Uncategorized

Log Cabin Foundation Piers are Complete

by Todd Walker

A solid foundation is essential no matter what you’re building; a business, relationships, liberty, self-reliance, or a log cabin in the woods.

At my age, it’s tempting to build the log cabin so it only last my twenty or so years I have left (God willing.) But then there’s the generational thing I’d like to pass on to my children, grandchildren, and their children, just as Daddy intended when he bought this land 53 years ago. When I’m long gone, it is my hope that they will embrace this log cabin as a legacy of self-reliance and liberty. So I best build it to last!

When I mention to friends and family that I have 32 piers for my 1,000 square foot log cabin to rest on, they look at me kinda funny – like I’ve lost my mind, actually. Since this isn’t a conventionally stick-built house, I over-engineered on purpose.

The wall logs I harvested off our land average 14 inches in diameter on the butt end and 36 feet long minimum (estimated weight = 1,725# each). The longest sill logs are 46 feet long (estimated weight = 2,556# each). Now let’s go with just the 36 footers stacked 10 high on four walls, not including chinking or roof. I’m estimating the load to weigh around 34,500 tonnes for just the wall logs. I don’t know what a finished stick-built house weighs, but I’m glad I’ve got my 32 piers.

IMG_1073

Digging It!

Once the lot was graded, I laid out the footer/pier foundation locations. My cousin, Chris, who grew up on this land with me, has acquired all kinds of cool toys over the years. He has loaned his tractor to skid logs, graded the lot with his loader, and he’s digging footers (pictured below) in our soil made of shellrock, Georgia red clay, and sand. It was a challenge even for his mini-excavator. Shellrock is tough!

IMG_0377

I call on my cousin Chris when I need heavy equipment.

The footer holes fill with water after rain showers and have to be pumped or bailed with a bucket. I used the bucket method on two holes. Then the “work smarter, not harder” phrase came to me as I stood in muddy muck boots drenched in salty sweat.

I’ve got a sump pump! And a generator! That ended my bucket bailing. That pump sucks so well I named it Sleepy Joe!

IMG_0866

Being overzealous, I drained the other 30 holes. Shovel in hand, I began cleaning out the loose dirt and mud until my courage drained. Fatigue makes cowards of us all.

That night it rained and recreated 32 small, muddy bathtubs. I’m a quick learner though. From that point on in this ditch-digging adventure, I tackled one hole at a time to avoid that distinct sucking sound.

The one-hole-at-time strategy is not efficient in the least. But given that my crew consisted of me in the beginning, it saved time and labor in the end by only shoveling holes once.

Then one fine day, help showed up. She’s not unfamiliar with the project as she has helped fell, skid, and skin logs here. Melonie (Mel of the Mountains) was a welcomed sight as she used her bakery skills to apply mortar between blocks. No waste and greatly sped up the pier building process. She also stacked block at each footer hole, hauled 60 pound bags of cement/mortar, built frames for footers, and backfilled piers with a shovel.

IMG_0910

Melonie, who ran an award-winning bakery in Atlanta for 16 years, had the idea of using a piping bag instead of me wasting mortar with my trowel.

Once a hole is shoveled and leveled somewhat, I then level the footer box, add rebar, mix concrete in the wheelbarrow with a hoe, and pour it smooth. While still wet, I set the first layer of blocks in the concrete. Laying the remaining blocks was a matter of following the bottom pattern. Easy peasy!

IMG_1069

Leveling a footer box and backfilling piers in the Georgia heat and humidity.

My largest piers were constructed with three blocks on the base layer. These large piers will support sill logs and also serve as a solid foundation for the ridge pole support logs (RPSL) down the center of the cabin and the purlin support logs (PSL) on either side of the ridge pole. Both of the RPSL and PSL will stand vertically on these piers to reach their respective roof structural logs.

I also cemented J-hook rebar in several block cells on the building perimeter. Sill logs will be pre-drilled to match the rebar locations. The rebar will be guided through each sill log as it is slowly lowered onto the piers.

IMG_0729

Rebar anchors for sill logs.

Once the log is in place, the rebar will be hammered flush over the top of the log to anchor it to the piers. This first layer of wall logs will take the most time and effort to install. Then the stacking begins!

This coming week I’m going to sort, label, and prep logs for the wall construction.

Thanks for following the journey, and, as always, Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance.

~ Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on FloteOdyseePinterestYouTubeInstagram, and Facebook… and over at our Doing the Stuff Network.

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright © by Survival Sherpa

Categories: Homesteading, Life-Liberty-Happiness, Log Cabin, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

Homecoming: My New Log Cabin Build

by Todd Walker

In March of 2021, just before my pancreas scare, I decided to build a log cabin on the land I grew up on. I needed a place to retire and our land would provide the resources needed for the project. All I needed was the energy and sweat equity to do the stuff.

My little 10×12 practice log cabin taught me many things. The most important being that log cabin building is nothing but hard work. Counting the cost, I launched with ambition and hope that I could hold up physically. This go round I’d be using all the power tools and equipment I could to easy the pain.

My plan is to construct a 30×32 foot log cabin on the exact spot our family first camped in tents on this land in 1969. Many memories were made in my seven-year-old mind, the most painful being my first chigger infestation. It’s a wonder I grew up to love the outdoors after that miserable, scratchy weekend.

To get started, I needed trees, lots of trees. Pine is plentiful and relatively easy to access on our property. The longest lengths would need to be 45 feet long to accommodate the 12 foot front porch that will overlook the lake.

It’s different building with logs of this length. The longest log on my practice cabin was 21 feet. Now I had to find trees long and straight enough to span a distance twice that. Cruising timber takes patience and perseverance. I spot what appears to be a perfect fit straight away but I walk 90 degrees around the tree, use my ax to plumb that side, and a bow from that angle disqualifies, or saves the tree’s life. When I find a keeper, I do my happy dance and tie a strip of orange surveyor’s tape around it!

As my friend Cokey always said at the onset of any hard work, “It’s like hauling logs, you gotta really want to do it!” I managed to cut about half of the logs needed this summer in crazy hot weather. My cousin, Chris, loaned his tractor out for the skidding part. Nylon chokers and ropes held up for a while to drag hard-to-reach logs out of the woods. I later converted to chains for safety purposes.

Skinning Logs with a Spud

Without a doubt, this is the most labor intensive aspect of the build.

When the sap is rising in Georgia pines (mid-March through late September), my tool of choice for de-barking logs is a long handle scraper I found at Harbor Freight. The 4 inch wide beveled blade gets under the bark and separates the cambium layer from the sapwood efficiently.

To start a fresh log, I remove a strip of bark the entire length of the tree. The spud is then worked under the bark. With enough of the metal spud under the bark edge, the 4 foot wooden handle is used to pry sections of bark from the log. When the sap is rising, it’s possible to remove wide, long sheets of bark.

In the winter months the bark will only release when strongly encouraged to do so. A drawknife outperforms the spud. However, I have no desire to hunch over, straddle, and peel logs with an edged tool.

cabin 1 drawknife

One of my first logs skinned with a drawknife for my “Practice Cabin” in February 2018.

Seeking a shortcut, I thought to myself, “There must be a machine that will debark logs and save my back.”

The Log Wizard

I ordered this handy-dandy tool near the end of July, 2021. With dreams of upping my log skinning game, I gladly laid down two Benjamins and some change. It’s basically two planer blades attached to the end of a chainsaw. DJ, my brother-in-law, is one of those guys who can fix just about anything. I dropped by his place, and sure enough, he drilled two precision holes in an extra 18 inch chainsaw bar and I was up and running.

I was not impressed with my first attempt at removing bark with the Log Wizard in July. There were two reasons.

First, it gouged the sapwood after removing bark. I thought it was operator error on my part. DJ gave it a whirl with the same result. I figured it was an expensive experiment and tossed it in the box of forgotten tools.

Secondly, it was considerably slower in removing bark in comparison to my trusty spud. Where I could remove wide sheets of bark with my spud, the Log Wizard required that I touch ever square inch of the tree to completely skin a log.

log wizard

The Log Wizard in action.

After Christmas 2021, I resurrected the Log Wizard to debark winter logs. I even rigged an overhead cable to help support the weight of the chainsaw. This design relieved the stress on my shoulders but was still slow as molasses in winter.

After peeling a few logs with the Log Wizard, I decided to switch back to the drawknife. I built sawhorses which held the log up at a more comfortable height for debarking. This sped up the process considerably.

I’ve got enough logs on the landing to stack walls 9 logs high.

Grading the Building Site

The foundation piers on the back of the cabin will be at least 18 inches high. Moving forward 42 feet to reach the front porch, piers would be over 5 feet tall without grading the lot. I don’t want that many steps for my retirement log cabin.

I recruited Chris, my cousin from across the lake, to crawl his Cat loader over to dig up root balls and start the grading process. A few big pines needed to come down near the build site. They weren’t suitable for wall logs, too crooked. After felling the trees, I bucked them to length for sawmill lumber. Chris wrangled the root balls and brush into a huge burn pile.

The lot was graded as best as possible with a heavy machine. I then called on another family member to do the finish grading. Joe grades building lots like it’s his job, well, it is actually. He showed up with a skid steer and leveled the lot in less than an hour and a half. I was amazed at the skill and accuracy as he operated his machine!

The next project will be digging for foundation piers. I’m trying to decide if I should go with poured concrete piers or cinder block piers. If any of you followed my other log cabin build, you’ll remember I used big stone piers like the old timers used.

Once the piers are set, I’ll start stacking wall logs.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

~ Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on Flote, Odysee, PinterestYouTubeInstagram, and Facebook… and over at our Doing the Stuff Network.

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright © by Survival Sherpa: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Deja vu: Building an Off-Grid Log Cabin… Again

by Todd Walker

Deja vu: Building an Off-Grid Log Cabin... Again

Three 21 foot logs, the crowning roof logs, lay on the ground debarked with pine sap oozing like beads of sweat. They would serve as my ridge pole and two top plate logs. Then it happened…

The landowner’s son, my good friend, walked to the cabin site and told me that the family was putting the land up for sale. I was shocked, not so much about the fate of my “practice” log cabin, but because he was raised on this beautiful land his entire life. He apologized about all the work that I had put into the cabin.

“It’s a practice cabin, buddy,” I said.

A year and a half of felling, bucking, skinning, stacking and pinning logs together. My options were limited. Let it sit unfinished and eventually rot to the ground. Or move it. DRG and I moved to the property across the road just a few months ago. Yep, that would be its new location.

Weeks before the news, I had arranged a work day with a group of our friends to finish up the walls. The building party turned into a demolition day. Each log was labeled and numbered to make reassembling the log puzzle less confusing. Stick by stick, the team worked all day to tear down 1.5 years of work, some of which they helped build.

Deja vu: Building an Off-Grid Log Cabin... Again

Many thanks to these fine friends on demolition day!

Deja vu

After the dust settled, the job of rebuilding began. I figured reassembly would take less time. I was right.

Foundation

I decided to go back with dry-stack stone piers for the foundation. This would save money since the land had plenty of stones for stacking. Boulders I couldn’t physically lift, there were several, I used my rope come-a-long to inch them onto a trailer. My friend’s tractor would have made this task a breeze, but it was in the shop for repairs.

One lesson learned from the first stone foundation was I didn’t need to be exact on stacking each pier. I got them close to level using a water level and tweaked them as needed once the sill logs were on top. Dimensional lumber would require each pier to be exactly the same height. If you enjoy putting puzzles together, this job is for you.

Deja vu: Building an Off-Grid Log Cabin... Again

Dry-stack piers

Sill Logs

I needed to start stacking logs. The challenge was to transport the two 1,000 pound, 18 foot sill logs from the previous site to their new home. My log hauling operation consisted of Donkey Kong (4-wheeler) and Junior (LogRite Arch). This duo had successfully hauled all the other cabin logs across the creek, up a 75 yard incline which makes young men huff and puff, and across the road to my place.

I crossed my fingers and headed toward the creek with a sill log in-tow. Donkey Kong crossed the creek and stalled with its front tires off the ground. The opposite end of the long log was stuck on the other side of the creek. I knew then that I was in for a long afternoon of winching up a steep hill. After five winching episodes, we made it to the top! And in 90+ degree Georgia heat with high humidity. I was soaked.

I rebuilt my lifting tripod at the new site, hung the chain fall, and started setting sill logs. The first row is important and takes the longest to get set. To square the corners, the Pythagorean Theorem was used to form a 3-4-5 triangle at each corner.

Log Cabin Update: Sill Logs and Hand-Hewn Floor Joists ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

From the first build: The corner nail is near the head of the hammer where the two chalk lines intersect. The tape measure forms the hypotenuse of the right triangle.

Deja vu: Building an Off-Grid Log Cabin... Again

Five sill logs set and squared at the new site.

Log Courses Going Up

Before disassembling the cabin, each log was labeled to make putting it back together a no-brainer. It’s like paint by numbers.

Deja vu: Building an Off-Grid Log Cabin... Again

Logs staged in order for assembly.

Deja vu: Building an Off-Grid Log Cabin... Again

Deja vu: Building an Off-Grid Log Cabin... Again

A fine sight!

Deja vu: Building an Off-Grid Log Cabin... Again

Four rows complete!

Every log you see was felled and bucked with an ax, with a few back cuts using a one-man hand saw. Logs were debarked with a barking sud or draw knife. Most of the assembly on the original site was done with a brace and bit and sledge hammer. I chose this pioneer method the first time around. On the rebuild, I’m running power tools with a generator. The use of modern tools has sped up the process considerably. I even have a shop fan to move hot air around the new site.

Floor Joists

Those who have followed this log cabin build may remember the hand-hewn log floor joists on the first build. I made the decision to abandon this floor system. Why? Two reasons…

  • During disassembly, we discovered that one sill log notched to accept the floor joists had significant decay. This log came from a dead-standing pine tree which seemed to be solid. I opted to replace it with another log.
  • Even if the sill log had remained solid, I quickly realized that the alignment of the two notched sill logs had to be perfect to accept the hewn log joists.

Pressure treated lumber was used as joists. It was cheaper on some boards than non-treated. Plus, I’m not sure how long it’ll take to get a roof over the cabin. The old plywood subfloor was salvaged and tacked on the new joists as temporary flooring.

Deja vu: Building an Off-Grid Log Cabin... Again

Shimmed and screwed rim joists.

Installing flat boards on round logs had a few challenges. There are gaps between the two, some almost 1.5 inches. I used shims to keep the 2×8’s rim joists plumb. Six inch screws secured the joists where large gaps appeared. Joist hangers were set on 16 inch centers for the 10 foot run on the floor.

Deja vu: Building an Off-Grid Log Cabin... Again

Temporary flooring with lifting tripod .

Deja vu: Building an Off-Grid Log Cabin... Again

The front porch joists are 2×6’s to cover a span of less than 6 feet.

We’ll keep practicing until we finish this log cabin. We’ve been here before.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

~ Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestYouTubeInstagram, and Facebook… and over at our Doing the Stuff Network.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there…

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright © by Survival Sherpa: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: Doing the Stuff, Homesteading, Log Cabin, Self-reliance, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

How to Make a River Cane Fish Trap

by Todd Walker

Give a man a fish and he eats for a day… teach him to make a fish trap and he feeds himself and his tribe!

How to Make a River Cane Fish Trap - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

On the heels of our last post on river cane, I thought you may be interested in how to build a traditional fish trap. The beauty of any kind of trapping device is its ability to passively gather protein while you spend valuable time doing other stuff. Set it and forget it.

This funnel trap is not a “survival” trap. Your time would be better spent in a short-term survival scenario than burning calories collecting resources and lashing cane. However, for a long-term, consistent fish-catcher, take your time and build it to last.

Admiration and many thumbs-up signs go out to all aboriginal people who built one of these from scratch. The sheer amount of cordage needed is daunting enough using modern bank line. If my only lashing option was natural cordage, I’d choose to make a woven basket to eliminate the cordage requirement. Raw hide may have been used by our ancestors. I had enough bank line, so I used it.

Building a River Cane Fish Trap

Before you get your taste buds riled up, check your local game laws regarding fish traps. In my state of Georgia, you must have a commercial fishing license and traps have to be built to meet certain standards with respect to materials, size, and use. This trap fails the state standard. Chicken wire is required and does not grow naturally in the eastern woodlands. River cane does and was used to construct this self-reliance experiment for educational purposes only.

Our video tutorial is up for those who like this format:

Material and Tools

  • River cane of various lengths and diameter (thumb-size to pencil-size and at least 6 feet long). Non-native bamboo is a good substitute.
  • Cordage ~ Bank line, jute twine, or raw hide and natural cordage for the purists.
  • Knife or pruning shears

You’ll need lots of time, patience, and knots once you gather the river cane.

Build 3 Hoops

Either use freshly cut cane or other flexible branches. In my experience, cane cut over a week ago won’t bend for the hoops without heating. All I had was older cut cane at my shelter when I began this project. I improvised and tested two pencil-size species: Tulip Poplar and American Beech. Tulip poplar worked for the largest hoop (15 inch diameter) but was too brittle for the medium (12 inches) and smallest (8 inches). All three of the hoops on the larger funnel are beech limbs.

River Cane- 25 Self-Reliant Uses for -Cherokee Plastic- - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Cut lengths for your desired diameter. Overlap the ends and lash together. I started the lashing with a bowline knot and terminated the lashing with a clove hitch. Apply gentle pressure to the hoops to create round supports for the river cane ribs to be attached.

Harvest and Prepare Cane Ribs

Harvesting river cane has inherent risks. Snakes, chiggers, and ticks make canebrakes home. Prepare accordingly.

River cane has two leaf types: Clum leaf and branch leaves. Clum leaves form a protective sheath which hug the clum upward from each node. The branch leaves grow from the end of the new branches coming off nodes.

To remove the clum leaves, grip and twist the sheath-like leaf at each node. It’s not necessary to remove these leaves if you’re pressed for time. Then again, if you’re pressed for time, this project may not be for you. The branches protruding from the upper nodes are easily removed by pulling them down towards the base of the clum.

Trim and blunt the ends of the cane to avoid accidental puncture or cuts while building and using your trap.

Attach Cane Ribs

Use four of your more robust canes to start framing your trap. It’s not that important which knots/lashings you use. They just need to hold the ribs securely to the hoops. I used square lashing with bank line on most of the ribs initially. However, as more cane is added to the frame, space becomes limited. Get creative with knots.

How to Make a River Cane Fish Trap - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Attach the larger ends of the tapered cane to the largest hoop at 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, and 9:00 with about a couple of inches overlapping past the hoop. Repeat the process about halfway down the four canes with the medium hoop. I found that laying the frame on the ground to attach the remaining hoops speeds up the process.

Lash the smallest hoop about 18 inches from the middle hoop. With the three hoops attached to the four canes, you have a steady framework on which to add the remaining ribs. Don’t worry about cutting all the ribs to the same length at the onset. They can run wild and be trimmed even at the end of the project.

Add more cane ribs… Add more cane… Add more… you get the picture. This labor of love eats up most of you time. As the spacing between ribs narrowed, I began tying a modified diagonal lashing. On tight spaces, I simply wrapped the cordage around the cane and hoop and tied a square knot.

The spacing between canes at the opening of the trap are naturally wider than those at the tip end. After testing, I may have to weave cordage between the ribs to add rigidity to the funnel and lessen the chance of smaller fish escaping. I’ll update you after the field test.

Build the Inner Funnel

On this day, I had freshly cut river cane. I used it to make two hoops. I can say that it is better and more flexible than the beech used in the larger funnel.

How to Make a River Cane Fish Trap - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

The interior funnel hoop is slightly smaller in diameter than the opening of the large funnel. The small hoop of the interior funnel was about 7 inches in diameter.

Build the frame of this funnel in the same manner as the larger one. Use smaller diameter cane with the large ends attached at the larger hoop (opening end). Allow the smaller, more flexible ends to run past the smaller inside hoop by 6 to 7 inches.

In theory, doing so will allow fish to swim through the flexible funnel end but prevent them from leaving. Kinda like a line from the Eagles hit song, Hotel California… “you can check in anytime you like, but you can never leave.”

Connect the Two Funnels

Once the interior funnel is complete, insert it into the larger funnel opening. Lash the two hoops together so that the inside funnel is somewhat straight and even with the large funnel. Secure the hoops at several points around their circumference in a permanent fashion.

How to Make a River Cane Fish Trap - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Inner funnel secured

You’re almost done!

Close the Trap Tip

Gather the cane at the tip of the trap at a point with about 6 inches of cane remaining. Lash this point with a knot that is secure but can be easily untied. This is the end you will untie and empty your trap of all the fish you’ve caught… fingers crossed.

How to Make a River Cane Fish Trap - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Once the tip end is lashed, trim the wild ends. One whack from a machete on a chopping block and your done.

One last detail you’ll need to take care of if you use nylon bank line. Cut and melt the ends of all those tag ends of cordage. If you have a soldering torch (not very primitive, I know), simply burn the tag ends so they don’t unravel. Take care not to melt the lashings or set the cane on fire. Melted nylon is no joke on your skin. Be careful.

Bait the Trap

Wrap your bait of choice in panty hose or cheese cloth and suspend it from the inside of the trap. Catfish like stinky stuff like chicken liver, dead fish, and commercial blood bait.

Attach a sturdy line(s) to a larger rib/hoop junction for lowering and raising the trap. You’ll also want to attach an anchor to sink the trap as river cane floats. Use a jug at the end of the line to mark your trap in deep water. Near the bank you can tie the line to a tree or limb. My experience with chicken wire traps in my childhood was that I caught more turtles than catfish in shallow waters.

Leave the trap submerged for several hours or overnight. Check the trap regularly and follow local game and fishing laws.

 

An update will be coming on the functionality of the trap. Max and I didn’t have time to get it in the pond. If it’s anything like the chicken wire traps we used years ago, we won’t go hungry if we ever have to depend on this river cane trap.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook… and over at the Doing the Stuff Network.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there… 

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, DIY Preparedness Projects, Doing the Stuff, Primal Skills, Self-reliance, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 18 Comments

How to Build a Carving Bench from a Log (Rope Vise Plans Included)

by Todd Walker

My uncle Emmett introduced me to woodcarving in grade school. He taught me to carve a “ball in a cage” from a single block of balsa wood in the church basement. Years pasted as did my interest in wood carving. It’s funny how our interests come full circle in life.

How to Build a Carving Bench from a Log - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

After 40 years, I was reintroduced to the traditional skill of greenwood carving. Local, sustainable trees are used to make objects for everyday use while learning old-world skills. Handmade spoons, cups, and bowls are hidden within these renewable resources.

For over a year now, I’ve been whittling on wood to create something more than a camp pot hook. It’s all part of my addictive journey of self-reliance and…

Freedom from Electricity

Do I love and use electricity? You bet!

However, my personal space in the woods is my favorite location for carving… or doing most anything else. Dependence on electricity is not an option. Out there I’m transported back to a time of Doing the Stuff with cordless-tools held by hands, my hands. My collection of simple hand tools overshadows my skill level. I’ll keep Doing the Stuff until my skills catch up.

One tool my semi-permanent shelter was missing is a dedicated carving bench. Add this to my Paring Ladder, and a future pole lathe, and my no-electric-power shop in the woods will be fully functional. The forest provides the raw building materials. It’s my job to collect them.

I’ve included a video tutorial for those who prefer moving pictures.

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own…

Carving Bench from a Log

Material and Tool List

  • A hardwood log about 2 to 3 feet long and 10 to 12 inches in diameter
  • 4 poles for legs and a few other sticks along the way
  • Wooden pegs for the peg holes – again, more sticks
  • Cordage – something for the rope vise and smaller stuff for lashing
  • Chainsaw or crosscut saw – depending on how vigorous of a project you desire
  • Ax and knife – a drawknife is optional but really useful if you’ve built a paring ladder
  • Auger – 1 inch minimum

Ideas for this design came from photos of two Facebook groups of which I’m a member:

I highly recommend both groups if you’re on Facebook and pursuing self-reliance.

Step 1: Cut a Log

The reason I carried my chainsaw to the woods that day was to cut some dead cedar for a couple of sitting bench projects. Another heavy cutting project was a huge dead pine, not within reach of my shelter, but adjacent to a spot boy scouts camp. It needed to be felled. I also needed a hefty log for a carving bench.

How to Build a Carving Bench from a Log - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

The pine widow maker is down. Talk about a fat lighter’d resource!

I cut a limb off a red oak downed by a storm a year ago and hauled it back to base camp. Whatever tree you use, it should be hardwood and about the dimensions given above.

Step 2: Cut Notches

Make three perpendicular cross cuts almost halfway through the log. The first cut will be about 5 inches from one end. Now cut at a 90 degree angle from the end of the log to the base of the first cut to remove this section of wood. This will be the end shelf of your bench and platform for the rope vise.

Make the second cross-cut 5-6 inches from the first cut. The third cut goes in about 18 inches (depends on how much flat work space you want) from the second cut. The space between the second and third cut will become your middle bench area.

How to Build a Carving Bench from a Log - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Save the half-moon sections for spacer blocks… or firewood.

Score a line connecting the bottom of the second and third cuts along the sides of the log. Make several cuts about 2 inches wide on the middle section of the log down to the scored lines. Strike the 2 inch sections with the butt of your ax or maul to break them loose. Remove and save these half-moons as spacers for wedging stock on the bench.

How to Build a Carving Bench from a Log - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

A good smack with an ax usually removes the half-moon blocks.

The base of the middle section will be uneven after removing the half moons. Use your ax to hew this section of your bench smooth. Use a wooden maul to hammer the ax through hard-to-reach sections until the surface is relatively flat.

How to Build a Carving Bench from a Log - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Hewing the work surface.

How to Build a Carving Bench from a Log - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Ready for holes.

Step 3: Bore Holes

Use a timber framing auger or brace and bit to bore a hole all the way through the center of the end shelf. This hole will serve as part of your rope vise. My auger is a vintage 1-1/4 inch timber frame tool DRG and I found at an antique store. I’d say one inch holes would be the minimum for this kind of project.

How to Build a Carving Bench from a Log - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Two parallel logs work well to hold the bench steady when crafting.

Lay the bench down on two other logs as supports. Bore 4 to 6 holes in the middle section of the bench. Make these peg holes about 2 knuckles deep. I marked my auger bit with duct tape at the two-inch mark as a depth gauge. Two holes should be about 4 inches from one wall in the middle section and about 4 or 5 inches apart crosswise. Repeat the hole spacing on the other interior wall of your bench. I added two more peg holes in between these four holes for added adjustability.

How to Build a Carving Bench from a Log - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

The best shot I had of the peg holes.

Debark the log with your ax. Turn the bench over with the work surface parallel to the ground on top of the support logs. Bore holes at each of the four corners to accept your bench legs. Use the same depth gauge for these holes you used for the previous holes. However, you need to angle these leg holes out from the center line and middle of the log.

How to Build a Carving Bench from a Log - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

A leg for each corner.

Here’s a tip for keeping the legs in line with one another. After boring one leg hole, cut and prepare a leg and insert in the first hole. Now you have an angled leg to visually line up the opposite leg hole as you bore the remaining holes. Move the leg to another hole as needed to sight your angles.

Step 4: Make Legs

Since I have a good supply of standing dead cedar, I used 2 to 3 inch diameter poles for my legs. Plus, cedar is rot-resistant. I cut my four legs longer than I thought was needed and trimmed them to proper length later.

How to Build a Carving Bench from a Log - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

I used my paring ladder and my new foldable draw knife to taper the narrow end of each leg. An ax and/or knife is all you really need, though. The tapered end should fit in your leg hole snugly at the one inch mark. You’ll drive the legs into the holes later for a secure fit.

Step 5: Cut Legs to Height

When your satisfied with the final leg length for your bench height, pound the legs into the holes with an ax or maul. Chamfer the ground-end of the legs to help prevent “mushrooming” as your strike these ends.

I cut my legs so that my bench is about waist height. This may prove to be too high. I can always trim the legs but can’t add wood back to the legs.

Step 6: Build the Rope Vise

I had originally thought I’d use a loop of rope held down with my foot to secure stock on the end shelf. However, the tensioning device for my take down bucksaw came to mind as I kneeled on the ground measuring my rope.

Ah ha!

Cut a cross brace and attach it to the two end legs under the end shelf. Tie the two intersections with square lashing  about a foot off the ground. Tarred mariners line works great for this application.

How to Build a Carving Bench from a Log - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Fully assembled rope vise holding stock on the end shelf.

Feed a loop of rope through the end shelf hole from the underside of the bench. Place a stick in the loop on top of the end shelf to prevent it from dropping out of the hole. Tie the loose ends of the rope around the cross brace. I used a fisherman’s knot. Leave enough slack in the loop for spoon blanks to fit in the loop on top of the end shelf.

Next, cut a stick that will serve as a winding paddle in your rope. The paddle needs to be long enough catch on the bench legs, but not so long that you can’t twist it between the legs. Insert the paddle in the middle of the rope with stock in the loop on the end shelf. Now wind the rope tight and allow it to rest on one or both of the legs.

If the stock on the end shelf is loose, twist the rope a few more times. This rope vise allows you to hold down wood very securely. This vise is not a quick release system but it will hold what needs to be held.

Step 7: Cut Pegs

Cut two to four pegs measuring about 4-5 inches above the work surface when inserted in the peg holes. Taper each peg end as you did the legs. The only difference is that the pegs are smaller in diameter. 

How to Build a Carving Bench from a Log - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Pegs with wedges shimmed to hold a large block of cedar firm. I started gouging a bowl on this stock. 

The adjustable pegs on the middle section gives you options for a variety of wood sizes. Simply move pegs to fit the width of your work piece. Cut a few wooden wedges and shim the stock tight between the pegs and end wall. You could also shim pieces between any configuration of pegs on the work bench surface. This center section will be an excellent way to hold larger projects like bowls and kuksas. Plus, I now have another flat, horizontal surface which always comes in handy around camp at supper time.

Your bench is ready for work!

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook… and over at the Doing the Stuff Network.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there… 

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, DIY Preparedness Projects, Doing the Stuff, Self-reliance, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 20 Comments

3 Skills that Cover a Multitude of Survival Sins

by Todd Walker

From the biblical perspective, sin is “missing the mark.” In wilderness survival, not hitting your target in one skill doesn’t have to mean certain death. However, fall short in these three critical survival skills, and, dude, you’re screwed!

3 Skills that Cover a Multitude of Survival Sins - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

You may not get a second chance to see your family again if you can’t stay warm and hydrated. Having the ability to regulate body temperature brings redemption.

Cold and Wet: The Perfect Storm

Your body does a remarkable job regulating core temperature. However, add moisture to the equation, drop the temperature slightly, and you’ve got a perfect storm for hypothermia.

Water saps body heat 25 times faster than air. And 70 to 80% of your body heat is lost through your head and neck. The remaining heat loss goes through your fingers, hands, and feet. The simple act of breathing in cold air and expelling warm air will chill your body.

A slight change in core temp, even by a degree or two, will affect your bodily functions. Shivering, lack of coordination, slurred speech, and numbness in the extremities are signs of hypothermia. Decrease to 91.4ºF (33ºC) and you lose consciousness. Complete muscle failure occurs at 82.4ºF (28ºC).

Core Temperature Equipment

This article is not addressing wilderness living skills or long-term self-reliance. We’re talking about staying alive in an unexpected stay in the woods. You can’t very well pursue long-term stuff if you’re not equipped to survive the short-term storm. And, by storm, I mean – when you need immediate help and none is available – in a wilderness setting.

The first step to being equipped is to always carry equipment. No matter how many debris huts you’ve built, you’d be a stupid survivalist, and possibly a dead one, to not pack some sort of emergency shelter option, fire kit, metal container, cordage, and a knife.

Below is my emergency kit I carry no matter how long I plan to be in the woods.

  • Emergency Space Blanket ~ The best 12 ounce item in my kit for core temperature control. I also carry two contractor grade garbage bag and a painter’s tarp  – too many uses to mention here.
  • Fire Kit ~ Three different ignition sources which I’m comfortable using – open flame (Bic lighter), spark ignition (ferro rod), solar ignition (magnifying lens), sure fire (diy and commercial), duct tape, and a bit of dry tinder material.
  • Knife ~ There is no such thing as “The Best Survival Knife”. Beware of the marketer’s hype surrounding these ultimate survival tools.
  • Metal Container ~ A metal water bottle can be used to boil water, make char cloth, cook meals, and perform self-aid duties.
  • Cordage ~ I carry both 550 paracord and tarred mariners line.

These items are my bare bones kit and go with me camping, hiking, backpacking, and hunting. Don’t think you’ll ever need these kit items? Think again. Read this real-life survival story of an injured hunter in the Idaho wilderness.

Core Temperature Control Skills

Conserving body heat is the key to survival. Your body produces heat from biochemical reactions in cells, exercise, and eating. Without a furry coating like lower animals, insulation to maintain a body temperature at 98.6 degrees F is critical.

It all starts with…

Skill #1 ~ Shelter

Sins of Sheltering: Not carrying an emergency space blanket and wearing improper clothing.

While having an emergency space blanket is important, your shelter is built before you ever step over the door sill of your warm and cozy home. Your clothes are your first layer of shelter.

Thermal energy always travels from warm/hot (your body) to cool/cold (the environment). To trap body heat, layer your clothing. Layers create dead air space much like the insulation in house walls and attics. Layering is activity-dependent. But the basic concept applies to any outdoor cold weather activity.

Here’s my layer system…

A.) Base Layer ~Your base layer should fit snuggly to your body. Long sleeve shirt and underwear made of polyester blend for wicking perspiration away from my body. Sock liners go on first before wool socks. Thin wool glove liners are worn inside my larger leather mittens.

B.) Insulation ~ Yes, I wear cotton, and sometimes fleece, on top of the base layer. This is dependent upon my activity. If I’m really active in really cold weather, I wear a wool sweater. Wool is my favorite insulation layer. Here’s why…

  • Wool fiber absorbs up to 36% of its weight and gradually releases moisture through evaporation.
  • Wool has natural antibacterial properties that allow you wear it multiply days without stinking up camp. Not so with synthetics.
  • Wool wicks moisture, not as well as synthetics, but better than cotton.
  • Wool releases small amounts of heat as it absorbs moisture.
  • Wool contains thousands of natural air-trapping pockets for breathable insulation.

Remembering the importance of dead air space, your insulation layer should fit loosely and be breathable. Apply the acronym C.O.L.D. to your insulating layer…

  1. C – Keep CLEAN
  2. O – Avoid OVERHEATING
  3. L – Wear loose LAYERS to create dead air space
  4. D – Keep DRY

C.) Outer Layer ~ Waterproof is not your friend. Yes, it will keep rain and wetness out, but it will also seal perspiration in eventually soaking your insulation. Wear a weather-resistant shell that allows moisture to escape. The main concern for this layer is to block wind.

Your head, hands, and feet are included in this layer. I’m partial to wool hats to keep my bald head warm. In subzero temps, I wear my shapka, a Russian red fox winter hat, I bought in Siberia in the early 90’s.

Cold feet are deceptive. Frostbite can happen before you know the damage is done. Wear polyester sock liners with wool socks inside your footwear of choice.

3 Skills that Cover a Multitude of Survival Sins - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Our local BSA troop learning how to set up an emergency tarp shelter.

3 Skills that Cover a Multitude of Survival Sins - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

A cheap painter’s painter’s tarp creates a micro-climate with a fire burning in front. See the Mors Kochanski Super Shelter below…

D.) Waterproof Shelter ~ Again, for emergency essentials, you can’t beat a good space blanket to block wind, rain, and reflect heat back to your body. Combined with a plastic painter’s tarp, a Kochanski Super Shelter can keep you warm in subzero condition in street clothes.

Use two large contractor garbage bags filled with leaves, wet or dry, for an insulating ground pad. This emergency shelter weighs ounces but offers pounds of insurance against a long cold night in the woods.

There are many more options for waterproof covering. The above items are for your emergency kit.

Skill #2 ~ Fire Craft

Sins of Fire Craft: Not carrying multiple ignition sources and all-weather fire starters.

Fire covers a multitude of ‘sins’ in your survival skills. Even if you deliberately commit the offense of not packing emergency shelter, fire forgives your lapse in judgement. Scantily clad in the wilderness? Fire covers your wrongdoing. No matter how you “miss the mark” in skills or equipment, fire can save you.

If you’ve spent any amount of time in the woods I’m sure you’ve heard Mother Nature humming these classic lyrics…

“… Like it always seems to go, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

Are you a fair-weather fire crafter?

That’s a good place to start. Nothing wrong with learning in the most fire-friendly conditions. You’ve got dry tinder, kindling, and fuel to burn. This may not be the case when your life depends on making fire in the wind, rain, and snow.

Cheating is NOT a Sin

There is absolutely no such thing as cheating when it comes to building a life-sustaining fire. Who cares what Bushcraft purists think! Your loved ones aren’t worried about style points in fire craft. They want you home alive. So cheat!

For the weekend camper or woodsman, carry these foul weather fire cheats…

Fire Cheat #1 ~ Ask yourself this question, “Could a five-year-old start a fire with my emergency fire kit?” Don’t get too bushcrafty. I know  ferrocerium rods are popular, but you can’t beat a thumb drill fire (Bic lighter) when you really need fire.

Fire Cheat #2 ~ One of the most overlooked fire starters that should already be in your pack is duct tape. Loosely wad up about 2 foot of tape and ignite it with an open flame. A ferrocerium rod will ignite duct tape but don’t rely on sparks. You have to shred the tape to create lots of surface area. This isn’t your best option if your fingers are losing dexterity in freezing temperatures.

Fire Cheat #3 ~ DiY fire starters made of wax-soaked jute twine or cotton makeup remover pads. I also carry commercially made sure fire that will burn on water.

Fire Cheat #4 ~ Always carry enough dry tinder material to start a fire in sucky weather.

Fire Cheat #5 ~ Know where to find the best possible tinder material and how to process it to create surface area. Dead hanging branches, pencil lead size to pencil size, provide kindling even in the rain.

Fire Cheat #6 ~ Fat lighter’d (aka – fatwood, resin-rich pine wood) is my lifesaver in the south. Discover your best natural fire starter wherever you’re located or plan to travel. I keep this stuff in all my kits. It’s abundant where I live.

Fire Cheat #7 ~ Dry wood is available in all weather conditions if you know where to look. Standing dead Tulip Poplar (Magnolia) is one of my go-to fire resources. The trick to getting to the dry wood is splitting the wood down to tinder, kindling, and fuel size material. The inner bark makes excellent tinder bundles!

Post #500: The One Stick Fire Challenge

One 2 inch diameter stick of tulip poplar made all this: L to R: Thumb, pencil, pencil lead, and bark tinder

And that brings us to the next skill that forgives survival sins…

Skill #3: Knife Skills

A knifeless man is a lifeless man.

The “survival” knife market is full of gadgetry. Gadgets are for gawkers. You don’t need a Rambo knife to survive. You just need a solid knife and some skill. 

Carry a good knife and practice with what you carry. Your knife may become your one-tool-option. Most importantly, your knife should feel right in your hand as you use it.

Knife Sins: Carrying a knife but never becoming competent with your blade.

You’re not going to be carving spoons and bowls in a short-term survival situation. Your edged tool will be used to make shelter and fire to control core temperature. I’ve written about the number 1 knife skill here.

Have Knife, Will Burn

Even if you’ve committed the first two survival sins, your blade can save you. A knife in skilled hands can create fire from scratch. I don’t rely on friction fire as my first choice but do practice the skill in case I run into unknown unknowns.

With my buddy Bic in my pocket, I still need to process sticks to make fire quick. Both the cutting edge and spine of your knife are used to create surface area needed for ignition.

When cold and wet, your fine motor skills are probably suffering. Pretty feather sticks are for style points. Style won’t save you. Fire will!

Split a dead wrist-size stick with a baton and knife into thumb size pieces to get to the dry stuff. Split a few of those pieces into smaller kindling. Grip your knife with a reverse grip (cutting edge facing up) and use the spine of your knife to scrape a pile of fine shavings off one of the larger split sticks. If you’ve got fat lighter’d, scrape off a pile of shavings the size of a golf ball. Ignite this pile with a lighter or ferro rod and feed your fire its meal plan.

Here’s a demo of a one stick fire in the rain…

Knife and Shelter

Debris shelters can be built without a knife. Sticks can be broken to length between two trees without a cutting tool. Keep in mind that this type of shelter will take several hours and lots of calories to construct correctly.

The role of the knife in emergency shelter building is secondary compared to its importance in making fire. You won’t even need a knife to set up a space blanket shelter if you prepped your emergency kit ahead of time.

Blades are expedient in cutting cordage, notching sticks, harvesting green bows for bedding, making wedges to split larger wood without an ax, and a number of other self-reliance tasks.

Forgiveness

All three of these survival skills are needed for emergency core temperature control, but I’d place fire on top of my forgiveness list. Fire can make water potable for hydration, warm poorly clothed pilgrims, cook food to create body heat, smoke signals, illuminate darkness, and comfort the lost.

What’s your top skill for controlling your core temperature? Share if you don’t mind.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook… and over at the Doing the Stuff Network.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there… 

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, Doing the Stuff, equipment, Gear, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Survival, Survival Education, Survival Skills, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 39 Comments

Trayer Wilderness Handcrafted Christmas Giveaway

On the heels of yesterday’s post on the MultiFlame Tool, here’s your chance to win one… or any of combination of their handcrafted items valued at $75.oo. You can enter to win using your Facebook account. If you aren’t on FB, you can enter via an email account. Just click the Rafflecopter link at the bottom of this post to enter.

As I said yesterday, these guys are Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance on their off-grid homestead in the northern Idaho wilderness. They add value to my life. Check them out, and my other blogger friends participating in this give away, and I hope you win!

Here’s the details…

Trayer Wilderness Handcrafted Christmas Giveaway

Trayer Wilderness Handcrafted Christmas Giveaway

Trayer Wilderness is offering

(1) $75.00 gift certificate

usable on their website towards any combination of their handcrafted items!

Who is Trayer Wilderness?

Welcome To Trayer Wilderness

Trayer Wilderness is a family of three homesteading traditionally off-grid in northern Idaho with 100% solar power. Their family consists of the Mountain Man, Glen Trayer, his Mountain Woman, Tammy Trayer and their Mountain Boy Austin. They utilize the land and their God given talents to earn an income while living their dream. All their items are handcrafted on their homestead offering a little bit of something for everyone with their girly homemade goats milk soaps, candles and melting bricks by the Mountain Woman, the elk hide leather moccasins and paracord survival items such as gun slings, belts, bracelets and more made by the Mountain Boy and the Mountain Man’s hand forged tools, survival fire tools, paracord items, decorative metal art and decorative metal horse shoe art. The Mountain Man also invented and fabricated three different tools for fire making called the Trayer Fire Tool, the MultiFlame Tool and the MultiFlame Mini Tool for the outdoor enthusiasts and survivalists. The Mountain Woman also has several e-books soon to be released at their website TrayerWilderness.com which will educate on solar living, building a traditional cabin, building a traditional smokehouse and more. Additionally, they will be adding e-courses in the new year offering more in depth education and training on blacksmithing, brain tanning, canning, soap making, etc. They offer a weekly newsletter that will keep you well informed on all they offer.

Here are some reviews on the Mountain Man’s Fire Tools:

Trayer Fire Tool

MultiFlame Mini Tool

MultiFlame Tool

They not only handcraft items in the wilderness, but they also educate on homesteading, natural health, healing and essential oils, wilderness survival, traditional and primitive skills, autism, whole foods and a gluten free and casein free diet, living off the land, off-grid and solar living and so much more. The Mountain Woman has a weekly radio podcast on the Survival Mom Radio Network and they share their information on many social media platforms and on YouTube. The Mountain Woman also writes for the New Pioneer Magazine, American Frontiersman, Prepare Magazine, Self Reliance Illustrated, Backwoodsman Magazine and Cabin Life Magazine. Be sure to connect with them below and check out their website to see what items you would purchase if you were the winner of their $75.00 gift certificate!

#TrayerWilderness

email trayer wilderness Trayer Wilderness on Facebook Trayer Wilderness on Google+ Trayer Wilderness on Twitter Trayer Wilderness on Pinterest Trayer Wilderness on YouTube Trayer Wilderness on Instagram Mountain Woman Radio from Trayer Wilderness on iTunes Tammy Trayer of Trayer Wilderness on LinkedIn Trayer Wilderness RSS Feed

 

Meet the Participating Bloggers

The bloggers listed in the Rafflecopter form below have come together to purchase this prize for one lucky contestant. As you click “Like” on the form, visit their pages and get to know them. Every time you like, comment on or share one of their posts, you are supporting their page. We all appreciate you so much.

Enter to Win

This giveaway is open to residents of the United States only. Entrants must be age 18 or older to enter. Giveaway runs from 12:00 am MST October 27th to 12:00 am MST November 3rd. Winner will be drawn November 3rd and emailed. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to the email before another entrant is chosen, so check your spam folders too!

Good luck!

prodseparator

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Categories: Uncategorized | 3 Comments

A Bomb Proof Mod for the Pathfinder Bottle Cook Kit

by Todd Walker

I love my Pathfinder 32 oz. Bottle Cooking Kit… except for one thing… the bag.

A Bomb Proof Mod for the Pathfinder Bottle Cook Kit

The bag is such a useful piece of kit and I hated its one glitch.

The nesting cup caught on the interior of the nylon bag when storing or removing the set. I filed the bat-wing handle attachment but the cup still snagged the bag liner. Oh well, I thought I’d have to live with it. 

Christian C rescued my bag by making a simple, yet brilliant, modification on his YouTube channel which saved me the gnawing frustration each time I used my cup in the field. You can check his video out at the bottom of this post. 

As many of you know, I’m a container freak! And this mod not only fixes the bag snag but also adds yet another metal container to my cook kit. I’m a redundancy freak too. 

All you need is a #3 Tall can from the grocery store. I stopped by our mom and pop grocery store on my way back from some quality dirt time yesterday and bought the cheapest can of tomato juice on the shelf. I walked in with my tape measure to make sure the can would fit my PF bag. 

The can’s dimensions are 4 1/4 inches in diameter by 7 inches tall and holds about 45 oz. I paid $1.55. 

Remove the lid with a can opener and discard the juice… or drink it if you’re into cheap, watered down fruit juice. Check the rim for any sharp edges. File them smooth if you have any. Mine had none. 

Wash and dry the can. Drill two holes on opposite sides of the top rim of the can. File the holes smooth. Make the holes large enough to accept the fish mouth spreader (bottle hanger) that comes with your PF Complete Bottle Cooking Kit

A Bomb Proof Mod for the Pathfinder Bottle Cook Kit

A Bomb Proof Mod for the Pathfinder Bottle Cook Kit

Bottle hanger attached to my new container

Insert the can into the bag. It’s a tight fit but will slide in creating a nesting sleeve for the cup, 32 oz. bottle, and pack stove ring. 

A Bomb Proof Mod for the Pathfinder Bottle Cook Kit

27 oz cup nesting inside the 45 oz can

A Bomb Proof Mod for the Pathfinder Bottle Cook Kit

A Bomb Proof Mod for the Pathfinder Bottle Cook Kit

Perfect fit!

Disclaimer: As you know, I don’t advertise on our site. I receive no compensation for any of the stuff I promote on our blog unless it passes the Doing the Stuff test. If you’re interested in ordering this kit, you can do so by clicking here: PF Complete Bottle Cooking Kit. The newer model comes with a strainer lid for the cup, an item I’m ordering soon. 

You never want to be caught without a way to stay hydrated or make fire to regulate your core temperature. That’s why I carry this bomb proof kit with me on all my adventures in the wild – day hikes, camping, dirt time, hunting, and fishing.

I can’t thank Christian C enough for his brilliant idea! Watch his video below…

<iframe width=”640″ height=”390″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/rC0zJcKWpbg” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

Keep Doing the Stuff!

Todd 

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook pageReady to trade theory for action? Join us in the Doing the Stuff Network on these social media sites: PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook. Use the hashtag #DoingTheStuff when sharing your stuff on Twitter.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, DRG and I would appreciate your vote on the Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding Prepper sites while you’re there…

Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, Doing the Stuff, Gear, Self-reliance, Survival, Uncategorized | Tags: , | 17 Comments

SafeGuard Armor Giveaway

Want a chance to win a set of Level II covert body armor valued at $476? Check this out!

A few of my blogger friends have gotten together to give away 2 sets of body armor! My friend John (Geek Prepper) organized the giveaway for our group and put in the leg work to give you a chance to win.

By the way, all of these fine folks are a part of our DTS Trusted Resources. Be sure to check them out after you enter!

Legal Stuff

NOTE: Please be aware, it may be unlawful for you to own body armor. For instance, if you’re a felon, you’re not eligible to win. In most cases, law-abiding citizens may purchase (except in Connecticut where it has to be a face to face sale), but if you have a felony conviction, federal and state laws may prohibit you from owning body armor. Please check your local regulations before entering this giveaway as we cannot do that for you.

Here’s how to enter…

safeguard covert body armor giveaway

You could win one of 2 SafeGuard Armor covert body armors!

We have both the Ghost or the Stealth, that offer some great protection, while being subtle and concealable!

Each one is valued at $476, as configured

Act Now!

This is your chance to get some free covert body armor.

Enter to win!

Continue reading

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 6 Comments

Top 5 Reason to Stock Silly Juice for SHTF

by Todd Walker

Regardless if you consume alcohol personally or not, silly juice has a place in your SHTF preps… And not just as a barter item.

Disclaimer: Be smart. I you are an alcoholic and know you’d abuse your body or others by taking this advice to stock booze, stop reading and get help with your addiction! If you’re a teetotaler you can’t handle the idea of liquor being in your home, skip this article. Never ingest the toxic stuff – methanol, rubbing alcohol, denatured alcohol!

Liquored-up-to-barter

Liquored up?

To get liquored up properly, purchase hard liquor with high alcohol content. The two numbers to look for are percentage and proof. The first number (percentage) tells you how much ethanol is in the container. The proof number of alcohol is double the amount of actual ethanol in the bottle. 100 Proof means your hooch has 50% ethanol… and will ignite and burn a blue flame.

A heavy hitter for your stash is Everclear®. Here are the stats on this 100% grain alcohol:

  • EVERCLEAR ALCOHOL 151 PROOF LITER
    Size: LITER
    Proof: 151 / 75.5%
  • EVERCLEAR ALCOHOL 190 PROOF 750ML
    Size: 750ML
    Proof: 190 / 95%

For long-term storage, buy in glass bottles. Keep your stash in a dark, cool, dry place under lock and key to prevent kids and crazy uncles out.

In a true collapse scenario, moonshiners will still the market. Prohibition taught us this lesson: people will find a way enjoy an adult beverage.

Even if you can’t legally brew the hard stuff now, making shine would be a Doing the Stuff skill worth learning… only after law no longer exists, of course.

Booze may be a vice for some, but having a well stocked cabinet of silly juice will be a bonanza after the SHTF! Here’s the thing though, your stash will eventually run dry in an extended break down. The same goes for your other consumables. Hooch will be in high demand.

Here’s why…

1. Medicinally

  • Herbal tinctures
  • Pain reliever – has worked for many broken hearts over the years 😉
  • Antiseptic – avoid using in deep wounds
  • Moderate consumption lowers risk of heart disease – caveats
  • Sterilize medical instruments
  • Sore throat (liquor and honey concoction)
  • Clear sinuses – it’s called Everclear® for a reason
  • Treat swimmers ear

2. Sanitizer

  • Eating surfaces
  • Hands
  • Scraps and surface wounds
  • Mouth wash and tooth pain – swish around and swallow for added relief
  • Straight razors
  • Gear – knives, butchering equipment, spork, everything else touching your mouth, etc.
  • One shot per liter of water helps kill nasties – give it time to kill the stuff (20 minutes or so)

3. Fire

  • Starter fuel for engines
  • Alcohol stoves – redundant uses for high-test alcohol if your DiY beer can stove is filled with Everclear® vs. denatured alcohol
  • Flambéing over the camp fire 😉
  • Accelerant – cocktails of the molotov persuasion
  • Once empty, use the clear glass vodka bottle to start a fire via magnification – then flint nap the bottom of the bottle into an arrowhead once you sober up

4. Barter value

  • The small mini-bottles may make the perfect barter size when things go sideways
  • Keep a supply of smaller containers to refill from your larger vat
  • The demand for alcohol after a SHTF event will be high
  • Escapism – folks don’t want to face reality and look to drown their sorrows

5. All purpose uses

  • Insect repellant
  • Removes poison ivy oil
  • Degreaser for guns and gear
  • Light source

What’s you’re top reasons and uses for storing high-test silly juice?

Keep Doing the Stuff,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook page. The Doing the Stuff Network community can be found here: PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook. Check out the good stuff and trade theory for ACTION!

P.P.S ~ If you find value in our blog, DRG and I would appreciate your vote on the “Top Prepper Sites“! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding Prepper Sites while you’re there.

Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 8 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: