Improvised Tools: I

Welcome to the Improvised Tools Series.If you value self-reliance or survivalism, enjoy improvisation, or are preparing for creating your own tools while living off of the strictly regulated government grid, then this is the series for you. I am absolutely obsessed with all manner of recycled and improvised materials, and not only for practical utility in a day-to-day depressed economy but also for the long-term use in a situation of serious social collapse. The materials I like to use can be found anywhere and can be used to create all kinds of amazing tools and necessities for survival and even for regular use. Due to the bulk of creative and interesting tools I have found and experimented with, I will have to write these articles in installments. I present to you the first installment of improvised tools…

The Rocket Stove

This amazing invention utilizes some advanced concepts of heat and energy conservation. It basically makes your fire burn very hot, very efficiently, with less fuel, less smoke, and less waste! Everything you could possibly want in a camp fire, and with this kind of power it can even replace an electric or gas-powered stove.The building materials can be found at any Home Depot or Lowe’s, or even with some simple adobe bricks if you want to get very primitive. Maximum time investment is a few hours for the wildly cautious and inexperienced. The best way for me to describe how to make this is to provide you with some videos of how others successfully built theirs! Here are some videos of how to build your own rocket stove, along with the science behind the stove:

Home Made Blacksmith’s Forge

There are as many ideas for building Forges as there are ideas for running a country, and most of them are just like people’s government ideas: They simply don’t work, and if they do work it is a sorry sight to see. I have combed through tons of garbage, tossed aside endless scrap and poor materials to bring out these shining diamonds from the Forge.

Cast Iron Sink Forge: This one takes some workshop experience and a full day of dedicate labor to put together, but the good thing is that there is an integrated quencher (a water pail for hardening forged steel) and also an integrated vacuum unit for blowing the forge to VERY high heats. It takes absolutely no natural gas or fuel aside from forge coal, and of course an electrical outlet for your shop vacuum. Here are detailed instructions on building your own heavy-duty Improvised Cast Iron Sink Forge. This Forge is tried and true, and will provide all the heat you will ever need for makeshift knife making, steel working, and even for melting down metals for purification or for ammunition making. The one downside is that all extra heat is pretty much wasted, as the model detailed in the link does NOT have oven capabilities of heat trapping, so any heat not capture by the metal is not conserved and rapidly bleeds away.

Paint Can Forge: This is a much smaller and simpler option (just as effective for small metals, or long bars of metal). It utilizes a plumbing torch to create a high heat furnace from a paint can and high heat mortar called Satanite. It is very easy to build, requires relatively no skills or experience, is easily transported, and it is found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qn-qrgp9804&NR=1

Improvised Anvil: Once you have a forge it would be almost totally useless without an anvil. The problem is that many of these are incredibly heavy and expensive. Anvils can be hard to come by, so sometimes you have to improvise your own… The best article I’ve found on doing that is right here: http://www.britishblades.com/forums/showthread.php?11230-Improvised-anvils

Improvised Sandbags

Contrary to popular belief, making a sand bag is much more complex than simply filling a burlap or cloth bag with sand. Take it from me, since I have tried many times to build my own. My first attempt came in the form of a simple burlap bag with sand. The bag way WAY too heavy when filled completely, so I filled it partially. This partial fill made it awkward to move, especially due to shifting sand inside, and also the extra cloth made it likely to break and strain. A simple rip or tear due to the 40 – 50 lbs of weight inside would empty the entire bag and render it useless.

Next up was a plastic design (like the plastic thread bags sold in packs of 50 or more that hold up to 40 lbs of weight). These bags are cheap and come in large numbers, and the design allows the bags hold up to lots of weight and still not tear easily! I thought I had found my ideal solution to fortifying a position against gunfire or flood water, but alas I was disappointed. These bags will very easily degrade in sunlight. In fact just two days of sun exposure and most will begin fraying on their own, and turning to dust when handled.

So what is the solution to a proper improvised sand bag? For those who do not have military style burlap sand bags to fill and stack this will be a challenge handled by using thick zip lock bags and also contractor bags (or heavy-duty garbage bags that are at least 3 to 4 mil thickness). Use a simple burlap or cloth bag on the outside, such as those used to hold large quantities of rice. You can even use an old backpack or cloth sack of any other kind to get creative, as long as it ISN’T polyurethane (plastic). Buy a plentiful supply of 4 – 6 mil zip lock bags online (these are available cheap) and fill each of these about 3/4 full with sand, push out any excess air, and then duct tape them all around to make what looks like a sand brick. You will fill your bag with these little sand bricks, and even if one or many of them are punctured (which is extremely unlikely due to the 4 – 6 mil thickness) it will not destroy your entire bag. The outer covering will be sun resistant until water and mold destroy it, but that is still months of life when left outside as opposed to days.

If you don’t have the time to wrap up individual units of sand and are impatient then use the contractor bags I told you to get earlier. These are standard 3 – 4 mil thickness and will hold about 25 lbs of sand each if you wrap them in duct tape and remove all excess air. Do the same routine with these, fill them up with as much sand as they can hold and then duct tape them sealed and all around for extra stability. You can further coat them in another bag if you want increased weather resistance, but if you are in a hurry and preparing for a flood or hurricane then by all means have a friend help you by holding the bag open while you shovel in sand, then tape the bag shut as quickly as possible. You now have an improvised sand bag.

A note on sand bags for defense purposes: It takes 6″ (that’s right, six inches) of sand to STOP a high-powered assault rifle bullet. These bullets have low mass and high velocity, and pretty much turn to dust when they collide with the sand. A barrier of just over 6″ is preferable to stop pistol rounds, which can travel up to 9″ in sand because they have a higher mass and a lower velocity, so they deposit energy less readily in the sand and hold together very well even after impact. Sand bags are perfect for protecting against shrapnel of all kinds (remember the principle, low mass and high velocity = easily stopped by sand).

That’s all folks!

That’s all for now, as I find new and interesting things to have I will be sure to post them here as they become available. Before anything reaches this site I either build it myself, or find several examples of people who have built it themselves. I make sure this person or people have thoroughly tested it to standards I would employ myself, and I make sure to read their thorough reviews. If you find anything interesting that measures up and works well, please feel free to email it to me for use on this site with your review and instructions as well! Contact me at thenewamericanrevolutionary@gmail.com and help your fellow Revolutionaries with the greatest gift of all: Empowering Knowledge.

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What is Self Reliance?

Self Reliance is defined in Webster’s dictionary as “reliance on one’s own effort or abilities”. In this light self reliance seems very simple, but in my opinion this simple definition doesn’t quite grasp it. Self Reliance is a much wider concept, and it is the essence of personal success. It is what I honestly believe lies at the core of being a happy and content human being, and without this it is impossible to be someone who feels fully capable in his or her own self. Self Reliance is the foundation upon which any person can build control over their life. This control over your life then translates into the ability to influence the lives of others in a positive way.

I think anyone will agree with me on this simple point: Without control over your own circumstances, you will remain utterly powerless to help or influence others, much less your own self. However, with control over your own life circumstances you will be able to handle your own life efficiently, and once that is handled there is no telling how you will be able to impact the lives of others.

It is very important to understand this concept in it’s entirety, since most people will agree that Self Reliance is important but have never taken the time to understand just how all encompassing it is. Take a typical example: a rich father and a poor father. The poor dad works all day every day in order to scrounge a living for his family, and he spends so much time away that he cannot spend time at home except when he is sleeping or eating in preparation for his next work day. This means he is unable to help at home with household chores, which causes tension in his marriage. It means he is unable to be present in his children’s lives, which causes a more distant relationship between him and his children. It causes shortcomings and gaps in the moral and personal educations of his children, who do not have a father present regularly at home and suffer as a result. It causes shortcomings in the fathers health, and in addition to piling stress onto poor dad it also shortens his lifespan and makes the time he has to himself less enjoyable. As you can see, the poor dad is so busy trying to make ends meet and trying to just keep living so he can keep working. He lives as a slave to his work. He may be Self Reliant in the technical sense of the word, but in reality he is totally dependent on his work and on factors outside himself. He pays his bills, and provides for his family as much as he can, and works tirelessly to make ends meet, but in the end all it takes is one simple decision from his boss to fire poor dad and his entire world crumbles. He is in a very dependent and one-way relationship with his employer, and he is so dependent that he cannot properly take care of anyone else, not even himself. This is naturally a very frustrating and unhappy situation to be in, and it is a reality for the MAJORITY of American fathers who are in a state  of SLAVERY to their employers and their work.

Hold your own Personal Power

The rich dad story is the polar opposite to all of poor dads troubles because rich dad has the opportunity to become completely Self Reliant, and not just in the financial sense. If rich dad spends all day at work then he is NOT truly Self Reliant, because he is a still a workaholic chained to his work who cannot take care of himself properly or his family. Lets say instead that the rich dad has multiple sources of passive income (income made from sources of wealth, not from hours worked, such as real estate, or renting apartments, or even online businesses). He now has time at home to help, so that means a few things: he can take care of his wife, he is present to take care of his kids, he can educate his family, and he is generally free take care of his own health and relaxation. This allows rich dad to invest, take care of his children and their investments, and also help others in his family (and possibly in other families as well if he should choose to do so).

This is just one application of Self Reliance in one field: Finances. This principle carries over into every other aspect of your life, including Health, Education, Personal Outlook, Spirituality, and Self Defense, among many others. If you are not Self Reliant in any of these fields (or all of them, which is my goal for myself) then you are not able to help yourself. If you are not able to help yourself, you are not there to reliably help others.

Many people will struggle against this simple reality, and they will recognize they are not Self Reliant and try to struggle in the wrong direction. Many people spend so much time struggling against their circumstances, because they believe it is these circumstance that keep them pinned in place. “If I didn’t have so many damn bills every month I wouldn’t have to work all the time! These kids, my wife, this home, all of these take so much money! I cant change these responsibilities, so I guess I can’t change my situation.” Wrong. You can’t fight by taking more and more hours, and you can’t fight by just cutting loose responsibilities. Running from the problem will just present another problem, and there will never be enough time or money in a day to fix everything because you haven’t actually found a solution by running away. There IS a solution though: The problem can only be solved by putting time into YOU. You are what stands between a problem and a solution, and the answers must always come from you. You must learn how to juggle the problems more effectively, to manage your family and home and money more effectively, and you must learn about how to build a different life for yourself from the ground up.

Seems obvious, right? Or maybe it seems wrong. If there are all these outside things that suck up my time, how can I possibly slow down to work on me? Well, let’s take a moment and think of a mathematician. His only tool is the calculator, and every single equation he tries to solve will use that calculator. If he does problems every single day and finds he struggles to keep up as the problems get harder, does he just type faster and faster into his little desk calculator? He could, but he would soon find that his fingers hurt as he frantically types, and one day the poor calculator will break as its buttons get crammed in and worn down from overuse. Why not invest in his trade, and purchase a badass upgraded graphing calculator that can do all the new things and more? Upgrade the equipment and the task becomes much easier, right? So what equipment do you have to work with? YOU. Just you. Not your tool shed, not your garage, not your guns or supplies or bank account. You can’t go to the store and pay for a new model of your brain, and you can’t just go pay for a program that will turn you into a brilliant man, but you CAN invest time slowly over time to improve yourself.  What is the take home message? You are the only tool that you use every single day for every single problem, so invest in you!

The process of constant self improvement is a cornerstone of Self Reliance. It is how you build skills that allow you to tackle problems on your own, and it is how you learn to manage problems with ease (even the ones that you are sinking under right now). Spend some time improving yourself, learn new skills, learn the ability to do new things and solve problems in new ways, and prepare for the problems that may come in the future. All of these things together will allow you to become the best kind of person you can be, and in addition to handling things in your life with ease you will free up time to help others as well. Read frequently, learn about how to become Self Reliant, and stop being someone else’s burden (or worse, their slave). Take control of your life circumstances, especially the ones that seem to be running YOU! And when you come out of the problems facing you and you handle them, turn around and offer a hand to those struggling to cross the bridge you just crossed.

THAT is Self Reliance, and that is the very core of this site. If that sounds like something you’re up for, and like a goal worthy of pursuing, then use this site and others to grow your most valuable tool: Yourself.