Posts Tagged With: homesteading

How to Make a Bench from a Cedar Tree with Pioneer Tools

by Todd Walker

Beautiful wife asks sweetly, “Honey, we need a bench for the front porch *purr*. Could you make one for me?” And the fun begins!

Here she sits outside my shop

I’ve made plenty of honey-do projects for the wife. This one is different. I decided to make this one using pioneer hand tools. It turned out fine. Lessons were learned. Wife is happy.

NOTE: During this post, you’ll see me insert [Prepper Lesson] to highlight our dependency on modern power tools, both electrical and internal combustion.

History: This cedar stock came from my family homestead. It was felled by a tornado a few years ago. A buddy of mine limbed it and stacked it for future use. On my last visit to my folks, we cut a six-foot section (about 12 inches diameter) and hauled it back to my place.

[Prepper Lesson: A chain saw was used to expedite the matter in 100 degree heat. Post SHTF, crosscut saws will require physical stamina and skill in this kind of heat. In a grid-down situation, having quality hand tools and the skills to properly use them are paramount. For me, I learned that I need more practice using older hand tools like my grandfather used in his day. I took a few shortcuts and used a few power tools during the project.]

Here’s the progression on the project.

Step 1: Once home, I used my chainsaw to rip the stock in half. I laid the log on top of a couple of scape pieces of 2×4 to prevent my saw from digging into the ground.

Step 2: I laid out my cut lines on the ends and sides. I used a square and level for the ends. Transfer the end lines down the sides with a long straight edge. You’ll need a lovely assistant or clamps to hold the straight edge. I used my lovely assistant.

Applying level end lines

Lovely assistant!

Step 3: Saw the stock as close to the lines as possible. Cutting this dried cedar really heated up my bar and chain. I liberally oiled during the process. The cleaner the cut, the less work you do planing the rough cut stock. Scotch the log with wedges. I also found it helpful to drive a rod in the ground to lean the log at the angle I needed.

Notice the pry bar used to hold the stock at the correct angle for ripping

[Prepper Lesson: A saw pit was used in old times to rip logs to create usable lumber. The stock was laid on an elevated rack with one man on top, and the pit man below the stock. I would imagine the man below had the worst part of the job. Without modern sawmills, a whole new skill set will need to be deployed.]

Photo via abesbb.blogspot.com/ 2010/ 07/ tom-sawyer-and-charles-dickens.html

Step 4: Plane the rough surface to be used for the seat. The tricky part was finding the correct depth setting for the plane and not gauging knots while planing. I found that the depth of the blade was determined by the roughness of the chainsaw marks. This took about an hour as I missed my line on when I was ripping with the chainsaw. A portable sawmill would have been a great help

I know of some Amish who have used steam power to run their saw mill. This would be a huge bartering skill/item in an off grid world.

Hand plane time

[Prepper Lesson: I cheated and used a Dewalt sander to finish the surface after planing. I could have used a sanding block, but electricity was still on.]

Step 5: Use a draw knife to remove the bark on the underside of the stock. I had planned to keep the bark on, but it had already begun turning loose. I helped it along with the draw knife. If you don’t have draw knives, you can order them from Lehman’s and other companies. I found the one pictured below in an antique shop. Closely inspect used knives for any signs of cracks or damage. Blades can be sharpened and handles replaced.

Draw knife to remove the bark

Step 6: With the other half of the stock, I split it to make four legs for the bench. Use an axe and splitting wedge for accuracy.

Splitting rails for the legs

Step 7: Shave the legs. Once I split the rails for the legs, I realized I would need a shaving horse to complete the legs. So I built one from scrap lumber I had lying around. That was a two-hour rabbit hole. If I had to buy the material, I would have spent maybe $25. It’s a simple plan and worked incredibly well. I used a plan I found online. I can’t find the link. I’ll keep looking and post it when I find it.

Simple shaving horse

Update: I had lost the link to the tutorial I used to build this shaving horse. Dave found the link and shared it in the comments! Here’s the link to the tutorial I used.

Shaved rail will make two legs

[Prepper Lesson: Using pioneer tools means retooling my entire shop. I’m not throwing out my power tools. I do see the need to acquire more tools and skills. Electricity is wonderfully addictive.]

Step 8: The auger I used bore 1 1/8 inch holes. Bore four of these at slight angles about 6 inches from the end of the bench bottom. I used square and a level to keep the angles about the same for all the leg holes. You could eyeball it I guess.

Auger four holes

Step 9: Create a tenon on the end of each leg to fit the holes. The draw knife was used to take the stock down most of the way. I used a spokeshave to dress the tenon’s final shape. Make sure not to take too much off the tenon. You can’t add wood to the tenon. Also, I tapered the tenons to make the tip fit the hole and drove the rest in with a mallet. No glue needed.

Spokeshave

Four legs inserted

Step 10: Level the legs. I only had to cut 1/2 inch off one leg to make her sit evenly. Use a 4 foot level or just eyeball it.

Here she sits outside my shop

Last step is to put a couple of coats of sealant on to preserve the beauty. I also carved a love note on the bottom to my wife. What a sap!

If your interested in pioneer tools or have helpful links for their use, please leave your tips and comments. I need lots of help with these lost skills.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

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Categories: DIY Preparedness Projects, Homesteading, Lost Skills, Preparedness, Self-reliance | Tags: , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

The Many Uses of Baking Soda in Survival Situations

Source: Doom and Bloom

THE MANY USES OF BAKING SODA IN HARD TIMES

Guest post by Jim Sawyer

(Dr. Bones says: This well-written and highly useful article was submitted by our reader JIM SAWYER, and tells you the myriad ways that baking soda makes sense to accumulate in bulk for survival situations.  I have a ton of this stuff to help maintain sanitary and hygienic condition in our retreat.  Jim calls himself an old coot; well, we need more old coots around like him.  Me, I spend most of my time drooling on my shoes….)

 

The world is on the brink of destruction and I have all my preps together; my water, food, fire making gear, guns and ammo, 3 different combat knives, 5 typesof camo, water filters, night vision goggles, camping gear, a bug out vehicle, a bug out location and a plan. I also have 20 pounds of baking soda.

BAKING SODA?

Yes, baking soda. After the balloon goes up, off grid, in the post apocalypse zombie filled world there are tons of uses for baking soda. Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, helps regulate pH, keeping a substance not too acidic or too alkaline.

When baking soda comes in contact with either an  acidic or an alkaline substance, it’s natural effect is to neutralize that pH. It releases bubbles of carbon dioxide when it interacts with an acid and a liquid. Beyond that, baking soda has the ability to retard further changes in the pH balance, known as buffering. This capability of neutralizing and buffering allows baking soda to do things such as neutralize acidic odors.

It’s most commonly used in baking, where it acts as a leavening agent. If your wife is like mine, there is always an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator to soak up odors.

I’m an old coot and have a bit of acid reflux. After the mutant zombies bikers trash all the drug stores looking for drugs I doubt I will be able to get the prescription medicine I take to ease heartburn. I doubt I will even be able to find a pack of Tums or Rolaids. Baking soda is a safe and effective antacid to relieve heartburn, sour stomach  and/or acid indigestion. It’s an old remedy that was used for centuries before Tums and Rolaids came on the market.

Acid reflux runs in our family and my grandfather took a small spoon of baking soda in a glass of water after every meal to keep acid stomach at bay. He died at 105 back in 1957 but I still remember him mixing it up at the table. I can’t say that baking soda helped him live that long but it did make him a lot less grumpy.

It also works great as a tooth paste. You can use it alone or make a paste from baking soda and a 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution that can be used as an alternative to commercial non-fluoride toothpastes.

Then there is your breath. Hey guys, if we want to have any “companionship” after we get to the BOL you need fresh breath. At least that’s what they say in the commercials. Put one teaspoon baking soda in half a glass of water, swish, spit and rinse. Odors are neutralized, not just covered up; it also helps to reduce periodontal disease.  Dentists are going to be hard to come by in an off grid world. It will pay to keep your teeth and gums in good shape.

(Dr. Bones says:  Don’t underestimate the importance of dental hygiene.  Have you even had to go to work with a bad toothache?  Probably not your most efficient outing)

Remember, I’m old. For those of you like me, you can soak dental appliances, like dentures and bridges, in a solution of 2 teaspoons baking soda dissolved in a glass or small bowl of warm water. The baking soda loosens food particles and neutralizes odors to keep appliances fresh. You can also brush appliances clean using baking soda.

One of the things many of the writers of the 17th, 18th and early 19th century mentioned in their writing was the way people smelled back then. In one word, Bad! After the stink (pun intended,) hits the fan, and you are running for your life, baths may be hard to come by.

I plan to bug out with a small group and I’d prefer the bad guys not be able to track us by the smell. Add a bit of baking soda in that bucket of water you use to wash the BO off, and you will find that you stay stink-free longer, without a tell-tale floral fragrance you might get from soap, that could tip off your location to the FEMA guys.

In the old West at many saloons a traveler could buy a token for, as they put it , “Bath, Beans and a Screw” for five bucks. For an extra dollar you got to be the first to use the bath water. If you can get a bath, add 1/2 cup of baking soda to your bath to neutralize acids on the skin and help wash away oil and perspiration.

A little baking soda really helps when half a dozen folks are sharing the same bath water. Yes I know you can wash in a lake, but what if it is winter and you live in Michigan? If you are smart you are going to heat enough water for your group to bathe in, and share. That is how they did it in the old days.

After your bath, pat some baking soda onto your underarms to neutralize body odor. Put a dash in your shorts to prevent chaffing, reduce odor and keep those delicate areas dry. Nothing worse than a case of crotch rot when you are on a cross country hike.

Don’t forget to add a liberal amount of baking soda to your boots. It will keep your feet drier, better smelling and help prevent blisters. Trench foot is no fun and it could cost you your life.

There is not much that baking soda can un-stink. You can use it when you wash cloths, scrub down counters after you butcher a hog or to clean out the car you just spent 6 days and nights in bugging out.

To soothe your feet after a hard day of hiking through the bush, and running from bad guys, dissolve 3 tablespoons of baking soda in a tub of warm water and soak your feet.

When you finally do get to your Bug Out Location there is still a lot of things you can use baking soda for:

 

  • There is sure to be a lot of dirty work, chopping wood, digging latrines and working on vehicles. Before you head in for lunch use some baking soda as a hand cleaner. It will gently scrub away ground-in dirt and neutralize odors on your hands.
  • Baking soda can be used to neutralize battery acid corrosion on cars, generators, etc. because it’s a mild alkali. (Be sure to disconnect the battery terminals before cleaning.) Make a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water, apply with a damp cloth to scrub corrosion from the battery terminal. After cleaning and re-connecting the terminals, wipe them with petroleum jelly to prevent future corrosion.
  • Our bug out location has a septic tank. Regular use of baking soda can help keep it flowing freely. 1 cup of baking soda per week will help maintain a favorable pH in your septic tank.
  • You can extinguish fires with baking soda. It can help in the initial handling of minor grease or electrical fires, because when baking soda is heated, it gives off carbon dioxide, which helps to smother the flames. For small cooking fires (frying pans, broilers, ovens, grills), Stand back and throw handfuls of baking soda at the base of the flame to help put out the fire.
  • Scatter baking soda around the garden to prevent rabbits from eating your veggies.
  • Use baking soda for repelling ants & roaches
  • After your local WalMart has been looted, you will have to make the clothes you have last a long time. You want them to look as good as you can. For stubborn stains, try soaking overnight in the baking soda solution and detergent or scrubbing with baking soda on a damp sponge.

 

Don’t forget the many uses in the kitchen:

  • First and foremost, come the end of civilization you better not mess with my coffee. You can eliminate bitter after tastes in coffee pots using a solution of 1/4 cup baking soda in 1 quart of warm water.
  •  Baking soda is the food safe way to clean dirt and residue off fresh fruit and vegetables. Just sprinkle a little on a clean damp sponge, scrub and rinse.
  • When dipping a chicken, to get the feathers off add a teaspoon of baking soda to the boiling water. Feathers will come off easier, and the flesh will be clean and white.
  •  In the camp kitchen, soak dried beans in a baking soda solution to make them more digestible.
  •  Remove the distinctive taste of wild game by soaking it in a baking soda solution.
  •  Remove the fishy smell from your fillets by soaking the raw fish in a baking soda solution for an hour inside a cooler before you cook it.
  •  Reduce the acid content of your tomato-based recipes by sprinkling them with a pinch of baking soda. (My acid reflux will thank you.)
  • Don’t forget you can still use it as a leavening agent when making bread. After the meal make a thick paste of baking soda and water, and used it to scrub enameled cast iron a nd stainless steel cookware. Remove burned-on food from a pan by soaking it in a baking soda solution for 10 minutes before washing.

 

You are sure to need backing soda in your medical supplies:

 

  • You can treat insect bites and itchy skin with baking soda. For insect bites, make a paste out of baking soda and water, and apply as a salve onto affected skin. To ease the itch, shake some baking soda into your hand and rub it into damp skin.
  • It even makes a fairly good cleaner for wounds, but it will sting a bit. Apply it on rashes, and poison ivy irritations.
  • The group medic can use baking soda to unblock a stuffy nose by adding a teaspoon of baking soda to a pot of boiling water and having the patient inhale the vapors.
  • Do you have very small children? After the world as we know it ends you will have to go back to cloth diapers. Baby skin requires the most gentle of cleansers. Dissolve ½ cup of baking soda  in 2 quarts of water and soak diapers thoroughly. A little baking soda in a diaper at night can reduce ammonia smell and the rash it causes. After the fact, you can put two tablespoons in your baby’s bathwater to help treat diaper rash.

Are your kids the 4 legged kind?  You can use baking soda to deodorize pet bedding and deodorize the cat boxes. Cover the bottom of the litter box with baking soda, then fill as usual with litter. To freshen between changes, sprinkle baking soda on top of the litter after a thorough cleaning. Eliminate odors from your pets bedding by sprinkling liberally with baking soda, wait 15 minutes (or longer for stronger odors), then take them outside and beat them like you would a rug.

You don’t want the pets stinking up the cabin? Give them a bath using baking soda. It’s good for their hair and skin and does a great job of getting rid of that wet dog smell. By the way, this baking soda bath works fairly well after skunk attacks, for humans and animals alike.

There you have it. Survival is not always about guns, ammo and cool gear. Our ancestors did not just survive they lived this way and moved forward to make the world what it is today. No matter how much you store you will have to go back to the basics at some point if you want to go on living. Stored stocks can only last so long. Baking soda has been a fixture in many wilderness home for a long time.

Our forefathers and mothers used it for a reason, it works and it does many jobs.  Don’t forget to include it in your storage.

JIM SAWYER

(Dr. Bones says: I was told by my dad when I was a kid that Arm and Hammer Baking Soda was named after turn of the century philanthropist Armand Hammer, and I posted as such here.  If I had simply googled it, I would have known I goofed.  Guess you can’t take everything your pop says as gospel, lol)

Categories: First Aid, Frugal Preps, Healthcare, Homesteading, Preparedness, Self-reliance, SHTF, Survival Education | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

37 Survival Downloads and Handbooks

I’ve re-blogged a post from Kevin Hayden’s site Truth Is Treason. It’s also advisable to print hard-copies of manuals as well as digital copies.

Semper Vigilans,

SS

37 Survival Downloads and Handbooks – Pioneering, SHTF, Engineering, Urban Gardening, Defense, and More

Posted on Oct 20, 2011 in Emergency Preparedness & Survival, Featured Articles, Urban Gardening, Farming & Homesteading

Kevin Hayden – TruthisTreason.net

Field Manuals & Military Handbooks (.pdf Format)

Psychological Operations (PsyOps) AFDD 2-5-3

CBR Shelters ETL 1110-3-498

Map Reading & Navigation FM 3-25-26

Terrain, Maps, and Direction

Nuclear, Biological & Chemical (NBC) Field Handbook FM 3-7

Nuclear, Biological & Chemical (NBC) Protection FM 34

Military Chemical & Biological Agents and Compounds FM 3-9

Counterinsurgency Operations FMI 3-07.22

Survival, Evasion, Resistance & Escape (SERE) AR350-30

US Army Ranger Handbook

Combined Arms Operations in Urban Terrains (Urban Combat) FM3-06

Expeditionary Maneuver Warware

Medical and First-Aid

Where There is No Doctor

Where There is No Dentist – Excellent, must-read!

Combat Lifesaver Course – Student Self-Study IS0871

Technology, Electronics, and Engineering

Scout Engineering

Pedal Power

Convert Gasoline Engines to Run on Alcohol, 2008

Complete Manual of Pirate Radio

Antennas for Receiving and Transmitting, 2004

Emergency Preparedness, Collapse, Survival, & Post-SHTF

Preparedness Capability Checklist – Minimum and Extended Levels

Long Term Survival Guide: Improvised Towers

Long Term Survival Guide: Scrounging Metal and Survival Blacksmithing

US Army Field Manual – Management of Dead Bodies

Urban Gardening, Farming, Homesteading, Pioneering, & Bushcraft

The Construction of Secret Hiding Places

Raised Bed Garden Book.pdf

Guide to Canning.pdf

1881_Household_Encyclopedia.pdf

Pioneering, 1962

Poisonous Snakes and Lizards

Poisonous Plants

Dangerous Insects and Arachnids

Solar Distillation – Meeting Small Scale Water Demands, 1970

Simple Methods for the Treatment of Drinking Water

Fishing Knots

Ten Best Traps

Ultimate Guide to Wilderness Living

TruthisTreason.net Podcast Archive

TruthisTreasonNet_podcast02.mp3

TruthisTreasonNet_podcast03.mp3

TruthisTreasonNet_podcast04.mp3

Related Articles:

  1. Urban Survival Post-SHTF: a How-to Guide and Rural Comparison
  2. Urban Gardening: Indoor and Balcony Gardening Tips
  3. Military Field Manuals and Handbooks
  4. Urban Gardening – Cordite Country
Categories: DIY Preparedness, Preparedness, SHTF, Survival, TEOTWAWKI | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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