The Definitive Tool Thread

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The Definitive Tool Thread

With the food securely tucked in, and the PMs safely in hand, during the past month or so, we've been focusing on acquiring tools. . . .  Much to hubby's delight, I rarely say "no" to tool purchases, now that I can hear The Crash rumbling just over the horizon . . . So, with Spring's arrival, and the frost out of the ground (all except you, Plickety!), I thought it might be time to start The Definitive Tool Thread. 

So, my favorite newly acquired tool of the day:  the machete, or should I say, The Machete? . . . How on earth did I manage without one of these all these years?  What an eminently effective and elegantly simple work of art this puppy is!  We picked up two of them, of different weights and designs, and they got their first workout today. 

We recently felled an 80 ft Colorado spruce and a 100+ ft white pine.  Both had lovely, straight or gently arching boughs, and I decided that those would be just the thing for building garden structures, such as arches, pergolas, trellises, tunnels, . . . . well, you name it, really.  So I started in with my trusty Felco pruners, taking all those tiny, nasty, sappy, sticky little twigs off of each bough.  I'd have to pocket the Felco to pick up my bypass loppers for the bigger twigs.  Well!  It didn't take much of that to realize that I'd have enough stripped boughs to build a nice pergola by, say, October.  Then I remembered the machetes . . .

What a breeze!  In a single swipe . . . woosh! . . . an entire swath of the branch was bare!  And with what ease!  For smaller work, I could swing from the forearm, for larger swipes, I could pivot at the shoulder.  What a relief for my residual carpel tunnel!   (surgery done bilaterally several years ago).  And this puppy has a handy hooked tip, so that I could swipe down and pick up the next bough without even bending over.  For larger boughs that needed to be trimmed, I could lay the branch acoss a log, and thwap! . . .  now it's a pretty decent hachet!  And when I needed to set it aside, it was easily embedded in a nearby log, with a satisfying thwunk!, so that I didn't even have to bend over to pick it up.

Yes, Mr. Machete and I are destined for a long and productive relationship . . . .

Later, I'll tell my tales of our new logging tools, but in the meantime, has anybody else "discovered" a new/old tool that they can't live without?

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Re: The Definitive Tool Thread

Machetes are cool. 

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Lemonyellowschwin
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Re: The Definitive Tool Thread

 This is not only my favorite tool, it is also far and away my most prized possession:

makita cordless drill1 300x300 Makita Cordless Drills

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Re: The Definitive Tool Thread

Hand shears, and loppers.

I'm mostly a tree guy - so pruning is a big part of the agricultural experience for me.
Not having hand shears and loppers would make a fun job a PITA.

Every man should own a handsaw, shovel, hammer and ax.
No excuses. It's like a suit - if you don't have said items, drop what you're doing, and get them.

A good tool belt, tape measure and level go a long ways as well.

A hand drill is on my short list of stuff to buy as well. Power drills are fine and good - so long as there is ample electricity.

Great idea for a thread!

Cheers,

Aaron

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Re: The Definitive Tool Thread

My fave?  Splitting wedge.  Though I want to get a woodsplitting axe, hand axe, and hand drill.

That's for a post-SHTF world.  

Pre?  Chainsaw, powerdrill/screwdriver. 

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Re: The Definitive Tool Thread

Somebody in your community is going to need a generator and a welder so that they can fix  things when they break and you can't find new stuff.

 

Ken

 

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Re: The Definitive Tool Thread

Now here's a thread I can relate to.

One idea on tools:  I have a small group of friends with different major tools (welder, etc). We never buy what someone else already has, and justify new tools if none else has it. The tools go from house to house as needed. We also try to return tools in better shape than when you borrowed it, whether it means cleaning it, sharpening it, or buying an accessory.

Now my favorite tool hands down is my Elec-Trak - google it. GE made electric garden tractors in the early 70's that run on 6 deep-cycle 6V batteries. No gas, no fumes, no exhaust.They made tons of accessories for it. I have a mower deck, snowblower, blade, and bucket. I also have a rotary inverter that produces 110V so it's also my backup generator. Some folks recharge their ETs off solar, which I am working towards. New versions are out there and old ones can be picked up inexpensively if you have some electrical know how.

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Re: The Definitive Tool Thread

I need to have my Adze, aka, garden cutter mattock.  Axe head on one side, broad cutter head on the other. You can chop, cut, split, dig, furrow...

 

SG

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Re: The Definitive Tool Thread

Maybe this website needs a Definitive Thread tool.   Something that would just distill the conclusions of Definitive Threads so I could read a short version and have time to actually go out and do some work instead of sitting inside on sunny days reading....

I like my bow saw for small destructive jobs, but for carpentry I am looking into japanese hand wood working tools. I've used a few and really want to get some of my own. They seem to work so well.

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Re: The Definitive Tool Thread

I'll be peak oil incorrect (POI):

Mahindra 6530 4WD with Front End Loader, Backhoe, and lotsa other gadgets.

I use it to grow and make my own diesel, which runs the tractor.

 

Tractor

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Re: The Definitive Tool Thread

bard spud, straight draw knife and/or curved draw knife... these all remove bark from felled trees making them suitable for building. Removing the bark also help trees destined for the wood pile to season faster and burn cleaner, and dramatically reduces the amount of critters and fungus that up home in your wood pile. Plus all that lovely bark can be busted up or chipped and used as mulch (or burned if infected/infested).

Speaking of logs, depending on how much and how big, a peavy, skidding tongs and a log jack may also be invaluable. As would a foot or manual hydraulic splitter if you need more than 4 cords a winter. And, of course, a chimney brush!

Machete's are awesomely useful. So are rope saws or pocket chain saws, digging bars, and scythes

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Re: The Definitive Tool Thread

Just got home w/my new machete.  Will be using it tomorrow to clean branches off of some trees I felled last month.  Going to use the straightest branches as fenceposts for the garden.  Yeehaw!  Thanks for giving me the idea, C1oud.

Viva -- Sager 

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Re: The Definitive Tool Thread

My fav are my Granfors Burks axes (http://www.gransfors.com or http://www.wealddown.co.uk/Shop/gransfors-bruks-axes.htm)  I have a Scandinavian felling axe, a splitting axe, forest axe and a wildlife hatchet; they are beautiful, balanced tools and I love using them.  Nice outdoor knives are also good and my machetes also got a lot of use a couple of weeks ago clearing overgrown ivy at a house we rent out; the Brazilian jungle type are good for woodier stuff is great, however Fiskur make a hooked machete that is great for lighter stuff

I bought a hand drill,  a bit and brace set and a draw knife from Axminster tools in the UK.  I have always had a soft spot for tools anyway, but I have divereted my attention away from power tools towards hand tool..........

...............so new/additional hammers, vices, screwdrivers, chisels, sharpening stones, trowels, saws, files etc etc, not to mention the gardening tools.

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Re: The Definitive Tool Thread

ok start laughing ...........i know most of you think i dont have one

but my best tool is my brain

asmy guru said 

"do more with less"

bucky fuller

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Re: The Definitive Tool Thread
joe2baba wrote:

ok start laughing ...........i know most of you think i dont have one

but my best tool is my brain

Aw, cumon Joe, we don't think you have NO brain...

Innocent

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Re: The Definitive Tool Thread

Joe,

Reminds me of a saying from a survival class...
The more you carry in your head, the less you carry on your back.

Agreed, and good point.

That said, I prefer hammers to heavy rocks =)

Cheers,

Aaron

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Re: The Definitive Tool Thread

Hi everybody,

All this talk of tools is great, but they won't do you a bit of good if you can't maintain a blade.  Buy sharpening stones, files (all shapes and sizes), and a bench grinder and learn how to use them.  It took me a little bit of practice, but now all my knifes, pruning shears, chainsaws, axes, shovels and anything else with a blade is razor sharp.  My wife loves her kitchen knife set.  It's never been sharper.

Another tool is an inverter for a car battery.  This will allow you to run regular household electrical device from your car power point (used to be called a cigarette lighter).  I have two that work excellent.

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Re: The Definitive Tool Thread

Good point Worker Bee... not only do you need to know how and have the right equipment to keep your blades sharp, you also have to purchase bladed-equipment of high enough quality that it will get and keep a great edge.   I say this as I'm searching to replace my crappy (gifted!) kitchen knife set after lacerating myself making dinner yet again!

Aaron and joe2baba - I just had the image of me pounding in nails with my forehead LOL!  But either having a lot of experiential knowledge in your brain or having a brain that is good at devising solutions abstractly is definitely the #1 survival tool.  One of my survivalist buddies once told me "99% of survival is knowing just enough not to do something so stupid that you get yourself dead."

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Re: The Definitive Tool Thread

the greatest failing in the use of the english language is the double negative..............as in aint seen no brain here

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Re: The Definitive Tool Thread
joe2baba wrote:

the greatest failing in the use of the english language is the double negative..............as in aint seen no brain here

I can't get no satisfaction... but I try and I try and I try and I try... I can't get NO... Satisfaction  Wink

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Re: The Definitive Tool Thread

Definitely a welding rig, preferably with a gas engine to power it. Granted, gasoline is likely to become very expensive. But when you have to stick some pieces of metal together, either you weld or you find a blacksmith. The latter are in short supply these days and your ears will be ringing for days ("clang, clang, clang").

I bought a Miller Bobcat 225 gasoline welding power source from a retired friend a few years ago at a great price. It has an 8 killowat generator, which comes in handy at times. And it has built in AC and DC welding capabilities. A new Miller Bobcat is fairly expensive (about $3,000) but you can find a used one in good condition if you look around. There are other competitive brands so do your homework first. These units are generally reliable and don't require much maintenance. You can change the oil and filters yourself.

Even if gasoline is really scarce or expensive, a gallon or two should be obtainable to do essential welding work. If you are homesteading and/or you live in the country, having welding equipment can be very useful. Arc welding is a bit messy because it tends to spatter. MIG and TIG welding are much less so, but you can usually get the job done quite well with an arc welder. Learning how to weld isn't that tough. Lots of women learned how during WWII when they worked in defense factories. It takes practice, though. I'm not claiming to be good at it but I can stick two pieces of metal together. Besides, I have friends with welding skills. In a crunch, I can provide the equipment and they can provide the expertise.

Another good purchase is an acetylene cutting torch. You can also weld with acetylene, though it has become something of a lost art. There is no guarantee that acetylene will be available after TSHTF. But right now, it is. You need both oxygen and acetylene cylinders, which are readily available.

If you are part of a community of like-minded friends, only one of each of these is needed in your neighborhood. There are a few welding tools plus consumables like welding rods to be purchased, but those are small ticket items.

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Community Tools and Elec-Trac
SteveS wrote:

Now here's a thread I can relate to.One idea on tools:  I have a small group of friends with different major tools (welder, etc). We never buy what someone else already has, and justify new tools if none else has it. The tools go from house to house as needed. We also try to return tools in better shape than when you borrowed it, whether it means cleaning it, sharpening it, or buying an accessory.Now my favorite tool hands down is my Elec-Trak - google it. GE made electric garden tractors in the early 70's that run on 6 deep-cycle 6V batteries. No gas, no fumes, no exhaust.They made tons of accessories for it. I have a mower deck, snowblower, blade, and bucket. I also have a rotary inverter that produces 110V so it's also my backup generator. Some folks recharge their ETs off solar, which I am working towards. New versions are out there and old ones can be picked up inexpensively if you have some electrical know how.

Now that's a great group of friends to have!  Where do I apply?  Seriously, it sounds like you are very fortunate in having started an informal community of cooperation already. 

Thanks, too for the heads-up on the Elec-Trak.  I'm going to check it out. . . I like tools where multiple devices can use the same engine.  One of my favorite kitchen tools is my Kitchenaid mixer.  It's a mixer, bread dough kneader, food processor (slicer, shredder, chopper), can opener, and I-can't-remember-what-elser . . . and it's got a workhorse motor that will handle all of those tasks with ease. 

Thanks for the tip, Steve!

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Re: The Definitive Tool Thread
capesurvivor wrote:

I need to have my Adze, aka, garden cutter mattock.  Axe head on one side, broad cutter head on the other. You can chop, cut, split, dig, furrow...SG

Thanks, SG . . . the adze is now on my "to acquire" list. 

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New Machete
SagerXX wrote:

Just got home w/my new machete.  Will be using it tomorrow to clean branches off of some trees I felled last month.  Going to use the straightest branches as fenceposts for the garden.  Yeehaw!  Thanks for giving me the idea, C1oud.

My pleasure m'lord.  (Curtsy . . . lol)

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Re: The Definitive Tool Thread
joe2baba wrote:

the greatest failing in the use of the english language is the double negative..............as in aint seen no brain here

I thought it was the lack of proper capitalization and use of complete sentences....

Also, Ain't is a contraction, you forgot the '

 

Rog

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Axes and Hatchets
britinbe wrote:

My fav are my Granfors Burks axes (http://www.gransfors.com or http://www.wealddown.co.uk/Shop/gransfors-bruks-axes.htm)  I have a Scandinavian felling axe, a splitting axe, forest axe and a wildlife hatchet; they are beautiful, balanced tools and I love using them.  Nice outdoor knives are also good and my machetes also got a lot of use a couple of weeks ago clearing overgrown ivy at a house we rent out; the Brazilian jungle type are good for woodier stuff is great, however Fiskur make a hooked machete that is great for lighter stuffI bought a hand drill,  a bit and brace set and a draw knife from Axminster tools in the UK.  I have always had a soft spot for tools anyway, but I have divereted my attention away from power tools towards hand tool.......So new/additional hammers, vices, screwdrivers, chisels, sharpening stones, trowels, saws, files etc etc, not to mention the gardening tools.

Hi Britinbe;

Thanks for your sharing your hands-on (literally) experience with specific tools.  I agree about the equisite quality of Granfors Bruks axes.  I recently purchased the Swedish Broad Ax, and have found it to be beautifully balanced and easy to wield with serious consequences for the target branch, even for my slight stature.  I have been sorely tempted on their other offerings as well.  Could you elaborate on what kinds of tasks you find the forest ax  and wildlife hatchet useful for? 

I was looking at the Brazilian jungle machetes, too . . . I was wondering, what makes them particularly useful for woodier materials?

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Sharpening Tools
Worker Bee wrote:

All this talk of tools is great, but they won't do you a bit of good if you can't maintain a blade.  Buy sharpening stones, files (all shapes and sizes), and a bench grinder and learn how to use them.  Another tool is an inverter for a car battery.  This will allow you to run regular household electrical device from your car power point (used to be called a cigarette lighter).  I have two that work excellent.

Great advice, anytime, Worker.  Keeping tools razor sharp is also a great way to decrease the amount of energy we expend in using them, thereby reducing the amount of food we need to ingest.  Efficiency is definitely going to be key as we enter the post-petroleum age.

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Re: Sharpening Tools
c1oudfire wrote:
Worker Bee wrote:

All this talk of tools is great, but they won't do you a bit of good if you can't maintain a blade.  Buy sharpening stones, files (all shapes and sizes), and a bench grinder and learn how to use them.  Another tool is an inverter for a car battery.  This will allow you to run regular household electrical device from your car power point (used to be called a cigarette lighter).  I have two that work excellent.

Great advice, anytime, Worker.  Keeping tools razor sharp is also a great way to decrease the amount of energy we expend in using them, thereby reducing the amount of food we need to ingest.  Efficiency is definitely going to be key as we enter the post-petroleum age.

 

Worker,

I have long thought that a mobile sharpening service would be a great post-crash profession. As cloud mentions, anyone who has tried to cut a board with a dull saw will attest to, it's worth the money to get a blade sharpened, and how many people will make the correct preparations? Combine that with the mobile welder and some other small gadgets, and you have a nice little local business!

I've been playing with steam engines a bit - 40# of seasoned oak will do a lot of work, be it a grinder, generator, etc. The whole rig would fit on a wagon/trailer...

Rog

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Forum Courtesy

While dispatching those two huge conifers, I've been away from my 'puter for a couple days, just checking in occasionally to see if there's anything critical to note on CM.  I couldn't help but notice how successful and informative this thread was over the first day or so (if I do say so myself ), but then it just sat there, with no new posts. On scrolling back through the posts, I noticed a pattern that I've seen all too many times in other threads:  When two or more members get into a scuffle, it tends to dampen the action of the thread, much like bickering will cause a dinner party to go silent.* 

I certainly don't mean to isolate and take these particular posters to task, as they have both made great contributions which I'm very grateful for, and I look forward to their future posts.  But I would appeal to all members to refrain from confrontational banter in a thread that is not intended to be controversial.

Thanks. . . .carry on. 

* I hope that I have not misinterpreted friendly chiding for hostile comments, but the exchange came across to me as abrasive. 

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Re: The Definitive Tool Thread

.

 

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Re: The Definitive Tool Thread

Once you have a well rounded set of basic tools there are some other items that will help you with repairs:

A GOOD BENCH VICE.  Some repairs are impossible without.  It doesn't have to be mounted to a bench.  I've used a large unsplit tree round.

Some sort of anvil.  Sometimes I've found this is the only way I can beat something back to shape.  You can use a traditional blacksmith anvil (that's overkill), but a heavy piece of structural steel scrap will work.  You will also need a couple of different sledge hammers and some ball-pean hammers.  I've fixed many tools this way.

Don't forget chisels, cold chisels and drift pins.  These always come in handy helping to fix things.

A two/three position bearing puller.  Some items are impossible to remove without. 

6' pry bar.  One of the best basic tools for leverage.  You can use it to lift heavy items, finish pulling tree roots and lots of other uses.

A ratcheting "come-along" cable system for moving heavy objects.  I've use these to move downed trees, pull vehicles from ditches and lift objects to roofs.

I've picked up mis-matched sets of hand tools from garage sales to make tool kits for my cars, my chainsaw kit and my camper trailer.  These "kits" are basics such as channel locks, crescent wrenches, end wrenches electrical tape, zip ties, gloves, rags and flashlight.  All of this wrapped tight in a bag will fit under a seat and comes in handy if you need it.  It's cheap to make, usually under $20.00.

 

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