Tag Archives: crowfoot wrench

Best In Class Prepper Products Versus “Good Enough” (& A Maple Syrup Heist)

4 Sep

In my book, I go over many products. Some I say I wouldn’t spend the money on. That’s not to demean the products. If I didn’t think they had value, I wouldn’t have mentioned them at all. These products are high end and not everybody has the money to get them.

I read an article about the surge in the interest in prepping. A few people are paying big bucks to have their homes fortified and made more prepper-esque. The article said some people pay experts to plant gardens. What the…?

Paying somebody to plant a garden to become more self-sufficient makes no sense to me. The whole idea is to learn to garden. That’s where self-sufficiency comes from. Not paying somebody else to do it. Paying somebody to teach you something makes sense.

New preppers need to learn what is “good enough” or within their budget. You might want a Benelli shotgun, but maybe can only afford a Remington 870 Express pump. Your ideal bug out vehicle might be a Hummer or Ford F-150. But, you can only afford a used KIA or a mountain bike.

Tools are a good example. Professional mechanics prefer Snap On tools, MAC, Matco, SK, and a few other brands. Most of us need to settle for Craftsman or equivalent.

The wife won’t understand our spending $30,000 on tools so we can save a few bucks by fixing our car’s water pump. At a certain point, the gig is up—we just like buying tools. It’s important to learn where you can cheap out and where you can’t.

Ask any experienced mechanic and they’ll tell you to purchase good line wrenches. These are known as flare nut wrenches. In cars, there are many rigid lines connected with flare nuts. Flare fittings provide a tight leak-proof connection.

The problem with a lose flare nut wrench or one that expands is that you can strip the nut. Because a flare is on the end of the line, you can’t just slide on another flare nut and be on your merry way. Oh, no.

You need to replace the entire line. Perhaps you can cut a bit of line off, put a new flare nut on and bend the line a bit. Either way, you need to re-flare a line. You might get lucky and be able to buy prefabricated lines.

Some line connections are difficult to reach and a useful tool is the crowfoot flare nut wrench. When I wrote my book, I went to sears.com and looked for the model numbers of their crowfoot line wrench sets (metric and SAE). These use to represent great value. I saw the reviews said they were now made in China. The price hadn’t dropped. I went over to Northern Tool and found an inexpensive set with good reviews. I figured it was the same set. I ordered one and it looked nice enough.

Today, I used one of these low-end crowfoot wrenches for about the fourth time. I turned it and it rode over the nut jamming tightly in place. I twisted it off, praying I didn’t snap the line. It worked OK. The line even sealed. Yippee!

A professional mechanic wouldn’t put up with this on a daily basis. He’d order a high-quality set. (Snap On, 210FRHMA is the 10-19mm crowfoot set; 207SFRH is the SAE set). But if you can’t afford that, it’s better to have a cheap set than no set at all when you need it.

Most preppers need to budget. We can’t get everything we want. Some of us need to budget more than others. Deciding where to spend the bucks is a personal decision. Learning where to spend the money is a skill.

Charlie P., author, The Prepper Next Door: A Practical Guide For Disaster And Emergency Planning

What I learned From Charlie In The Prepper Next Door (on tracemypreps.com)

Heist at Canada’s Global Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve. Strategic maple syrup reserves?

Yankee Prepper on Youtube showing off his new maple syrup:

Making Maple Syrup (Part 1):

Making Maple Syrup (Part 2):

Ohio State University Fact Sheet about maple syrup

How To Tap Maple Trees and Make Maple Syrup (4 page pdf from University of Maine Extension.)

In the book, I briefly mentioned Hantavirus and why control of mice populations is imperative in a disaster. Hantavirus has a lethality of between 30 and 50%. Fortunately, it’s extremely rare. There was a recent “outbreak” at Yosemite park.

Here is a wonderfully written article “How Nervous Should I Be About Hantavirus?” on motherjones.com.

National Institute of Health on Hantavirus

CDC on Hantavirus
Really nice pdf about Hantavirus from the CDC.

This is a Youtube link to “Frontier House” (from PBS). Several families go back to pioneer conditions to see what life was like. I linked to youtube, because it’s a five part series.

Here’s a nice blog post about visiting historic Fort Snelling.  I stumbled upon this looking for the recipe to Fort Snelling’s Rock Candy. Did the soldiers really make rock candy? Or is it just a tourist thing?

Here’s a link to making rock candy.

I’ve always liked rifles that easily break into two parts. Ruger is now offering their best-selling 10/22 in a takedown format. I didn’t see a wooden stock version of it, drat. Ruger should bring back the 44 magnum Deerslayer in a takedown format, with a wooden stock.

217,000 residents in Jefferson and Orleans parishes went without power for four days after hurricane Isaac. Some residents didn’t have water.

Residents in Mississippi were also affected.

An Ode To The Crowfoot Wrench

2 Jun

Crowfoot wrenches rock, especially crowfoot line wrenches. I mention the inexpensive set sold by Northern Tool in the book (in the chapter about Bug Out Vehicles). The reason I didn’t mention the Craftsman ones is because of the recent reviews saying they were made in China and saying they lack an indent (or dimple or small hole), which helps to hold the crowfoot wrench to the breaker bar or to the socket extension. It appears that the newer Craftsman ones are comparable to the less expensive Northern Tool crowfoot wrenches. With the exception of the high-end ones, I don’t see any new crowfoot wrench sets which have the indent or dimple

I read an article that said Sears stores might be in danger. This is probably the time to stock up on Craftsman tools, if there’s something you want from them.