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Essential Whittling Tools



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Essential Whittling Tools

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There are many different ways to turn wood into useful and beautiful objects.  This includes using saws, power tools, and other devices that will turn wood into everything from beams and planks to bowls and shoes.  Whittling, however, is a special way of working with wood that uses mainly knives and chisels to create 3D objects.  Learning to whittle is a useful skill for preppers and and anyone looking for an inexpensive hobby that can be adapted for a number of purposes.  


Some Reasons to Master Whittling


As a prepper, you may not think that whittling will have much use beyond making toys, decorative, or  small household objects.  Just remember that once society collapses, plastic and resin for making these kinds of items may not be available.  Chances  are, you also know how quickly these kinds of items can wear out.  Fortunately, if you know how to whittle, you can make these items for yourself and others.

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Consider a situation where you feel like you have more forks and spoons than you know what to do with. Even if you didn’t have enough of these utensils, you can just go to the dollar store and pick up another batch that will last for a few years.  Now let’s say a hurricane comes, knocks down your home, and destroys everything in it.  To make matters worse, your bug out gear isn’t quite complete and you didn’t include any eating utensils; or you left the bug out bag at home and now can’t get to it.  Let’s also say, at the same time, an EMP blast wipes out power across the country.  Not only will you have a short term crisis on your hands, but something much worse will evolve because there is no place for goods and supplies to come in from.

Under these circumstances, let’s also say you are a minimalist kind of prepper, but did think far enough ahead to keep a good quality knife in your pocket.  As long as you have that knife and some wood, you can make eating utensils and many other things from wood or other materials.  Without a question, once many of the things you take for granted are no longer available, you will find many uses for whittling.


Here are some other ways that whittling may come in handy in the post crisis world:


  • you can make custom items for people that do not know how to whittle.  This can be the foundation of a profitable barter or cash based business now as well as in the future.
  • You will be able to make prototypes of knives and other devices that may require more complicated materials or more effort to build.  
  • If you expand your abilities to include working with other materials, you will boost your ability to make useful items from all kinds of scavenged items.  


Choosing Good Blades for Whittling


It is fair to say that just about any knife can be used for whittling as long as it is sharp.  The size of the blade and its shape will depend largely on the size of the area you need to remove and the kinds of details and textures that form part of the sculpture.  If you choose a pocket knife, there are some main blade designs you should try to get in a single knife:


  • curved cutting edge – ideal for making curved shapes. A curved cutting edge offers excellent depth control and still let’s you take away a good bit of wood.
  • Straight cutting edge – this is the most common blade type. I usually prefer a pocket knife that has  a shorter, thinner blade for some detail work, and then a longer straight cutting edge for bulk wood removal.
  • Tapered blade – useful for detail as well as getting into tight areas.  
  • Sharp, curved tip – can be used for cutting deep curves or hollows into the wood.
  • Bent blade – used for hollowing areas out.


Non-Folding Knives


If you would prefer a knife that does not fold up, I would recommend working with X-acto blades. You can purchase a kit with an assortment of blade shapes.  Just remember, though, X-acto blades can become dull very quickly, so it is best to work with them on softer wood.  That being said, if you need to do something unusually intricate, the longer handle on an X-acto knife can give you a lot of advantages.  In addition,if you don’t feel comfortable with sharpening blades, you will find that X-acto blades are a good bit cheaper than buying whole new knife, and you can dispose of the blades when they become dull.  


When it comes to X-acto Handles and Blades, I recommend the #1 and #2 sized handles.  Use the #1, or Precision Knife handle for textures and finishing touches.  You can also use it for lighter weight woods, but it tends to be too light for whittling something like cedar or even pine from start to finish.  The #2, or Medium Weight handle gives you almost all the same (but larger) blade options as the #1, but it is heavy enough to work with denser wood types.  


Here the Blades I Recommend Based on Experience:


  • Fine Point Blade with #2 Handle – this blade gives good control for roughing out the design shape.  It will also allow you to take off some bulk if you use the tip to cut into the wood and then make wider strips.  The tip also makes it possible to do deeper undercuts as well cut behind a piece of wood that is supposed to have a hollow behind it.  You can use this blade to make movable chain designs, movable joints, and other intricate designs.  It should be noted I don’t recommend the Fine Point Blade with the #1 handle as it is too light for anything other than finishing touches and texture work in areas where there are no knots or heavy grains in the wood.
  • General Purpose/ Curved Carving Blade with #1 and #2 Handles – if there is one X-acto blade I favor for whittling – this is it.  You can use the flat area for bulk removal, or as you would a whittling blade with a sharp straight edge.  At the same time, you will still have a nice curved edge for curved surfaces and beginning hollows.  It is also very good for making smooth shaves and removing deep cuts from other blades.  This blade is also the most comfortable when it comes to shifting from one hand to the other. If you are ambidextrous with knives, this will more than likely be your favorite blade.
  • Chisel Blade with  #2 Handles – this blade is good for softening edges and rounding out squared areas.  It will take away less wood than the General Purpose Blade.  If you are new to carving and feeling for the depth needed for each cut, this blade will reduce the risk of cutting too deeply.
  • Whittling Blade (optional) – If you want to move quickly to whittling with a pocket knife, this blade is a good trainer.  It has a flat edge that can be used for most of your needs.  That being said, I still prefer the curved blade because it gives me a lot more flexibility in a single blade.


Knife Sharpening Tools


Unless you are planning to spend a small fortune on knives, you will need to know how to sharpen them.  To begin, you will need a whetstone that has a rough side and a smooth one.  Even though both sides may look and feel smooth, the rough side will take more metal off the blade, while the smooth side will make it as sharp as possible. If you start off with a fairly cheap knife, then you can also use a cheaper whetstone.  That being said, if you advance to more expensive knives, it will be worth your while to buy a better quality stone.


When using a whetstone, you will have to hold the blade consistently at an optimal angle for the blade, and also apply steady pressure as you move the blade across the stone. While this isn’t especially difficult, you may also want to purchase a blade guide so that you always get the proper angle. Sadly, many people have warped perfectly good blades because they were not able to keep a steady angle while moving the blade across the whetstone.


Many people interested in prepping tend to believe that we will all have to go back to older, less technological ways of taking care of daily needs. While you may think that purifying water, gathering food, hunting, and perimeter defense take priority, there are other skills that are also important.  Whittling is a vital skill that can help you fill in the gaps that may be left when it comes to trying to make everything you need from natural materials.  No matter whether you need to make a special fish trap or want to carve new spoons or a bowl, whittling can give you a chance to make all of these things and enjoy doing so at the same time.


*A Scott Hughes Freedom Prepper Original!


**Feature picture from Lee Valley.

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Writes​​ ​​about​​ ​​freedom ​​and​​ ​​more​​ ​​​​at​​​​.​​ ​​His weekly National Affairs Column - never a dull read - appears at The Piedmont Chronicles​​​​. THE SUBSTITUTE​​ is his first Novel. He​​ ​​is​​ ​​still none​​ ​​too​​ ​​fond​​ ​​of​​ ​​government​​ ​​meddling.


Excellent Ideas from an Experienced Survivalist to Homestead in an Apartment



After watching the 1999 romantic comedy, ‘Blast from the Past,’ I had always wondered about the genius of Dr. Calvin Webber who managed 35 years in an underground shelter. His wife gave birth to an only child Adam, who ventured out into the outside world for the first time in his 35th year. The point is the film convinced its viewers very realistically that it is possible to live isolated for at least 35 years if we make meticulous plans. 

History is overloaded with numerous examples of self-sufficient lifestyles. Many communes had developed their norms to survive and maintain law and order within their secluded lands. There are many anecdotes about people living their lives without interacting with the external world. The “Lena and Ole” compilations are based on Norwegians who chose the upper lands of the Midwest as their foster homes. Here is a one-liner, 

“Ole painted the barn in July and had put on two jackets because the user manual of the paint said- Put on two coats!”

This is an inadvertent simple joke that has no ill intentions. Will Rogers once said, “Everything is funny as long as it’s happening to someone else.” Homesteading is no easy task. At the same time, it is a style that has no substitute once you get used to it. 

The Age of Information

Our generation is blessed with information at our fingertips, I mean, literally. Today a shepherd boy living in a remote African village has more information on his smartphone than was available only to the President of the United States at a certain age. My point is that the film ‘Blast from the past’ could not be conceived today nor would Ole put on two jackets to paint the barn. Homesteading is fine for people who live on “land,” but what about the inhabitants of apartments? 

The Homesteading Lifestyle

What happens in a homestead that is independent of the outside society? The inhabitants have the necessities within the confines of their boundaries for a decent existence. Let us have a look at the methods used by homesteaders to live. First we need to define the term in simple language.

An individual, a family, or a whole society can live within the set geographical limits of a designated area. We are talking about homesteading in an apartment, so let us focus on an individual or a small family. 

Definition of Homesteading in an Apartment

A single-family existing within the household compound of an apartment building to live, work, and earn can be defined as homesteading. 

This layman’s definition will give rise to a lot of questions which we shall be attempting in the content that follows. 

OK, let us now get on with living our dream life homesteading in our apartments.

A Farm Inside the Apartment

I will begin by growing my food and advance on to sophisticated produce along the way. Start small by growing your salad bowl.

i. Get hold of enough grow bags or containers. Search the net for required sizes and DIY ideas.

ii. Prepare the soil by using proper potting mix.

iii. Tomato is a good option- cherry tomato would be my suggestion. 

iv. Other plants for our salad bowl should be lettuce and basil plants. 

v. Take care of the plants with good nursing practices. Place them on the balcony where there is enough sun.

vi. Carrots can be grown inside car battery covers in the interior of the apartment.

vii. You can make organic fertilizer at home. 

You are now the proud owner of an organic farm. 

Tip: Grow lights can substitute for the sun.

Other Items I Can Grow

Once you get the hang of interior farming, we can move on to other crops. 

Strawberries: They can be grown in containers or grow bags, but need a hydroponic watering system. We will discuss that later. 

Herbs: Mints, lavender, and rosemary are good choices. They will come in handy to prepare a good cup of hot tea. They can also be used to make soaps and oils. Herbs will add flavor to many dishes. 

Micro Greens: With some quality seeds you can begin. The first harvest will provide seeds for the next. 

Sprouts: With a jar and some cheesecloth or mess top we can grow our sprouts for a stir fry or sandwich. 

A Hydroponic System

Even if you are growing food using containers and potting soil, a hydroponic system will let you increase the quantity. It avoids a lot of mess as it advocates a system of soilless farming. They come in compact designs or vertical configurations. 

They can be bought or constructed by learning the numerous DIY strategies available online. 

Manufacture Manure at Home

Organic fertilizer can be made at home by the clever utilization of food waste. Get a container with a good lid. Put some gravel and soil at the bottom. Introduce worms for worm composting. Empty all bio-degradable garbage into the container. You will get enough environment-friendly fertilizer for the farm. This method frees you from the chore of taking out the garbage. 

Tip: Do not expose the manure cans to sunlight. It can cook worms. 

Grow Mushrooms

Did you know mushrooms are grown only indoors for industrial farming? Get an edible mushroom kit to begin your first batch in a dark corner of your apartment. 

Meat On The Table

Did you wonder for a moment what crazy idea I was going to put forth? Quails!

They are very silent birds that need only very little space. They give a lot of eggs and quail meat is way above chicken, beef, and pork in its health advantages. Quails being small birds, need only a little feed, and kitchen scraps go well with them. 

Mini Solar Power House

Did you know solar panels don’t require direct sunlight? They need good lighting and it is advised to install the panels at a good spot on the patio or balcony. 

Depending upon the capacity of the panels, you can increase the number of appliances that run on solar power. They can be used for grow lights and also for pumps used in the hydroponic system. 

A Self-Reliant Life

Once we have become self-sufficient in food matters, we can think about cutting out other purchases. This will also involve income creation. Do your homework to get as many DIY ideas as possible. We can begin the process by gaining ideas by:

i. Visiting other homesteaders or communes.

ii. Joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) venture.

iii. Visiting farmer’s markets.

We can enrich our homesteading experience within the confines of an apartment by progressing on to a more autonomous lifestyle by integrating the following activities:

i. Do own baking for bread and other items.

ii. Learn and engage in carpentry.

iii. Do your own electric and plumbing jobs.

iv. Learn to stitch to make your garments (trust me, it is far easier than you believed.)

Before Going Shopping

Whenever the need to buy something comes up, take a few moments to ponder whether it is something you can create using your potential. Not only will you be learning a new skill, but also it may help you earn. Remember, the Wright brothers had never flown an airplane till they became the first humans to become airborne on a machine. 

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Why Does the Black Plague Keep Coming Back?



Black Plague
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Prepper News Weekly, Friday, April 6, 2018



Prepper News Weekly, Friday, April 6, 2018


A big, busy, crazy week in prepper land! Spring has sprung and it has sprung forth all manner of issues to keep us on our toes. Here’s a review of the bigger stories bearing down on preppers and freedom lovers. Please enjoy (and subscribe!):


Video by Perrin Lovett/FPTV/YouTube.


Perrin recently learned that something called “airplane mode” stops incoming debt collection calls and hate texts from interrupting our recordings! Will wonders never cease?



Quality will improve immediately…


In the news:


The Caravan


Mass migration


Troops out of Syria, to Rio Grande?


More Snow?!


YouTube shooting


China and tariffs







And, we’re in full swing at The Masters!


Thank you, as always. Don’t forget to check every day for all the stories that affect preppers, survivalists, and the rest of the sanity crowd. Well, check it now – rumor has it the news will soon be incorporated into the new, new revised and improved Stay tuned.


Have a great weekend!


Perrin​​ ​​Lovett​​​ ​​​writes​​ ​​about​​ ​​freedom,​​ ​​firearms,​​ ​​and​​ ​​cigars​​ ​​(and​​ ​​everything​​ ​​else)​​ ​​at​​.​​ ​​He​​ ​​is​​ ​​none​​ ​​too​​ ​​fond​​ ​​of​​ ​​government​​ ​​meddling.

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