Survival equipment and supplies for the financially challenged or tightwads and knowledge that might be useful...



Shadow Dancer, Male
Blog Posts:
Survival equipment and supplies for the financially challenged or tightwads

Chapter 1

They say that necessity is the Mother of invention but I think being cheap had as much to do with it as necessity. For the survivalist this can be a wonderful thing because what it does is make you improvise to make things that you want but are either too cheap or broke to buy. In my case it is some of both but mostly I just prefer to make it myself if it is possible.

I make a lot of my basic equipment and in that process also learn a lot of different skills that in the future might be pretty handy. We all have looked at the various things that they sell online and wished for them but just couldn't justify their expense. Most of it you can make as good as or better with a little research and a lot of learning.

Over the many years I've let my various wants lead me into all sorts of hobby type things that I have enjoyed and allowed me to have things before I got to where I could afford them. Truthfully most things that I make require very little talent. I guess if I have any one special talent it is that I seem tp put pieces of other peoples ideas together and learn things pretty fast.

As an example of what I'm talking about... Don't lose patience as I tell this story I will bring it all together in the end.

I read several stories about a people that makes all sort of special use knives out of those worn out saw blades that most people that have one of these things seem to accumulate. Circular saw blades, jigsaw blades and those longer saws-all blades all have good metal in them but are just worn out on the edge. I was in the middle of adding wood carving to my list of hobbies it the time. Those special carving knives are expensive!! I now make many of my own knives by simply attaching a handle and then shaping the blade with a Dremel tool.

I got to thinking about how nice it would be to have a lot of these tools in a bug out kit so that I could make spoons and bowls and all sort of wooden things like trap triggers and such. The problem is that they would be bulky and take up too much room.

I read another article about all the various wonderful uses that a pair if vice-grips could be for a survivalist. Now I already knew about how great vice grips were but his guy got me to thinking about them in a different way.

Everyone wants to have a multi tool in their go kit but like a lot of things good ones are expensive and cheap ones are not worth having a lot of times. I was writing stuff for various groups and suddenly all these things sort of came together in my head.

How to make a very versatile multi tool that will let you do things that no other single tool out there can do and make it small enough to go into a fanny pack size bug out bag...

Buy some 4” vice-grip type pliers. Any size will do but 4” are small and light but still big enough to use as a wrench ot general use pliers. I like the real ones but have to admit that I found some dirt cheap ones for a couple of bucks that have worked well for me for several years. The first thing that you do is take a Dremel tool and with a cut off blade you make a fairly deep groove in both the top and bottom jaws that runs from the front to the back. What you now have is basically a universal handle for all sorts of tools.

I took several older carbon steel knives and cut the blades off then ground the end so that it would fit into that groove in the little vice grips. I did the same thing with all sorts of saw blades and even sacrificed a couple of small auger type drills and gimlets (Look these up, they are must haves for a survivalist on the move) .

I added several awl point type rods and then several heavy various leather sewing specialty needles. Nails make good awls and you can even grind them into all the various shapes that you need for sewing heavy leather like round for sewing. Slot for lacin g and diamond shaped for stitching thinner leathers.

I threw in screwdriver blades and even a driver bit that would hold all the many short bits and drivers that can be nice to have

The more I thought about it the more little things that I added to the little pile of tools. You know when you eliminate the handles a lot of very useful tools just don't take up much room. I had an older swiss army knife that I had picked up at a flea market and took it apart and added several of its blades to the things that that one little vice grip could be handles for.

In the end for less than 10 bucks I had a tool that mostly was just loose tool blades rods and bits in a pill bottle and a small zipper pouch that Would allow me to drill small holes, do all sorts of skinning and wood carving work, saws for all materials, a leather sewing kit, can and bottle openers and even the little scissors from the army knife. PLUS all the things that you can do with a pair of vice grips.

To me this is the sort of thing that could be worth its weight in gold in a survival situation. Throw in a pry bar and a set of lock picking tools and you have a tool kit that will let you do an amazing number of things in both an urban or rural environment. A lot of it was junk that was reclaimed and free.

I know it took a while for me to get there but in the end I hope that you got the gist of what I'm trying to show you. I am fortunate in that I have a lot of tools and places to work on things but actually most of the stuff I make can be done with very little in the way of tools or space.

Basically you need a Dremel type tool, a small grinder, a 1” X 30” belt sander/grinder with belts from 40 grit to 2000 grit, a small vice and a piece of railroad iron for an anvil, files, hammer and saws. With this stuff you can get into knife making. Sharpen any knife to a razor edge in seconds and make all manner of tools that ill let you do leather work and several other crafts.

My list of hobbies and skills that feed my survival and outdoors pleasures are in part as follow. I am and have worked as a Carpenter, Roofer, cement and slab work and repair, Gunsmith, Machinist, Plumber, Electrician both new wiring and repair, Appliance repair, Certified AC and Heating repair, Mechanic, I've owned and operated a general repair service business that does work for Restaurants, Motels and residences for 20 years.

For hobby stuff I do Indian bead work, knife making, leather work, para-cord braiding, Shooting, Reloading, Fishing, Wood Whittling and carving, reading and writing, Fly tying, carpentry, Outdoor cooking, and hope to soon add a forge and/or foundry to my list of tools. I collect books, coins, fishing equipment, guns, dice, and knives.

What I plan here is a sort of how to and what you need and need to know series of articles covering a lot of things in my wandering style.

More on this sort of thing if there is interest...


    1. TexDanm Jun 26, 2017
      The other day I helped a friend design, tool and sew up an old school Black Jack slap. It got me to thinking about some of the simple weapons that have mostly been forgotten or over looked by most folks these days. Because of the many years my wife worked in prison I've heard of their various “homemade” weaponry.

      The most common and deadly is the old lock in a sock or whatever you have that is heavy stuck in a cloth that will hold it so you can swing it like a mace. In the centuries past they even made these up ahead of time and used them like a sling and threw the entire thing. With a two pound rock you can do unbelievable damage when thrown from near distance. Inmates regularly kill with something in a sock. If you just want to beat the hell out of someone a bar of soap in a sock it is massivly painful with only minimal chance of killing someone.

      You can sharpen the edge of a credit card or and high density plastic and slice tomatoes with it...or cut someones throat if needed. Plastic is a deadly tool. They used to let the inmates have regular toothbrushes and dental floss. To many of them ended up stuck in someone and the floss braided and used as a garrote. Now they get flossers and little tooth brushes that slip on the end of your finger. I've actually done the credit card thing and believe me it is SHARP! I have an older Lansky Letter Opener it is just a plastic double edges dagger that you can drive through a piece of ½” plywood.

      Paper can be rolled up like a long slender cone and with starch turned into a danm spear!!! It won't pierce a flack jacket but it will go through a regular shirt and a light coat or pants! You wouldn't believe the stuff inmates can make out of paper!!

      If you don't have pepper spry...use pickled jalapeno peppers! In my youth I carried a jar of them in my candy apple red 56 Chevy. Put one in each hand and just slap the hell out of a couple of guys and then throw what is left at anyone left standing. If you get it in their face the fight is OVER!! WARNING, do NOT think that washing your hands with soap will get this off your hands and then go to the bathroom!!!! BAAAD VERY VERY BAD!!!

      An old Green Beret that I used to hang out and fish with. He was part of the first batch that JFK was responsible for when the green beanies were first designated as the OFFICIAL wear of the 10th Special Forces group at Fort Brag on October 12th 1961 and made official in April 11 1962. Anyway he told me that one mistake that people make is defining dangerous people by the weapons that they possess. There are no dangerous weapons out there; JUST dangerous men and they are dangerous even if they are butt naked. The mind is your arsenal if you keep it stocked you can never be unarmed.