Thursday, September 25, 2008

Day 13

Thank you all so much for contributing to the discussions - the contributions are really helpful. Sorry to have skipped a day. Doom will have to wait a day!

I'd like to discuss tools today. I'm covering the kinds of tools that live in the shop, not in the house. Of course tools are expensive and are things that people buy over a life time - not in 15 days and counting. Some are quite specialized and others are just good things that people have for a household. All that said, tools can often be picked up at moving sales and those old junk shops that buy up what folks are selling so if you are out scouring the yard sales of the uninformed, keep an eye out for useful tools.

There will be differing opinions, but I consider guns to be tools. I know how to handle, load, shoot, and clean a wide variety of guns. There is a world of debate about hand guns and assault rifles, and my simple opinion is that those things are for killing people and I'm simply not interested in going there. I think that if need be a person can defend home and property with a hunting rifle or shotgun. Guns as tools put meat on the table, and can put down livestock that is suffering with no vet available, and can be used to defend family and property when all other measures break down. There is a skunk roaming around the back of my chicken coop for the last couple of days and if I wasn't in the city, I wouldn't hesitate to shoot.....from a distance ;-)

As far as other tool go, over the years Mr. Greenjeans has saved us tremendous money, made money in tough times, and helped extended family and friends by having good tools, and the know-how to use them.

Lately I have been buying only hand tools for a power down society(with the exception of a power drill for smaller hands). I know that the tools we have used the most over the last 20 years have been the kind of things in a well stocked tool box: hammers of various sized, various pliers, socket sets, wire cutters, saws as well as a big bag of nails and screws. Other useful tools a long handled ax for splitting logs, shovels (flat and sharp pointed ones), saw horses, a hoe, a 15 lb mallet for breaking up wood, different sizes of ladders, a tamping pole, a crow bar, a clamp, and a fencing tool (to string wire).
One needs specialized tools for livestock, woodworking, gardening, mechanic work... In a power down society, we're going to have to fix things to keep them going. It doesn't mean that everyone has to be an expert in everything, but rather that we ought to be looking to have a backup skill as well as team up with someone who has specialized tools and know-how in an area that isn't our specialty. I can hardly change the tire on my car but I'm quite good at animal husbandry. It is likely that we will all become better at knowing how to fix and maintain things...if you have tools

As a kid I was fascinated with those little hand drills. So fascinated that once while the adults were downstairs having a cocktail party, I was busy drilling holes in the hardwood flooring upstairs of the host's house with one of these hand drills. In spite of the guilt I feel every time I see one of these, I still love this tool. Later my parents said that explained why they'd never heard from that family again...but I digress.

Some of the most beautiful hand tools I've seen lately were in the hardware store in Japan Center of San Francisco. They too were specialized building tools. I do always like the tool options in Leman's catalog

In addition to the hard tools, I'd recommend having on hand lots and lots of tape and glue, paint brushes and scrapers, rope and string of various kinds. I've used Duct tape for as many things as you can imagine, including holding medicated packing into the bottom of a hoof of an extroverted gelding that was as much of a pest as any goat ever thought of being.... and it held. Don't forget a spool of wire, gloves and safety masks. And remember sooner or later everything becomes a hammer.

So, what are your favorite hand tools? What gets a workout and what's on the wish list?


Anna M said...

I have never paid that much attention to my husband's outdoor tools, he just had them in the garage. During our move it was my job to hand long tools to one of the helpers who was packing the truck and had a "hole" to fill that long handled stuff would be perfect for.

I don't know how many shovels I handed in to the friend of ours but it was more than 10. I was really annoyed at the time that we had so many shovels but after a nice discussion of "what the heck???!!" I realized it was nice that we'd accumulated things we would need here.

We won't talk about all the axes...

Carla said...

My father was a carpenter for the railroad - and he had the most marvelous workbench and collection of his own tools. He could fix just about anything. After he died (several years ago), mu brothers were allowed to take whatever tools they wanted . I had to beg my mother to allow me to have something (she couldn't imagine why I would want any of it!)
From what was left, I chose a brace (like the one in your photo) and several rather large bits. They were quite heavy to take back to Idaho, but I'm so grateful to have them. I remember my father's workbench, and the smell of the coal bin it was next to in the basement, every time I use these tools.
Thank you for triggering the memory.

MeadowLark said...

We are woefully short on hand tools. But in that vein, YoungSon is at a blacksmithing convention this weekend... he's hoping to learn a skill that will come in handy in a post-peak world.

3 languages, a 4.2 gpa and near 1400 SAT. Guess who's opting out of college ;) I don't mind so much because I don't think college is going to be the 'way of things to come' as much as KNOWLEDGE will be. I hope.

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

We use a lot of hand tools, and and important thing to know is how all the different styles work. If you use the right tool for the job, your job is easier. For instance, if you think you will need to did deep holes, or straight sided holes, for a fence post perhaps or digging trenches, caches etc. Get an irrigator's shovel, the handle will be straight, you don't want a shovel that has a curve like a spoon. This will save your back and arms. Same thing goes for pitchforks if you have livestock. Keep a separate fork for hay, and one for mucking out. This will keep parasite infestation low, etc.

And one thing we have found indispensable, is Vet Wrap, or for humans is called Coban elastic bandage. It sticks to itself, and holds up on animals even in wet conditions. I've used it while hand sewing or quilting after I have pricked myself. It is reusable and available at any feed store.

As for guns, we have a 12 defender for well, you know defending, and for small predator control, a .410. But, I have to say, I do carry a handgun when I'm moving our cattle in remote areas of our farm. I have a CHL, so it is perfectly legal. We deal with trespassing issues all the time, from livestock and wildlife poachers to meth heads stealing electrical wires from our outbuildings. I carry this in a TommyPack fanny pack, and I can do my work, with out having to keep a cumbersome rifle with me while I'm building fence, moving water, etc., and thankfully, I have never needed to use my pistol, but it does give me peace of mind. I have grown to dislike being confronted on my own land, by people carrying weapons and wearing camo - so I feel better and not quite so helpless. But, I would not recommend a gun as a tool without some committment to learn how to properly use and take care weaponry of any kind.

Chile said...

I spent months scouring yard sales and church rummage sales for hand tools. My husband told me what he needed and I'd look for those plus buy anything else that looked like it had potential, figuring if I screwed up, we'd just sell it in our own yard sale. I found some great stuff and at good prices.

More duct tape should go on the list, probably. And some vetwrap. Dang, I knew when I went past the feed store the other day that I needed something there.

Matriarchy said...

I used to be a painter and paperhanger, so I have some hand tools and ladders, but enough. I have a drill, circular saw, and sander. I find the screwdrivers keep disappearing from the utility drawer in the kitchen.

You know, whenever there is a yard sale with tools, there is some little old man picking through them for the good stuff. I think the best way to get tools must be to go to the estate auctions of handy old men!

When we excavate my mother's house, we will find my father's tools. The ones I used to get yelled at for not putting back when I was a kid.

There are also guns in my father's things, but they will require us taking some lessons at a range, so they are not on the front burner right now. We don't live where we can legally discharge a weapon to shoot pesky animals, even with a carry permit.

I thought about big tools like axes and sledge hammers, but none of us are good with those, and I don't want us hurt. We'll have to barter something if we need things busted up. My DD15 could learn to split wood, but she is so rushed and clumsy, which is typical at her age. We can't afford an axe accident.

Robj98168 said...

I desire a cirdless reciprocating saw- we have one at work and I miss the saw- Note I said cordless- In an emergency I can use a solar generator to charge "cordless" tools. Otherwise my favoraite hand tool would have to be a 6-In-1 screwdriver-nope channel lock pliers-nope a pitchfork- nope....

Anonymous said...

LMAO @ drilling holes in the flooring upstairs, that cracked me up!

Hubby is an avid tool guy too, loves fixing and creating, now we need to concentrate on a few more hand tools that don't require power to run.


Tara said...

My husband just bought a hand drill and I must say I'm amazed at how well it works! I also feel compelled to throw "staple gun and staples" on the list! In addition to stocking tools, some other points to note are: buy the best you can afford (often available second hand but still good), and keep your tools clean, oiled and sharpened!

It's no different from cooking. Anyone who cooks knows that it will go much more smoothly and you'll get a better result if you're using the right utensil/pot/pan/whatever for the task. Same goes for tools.

Kristin Joy said...

I will suggest Ace Hardware for hand Tools & equipments.