Cool and damp again? Rained yesterday. Had to drive all over town and back in the rain doing my pickups. Didn’t get the violent downpour that the weather liars were predicting, but did get some.
So I did my pickups as soon as they were open and made it back to pick up D2 for some together time. We couldn’t find the stuff for the project she wanted to do in her bedroom, so she taught me how to play chess instead. WEEEELLLLLLLL…… Taught me how to move the pieces anyway. Mom says I played as a young kid, but I don’t have any memory of it. May be that I lost it after one of the blows to the head? Don’t know, can’t worry about it. Had fun. Played two games and she beat me both times. She loved it. D1 got home from school and that was that, but I had her for over an hour, all to myself. Because of holidays from school and the trip up to the lake house, I missed the last couple of weeks. And jeez, I’m happy about a single hour… which is kinda F’ed up when you think too much about it.
Anyway, busier than a one armed paper hanger today. This morning I’m headed to my client’s house. Painters are there, and I need to pull a few TVs down to keep them safe and paint free. Also, they’re having some network issues that I need to look at. Then back to town to finish my pickups. More stuff for the house and for my shop. I got a ‘tombstone’ stick welding machine for about half to one quarter of what they normally go for, and I’ve always wanted one. They are great for heavier steel welding that MIG really isn’t the best choice for. Granted that in the shop I’ve also got a Miller 250 welding machine and it has the capacity to do some pretty heavy welding in steel and even heavy welds in aluminum with the spool gun, the stick welder and some long leads let you do a bunch of stuff that is much harder with the MIG process. Working outside on a fence is just one example, or a dock…
So how to slickly transition to a prepper topic??? Well, I’ve talked before about fixing things, and making things as a valuable skill any time, but especially in hard times. If you can build stuff you can make it for yourself and save money, fix it yourself and save the replacement or repair costs, or make and fix stuff for other people. Here in the oil patch, I’m the least likely guy to bust out a welder and fab up something big, but I’ve made a ton of smaller stuff for myself and occasionally for others. I built the security bar door for my rent house, for example. I made it in a style that complimented the craftsman style of the door and it came out really well. I’ve made furniture for the house, some that we still use every day. I’ve made or modified tools for my workshop, and fixed tools as well.
This new welding machine will just extend capabilities I have, and possibly make some ‘field’ work much easier. Working in metal isn’t any harder than working in wood, but the tools and techniques are different.
Whatever you have an interest or skill in making, or repairing, or building, I encourage you to get the tools and some supplies while you can, if you don’t already have them. It can be as simple as sewing by hand in leather, cloth, or web gear, or as complicated as 3D printing parts that aren’t available any more, due to supply chain or obsolescence. Timber frame construction, and hand wood work might be very useful if things go very far down the slope. There are some really interesting youtubers doing “green wood” or “traditional hand woodworking” or “bodging” that demonstrate the very high levels of functionality you can get in a ‘world built by hand’.
It doesn’t have to cost much. I get leather and cloth at the goodwill and the goodwill surplus for pennies. Purses, leather coats, leather clothes, belts, wallets, even boots, all provide raw materials. So do bed sheets, blankets, and most commonly, curtains and window treatments. A pair of work pants might not fit, but the heavy cotton duck or denim can be used for patching and reinforcing your pants. So many backpacks, book bags, and duffles are in the surplus bins that all can provide donor material for repairs to your gear or customizations. You can salvage buckles, straps, pads, and webbing from them too.
I grab small pieces of wood at thrift stores too. They are usually a walnut serving tray or a piece of teak used as decor, or some other nice but small wooden object. $1.20 per pound, and I’ve got some really nice walnut for small projects. There are a number of things you can reuse the plastic material of cutting boards for, like wear pads, or friction reducing pads. There are almost always plastic and wooden cutting boards at the thrifts.
You need the tools to take advantage of the materials, and the skills to make something useful. It’s not hard though. And if you are working with junk, or something already broken, the cost of failure is low.
Get some tools and try doing some things. While the resources are still abundant.
And stack what you need. Two is one, and one is none.