Metal Work For Preppers (As A Hobby!)

25 Feb

In the last post, we talked about stocking spare parts and general purpose hardware. Metalwork is a topic I touched on in the book. For most preppers, it’s not essential, and maybe not even desirable. The costs are high and are out of proportion to the material benefit received.

There is a certain beauty to being able to fabricate your own parts. I’m going to steal a quote from Thoughtfully Prepping:

“Survivalists understand that spares and supplies only go so far thus train and equip for a time when they will have to resupply by their own means. Thus their whole ethos is built on flexibility not just a plan A or B.”

For survivalists this refers to procuring absolutely essential supplies like food through hunting or animal husbandry or gardening. A similar ethos built on flexibility applies to anybody who wants to be more self-sufficient today. You want flexibility that goes beyond plans.

In the last post, we wrote about stocking parts and hardware. It’s not possible to stock every part that could fail for every machine you own. The ultimate ideal is the ability to make any part we could possibly need. That’s no small thing, and most of us won’t fully achieve it.

One approach to this is to reduce your reliance on mechanical things.
This blogger suggests giving up your vehicle to simplify your life. The less reliant you are on complicated machines, the better. Many of us cling to our machines. A car is essential in many areas. Few of us want to give up our modern appliances.

For better or worse, machines and tools are seen as a proxy for modern civilization. Tools and machines are what separates us from the animals, who don’t use sophisticated tools. When society collapses, manufacturing stops. The machines stop. Industry and agriculture is what separates us from remaining hunters and gathers struggling to put food on the table.

When I started writing this post, I thought of a line from one of my favorite prepper films, The Omega Man.

As the “family” tries to take down Nevil, they lament they’re powerless to bring him out of his “funky paradise.” He wouldn’t forget the old ways, the ways of the smell of combustion and the aroma of oil. Nevil kept his generator going not just to provide light to keep the family at bay, but to connect to his civilized past. He checked his generator and dressed for dinner.

Even the hero in The Last Man On Earth had a lathe.

It was a wooden lathe and he used it to make stakes to kill vampires. There he stood at his lathe holding off society’s complete destruction.

I’m sharing those movies because I find them amusing. They’re great flicks. Practically speaking, as much as I love metal work, it has limited application to survival. Nevil as one of the few survivors didn’t need to spend his days at a lathe making parts. He foraged and scavenged for what he needed. That was a practical approach to the problem. It was easier to find a different car than to repair the old one.

In a long-term break down of society and massive death, I know all my metalworking tricks will fail. We won’t have electricity to run a drill press. Welding gasses will run out. Repair capability will grind to a halt.

I offer metalworking not as a practical prepper skill, but as a hobby preppers could derive satisfaction. Be warned. It’s an expensive hobby. Painfully expensive. A well-equipped shop has several horrendously expensive tools:

* Bandsaw
* Quality Drill Press
* Lathe
* Milling Machine
* TIG Welder
* Solid Bench Vise

The tooling for the milling machine and lathe is super expensive. It’s a weighty hobby. If you move, you don’t want to move a milling machine. It has a pretty steep learning curve. If you can take some classes at the local technical college, that helps. If you have the time, money, and plan to stay put, check out metalwork as a hobby!

Here are some good videos about basic machine shop skills from a robotics lab. Three videos talk about basic shop skills. Two series talk about the milling machine and lathe.

If you develop a bit of skill with the above tools, you’ll be able to fabricate many small metal parts, make many machines, and repair many things. You’ll still have limitations, because of a lack of heat treating and other things.

Sitting is lethal. Downright deadly.
So…Get off your duff and …get off your duff.

If you want to get some exercise when you stand up, how about Shadow Boxing?

We think hotels are well maintained for safety. In this sad story, two families suffered deaths because of Carbon Monoxide at a hotel.

Pack your own CO detector when you stay at hotels?

A major problem is that big fundraisers for politicians get appointed as foreign ambassadors. The job isn’t taken seriously. It’s a political payoff.

Nothing like a representative of America ragging on our allies behind their back. This conversation was captured by Russia’s surveillance. Just remember…everything you say or write online or on a cell phone is watched by all major countries…America knows, Russia knows, China knows…They all know… They don’t care about us peons, but they know. A good thing to remember if you ever get appointed ambassador.

Don’t worry about Russia: Russia is sowing the seeds of their own destruction. They’re banning sexy lingerie. To arms, men! To arms!

There is a good post about putting together a car survival kit over at Apartment Prepper.

Will America be done in by…squirrels?

Story: Ammo is back on the shelves.

Sad story about a basement fire. If you have family sleeping in a basement, do you have a smoke detector down there? Do you have an egress window to escape if your steps are ablaze or unreachable?

Have you closed off the underside of your steps with rated sheet rock to give more time before they burn up? Without an alarm, toxic gasses and CO can kill before a person has a chance to wake up, let alone escape. All sleeping areas should have two exits.

If you have a basement bedroom, have you checked your basement for radon? Many basements are unsuited to be bedrooms because of radon.

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