Showing posts with label Survival. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Survival. Show all posts

Dec 12, 2013

I don't think I could get this one by the TSA metal detector.

It's in fair condition, speaking generously, because someone was more in love with his six-inch 3400  rpm coarse grinding wheel than he was with this old veteran. You can't quite call it "poor" because it still has the skinny saw blade. True, Barney ground the teeth off when he finished worrying the big blade,  but judging from the ones for sale online, a fair number of them are missing the saw blade entirely.

I'm not always too fussy about the condition of my World War Two relics, and for the $6 bid which earned this one, I'm not fussy at all. That cheap, it could pay for itself as a spare canoe anchor. Big fella, sometimes called the "giant jack knife" by the pilots who carried it. It must weigh better than a pound and measures six inches closed and 15 1/2 with both blades open.

It was one of the solutions to the survival knife problem late in the war. Colonial developed it . This one was made by United Tool Co. in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

A fellow over on the knife forum seems to have all the other information you're likely to want.

Excuse me. I must retire to my dressing room and pare my nails.

Feb 10, 2013

Storm Nemo and the Runway Set

A diminutive and lovely American woman in a smart Connecticut home sat out Nemo with her elderly parents. Among other things she waded through deep snow to find and clear furnace vents; she used a pole to shake snow from her service electrical lines and nearby trees.

I wasn't there, more's the pity, but there's no doubt in my mind that she needed no last-minute dash for milk and toilet paper, meaning she was no candidate for a dramatic feature story on the horrors of being  suddenly trapped in her car in a storm well-advertised for days.

With preparations made and immediately necessary actions taken, she seemed to  enjoy her little break from the outside world, laughing and joking her way through white Armageddon, warm, secure, properly fed and I confidently guess, properly wined. After all, she bears an honest Irish surname.

Meanwhile, a million less sentient northeasterners suffered --  out of Perrier, down to the last pound of lox, the electric teevee won't work, that sort of deprivation. Never mind the frantically punched wireless devices seeking word on how much they might get from FEMA as a result of living in a place where it snowed.

Still,  the Irish girl and her like represent a useful cadre of citizens, people with at least a modest ability to see more than two commercials ahead and plan for survival in comfort when nature does what it routinely does.  Their existence suggests a remaining hope for America, even in the age of Mommy Dotguv on whom all  happiness depends. (Please, Your Ineptness, make the Republicans stop causing blizzards.)  It is a cozy thought, so you shouldn't screw it up by reading the news.


At New York's Fashion Week, women tottered on 4-inch heels through the snow to get to the tents to see designers' newest collections.

Nov 9, 2012

Prepping for a Sandy

There's nothing contrived for a  photograph here. That's where and how the lanterns and the atlas live. It's a corner of the big, libertarian bay window installed some years ago.

( Libertarian" in the sense that the project required, but was built without, a permission slip from the Regulators of the village of Smugleye-on-Lake. The sheriff has not been around with a warrant yet, illustrating that you sometimes get away with egregious anti-social behavior.  Part of the secret is just doing it while keeping your mouth shut until the statute of limitations runs out.)

Our power grid is quite dependable out here, even in the land of the tornado and the fierce blizzard. But sometimes the lights do go out, and when that happens at night I am in Room 101. The Worst Thing in the World is boredom.

Here in just a couple of square feet is an escape, illumination and information.

It isn't everything a fellow needs for survival, just a start. But, funny, it just seems to lead to other units of self-sufficiency. A few more lanterns, several feet of books, candles, LED flashlights, stashed lentils, rice, canned food, and so forth.

I tend to identify this attitude as "country," but I'm probably wrong. Even in Manhattan, Hoboken, there must be thousands of citizens of common sense and the ability to think ahead. We're led to an opposite view largely by the electric television industry which finds it more dramatic, and hence better for the Neilsons, to point their cameras exclusively at the bleaters.

"Don't nobody come to help me yet. Whattem I gonna do?"

I dunno  for sure. I suppose you could try hanging another picture of President Obama or Governor Chris your wall.

Sep 16, 2012

The Sunday Slasher

The very bright lad has some prepper tendencies. In the course of studying one "survival expert" he was persuaded to buy a Mora, hawked as the "best survival knife." A few weeks passed and he found eye and spirit offended by the garish plastic handle and the space-age polymer sheath. He wondered if Gramps might find time to reduce the ugliness. Sure. 

About 90 per cent complete, reflecting the notion that a blade is worth little if it can't be controlled, hence the outsize grip with admittedly unattractive palm swells. Looks bad, feels good.

This is the first experiment with a steel butt plate in the Shops of Camp J (tm). The  thinking is that a "survival" knife may be called on to function as a  crude hammer. 

And since we have a butt plate, why not use it to retain four wax-dipped  matches, virtually weightless and out of mind until a fire becomes crucial when all easier possibilites are absent?


The plate, hacked from a heavy old gate hinge, is attached, ground to a crude fit on a wheel, then trimmed to the wood profile on a one-inch vertical belt sander. It looks nice polished, but it will rust. If circumstances permit it will be hot-blued, otherwise painted. A question in my mind: Should it be flourescent orange for findability at the cost of ugliness?

I'll return the black tactical coal-tar sheath to the lad for whatever use he may make of it, but the knife will live in the heavy beef hide, similar to this but I hope without the stupidly misplaced copper rivet. The hole in the grip and the two little notches in the blade -- just forward of the handle -- might make it possible to lash the the knife to a shaft. I personally have never needed a makeshift spear, but who knows?

Notes and asides:

1. When someone offers you "the best" whazzis,  you're being flimflammed. There's no best survival knife, gun, or piccolo. A designer imagines the jobs the tool should do in various situations and builds accordingly. The honest ones will concede that they have created a compromise and not necessarily the optimum one for the situation you might meet.

2.  The matches hidden in the handle may or may not work. Moisture might destroy them despite precautions. Swelling might make them impossible to extract.  They are a last shot, in extremis, hope. If they added significant weight or complication, they would not exist.

3. The little blade notches weaken it. Heavy prying might easily snap it. Is the risk worth the ease of making a spear? Beats me.

4. I don't disparage knives from Mora. The steel seems proper, and the price is right. I tried to find one of the older laminated blades and couldn't.

5. The knife won't quite float, but it comes close enough to neutral buoyancy that you might be able to snatch it back before it dives to the bottom of Lake Nungusser. Wrist thong through the hole? Awkward but worth thinking about if you're lost in a watery place.

6. I hope the young man never learns the limitations of this thing.  Having to "survive" in the woods is almost always a result of bad procedure. My own  backwoods misadventures testify to that, in every case reflecting incomplete planning or inattention. The best survival tool is between the ears and should never be stashed between the buttocks.

Jun 25, 2012


A certain amount of thought has been invested in the welfare of our warriors in those new-fangled aeroplanes. What if the the dynamic defailorator  fails?  What if they get shot down? Even if they walk away from the warbird they still gotta eat,  right? They have a 1911A1 in their pilot's rompers, right?

But, also right, they can't hit crap with it.

Anyway, that's what the official survival thinkers thought, so enter the service auto as shotgun:

Approach No. 1, left, is a straightforward loading of tiny shot in a cardboard capsule, heavily crimped with two grooves aft of the case mouth. The point is to preserve the sharp mouth on which the round head spaces. This example is head- stamped Peters .45 A.C. (no "P")

Concept No. 2, center, employs a redesigned case, longer and necked to provide space for the shot. The seal appears to be a waxed or plasticized cardboard disc. The shoulder is abrupt, but still a long way from a precise, tight  fit to the chamber stop, and I have a feeling that the engineers were in a bit of a hurry and decided, what the Hell, the extractor will hold it well enough; heresy but most probably workable. This one in head stamped "R A 4." 

We'll get to survival round No. 3, right, in a moment, but first an editorial comment on the others: I suppose that if I'd dumped my Corsair in a Samar jungle I'd rather have had a handful of official government shot shells than not have them. On the other hand, I wouldn't have put a lot of faith in their (and my) ability to get me fat on the succulent Basilan flying squirrel. Or much of anything else. Anyone else who has wasted too much time playing with shot loads adapted (maladapted, to be correct) to rifled pistol barrels understands. About the best you can say for the entire line of thought is that if your stalking skills challenge Natty Bumpo's, you might kill something small to eat once in a while. 

And now to No. 3. It IS TOO a survival load. It helps you survive the dreaded feeling, "What on God's green earth am I supposed to do with this junk I found while tidying up a shop cabinet last opened before Monica stained her dress?"  

Why, I confirm that they'll actually go bang in an old .22 bolt gun and then I'm all like, hmmm. I know, I can glue a .22 Crossman pellet to the front of it and have my own wildcat! The .22 TMR Power Load Special.

I was crushed to discover that I had no .22 pellets but, unstoppable, I subbed a Daisy BB. Even though the prototype you see is the  only one in existence, it will soon be tested with full confidence that the .177 projectile will exit the barrel. 
Further than that deponent sayeth not.  


Oct 4, 2011

Caution, terrorist content: IIDs

The TMR Legal Review Section requires the warning, never mind that we used to demand that every Campfire Girl be adept at creating and handling Improvised Incendiary Devices.

You could do evil things with them, as you could with your fingernail clippers,  but the intent is to start small comfort fires when things are cold and wet.  And, importantly, to do it for free.

These things always work and give you a fighting chance to ignite even damp wood. The paper serves as a sort of fuse, giving you time to get your hands out of the way before the match heads blow.

The raw materials:

Melt the old candles. Low heat is safer. Dump in your freebie matchbooks. Let them soak a while. Fish them out and lay them on paper.

Like this, only sloppier. You want the paper wax-infused.  I sloshed these through  warm wax again after I tore them apart.

Store a few of them in old zip-locks too grimy for food. Include a couple of untreated matchbooks wrapped in plastic film. A bag in every vehicle, your bugout bag, and whatever back packs, range bags, etc. you ordinarily use.
You are welcome.

Aug 9, 2011

Oh Hell, there goes the portfolio

Locked away with the canned meat and emergency medical supplies is my copper hoard, about ten pounds of pre-82 pennies.  Copper has fallen almost 7 per cent, to $4.10, and I am on the road to ruin.

Maybe worse, a forced trip to WalMart  yesterday triggers fear that the bulk packs of .22LR may be in danger as financial instruments. Winchester 555 packs have come down a dollar, to $18.97, the same as  the Federal and Remington 550s.  On the other hand, maybe Winchester is just correcting a marketing error. Perhaps the company couldn't make anyone believe the extra five rounds, the romance of the marque, and the  more colorful packaging  added up to an extra buck's worth of value. Still, the decline  gets my attention, and I'm sure glad I didn't buy any of these little beauties on margin.


Elsewhere on the economic front, the  markets this morning prove me an idiot. I sort of predicted a further slide, but the Dow was up a couple hundred points a few minutes ago.

My defense is that the president and Tim didn't make statements this morning, and politicians with their mouths closed are always bullish signals.

Besides, QE3 is back in the news. Ben and the guvs are looking for ways to buy more Obama bonds with magic money. True, they are having some trouble figuring out how to spin it as something else which they must do in view of the fact that a number of high school graduates are beginning to see through the scam.

(As Warren Buffet said, "If I own a printing press my debt is always good.")

Jul 21, 2011

Hey kids! Let's go get a little farm and be survivalists!

You have less money than you think ... you have to buy a lot of shit to reduce materialism ... if the deer eat your garden, eat the deer because man evolved to be badass.

Or maybe just forget the whole thing? And go back for your MBA?

As funny as anything you'll read today if you like stuff such as; "Hippies, God bless them, become a lot more realistic after raccoons kill their chickens and the pipes freeze."

H/T to friend John of the GMA

Jun 20, 2011

Pretty Horses

... but they don't come with the property.

The post is motivated mostly by Stranded who has recently found his land, an idyllic spot with timber, a stocked pond. and room to shoot.

I'm still looking for a detached annex to Camp J.  I already have fish and timber, but the neighbors would probably bitch if I set up a shooting range or if I decided to take my morning coffee on the deck in my delicate things.

This one is nice, but the odds of actual purchase are about 69-1 against.  It's 100 miles too far away, near the land of my extreme youth.  If it were closer, I would be in city clothes right now,  negotiating with the real-estate doowops.


The horses remind me of some survivalism matters. I've previously unloaded my opinion that the best bugout bag is one you can live in and roam on. But if some  extended social upheaval required me to take to the hills,  I'd want a sturdy gelding  and a pack mule far more than I'd want a Land Rover. For one thing, they're more fun to talk to. For another, they don't strand you with an empty tank . For still another,  they rarely fail from a blown digital whazis.

Mar 29, 2011

Survival, anyone?

DirtCrashr took a look at Japan and decided to get more serious about a bugout bag, thoughtfully assembled for his most likely threat, earthquake followed by fires. I like the thinking there, in large part because it has none of the romantic claptrap penned by too many pocketa pocketa pocketa preppers.


My vehicles usually contain a few essentials (water, tools, something to eat, warm stuff) and there's a little Duluth thwart bag handy which might see me through a couple of nights bivouacking the woods, but I have no SHTF pack as such.  I already bugged out.  I live in a bugout bag.

It is a little more than an acre of trees and grass with two cabins laden with store-bought bugout supplies.  Even without killing mobile protein, there is pretty good eating for a few weeks, adequate nutrition for months,  and wretched fodder for a few more.  The armory is mostly hobby, but it nods to the ancient truth that you can have what you can defend.

Location. Location. Location. By chance, the bookends of my life placed me in kindly geography where food grows  and the dramatic natural threats -- earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes -- are nonexistent.

So where else would I go to celebrate TEOTWAWKI? Medicine Wheel Pass in the Big Horns is more romantic  -- Head fer the hills, boys; we're gonna be mountain men.  --  but unless the hunting gods are feeling very generous, as soon as you run out of granola, Bunkie,  you will starve.

There's no place like home.


Dec 8, 2010

Survival things

Coffee. America is wired on coffee. When the ships stop bringing it, social unrest will escalate.

So the savvy preparer makes room in his secret bunker for a good supply. It is most efficient to hold the instant version. Of course, the effete SHTF survivalist might want keep grounds on hand for personal use, reserving the powder for barter. Two ounces of Folgers "crystals" for a pound of Unique. Take it or leave it, Bub.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

(Next survival exegesis: whiskey.)