty much anywhere in the world where there are ship yards. It's a trade that can be built on. Want to work in the oil fields? On an off shore rig? You think a company like Boeing might take a look at you?

Aside the great money you can bank working literally all over the world if you choose, the best part is you're not likely to find yourself opening up your lunch any cucked SJWs, hell you're not going to be dealing with an HR Dept and you'll be working only with men.

Anonymous said...

Another great bit o' concentrated wisdom. Another recommendation is to learn to weld, especially gas welding and then forge welding.
I've been studying under a master blacksmith but old injuries prevent me from forging more than an hour or two at a time. Still even if TSDHTF I'll have another hobby for my dotage. And something to play at with my grandson.
And I actually do have one skill from my first MOS; the trick will be getting (making?) parts.
Boat Guy

Anonymous said...

I've taught myself drop-spindle spinning, spinning wheel spinning, dying alpaca, wool, and cotton fibers with natural dyes and mordants, weaving those fibers, knitting and crocheting those fibers, and sewing the ensuing fabric from weaving.

I can also make soap straight from wood ash to lye to soap (choose your fats - in a bad situation it's always going to be a tallow of some form for a goodly while - this right now is frowned upon in the wooshy soap-making communities online, but I don't care about that crap), natural scents for the soaps so they're not horrid, and I'm able to can on a wood stove with a pressure canner (though I do prefer my propane stove right now). I also garden, store things in our root cellar, and know how to "refrigerate" with running water, as well as how to preserve foods without refrigeration. I also raise chickens, goats, and rabbits.

These all sound like hobbies right now. They sure are! If we went into a Venezuelan fiasco type situation, they'd become lifesavers.

RSR said...

This book is quite good as well (prefer him to Rawles and believe his approach is generally more acceptable/accessible): https://www.amazon.com/Survival-Theory-Preparedness-Jonathan-Hollerman/dp/069267280X

Others worth reading:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1480270660/ (this is a good book and more about how one can prepare in current situation -- Hollerman and Rawles both promote a more wholistic approach)
All of Jim Cobb's are fairly well done: https://www.amazon.com/Jim-Cobb/e/B009SCHMPC/

Insofar as hand tools and other traditional skills, primitive living books have some of the best content:

RSR said...

*Meant to add -- add some foraging and trapping resources, some medical books, livestock books for newer and more specific info than in trad'l skills, and some books on home defense/small unit tactics/guerrilla and/or unconventional warfare and you've got most of your "prepper basics" covered.

Also, I'm a firm believer that one's home should never turn into the Alamo... You really need a larger perimeter than that... Hollerman's book covers this fairly well. Max Velocity does too, especially in his discussion of if your peoples' health/lives are of concern, one is always ahead to burn a structure that holds barricaded enemy than to clear and take it... Which is why fireproof structures are critically important for all preppers, even if not in a common wildfire zone...

Now, not saying that I don't believe in physically hardening one's home as much as possible/prudent and having adequate perimeter defenses of that home, but anytime one is on the defense rather than the attack, then one is at a disadvantage... Picking places and time of battle of your choosing further away from home, especially if your loved ones are in your home, is ideal... Granted, you still need a large enough group/community that adequate security can be maintained while fighting force is gone, but worth considering...
And each fight away from home should begin with a deliberate ambush and be followed by a tactical withdraw and followed by another ambush (deliberate or hasty) which is followed by yet another tactical withdrawal, etc, until one routs pursuing enemy, allowing ambush security elements to eliminate retreating enemy... One should only assault, fight through, and destroy enemy positions as an option of last resort as there will almost certainly be friendly casualties in close quarters engagements... This transitions to a WROL/SHTF trauma surgery/medicine which Aesop no doubt has far more mastered than me...

Anonymous said...

Great resources in the comments here.
Thank you all!