How To Make Whiskey Step by Step

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How To Make Whiskey Step by Step Who doesn’t like a shot of whiskey on a cold night? I love it. My granddad has been taking a shot of whiskey every night before bed for over 50 years and he swears it keep him healthy. I did a post on how to make watermelon moonshine …

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Beyond Paracord: 8 Other Cordage Types You Need to Know

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Beyond Paracord: 8 Other Cordage Types You Need to Know It’s no secret that 550 paracord is the most versatile cord you can include in your bug out bag. It should not be the only type of cordage that you consider, though. Many types or rope, cord, and wire exist for many different uses and are …

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70+ Preparedness Gardening Projects

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70+ Preparedness Gardening Projects Gardening has and always will be an important preparedness tool in aiding us towards self sufficiency and survival. With out it we wouldn’t last log in a SHTF situation. Having food stockpiled is great and will keep you fed but what would you do if the emergency you were in didn’t …

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How to Get a Free Survival Map of Your Local Area

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How to Get a Free Survival Map of Your Local Area A survival map is an important part of any survival kit. There is no excuse not to have one because getting one is quick, easy, and free. Print maps of all areas you may need in the event of an emergency. If you have a …

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How To Make a Stun Gun With a Disposable Camera

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How To Make a Stun Gun With a Disposable Camera This is the guide to make a device which runs on a battery and produces sparks at tens of thousands of volts very rapidly. DO NOT use this for any other reason then self defense. A stun gun is a very handy thing to have …

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How To Make Natural Tiger Balm

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How To Make Natural Tiger Balm The time-proven blend of herbal ingredients in Tiger Balm provides safe and effective topical pain relief for sore muscles, arthritis, neck and shoulder stiffness, and just about any other minor muscle or joint aches or pains that may come your way. Tiger Balm is a topical analgesic (pain reliever) …

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14 Prepper Items To Look For At Garage Sales

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14 Prepper Items To Look For At Garage Sales Garage sale season is here! This is the time of year when people do their spring cleaning, clear out their basements and attics, have garage sales, and sell valuable items for next to nothing. If you haven’t been to any garage sales yet this year, you …

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20 Amazing Uses For Soap You Never Thought Of

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20 Amazing Uses For Soap You Never Thought Of I haven’t used soap in years, it makes my skin dry and itchy BUT I read this fantastic article from modernsurvivalblog.com that goes over 20 amazing uses for soap. I never knew soap could be so useful. I will for sure buy some cheap soap now to …

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February Seed Starting Schedule

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February Seed Starting Schedule February is the month when indoor seed starting begins for most gardeners.  Even those of you that live in some of the coldest parts of the country will be able to start a few seedlings in February.  A few basic supplies and a simple shop light are all you need to …

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DIY Mason Jar Bee Hive

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DIY Mason Jar Bee Hive Making a mason jar beehive is super easy and the benefits of having one will help you out beyond belief. These are so simple this hive thrives in urban areas too. If you know anything about bees you know that having your own hive can be as easy as a …

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Off-Grid Refrigeration: Creating an Icehouse in Winter

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icehouseThose who plan to create ways for off-grid refrigeration usually plan to build when the snow thaws, but I’m doing something a little different – I’m planning on building one now.  The main problem for me right now is that I have four feet of snow on the ground, and it’s a little hard to do a layout or any kind of excavating for it.  But what of it?  That doesn’t mean I can’t plan now, nor undertake it before the winter months disappear.

Off-Grid Refrigeration

Icehouses were used extensively in the U.S., especially in “pioneer days,” where they would be the main way of keeping meats and vegetables cool and “refrigerated” in a manner to not require canning, smoking, or drying them.  These icehouses were combined with root cellars/canning cellars to be structures heavily-insulated with earth to keep everything cool and from spoiling in the spring and summer months.  I also mentioned an “icebox,” meaning a refrigerator that was not dependent upon electricity, but had a large block of ice inside of an insulated “box” that kept the food inside cool and from spoiling prematurely.

For those without enough property or in an urban/suburban area, an icebox might be a good thing to have, at least as a backup for the refrigerator.  If you have a little bit of ground, then you may be able to build an icehouse.  I plan on beginning mine about the end of March to the beginning of April.  See, living in Montana, where there are no building codes in rural areas, I’m not hindered by the need for permits or the usual parade of bloodsuckers from local or state governments or neighborhood (incarceration-hood, is more appropriate) associations.  Thus, the benefit of living in a remote state, I can build whatever I want and nobody can say anything to me.

Use This Easy Method to Make Large Blocks of Ice

If you don’t have this, then you’ll have to negotiate around whatever “primates” are blocking your path and secure whatever permits you believe necessary if you want it done.  I’m going to wait until the time I mentioned and then clear out the ground and the snow, use a “C” to dig (a miniature backhoe) the icehouse out, and then build it during the winter months.  The reason is that I will make about a dozen and a half “molds” to fill with water for my ice-blocks, using large bins.  When the water freezes and huge blocks of ice are made, I will then place them inside of my icehouse and cover them up with lots and lots of sawdust.  Each block will have about 20 gallons of water, and this will be (at 7.6 lbs. per gallon) about 150 lbs. apiece.  A lot easier to let the winter freeze up those blocks!

Building an Icehouse

I plan on placing in a drain into the floor (PVC drain tile) with a small slope, and then tamping the earth back into place.  Then I’ll separate the main chamber for the canned goodies from the ice chamber in the rear and slightly lower than the main room.  Stacking the blocks up and then covering them all with sawdust, it will adhere to the time-honored principle of the frontier days…it will keep all spring and summer, and have to be replaced in the fall (it’s below freezing here in September…we only have about 3 to 4 months without ice and snow).

I’m going to use the earth and rocks excavated and then mound it up, as most of the efficient designs I have seen are with rounded or semi-rounded forms/tops.  The only true modern “accoutrements” I plan on having are a good door and door-frame that is sturdy, and I’m considering some kind of interior flooring system.  Any suggestions or personal experiences?  We’d love to hear them, and perhaps you’ll be able to float me some information I can use.  I have a few not-so-near neighbors that are diabetics and use insulin…what could be better than being able to preserve their insulin for them in my icehouse if the SHTF and they lose electricity?

An icehouse or icebox for you and your family may be a good thing to do to enable that your refrigeration lasts…beyond the lifetime of the power plants and power stations…. if the SHTF.  Bottom line: do what you can with what you have.  Better to get into the batter’s box and take a swing then not to take a chance.  Keep fighting that good fight!

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

$3 DIY Bamboo Longbow

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$3 DIY Bamboo Longbow The long bow! One of the earliest weapons made by man. You can make your own from Bamboo for around 3 bucks! This is pretty powerful and will be plenty adequate to hunt small game and maybe even mid size animals. I found a great tutorial that shows you how to …

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The Cricket Trailer: RV with Low Costs to Combat High Gas Prices

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The Cricket Trailer: RV with Low Costs to Combat High Gas Prices The Cricket trailer is a great option for a camping or bug out trailer. Low cost, lots of usable space. This trailer will quite literally rock your world. Before you start reading this could I trouble you to vote for this website as …

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Essential Oils for Common Sense Disaster Preparedness

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Essential Oils for Common Sense Disaster Preparedness Essential Oils have become very popular in the past 5 years not only to heal ailments, freshen rooms naturally and clean the house but in the preparedness community especially. I have been looking for a great article on essential oils for a while now and as I only …

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20 Tiny House Plans You Can DIY

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20 Tiny House Plans You Can DIY Tiny house living basically means living minimally in a small home with a size of under 500 square feet. If you’ve never heard of this concept before, you might think that it’s weird because isn’t it better to live in a modern, big house like those celebrities’ homes you …

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How To Make An Archer’s Thumb Ring From Bone, Antler Or A Spoon

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How To Make An Archer’s Thumb Ring From Bone, Antler Or A Spoon I am no expert what so ever on archery or hunting with bows… That being said I did a little research and learned that you can have a steadier aim and hold the bow drawn longer than most people who do not …

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How To Start a Fire in the Wilderness

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How To Start a Fire in the Wilderness I can’t overstate how critical it is to learn how to start fires in the wilderness. If SHTF you should endeavor to understand the fundamental skills that underlie the process. There exist several techniques which are used depending on the urgency of the fires, the expected impact that is …

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Heritage vs. Hybrid Chicken Breeds: Which Is Sustainable?

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Heritage vs. Hybrid Chicken Breeds: Which Is Sustainable? Before you even decide to get a chicken coop and buy chicken supplies, it is important to have a reason to raise chickens. Do you want them as pets? Are you capable of providing their basic needs? Which breeds suit your requirements best? Do you think egg …

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How To Make A Rash Treatment Salve

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How To Make A Rash Treatment Salve If SHTF or you are trying to be more natural and you suffer with skin ailments this is a great treatment for you. When making salve, it’s always best to first consider what you are attempting to treat. Always get the ingredients from a trusted shop or even …

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A Canoe That Can Fit Inside a Backpack

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A Canoe That Can Fit Inside a Backpack Ori Levin designed a full sized canoe that’s completely collapsible and can be stored in a bag that’s only 5 x 9 x 28 inches big. Basically, you can have a boat in your backpack. This amazing product Called the Adhoc Canoe, only weighs 9 pounds and …

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DIY Miracle Healing Salve

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DIY Miracle Healing Salve Healing Salves have been used to treat wounds and promote healing on every continent and by every culture for thousands of years. Even in modern medicine, different types of salves are used to treat burns (aloe based gels), keep infection down and promote healing (antibacterial ointments), and correct skin conditions (eczema, psoriasis). …

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A Return To The Old Paths: How To Make Pemmican Like The Native Americans

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A Return To The Old Paths: How To Make Pemmican Like The Native Americans Pemmican is a concentrated nutritionally complete food invented by the North American Plains Indians. It was originally made during the summer months from dried lean buffalo meat and rendered fat as a way to preserve and store the meat for use …

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Storing Vegetables Without A Root Cellar

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Storing Vegetables Without A Root Cellar Most people think that if you don’t have a root cellar, you can’t store vegetables long term. That simply isn’t true! Each vegetable can be stored for longer than normal with just a few tweaks here and there, depending on which vegetables you want to store. You really don’t …

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The Prepper’s Guide to Non-Dairy Milk

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The Prepper’s Guide to Non-Dairy Milk Most preppers stock a significant amount of dry milk because it’s so highly perishable that it tends to be one of the first things that people run out of when a disaster strikes. But for someone who has difficulty digesting lactose, adding that kind of milk to their coffee …

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Insta-Fire Lights On Water, Works As Tinder, Kindling And Fuel

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InstaFire Lights On Water, Works As Tinder, Kindling, And Fuel Insta-Fire is a safe, simple, and versatile new Charcoal briquette lighting and fire starting product. It has water-repellent properties, 1/2 cup of Insta-Fire has a minimum of 10 minute burn time, and is super light weight – weighing 1.8 oz. Use it to light campfires …

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The Wavebox Portable Microwave Oven

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The Wavebox Portable Microwave Oven The impact of the microwave oven on human grazing habits has been extreme. It can reheat frozen food or cook raw food in a fraction of the time required of a conventional oven and has brought the convenience of preparing food to new levels. Now a portable microwave oven offers …

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Straw Bale Homes

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 Straw Bale Homes You may look at this post and say this is ridiculous, and that is the very thing I thought before researching into this concept more. You may think that you can huff and puff and blow this house down, but unless your name is Superman, think again.  The Straw Bale hasn’t been around nearly …

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The 4-in-1 Woodsman Axe

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The 4-in-1 Woodsman Axe The 4-in-1 Woodsman is like a Swiss Army knife for the bushy-bearded, flannel-clad set. Instead of the usual set of blades and implements, the Woodsman gives you a bigger set of tools that can turn a tree into kindling and a barren piece of woods into a campsite. click here to …

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10 Ways to Use Castor Oil

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10 Ways to Use Castor Oil When you think of castor oil, you probably think about the vile tasting liquid your grandma used to insist that you take. But in reality, the external uses of castor oil are extremely impressive. Did you know that many modern medications have castor oil as an ingredient? It is …

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Now Your 4×4 Can Go Anywhere With Track N Go

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Now Your 4×4 Can Go Anywhere With Track N Go Turn almost any vehicle into the ultimate bug out machine with Track N Go. I have to share this AWESOME product with you, I first saw a grainy video on Facebook and I was in awe! I couldn’t stop watching… So I did some digging and …

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Useful Machines Made From Bicycles That Could Be Very Handy

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Useful Machines Made From Bicycles That Could Be Very Handy Bicycles will be a much-needed commodity if SHTF. Fuel will have run out after a couple of days and bikes will probably be the only form of transport easily available.I Would even suggest investing in cheap older bikes just for this post! I couldn’t believe how …

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How to Make a Power Outage Bearable

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How to Make a Power Outage Bearable Power outages are actually a common occurrence, especially if you get a lot of snow in the winter or a lot of storms in the spring. The refrigerator stops running and everything starts to defrost. If you live in the tropical climate, the air conditioning is the first …

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10 Essential Skills Every Prepper Should Master

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10 Essential Skills Every Prepper Should Master Many people concentrate on stockpiling necessary supplies, without taking the corresponding time to stockpile the essential skills to go with them. Without the skills, those supplies may not do you any good. Those who don’t want to study say, I have all the information in books. Would you …

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DIY Hot Tub For Your Off-grid Hygiene

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Survivopedia DIY Hot Tub For Your Off Grid Hygiene

When it comes to off-grid survival, personal hygiene is one of those delicate subjects preppers seldom talk about.

Ok, I know that women preppers consider personal hygiene a priority even after a plane crash, but generally speaking, surviving off-grid means that you must have a roof over your head and some chow in your belly, and eventually a cushioned place to sleep in. That about sums it up until cavalry arrives and gets you outta’ there.

However, living off-grid is slowly becoming a trend among outdoors enthusiasts and maybe student loan beneficiaries who cannot afford to pay both the rent and what’s owed to the good ol’ Feral Gummint.

Here is where the off-grid lifestyle comes into play. But living off-grid is not easy; not by a long shot. There are so many problems and challenges in a world without electricity that I don’t know where to begin.

One of them is the aforementioned issue, the personal hygiene thing – an issue that never occurred to you until now because you’re probably living the 21st century life style, with hot water pouring out of the faucet and the whole nine yards.

Basically, we all take modern hygiene conveniences for granted and that’s normal, because we’ve benefited from these cool things for almost 2 centuries now.

But, if you’re living off-grid together with your family, you’re probably aware of the fact that cleanliness is next to godliness, not to mention that keeping you and your family members squeaky clean is actually a matter of survival in its own rights.

The secret to a long and happy life is to live in a clean environment, and you can take that statement to the bank. The lack of proper personal hygiene may get you sick very easily and also you may pass the disease around and all that jazz; that’s how epidemics occur.

The good news is that there are ways to maintain adequate hygiene even if you’re living somewhere in the neck of the woods, as off-grid as it gets.

These ancient survival lessons teach you how to stay clean when there isn’t anything to buy!

There’s an old saying, about “Real men building their own [insert item here]”. In our particular case, real preppers built their own hot tubs.

Why hot tubs, you may ask? Well, the hot tub used to be regarded by many as a luxury if not a whim. Remember that old saying: that one needs only two baths in his/her lifetime – one when you’re born and the other one when you’re dead?

Especially back in the day, hot tubs were pretty rare not too long ago (circa 1700s), when  getting one was a rare experience, familiar just to kings and queens. Alright, and the rest of the infamous 1%, maybe.

One of the benefits of soaking yourself for hours in hot water is that such activity relieves pains and aches, beside getting you clean in the process.

But after reading this article, you’ll understand how hillbilly hot tubs changed the world for ever. And you’ll also understand that getting your fingers pruney is a God-given right for every American, even for those living in the back woods.

Also, let’s not forget that one of the most popular pieces of gear for outdoors survival after a hard and long day doing God-knows-what is a hot tub, right?

I am only kidding folks, but if you don’t know how to build your very own personal hot tub, well, that’s why I am here. I’ve scoured the depths of the Internet and I brought together some of the best tutorials in the world for helping you building your little piece of heaven.

Building the Tank

To begin with the basics, a DIY hot tub consists of two main things: a tank which makes for the bathtub itself and a device for heating the water inside of the tank. That’s all there is to it; it’s pretty straight forward.

As far as tanks go, you have two options: to use a prefabricated one, like an IBC container or a stock watering tank, or to build your own bathtub from scratch from wood; just imagine a big barrel of sorts.

Soaking in a wood-fired hot tub requires some planning, at least a couple of hours in advance, but the involvement in one’s bath is part of the attraction.

Here’s a video tutorial about how to build a cedar wood hot tub using planks of cedar and lots of skill and materials.

Video first seen on Heritage Craft.

The end result is a reminiscent of a big barrel, which looks pretty cool actually, but you’ll require some mad skills to get this done.

You’ll also require beaucoup gear, like cedar wood suitable for cutting and shaping, saws, chine joints, nails, a power drill, a carpenter’s level, screws and insane wood-working skills. But it’s doable, after all that guy did it and it looks pretty awesome.

However, there are other ways.

The hardest part of our first project is to build the tank itself, as it requires serious carpentry skills, but you can always go for a hillbilly hot tub that uses an IBC container using, for example, a prefabricated hot tub, then you just have to worry about the water heating device.

Here are two different projects, both involving a DIY wood-fired hot tub. The first one uses an IBC container, a steel cage, an old gas cylinder and pallets, plus some plumbing connectors. Except for the container, the rest of materials were free scrap.

Video first seen on Chris Jamieson.

The IBC container holds 1000 liters, which is more than enough for a hot tub, while the steel cage and the pallets are used for making the structure that will keep the water-filled container firmly in place. The pallet wood is used for decorating the steel frame; it makes it look better and all that.

The Heating Source

As for the heating device, here’s where the old gas cylinder comes into play. Basically, you’ll use a stove water heater. How does it work, you may ask? Well, it’s pretty straightforward: the stove water heater uses a heat exchanger for transferring heat from the stove to the water.

Water is circulated through the heat exchanger when the fire is burning (the gas cylinder makes for the stove in our case) whilst the heat exchanger is basically a copper serpentine made from copper pipe mounted inside the stove.

In this project, the hot tub is filled with water which is slowly flowing via a garden hose through the copper pipe and it’s getting hot as it fills. The process is relatively slow, but it produces very hot water.

The second DIY wood-fired hot tub system is very similar to the previous one, just that it uses a galvanized stock tank instead of an IBC container. Also, the heat exchanger system is the same serpentine made from copper pipe, but for heating the water, this project relies on the thermosiphon principle.

Video first seen on HomeMadeModern.

Think about our ancestors. They didn’t have the luxury of the modern industry but they were able to create their own hygiene products from simple, readily available stuff.

Do you wonder how our forefathers took care of their personal hygiene when they traveled for months? Click the banner below and uncover their long forgotten secrets!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

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Tactical Pens for Survival and Self-Defense

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Tactical Pens for Survival and Self-Defense   Although many people rely on guns for self defense even when they’re away from home, others cannot for a number of reasons. It could be that firearms are illegal where they live, or that they’re afraid of owning them, maybe even against it. In such circumstances, you’re left with …

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Trash Can Storm Shelter

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Trash Can Storm Shelter Laura Nell Britton shows one her inventions, the trashcan tornado shelter, at her Rolling Greens mobile home park home on Friday, July 15, 2011. She buried two trash cans, surrounded them with cement and furnished them with pillows and storm supplies click here to read and see how she made this …

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Things To Make With 55 Gallon Plastic Barrels

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10 Awesome Things To Make With 55 Gallon Plastic Barrels With Spring just around the corner I wanted to go hunting for some fun upcycling projects for my self. I came across a lot of new and interesting projects, but non as awesome as this one I am sharing with you all today. Because I …

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How To Pitch A Tent Without Poles In An Emergency

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How To Pitch A Tent Without Poles In An Emergency Knowing how to pitch a tent with no poles may not sound like life saving knowledge.. but if you think about things for a second it actually is! Say you are camping and you forgot the poles, what happens if a bear ruins the poles …

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Do It Yourself Sweet Cream Butter

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DIY Sweet Cream Butter Making butter is really easy, I make it all the time when I am home over the summer! I personally LOVE sweet cream butter over any other butters. I love the rich flavor it gives and again it’s so easy to make. Knowing how to make butter if SHTF is a …

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9 Tools the Practical Prepper Should Carry Every Day

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9 Tools the Practical Prepper Should Carry Every Day Everyday Carry is not a new concept. Whether you are a prepper or not, you carry items on your person each and every day. Adding useful tools to what you carry every day can make you more prepared for more situations. Focusing on what you happen …

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How To Make The Ultimate Fishing Lure From A Spoon

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How To Make The Ultimate Fishing Lure From A Spoon Spoons are one of the most popular fishing lures on the market. They work to catch a wide variety of species in both salt and fresh water. Most spoons cost from $3-5, but watch the video below and see the guys at Real Outdoor Reviews explain how anyone can make one for less than a $1! Step 1: Clamp the spoon onto the scrap wood. Make sure the clamp is seated well on the spoon. Step 2: Using your metal drill bit, drill a hole in both ends of the

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How To Make Hot Ice Using Homemade Sodium Acetate

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How To Make Hot Ice Using Homemade Sodium Acetate Before you attempt this please do it with safety glasses on and be careful, as with any chemicals. You do this at your own risk please take the time to read our disclaimer Sodium acetate or hot ice is an amazing chemical you can prepare yourself from …

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Building With Shiplap – How To Use Shiplap To Build Anything!

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When it comes to building with shiplap, the sky really is the limit! This incredible wood can be used for so much more than just great looking walls. It is actually the perfect wood for DIY’ers looking to build nearly

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How to Make Stone Blades for Wilderness Survival

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How to Make Stone Blades for Wilderness Survival Knowing how to make a sharp edge or a knife in a survival situation is paramount when studying wilderness survival. I think I have just found the best website on the internet  that explains and shows you how to make a stone knife. The information on the …

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5 Ways To Heat Your Home For Free

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5 Ways To Heat Your Home For Free Staying warm for free… I love these projects! With all things that involve flame, please remember to be responsible and do not leave these burning with no supervision. The last thing I would want is you to burn your house down. That being said, in a SHTF …

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5 Techniques To Preserve Meat In The Wild You Should Practice

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5 Techniques To Preserve Meat In The Wild You Should Practice There are several methods to preserve meat in the wild and before we look at them below. I’d like to remind you that while a preservation method or technique you use to keep your meat safe for days, or even weeks, it’s ultimately pretty …

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How To Make Lye At Home

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Making Lye At Home

Knowing how to use what you have on hand to make what you need is one of the hallmarks of a true prepper or homesteader. So is repurposing items and avoiding as much waste as possible.

So, in that frame of mind, what do you do with all the ash left after you build a fire, or dozens of them throughout a winter? Make lye!

There are many uses for lye, chemically named potassium hydroxide. You may also hear it called caustic soda or caustic potash. There are two different chemicals referred to as lye – the type that we’re talking about today that’s made from wood ash, and sodium hydroxide, which is made from salt.

The reason that we’re focusing on the type made from ash is that all of the ingredients that you need to make it are already right there in your house. Actually, you only need two ingredients – water and ash.

That’s it. To make sodium hydroxide, which is a common ingredient in industrial cleaners and caustic products such as drain cleaner, you need carbon electrodes and a power source. Not exactly prepper-friendly.

What’s Lye Used For?

So what, you may ask, is lye used for? Well, several things. First, it’s a necessary ingredient in soap.

Think about our ancestors!

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Click here to uncover the long forgotten secrets that helped our parents survive!

You also need lye to make biodiesel and can use it to adjust the pH of your soil. There are also cooking uses for lye, such as making chocolate and preserving processed foods, but that’s pretty delicate and it’s completely outside my wheelhouse.

Oh, and lye also degrades soft tissues and, given enough time, will soften and break down bone. This was actually a trick used by a famous mobster to dispose of bodies. So on that note, let’s talk about how to safely handle lye.

Handling Lye

You need to exercise extreme caution when using lye because if it comes into contact with your skin, it will almost instantly start interacting with the fatty tissue to turn you into a bar of soap!

Seriously, that’s kinda what happens. Wear goggles because it can – and will – put you blind. It’s a good idea to use gloves and wear long sleeves, too. If you happen to get lye on your skin, pour vinegar on it to neutralize it.

Lye will also erode some metals – specifically aluminum – so be careful what you make it in.

Ingredients Needed to Make Lye

We’ve already discussed that you only need two ingredients to make lye: water and ash. Sounds easy, right? Yes it is, but you can’t use any water and ash or else the lye won’t leech properly out of the ash and it will be too weak to be effective.

Rainwater is the best and cheapest water to use. You don’t want to use tap water regardless of whether it’s city or well because of the minerals and chemicals in it. You can use water distilled using a steam process, but that can get expensive quickly. So, get a nice rainwater catcher and you’re in business.

It’s always a good idea to have rainwater collection vessels anyway, because it can be used as a backup water source or as a source of gray water to wash clothes and water plants. Well now you have yet another use for it.

You can’t use just any ash, either. Well, technically you can, but the soap that’s made from this type of lye made from softwoods and coniferous trees will be soft soap instead of hard soap. Good woods include ash, apple, hickory, beech, cherry, birch, elm, oak, walnut and maple.

You want to use hardwoods for your fires anyway because it burns longer, and we all know that you can’t use pine in your woodburners or fireplaces unless you want the resin to accumulate and burn you out at some point, likely in the middle of the night.

Lye Making Methods

So now that we know what woods and water to use to make the best lye, let’s talk about a couple of methods.

There are three basic ways to make lye at home:

  • the ash bucket method
  • the barrel method
  • the cooking method.

They all three work; it’s just a matter of personal preference and how much effort you’re willing to invest.

We’ll discuss them in the order that I just listed but again, a reminder not to use aluminum containers. Use glass, wood, enamel, stainless steel, or heavy-duty plastic.

One final tip: some of the old timers would add 2 percent or so lime to the ash mixture to make sure it produces a good hard soap. Salt works too, but you add it to the fat during the soap-making process instead of at the lye phase. Use about 2 ½ pints salt to 5 gallons of fat.

The Ash Bucket Method

This is pretty much exactly what the name implies. It’s kind of the lazy prepper’s way of making lye. Add a few cups of hot water directly to your full ash bucket and stir. Make sure you have a second ash bucket to hold your dry ashes! Let it sit for a few hours, stirring every thirty minutes or so.

Use a ratio of about 2 parts water to one part ash. Equal amounts work, too, but don’t exceed a ratio of around 3:1 water to ash if you want your lye to make quickly.

Once you’ve stirred it several times throughout the afternoon, do the egg test. This is a great way to test the alkalinity of your lye water. If you drop the egg in and it sinks, the lye is too weak and you need to let it sit for a while longer. Stirring more frequently may be helpful, too.

The lye has the perfect pH when the egg floats with about a quarter-sized part of it sticking out of the water. If your lye accidentally gets too strong, just add a bit more water. Throw the egg away when you’re done because it’s not edible after coming into contact with the lye.

Once your lye is perfect, pour it slowly and carefully from the ash bucket into another bucket making sure that you don’t pour any of the ashes into the mix.

Video first seen on Eddie Borges.

The Barrel Method

To make lye using the barrel method, you’ll need a water-tight wooden (or stainless steel) barrel and three catch receptacles. Drill several small holes in the bottom of the barrel, then set it up on bricks or blocks that you can get your catch basin underneath of it to collect the lye. Make sure it’s stable – the last thing you want to do is spill lye everywhere.

Line the bottom with a layer of clean stones so that the straw that you’re using in the next step doesn’t clog the holes. Put a thick layer of straw over in the bottom of the barrel, then fill it almost all the way with ash. Pour hot water over it, then remove the container underneath that’s now full of weak lye water.

You’ll have to repeat this process several times, just pouring the used, filtered water over the ash and straw until the lye becomes strong enough. Just so you know, the lye is perfectly fine, but the straw may discolor it a bit by turning it yellow.

After you’ve repeated this process five or six times, do the egg test and continue accordingly.

Alternatively, you can use a barrel with a spigot instead of the holes and just let the water sit in it for several hours and test. When it’s done, just drain the lye out the spigot, leaving the ash residue behind.

The Cooking Method

This method is perfectly acceptable but you need to make sure that the room is well-ventilated just to be on the safe side. We’re going to start the process by adding the ashes and the water to your pot. Bring it to a slow boil or simmer and cook it for a half hour or so, then allow it to cool and do the egg test.

If it’s not strong enough, pour the water over a fresh batch of ashes and repeat until your lye is as alkaline as it needs to be. And be careful that none of it splashes on you as you boil it.

See, now that you know that lye isn’t so hard to make, you can do it yourself whenever you need it as long as you have ashes and rain water, just like our ancestors used to make it.

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How to Safely Spend a Night in Your Car

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 How to Safely Spend a Night in Your Car Anyone who drives faces the possibility of spending an unplanned night in a vehicle.  Bad weather, breakdowns, running out of fuel, getting stuck are some of the more common reasons why a driver might have to bed down for the night (or perhaps for several nights) …

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What Is A Rocket Stove? Why Do I Need One?

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What Is A Rocket Stove? Why Do I Need One? Rocket stoves are fabulous! Easily built but capable of producing a hot flame that you can cook, I suppose, everything over. You can even bake bread with a little modification. Knowing how to build one from bricks or stones is practical knowledge, that if held …

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The Road to Self-Reliance

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Installing solar panels

Solar tied to the grid can be unreliable

American families have been going off-grid for more than forty years, but for most it’s a gradual process, involving a lot of learning by trial and error. In a recent article published in Reason, J.D Tuccille wrote about how his experience going “semi-off-grid” in 2008 led him to reconsider his attachment to the mains, and begin a journey towards self-reliance that is still ongoing today.

Dipping into off-grid waters

In 2008 a power failure lasted a week at J.D’s former home in remote Arizona. While he had his own well, it was controlled by a pump that required electricity, and the surface of the water was too low to dip some out by hand. Then there was the issue of modern plumbing without electricity, and the requirements of coffee pots to consider. However, outages were common – so J.D had come prepared. He and his wife Wendy Wendy had stored water, cut firewood, and fueled up the camping stove and lanterns. They remained hydrated, warm and fed through that and every other experience with the electric grid’s unreliability.
“All in all, it was a bit Little House on the Prairie for our tastes, though with a better wine selection – but ultimately more of an inconvenience than a disaster,” he wrote. “But tolerance for inconvenience can decline with the years.”

When they moved to a new house in the foothills, Wendy had a strict requirement – a climate-controlled environment in the house at all times. This required some research into the best off-grid power systems to use for the climate, so J.D had to get serious.
“This being Arizona, where everything bakes for much of the year under the fireball in the sky, my first thought was solar,” J.D writes. “But I quickly discovered that all of those panels adorning people’s roofs were nothing more than expensive shingles during a power outage. Most solar installations are designed to feed the grid, not keep you independent of it. I priced adding batteries to the mix to gain some autonomy, but they more than doubled the cost. And batteries couldn’t handle the power demands of an air conditioner anyway. So we settled, if that’s the right word, for a 22 kW standby generator, which can handle the well pump and keep the air conditioning running.”

He said they were “especially pleased” with the decision when the European Union completed a coordinated cyber-attack simulation and found it leading to a “very dark scenario,” including crashed power grids.
J.D also beefed up the water storage capabilities at the house with rain barrels hooked to the gutters, which are conveniently located near the garden where he now grows tomatoes, olive and fig trees.

“Wendy and I have stumbled down our path incrementally over the years out of a combination of necessity and curiosity,” he writes. “We also keep tweaking our set-up. In addition to the generator, I’m putting together a smaller-scale solar power system. That fireball in the sky isn’t going anywhere, and I want to get some use from the thing. I’m picking up a few panels, a few batteries. I doubt I’ll manage to put together a system that can handle the well pump, let alone the air conditioner, but maybe we’ll be able to power a refrigerator. We can always stick our heads in there to cool off in a pinch.”

DIY learning

In a similar long-term learning curve, Eartheasy founder and blogger Greg Seaman has been documenting his many “hits and misses” with off-grid issues such as lighting, electricity and solar panels since 2000. A seasoned off-gridder – he first moved to a rural island in the Pacific Northwest when he was 30 – he has spent more than 30 years learning the art of living off the grid, and writes that it’s a constantly changing and upgrading process. With the added necessity of internet connectivity to maintain his Eartheasy website, and provide access for his family as they grew, he had to develop alternative ways of powering his home.

“Bringing some of the benefits of electrical power to our off-grid home has been a hit-or-miss affair,” he wrote in 2012. “Over the years, we’ve tried some very simple approaches to lighting and small battery recharging for our flashlights, such as hauling a 12 volt car battery to a small rural school about a half mile away every time it needed to be topped up. This was time consuming and inefficient. But we didn’t want to lose the feel of our simple home by bringing in a large generator and the jugs of gas needed to run it, and the prospect of setting up a wind turbine or solar array seemed expensive and a technological eyesore in a natural setting.”

Greg said that for many years the family got along without electricity, but when wireless broadband was introduced into the area, the family decided to build its own “reliable, affordable and do-it-yourself alternative energy system.”
“Today, with the help of a local expert on off-grid home solar power and alternative energy systems, we have the best of both worlds,” he wrote.

Greg, who today runs a successful family business devoted to creating sustainable products for low-impact living, acknowledges that off-grid living isn’t for everyone – the reality of living through the winter, the isolation, physical work, school or community character doesn’t always fit for some people – but if you’re willing to keep learning and trying things yourself, independent homesteading can be a dream come true.

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Bugging Out – Will You Make It There?

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Bugging Out – Will You Make It There? When disaster happens, will you stay or will you go? How will you decide which to do or when it’s time to do it? If you decide to bug-out, where will you go and how will you get there? There are lots of questions and they require …

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How To Estimate The Width Of A Stream Or River

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How To Estimate The Width Of A Stream Or River Let’s suppose that you wanted to cross a stream using a rope or a log. You would need to know the distance across the stream so that your materials would reach completely across. This method uses simple trigonometry and a few sticks. How To Estimate …

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Comfrey The Knit Bone Herb

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Comfrey The Knit Bone Herb If you have no access to a doctor or in a SHTF situation, Comfrey has been known to heal bones and double cell regeneration. I have been asked a few times over the past year to find a great article about Comfrey, Comfrey is a common name for plants in …

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The 4 Levels Of Preparedness You Should Know

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The 4 Levels Of Preparedness You Should Know Back in the 90s, general preparedness was a normal activity. People were stockpiling food and water in order to be prepared for whatever reason. Nowadays, preparedness is seen as something extreme by the mainstream society. Many people have no idea what it means to be prepared and …

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Cooking With Mud Like In The Old Days

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Cooking With Mud Like In The Old Days Improvised cooking was part of everyday life during the time of the pioneers. Most families were lacking even the most basic cooking utensils. In order to prepare a hot meal, they had to improvise and look for alternative cooking methods. Cooking with mud was one of the …

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How To Make Potato Flakes With 5 Years Shelf Life (without refrigeration)

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Dehydrated potato flakes are a highly portable, convenient source of nutrition. They are fairly easy to cook, don’t weigh much and keep for a long time without refrigeration. Also, you

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Emergency Car Repairs If SHTF

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Emergency Car Repairs / Hacks If SHTF **WARNING** SOME OF THESE REPAIRS / HACKS ARE DANGEROUS AND WILL KILL YOU IF NOT DONE SAFELY PLEASE KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING BEFORE ATTEMPTING.  These emergency car tips and tricks will help you get going again in a SHTF or TEOTWAWKI scenario. They are quick, dirty and easy ways to …

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Survival Basics: 12 Tips for Families with Children

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Survival Basics: 12 Tips for Families with Children No matter how old you are, going through a disaster or emergency situation is scary. As adults, it is our duty to introduce children to preparedness activities at a young age. Doing so helps them to build critical thinking skills, practice survival techniques, and gain the confidence …

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Be a Better Prepper With Camping!

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Be a Better Prepper With Camping! If you think about it, camping for a prepper is kind of a no brainer as far as training goes. Sadly, few ever take the opportunity to actually go camping for various reasons. Maybe they think they know it all already, or they can’t stand the idea of sleeping …

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Design Your Own Weapon, In These 14 Steps

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Survivopedia Design Your Own Weapon In These 14 Steps

Weapons are the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones. Having the proper weapon makes self-defense much easier.

You don’t have to ruin your budget on the perfect gun, but you can challenge your skills and build your own homemade weapon. Learning how to build your own weapon is a handy skill that will serve you well in a survival situation.

It may be time consuming, but you will have a weapon that will perfectly fit your needs. It doesn’t matter whether you plan to build a knife that can be held better in arthritic hands or you want to design a super gun that breaks all the rules insofar as barrel length and projectile launching methods.

This article covers a step-by-step guide on how to build your own self-defense weapons.

If you follow these steps carefully and take your time with each phase, you will produce better weapons that will meet your needs.

Choose the Purpose of Your Weapon

Start off by deciding what you want to use the weapon for. Are you planning on building a self-defense weapon that will be used within arm’s length, or do you want to be able to attack something several feet to several yards away?

When considering this question, decide how lethal you want the weapon to be. If you are the kind of person that believes you cannot kill, there is no point to making a weapon that has a high chance of taking a life. In these cases, focus more on weapons that act as diversion, or those that will wound long enough for you to make your escape.

At this stage, it is also very important to decide how much you want to reveal about the weapon when you are carrying it. Do you want something that you can completely conceal regardless of where you are? If so, then you will need to list that as a priority so that you can fully evaluate which materials will meet your needs.

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Choose a Relevant System to Study

Once you know what you want the weapon to do, look at systems that have already been developed.

For example, if you know that you want to make a bladed weapon, study knives. If you want something more lethal, then go ahead and study systems that include adding poisons to the knife.

During this stage, try to find at least 100 designs so that you know as much as possible about what has been developed through time. If you are combining systems, such as a knife and a poison delivery system, make it a point to find 100 designs for both.

Narrow Your Selection to One Design

Out of 100 designs, you may only find 5 or 6 that have sufficient appeal to work with. You will need to find one design that has the most appeal, and then keep detailed notes on the other systems that may work for your needs.

Make sure that you have a clear understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of each design.

Create Your Own Design

When it comes to developing new personal defense weapons, many people are tempted to start here instead of studying other systems first. If you did your research well, you will find this step easy.

Take the time at this stage to make sure that you have all the best ideas in place for each part of the weapon. If you are going to innovate or bring in ideas from other weapons systems, make sure you understand how all the pieces will fit and work together.

At this stage, it is also very important to figure out how you will make allowances for wear, repair, and making changes based on available materials.

You should also make sure that you know what tools and skills will be required to make the weapon, use it, and maintain it.

Make a Blueprint with Scaling and Measurement Notes

There are few things worse than building a weapon without a detailed blueprint. When you don’t have a solid pattern to follow, it can be very hard to make precision parts. You will also find that it becomes all too easy to go off on a tangent.

No matter whether you get hung up on adding a style element, or you cannot seem to get the right shape for a part, a fully scaled blueprint can help keep you on track.

Make a List of Materials and Tools

Once you have a clear idea about what you are going to build, it is time to start assembling the tools and materials. You should also have a list of alternatives on hand in case you cannot obtain the items that you identified as ideal.

This list will also come in handy if you find out that you first choice wasn’t as good for one reason or another.

Create a Production Timeline

Before you begin working on the actual weapon, it is important to know how much time you plan to spend building the prototype, and then a full working version. This can help you save time as well as ensure that you make enough room for this task.

The last thing you will want to do is try to build something at the last minute, and then find out you needed far more time than expected.

Test the Materials

From polymers to metal and wood, there is a definite learning curve that you must go through. Simply reading a package or some instructions will not prepare you for all the things that come up when you work with the materials.

It is very important to know that you are comfortable with each material so that you know exactly how you are going to work with it while making the weapon.

This will also give you a chance to see if you need additional tools, or if you would be better served by using a different material.

Build a Prototype

Many people do not build a prototype because they think it is best to just aim for something that will work. When you don’t have a prototype, you waste material and time.

When you build a smaller working version, it gives you a chance to build and test your skills as well as see how everything will fit together. Even though a prototype won’t detect all your design problems, it can still be very useful.

Build a Functional Weapon

If you have been eager to build your weapon, then this stage is bound to be your favorite. Now is the time to put everything you learned plus your skills into making the finest weapon possible based on your plans.

Do not rush through this stage. Make sure that all the modules work correctly, and redo parts if they don’t come out right. Remember, your goal is a final product that will work to save your life, not put it in danger.

Test the Weapon

Once the weapon is built, you will need to test it out for strength and functionality. Each weapon design will require different testing strategies.

Do not test on live animals or other human beings. There are many ways to use dummies, blocks of wood, or other materials to see if you have a weapon that works properly.

When testing weapons, do not forget to wear adequate safety gear. Never assume that the weapon will work correctly. It is best to be well protected in case you made a mistake in the design, or something unexpected happens to turn the weapon against you.

For example, if you are working with poisons, gases, or liquids, make sure you are wearing full eye and face protection as well as an appropriate coverall and footwear.

Store the Weapon

After you know the weapon works, set it aside for a while. Give yourself some time away from the active development and building phase so that you can go back later and look at it with fresh eyes. This will also give you a chance to see how the materials change over time.

If a material is going to degrade over time or lose its usefulness, then it is best to find out before you need to use the weapon for self-defense.

Continue Testing and Studying Your New Weapon

From time to time, it is very important to test the weapon out and practice with it. This will give you confidence in using the weapon and help you find design and material flaws.

Make Modifications as Needed

If you find a problem with the design or materials, it is important to go back and fix them as soon as possible. In some situations, you may have to go back to the design and development stages and then build another version of the weapon.

As time consuming as this may be, it is better to take these steps with care and come out with something better the next time around.

Remember that a personal defense weapon should be something you feel comfortable carrying at all times. Learn from the experts the secret of self-defense. Click the banner below to grab your guide!

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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Pallet Projects For Suburban Homesteaders

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I recently bought a brand-new house in the suburbs of Boise, Idaho. One of the best things about the suburbs is easy access to places with pallets, which you can get for free or for just a few dollars. Here’s a great guide for how to pick a suitable pallet and to tell whether they are

Easy DIY Forge Out Of An Old Sink

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Easy DIY Forge Out Of An Old Sink Easy DIY project we all could at least try and get some sort of blacksmithing skills before SHTF. I love the simplicity of this forge set up.I think having a little knowledge of this old skill could come in very handy if SHTF. Not only is this …

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How To Make Cheeseburger Beef Jerky

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How To Make Cheeseburger Beef Jerky You read the title right! How to make cheeseburger beef jerky. I thought I saw just about every jerky there was… that’s why I love doing this, I learn something new everyday. Jerky is tasty and comes in all variety of flavors from spicy to sweet. I was trying …

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How To Make Soap With Fat and Ashes

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How To Make Soap With Fat and Ashes Sanitation is one of the most overlooked aspects of survival and people are more concerned about stockpiling large quantities of food and water. While gathering the essentials to survive an emergency situation is highly recommended we shouldn’t ignore the other necessary items that make survival tolerable. Maintaining …

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DIY Bottom Heat for Seed Starting (or pet bed)

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DIY Bottom Heat for Seed Starting Retail bottom heat is expensive – I saw one “kit” at a local garden center that was big enough for 2 flats and was $79 – wow!  You can buy a lot of tomato plants for eighty bucks!  A low cost alternative had to be possible for a dedicated …

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Bow and Arrow vs. Guns: What is the Best Weapon when SHTF?

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Bow and Arrow vs. Guns: What is the Best Weapon when SHTF? For thousands of years, humans relied heavily on archery as their means of survival for both hunting and combat. After civilization kicked in and we no longer had to rely on game for our survival, archery fell terribly. Well, it was the introduction …

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DIY Mini Bio-Gas Plant Using Decomposable Organic Material

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DIY Mini Bio-Gas Plant Using Decomposable Organic Material Did you know you can produce your own gas to cook with from decomposable organic material and kitchen waste? Well, you can 🙂 The bio-gas produced from food waste, decomposable organic material, and kitchen waste consists of methane and a little amount of carbon dioxide. It is a …

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Backyard Chicken Eggonomics: How Much Does it Really Cost to Raise Chickens?

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Backyard Chicken Eggonomics: How Much Does it Really Cost to Raise Chickens? I think generally we all would like to raise chickens, either for the eggs or just as pets. Lets be honest tho, do you really know what keeping chickens costs to raise? I know I didn’t until I read the amazing article from …

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10 Reasons To Have A Sewing Machine

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Survivopedia Resons to have a sewing machine

If you visit any department store or second hand store, you are bound to find more clothes than you know what to do with. No matter where you look, it seems like there is no end to cheap clothes that can be used for every occasion.

As a result, most people see sewing as a “hobby” or a skill that they don’t really need to learn. But many clothes will vanish very quickly after a disaster, so you might have a reason to buy a sewing machine and learn how to use it.

Here are ten things that may just change your mind on this matter.

What Kind of Sewing Machine is Best?

If you sew on a regular basis, choose a good quality, heavy duty sewing machine. Personally, I have always preferred Singer over any other brand. Modern sewing machines can be programmed for embroidery as well as many other complicated tasks. Do your research to make sure that the internal parts are sturdy enough to meet the challenges of stiff, bulky, or very thick material.

There are also many vintage models that still have metal gears and motors powerful enough to last for decades more. Just make sure that you have a finger guard installed if the machine doesn’t already have one.

It can be very dangerous if you don’t pay attention to where your fingers are in relation to the needle. As dainty as the sewing machine and needle may look, the motor is strong enough to push the needle right through your finger.

In addition, sewing by machine can also be a very hypnotic task. It seems simple enough to keep your fingers away from the needle, but it is all too easy to loose track and wind up with a serious, and very painful injury.

As a prepper, think about what you will do with devices that require electricity. It does not matter whether this loss comes from an EMP or a hurricane. The fact remains that modern sewing machines require electricity in order to run. If you are not confident in generators or DIY power generation methods, then look for foot or treadle powered sewing machines.

Today, you can choose from antique machines as well as newer ones. For example, the Janome 712T does not have a motor and runs without electricity. It is more expensive than motor powered machines, however the expense may be worth it if you want to be sure you can sew regardless of the electricity situation.

Janome-712T-Sewing-Machine-Table-3-sm

As Clothes Wear Out You can Remake Them

Not so long ago, you could buy a sweater or pair of jeans and expect them to last for several years. Today, even more “rugged” garments wear out in just a year or two.

Since you will not find new garments in the post collapse world, you will have to find some way to make your clothes last a bit longer. In this case, you can take apart old clothes and use a sewing machine to piece together parts that are in better condition.

Here are some things you can do with a sewing machine that are difficult, if not impossible to do by hand:

  • Many fabrics today have a good bit of stretch to them. When these fabrics are sewn by machine, it is much easier to create sturdy overcast stitches (a stitch commonly used to prevent fabric from raveling) that will not come apart. Even though it is possible to make overcast stitches by hand, it is hard to control the spacing and tightness of each stitch when dealing with stretchy fabric. No matter whether you are trying to sew together pieces of jersey knit, spandex, or some other stretchy material, a sewing machine makes the job much easier.
  • When people make garments with elastic in them, they usually fold the fabric over and then sew the seam so that a column is left to draw the elastic through. If you look carefully at commercial garments, you will often see the elastic is sewn directly onto the fabric. Since there is no margin or extra material to work, it will be impossible make a column for the elastic to go through. This, in turn, means that you would have to try and resew the elastic onto the garment by hand if you did not have a sewing machine. I can tell you from personal experience that there is no pin in the world and no elastic stretching device that makes this a comfortable, let alone feasible task. On the other hand, when you have a sewing machine, the weight of the foot and the tractors beneath the fabric easily keep the fabric in position while you manually pull the elastic so that it fits properly on the material.

Easier to Darn Socks and Other Items That Develop Holes

Have you ever just tossed a sock in the trash because it developed a hole? If so, then you may also be very unhappy with the fact that modern socks really do seem to wear out a lot faster than ones made just a few years ago. While it is not especially difficult to darn sock holes by hand, this task is also much easier to accomplish with a sewing machine.

You will also find that it is much easier to use a sewing machine to patch small holes in other kinds of garments without using additional material to make a patch.

When you use a sewing machine to stitch across a flat piece of fabric, you don’t worry about the fabric bunching up or becoming uneven. If you have never done embroidery on thinner fabrics by hand, you won’t realize just how hard it can be to repair holes on garments without a sewing machine.

Even if you try to put the fabric in an embroidery hoop to keep it from bunching, you will have a hard time getting good quality stitches that don’t rub at your skin when wearing the garment.

Sew Heavier and Coarser Fabrics

Before sewing machines were invented, our ancestors routinely sewed together furs and other thick, heavy materials. If you have denim garments, or clothes made from other heavy, coarse materials, you will find it very hard to make, let alone repair them without a sewing machine.

You will face problems associated with manufacturers that compensate for using less fabric by using stronger stitches or patterns of stitches to make a durable garment.

During crisis, you’ll face constraints on the nature and amount of fabric that you have on hand to work with. If you’ll be using old garments as a pattern for new ones, then you can also use smaller margins and come out with a functional garment.

If you try to duplicate these stitches by hand, you will find that it takes more fabric. Since sewing machines also use two threads (one under the fabric from the bobbin, and one from above on thread spool), the stitches will always be stronger and tighter than ones done by people who have limited experience with sewing.

Many people feel they can sew heavy fabrics by hand as long as they take their time and focus on making even stitches. In most cases, it will take 2 – 3 times longer by hand, and leave you with both eye and hand strain.

You won’t have time to spare in a survival situation. If you don’t have time to mend clothes or make them by hand now, don’t expect to do it then. A sewing machine would solve this issue and leave time for other tasks.

Make Money as a Seamstress or Tailor

There is no question that people are becoming more frustrated with commercial garments that do not fit right (since when does a petite woman of 5’3” have an inseam of 32 – 36”?!), look hideous, cost a lot, and do not last for very long.

The cost of fabric, patterns, and notions aren’t as cheap as they used to be, but many people are taking up sewing in order to have nicer clothes. If you become proficient as a seamstress, you can make money now as well as after a social collapse.

Custom Design Clothes that Meet Your Needs

When you go on a shopping expedition for prepper clothes, you are bound to be overwhelmed by all the coveralls, heavy jackets, Thinsulate gear, and camouflage prints. What happens when you are in an actual disaster and find out that you need to move to a warmer climate, or that most of the clothes in your stockpile won’t meet your needs?

A sewing machine can be used to make any kind of garment, including camouflage. Store away patterns in different sizes as well as a range of fabrics to meet all your needs, rather than completed clothes. From waterproof fabrics to denim and fleece, it is easy enough to add these items to your stockpile and then use them as needed.

Being able to design clothes is also very important if you have children or expect to have a baby after a major crisis. Given how many growth spurts children go through, you’ll need clothes that can be let out at the seams, or adjusted as needed.

When you buy modern clothes, there is no extra fabric let alone a way to modify larger garments for smaller sizes. And if you look at modern patterns, you will find many places where you can cut the pieces a bit larger, and then simply leave more fabric at the seams.

As a prepper, you know that your body is going to change a lot after a major crisis occurs. If food is scare, or you get very sick and lose a lot of weight; or you may wind up putting on a lot of water or edema.

Either way, all those clothes you stocked away may not fit properly, and worse yet, may restrict your movement. It is very important to have a sewing machine and fabric on hand so that you can make new clothes that fit properly.

Make Blankets and Quilts for Many Purposes

Do you have blankets and quilts hanging around that have been part of your life for decades? If so, then you may not give much thought to the availability of these items during crisis. Both novice and advanced preppers have been known to only keep a foil emergency blanket in their bug out bag.

But what happens when disaster strikes, you are on the road, and need something a bit warmer and sturdier? Even if you can find fabric and some kind of filler to make the blanket warmer, it can take days or even weeks to sew a quilt or blanket by hand.

In most cases, however, you can sew the exact same blanket or quilt using a sewing machine in just a few hours. You can use anything from worn clothes to fabric set aside in your stockpile to make blankets and quilts with ease using a sewing machine.

Here are just a few situations where you might wind up needing more blankets than you have on hand:

  • If you are trying to shelter animals that no longer have a building to live in. Blanket can offer warmth and comfort to stressed animal. They can also be used to temporarily restrain the movement of animals that need medical care, or for other reasons.
  • As a temporary shelter when there are no materials available for a tent.
  • To cover supplies or anything else that needs to be protected from dirt and dust.
  • All the blankets in your stockpile were stolen, burned in a fire, or ruined in a flood involving municipal sewage or other contaminants. At the very least, if you had a few clothes or some fabric that escaped the destruction, you can still sew them into blankets or quilts with a sewing machine.

Get More Out of any Fabric You Come Across

Surviving a social collapse is going to involve a lot of innovative thinking and action. Regardless of how much you have in your stockpile, or how well run your homestead is, just about anything can come out of the blue and send you into a tailspin.

Once you are in the situation, the things you underestimated are apt to stick out like sore thumbs and hurt just as badly. In this case, not having a sewing machine can make it difficult or impossible to make use of any fabric that may be available.

Consider a situation where you are moving through an area with very little vegetation. You have a sewing machine with you and a portable power system that can be used to run the motor. As you pass through an abandoned junk pile, you find a stack of clothes that cannot be worn; but not the rope that you so desperately need.

To resolve this situation, all you have to do is cut the garments up into strips and sew them together into longer pieces to make a rope. When you have a sewing machine, you can make use of pieces that are only a few inches long and about 2 inches wide.

If you tried this same task with hand sewing, you would not be able to consistently make strong enough seams in a reasonable period of time.

Make Or Repair Furniture Covers

Do you have an old couch or recliner that either needs to be thrown out or reupholstered? As trivial as this problem may seem when compared to others, it will only get worse after society collapses.

In particular, if you are bugging in, there is a chance that floods or other disasters may ruin your furniture to the point where you can no longer use it. For example, if you have a couch, the cushions and any other soft parts will have to be discarded.

Rather than throw the entire piece of furniture out, you can at least try to salvage the wood or metal frame that supported all the soft parts. Once the frame is repaired and safe to use, just about any fabric and soft stuffing can be used to “reupholster” the furniture. If you have a sewing machine, you can also sew much heavier fabrics or layers of fabric in order to make something more durable.

Similar to many other things, there will be a time in the post crisis world when people will do as much as they can to make pre-existing items last for as long as possible.

This, in turn, means that you can barter or trade your furniture repair skills for other things that you might need. As time goes on, you can also shift your furniture repair trade to actively making furniture from raw materials that others begin putting together in larger quantities.

This is the only ultra-precise machine that can spit-out personalized pieces of woodwork!

Build Shelter Covers and Carrying Aides

One of the worst things you can do as a prepper is think that bugging in means you will have shelter and that you won’t need to bug out for some reason or other. It is very important to understand that a crisis can come from where you least expect in.

For example, while the vast majority of preppers focus on problems that will affect the entire society, something may come along that affects only you or your family. This may include job loss, illness, or the sudden passing of a family member that enabled you to have shelter and security.

Even if you do a minimal amount of research on homeless people, you will find that it became impossible for them to afford shelter and the basics of life. No matter whether these people suffer from illness, addiction, or just plain bad luck, the fact remains they were not prepared for personal financial collapse.

Given the angst in our society these days against our incoming president, sabotage by those who dissent is entirely possible. Under these circumstances, you may find that one disaster after another will arise that leaves you without shelter.

Let me be clear in saying that a sewing machine won’t solve all your problems. However, you can use it to your advantage while you still have some assets to work with.

You can take old garments and sew them into blankets, carrying aides, and anything else that will make it easier for you to travel. If you can find a safe place to store the machine, then you may also be able to make some money with it and get back on your feet.

There is also no question that many homeless people today live in cars and trucks. While this may not seem like a good place to have a sewing machine, you can still use it to make shelters outside of the vehicle. If society does collapse further because of internal or external pressures, you will still have a viable trade and an important tool to work with.

Make Toys and Other Items for Children

When I was a little girl, the battery powered toy craze was just getting started. I remember my parents being unhappy about all the “plastic battery powered junk” that cost a lot and didn’t seem to last.

lot-of-8-original-vintage-cabbage-patch-kTo this day, some of my fondest memories are of my mother sewing little stuffed toys for me.

From iron on appliques to furry teddy bears, I spent hours watching these creations unfold on my mother’s sewing machine.

Later on, we did these projects together and had far more quality time than we would have had if she just bought me a bunch of plastic toys.

During illness or great distress, it is normal to look back on safer and more peaceful times. These days, it often seems like our children will have no such peaceful times to look back on. Even if they do remember their childhood, it is likely to be filled with violent video games, nonstop social pressure, and all sorts of other worries.

Sewing toys with your children is a simple, inexpensive way to give them, and you, peaceful times to look back on. While that may not seem important right now, just think back to the times when you were in crisis and what memories like this meant to in terms of helping you get through the situation.

Making toys for children isn’t just something that works well in a time of social collapse. It is something you can start doing now that will build bonds and give you and your children a chance to enjoy time together. Building custom toys can also give you a chance to innovate and perhaps come up with something marketable that other children might like to have.
Perhaps off topic, but never doubt the possibility that you can make a fortune with a sewing machine and a good idea for a toy. Anyone that remembers the Cabbage Patch Doll craze can certainly relate to the fact that sewn toys can easily become very popular in a short period of time.

As you will recall, the Cabbage Patch Kids were invented by Martha Nelson Thomas, a woman who learned quilting from her mother. Just remember, if you do come up with something that becomes popular, you will need to copyright patent, and trademark the design so that no one else can steal it and profit from theft of the design.

In the arena of prepping, there is always a sense that time is limited. When you don’t know what will happen, or what challenges must be overcome, it is very tempting to cut corners. For example, when it comes to clothes and other fabric based items, you will more than likely buy what you need or hope that you can make do with what you have.

Even though sewing by machine is often relegated to a “craft” or a “hobby” it is a vital survival skill that you may wind up needing. Today, you can increase the chances of surviving long after a major catastrophe by learning how to use a sewing machine and having one in your stockpile.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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15 Survival Medical Supplies You May Have Missed

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15 Survival Medical Supplies You May Have Missed We’re all well aware that medical supplies, equipment, and specially qualified assistance will be tough to get hold of after most any disaster, especially longer term situations. With that in mind, I thought I would be a good idea to list several items that would prove useful to …

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It’s Time To Build Your Raised Beds

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 It’s Time To Build Your Raised Beds! It’s nearly that time of year when you have to start building your raised beds and planning your garden. This is my favorite time of the year! Spring and gardening = Awesome. For space efficiency and high yields, it’s hard to beat a vegetable garden grown in raised …

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Transportation During a Grid-Down Disaster

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Transportation During a Grid-Down Disaster Although many feel that it may be unlikely for the entire electrical grid to shut down – after numerous warnings from government agencies regarding recent attacks to this system, it’s safe to say that the possibility is real and out there. Some of us might be considering how awful it …

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Expiration Date Cheat Sheet: The Best Time to Replace Just About Everything

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Expiration Date Cheat Sheet: The Best Time to Replace Just About Everything How long can you rely on these everyday household goods? Stockpiling food, tools and other resources is a futile act if you don’t pay close attention to the potential longevity – or otherwise – of your goods. When times are good, we don’t …

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Pizza-Stuffed Bell Peppers are the Best Reason to Eat Your Vegetables

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Pizza-Stuffed Bell Peppers are the Best Reason to Eat Your Vegetables Nothing beats fresh veggies from the garden, but getting the kids to eat them can be quite a challenge. Casseroles and pasta dishes are great ways to incorporate vegetables into the menu, but they can get old after a while. If you’ve exhausted all …

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The ‘Easy Empty’ Composting Toilet Project

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The ‘Easy Empty’ Composting Toilet Project If you’re living off the grid or are looking into building your own homestead, sewage management is a big issue. Some people have septic tanks and these work fine, but need maintenance from time to time and you still lose a lot of valuable water. Wouldn’t it be great …

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Brighten Up Your Home Making DIY Luminaries Using Water Balloons

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Brighten Up Your Home Making DIY Luminaries Using Water Balloons Ambient light is nice and cozy, not to mention pretty resourceful in a time of need. In the event that you’re in an emergency situation where you don’t have power, lanterns and candles are handy but they both either burn out or require fuel. It …

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Home Security : Steps That Keep You Safe When SHTF

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Home Security: Steps That Keep You Safe When SHTF If your family had to rely on your survival and combat skills during an emergency, when the wolves are at your door, both the four-legged, and the two-legged kind – would you know what to do? You only have to look at recent headlines to understand …

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Reasons to Learn Basic Morse Code

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Reasons to Learn Basic Morse Code Basic Morse code is not something many people know. Full Morse code is something even fewer people know. They may be able to recognize that it’s Morse, but have no clue what the message is saying. Few people are interested in something so rudimentary when it comes to communication …

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Books To Help Newbies Prepare

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Books To Help Newbies Prepare There are thousands of articles, posts, stories, and how-to books out there on just about any subject you could ever want to learn about. When it comes to being prepared though, the pool of information to pull from gets smaller. Even with a smaller pool, it can be hard to …

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Best Practices For Long Term Food Storage

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Best Practices For Long Term Food Storage When it comes to food preservation, this article is one of the best… It goes over some of the main ways to preserve foods and goes into detail about it. If SHTF we will need to have enough food stockpiled to survive, that’s the plan anyway. So any …

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50 Items You Forgot To Put In Your Bug Out Bag

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50 Items You Forgot To Put In Your Bug Out Bag A bug out bag is never really complete. Not only do you have to rotate the food and batteries and make sure everything is still in working order, you also have to ask yourself two questions: 1. Is there an item that would be …

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Forge Ahead: This Unique Post-Collapse Skill Will Help You Fabricate and Repair Essential Items

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 OK, ReadyNutrition Readers, we’re going to forge ahead with those self-reliant skill sets and I’m going to tell you how to make your own forge.  Try not to become too excited!  Seriously, you’re not going to put US Steel out of business, nor do any of the refineries in Pittsburgh feel threatened.  No, this is a simple furnace that you can make on your own in your spare time.  If you follow the instructions and do it right, you won’t burn your house down or set fire to the neighborhood.  Seriously, there are plenty of applications you can use for this, and (in the end) it’s up to you.

So, what is a forge, (or furnace, if you prefer)?  Just a modified oven that can be defined as an enclosed oven for the express purpose of containing and raising the temperature of the fuels burned.  The forge-label usually denotes fabrication, primarily from metals within that fiery furnace.  This simple list of materials will give you what you need to build your own forge.

  1. Steel 5-gallon bucket (cylindrical, akin to contractor-grade)
  2. 2-3-gallon galvanized bucket
  3. 20 lbs. of sand or cat litter
  4. “stand” fashioned out of heavy-gauge wire fencing
  5. 6-10 bricks or several large bricks/masonry tiles
  6. Charcoal briquettes (about 20-lbs)
  7. Hair dryer
  8. Tongs/long-handled pliers
  9. Water pan (approx. 1 square foot L, and 3-4” deep)
  10. Fire extinguisher
  11. Heavy gloves, and goggles

Why These Materials, J.J.?

With these materials, you’ll be able to make a forge for yourself.  Why?  So you can fabricate items made of metal, repair things, and obtain heat where a higher heat than just a standard fire is required.  The charcoal briquettes enable you to have an even fire that can be super-oxygenated with the aid of the hair dryer.  If you want to pick up an old-fashioned bellows, then knock yourself out.  Using a hair dryer on the “cold” setting enables you to oxygenate the fire without burning out the hair dryer’s heating element.

The wire stand on the inside of the interior bucket is to enable the briquettes to heat your crucible, which is a container/vessel used to melt materials at high temperatures.  You can have a welder fabricate one of these out of steel piping, preferably 5-6 inches in diameter and about 1 foot in length.  The bottom of the steel pipe needs to be covered over with about a ¼ inch piece of steel slightly larger than the steel pipe’s diameter and welded to it.  This can be done for a reasonable price.

The tongs you’ll need to remove the crucible from when you heat it up, and the goggles and gloves for your own safety.  How many times do we throw away old cans and scrap metal?  Well, a while back, I did a piece on keeping metal bins for use as salvaging metals.  Here’s your chance to use that metal with your forge.

Furnace-Forge

Instructions For Making a Forge

  1. Set your 5-gallon bucket on the bricks or brick tile, away from flammable surfaces, such as wood.  The ground is better.  You will want to be close enough to an outlet to plug in the hair dryer.
  2. Next pour in the sand or litter until the bottom of the galvanized bucket sits firmly on it.  You’ll want to make a funnel out of cardboard or paper to fill in around to the top of the bucket with sand/litter if the bucket is angled.  If it’s a cylinder, no problem…go up to about ½” from the bucket’s top.  Make sure the top of your interior, galvanized bucket is about 1-2” below the 5-gallon bucket’s top lip.
  3. Construct your heavy-duty wire fencing stand as a rack to hold your crucible within the galvanized bucket.  The sand/cat litter insulates the outer vessel from the tremendous heat your forge will produce.  You want the crucible off the bottom of the bucket, with space in between it and the charcoal briquettes, for the promotion of airflow, steady burning, and to prevent the crucible from putting out the fire.  Your first firing is to get the briquettes up to (but no higher than) the top level of the stand the crucible is sitting on.
  4. Using the hair dryer on “cool/cold” setting, you can evenly oxygenate the briquettes until they are glowing evenly and hotter than a regular fire.  It is going to take time and practice to perfect this.
  5. Then (being safe) you will manipulate your crucible with the tongs.  You can also place a big metal can full of cat litter with a hollow in it to set the crucible to cool, and use the pan of water after it is no longer glowing hot.  Be sure to have an updated and serviceable fire extinguisher handy in case the operation is not all going along with your plan.
  6. Research your metals you wish to melt.  Perhaps bars or ingots can be made for later use.  You may want to fabricate parts for different tools and machinery.  This is beyond the scope of this article; however, remember that a part can be duplicated if you can make an impression of that part in a suitable material to take a pouring.  There are plenty of websites and resources out there to pursue an interest in metallurgy if you take the time.

Be safe, and be sure before you attempt any of this.  Don’t heat up anything inside of your garage or on your porch, and never in an enclosed area because of carbon monoxide fumes that can kill you.  Study and learn as much as you can before operating your forge.  Whatever you intend to build, have all your steps written down before you go about building it.  Be safe, be professional, and keep in that good fight!  JJ out!

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

80 Uses for Paracord: What Did I Miss?

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80 Uses for Paracord: What Did I Miss? Paracord has so many uses. I have come up with 80 uses for paracord. If you know any more uses please, please, please comment and let me know. 1: Tie tarp to trees 2: Lanyard to hold items (knife, keys etc) 3: Emergency para cord wrist band, …

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How to Purify Pine Resin and Make Pine Pitch

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How to Purify Pine Resin and Make Pine Pitch Purifying pine resin is the key to make some great wilderness glue also known as pine pitch. Make some today and get some classic wilderness skills down! Well, I have to share this topic with you as my mind has been blown. Let me first start by …

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