This is an entry in our current non-fiction writing contest by BCtruck
The winter was long,wet, muddy and miserable. My three indoor dogs have been coming in and out of the schmutz for months,and now that it seems to finally be drying out,the carpet in the sun-room (the only room with carpet) has taken on the odor of wet stinky dog.
I borrowed a hoover steam cleaner from a friend and when I got it home,I realized it was not working properly. While I was in my shop taking it apart,I started thinking about how much of what being prepared means ,is self sufficiency.
A week ago, I had a flat on the interstate. Now I’m not foolish enough to EVER leave the house without a jack,a lug wrench and a good spare,but I also had a tire repair kit that consists of tire plugs, rubber cement to bond the plugs and a 12 volt air compressor,all taking up the space of about 10 inch by 10 inch. I thought,what better time to try my preparedness/self sufficiency plan, than right now,under the worst circumstances you could be in, in a non SHTF environment?
I repaired the tire,used my little 12 volt compressor to air it up to 40 PSI (heavy truck tire) put the tire back on, and went about my day feeling pretty confident in my both my level of preparedness and my skill level.
This got me to thinking about folks that didn’t grow up with the advantages I grew up with. My dad was a machinist/welder/motorcycle builder/carpenter/electrician/metal fabricator/ and general,all around genius in the eyes of a teenager.
I grew up working in my dads shop from the time I was able to push a broom and clean up, till I joined the Army at the age of 17. This definitely is why there is very little I cant fix,build,or repair. There are folks who are extremely smart and capable in every way but mechanical. To those folks, I wish to speak .
The way to embark on the journey of being able to repair anything and everything, is to simply start. There is a lot of fear in taking something apart and not being able to put it back together. My suggestion is to find something that is broken and destined for the dump, and disassemble it. Find out what it is that prevented it from working. Find out if the part is available. Maybe its a microwave,or a washing machine. Parts are available for nearly everything made,even used on eBay. If it isn’t repairable,throw it out. All you’ve lost is time, but gained a little insight into how it worked and what it looked like inside.
I have a cheap $40.00 microwave whose turntable stopped turning. I’ve never worked on a microwave and was just about ready to throw it away when one of my subscribers suggested I take it apart and see why it wasn’t working. I thought,whatever is wrong, will cost more to fix than just buying a new $40.00 microwave. Turns out, I was wrong. I disassembled it,found the motor that is connected to the turntable was not spinning. I disassembled the motor and found that the little plastic gears in it had broken. The motor had a part number on it that one of my astute subscribers saw,and emailed me a link directly to the motor on eBay. It was 10 bucks shipped. I replaced the motor and I’m still using that microwave.
Food, water, guns and ammo are all important to survival and self sufficiency, but being able to understand how things work, how to repair them when they stop working,or how to build something to replace what stopped working,in my eyes, is equally as important as having a well stocked larder and a safe full of weapons.
To those that don’t have a shop full of tools,and don’t know where to start or what to buy, I’m going to list the basic elements of developing an ability to repair or build:
- 1/4 inch drive socket set (SAE and metric)
- 1/2 inch drive socket set (SAE and metric)
- small,medium,large adjustable wrenches
- full set of wrenches (both SAE and metric)
- medium pipe wrench (14-18 inch)
- small,medium,large slotted screwdrivers
- small,medium,large philips head screw drivers
- full set of “torx” drivers
- full set of allen wrenches (SAE and metric)
- small,medium,large vise grips
- channel lock pliers
- regular pliers
- needle nose pliers
- carpenters hammer
- ball peen hammer
- 3-4 pound sledge hammer
- small,medium,large prybars
- wood saw
- tape measure
- along with a wide assortment of nuts,bolts,screws,nails,hinges.
This is the beginning of a well prepared tool box. As you start gaining confidence in your abilities as you attempt to repair or build things,you will find that you will occasionally need a tool to complete a particular repair,that you don’t already have. This has always been my reward to attempt harder and harder repairs.
I would love to hear in the comments, about repairs you’ve made that you didn’t think you could do,or even repairs you might could use a little advice on. Also,if there is tool you think is imperative to have in a beginners toolbox,feel free to add it in the comments.
Get out there,find something broken,and GIT R DUN!!! BC
Prizes for this round (ends May 24 2014) in our non fiction writing contest include…
- First place winner will receive – A $150 gift certificate for Hornady Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner, a Wonder Junior Deluxe grain millcourtesy of Kitchen Neads, a one year subscription to the Personal VPN service courtesy of unspyable and Three Survival Seed Vaults courtesy of LPC Survival.
- Second place winner will receive – Brand New, Sealed Case of Military MREs (Meal, Ready-To-Eat) a $119 value courtesy ofCampingsurvival.com and a Survival Puck courtesy of Innovation Industries.
- Third place winner will receive – a copy of my book ”31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness“ and “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” courtesy of TheSurvivalistBlog.net a copy of “The Survival Medicine Handbook” courtesy of www.doomandbloom.net and a copy Herbal Antivirals and Herbal Antibiotics .
- The Prepper's Guide to Surviving the End of the World, as We Know It: Gear, Skills, and Related Know-How
- The Prepared Prepper's Cookbook: Over 170 Pages of Food Storage Tips, and Recipes From Preppers All Over America!
- Dirt-Cheap Survival Retreat: One Man's Solution
- 31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness