Chaos Hedging: With Wintage Tools

I’ve confessed to you before:  I’m a tool slut.  But some are probably asking “How does this help Ure hedge against a chaotic future?

It’s a Value Play

Seriously, the marginally delusional (moi) can make the case that in a complex society  – like the mess that’s trying to blow-up on us now – there’s always something of value.

True, having an eye for value is not something they teach in school.  So is a companion set of skills which we can pile into the big lump “Making.”

Disgracefully (oh, and unlike China!) the U.S. has been p*ssified into the mindset that “shop tools are too dangerous to teach children” and other such foolishness.  OK, too harsh a judgment on the ongoing feminization of America?  Maybe…maybe not.

We would need to include lawyers in the cast of Blame Game here.  Because outsized personal injury settlements drove our technical “making skills” decline, as well.

Putting aside shaming (on race) we have also seen a “shaming on tools” and “shaming on workshops.”   Oh, and shaming on “manual labor.”  Yet I can no more handle tile at a journey Mexican immigrant tile layer than the man on the moon.  I hold schools accountable.   That, fellow ‘Merican, just ain’t who we used to be.  People used to put in the own Formica and knew what a trim router was.

Historical note: On the frontier, both sexes learned to shoot by age 8.  Growing up – spending summers on a 10,000 acre ranch in Eastern Washington, I was a pretty good shot with a .22 long rifle by age 12.  (Also got a D6 Cat stuck – in dry ground no less, at the same age.)

One old Ure family saying is “Give people responsibility and they will  grow into it. ”  Pappy was right.  No responsibility and you might as well raise vegetables.

Granted, it only worked for 6-generations (maybe 7) of Ure’s in the U.S. but the point is – and we’re getting to it – is?

Most people don’t know jack-shit about making much of anything.

People don’t change their own oil, cut their own hair, mow their own lawns or even scratch-cook their own meals, likely.  Well, except we have to figure the lock-down was a bonus for cooking magazine and TV…but that’s not the point.

Tools Matter

The art of  making things begins with hand tools. Pappy began to lay the ground work about age 7 or 8.  He had an Arkansas stone and some light machine oil that lived on a hallowed shelf in the shop.  “Learn to sharpen your knife well...” he instructed.  Even now, 28 to 30 degree edges are my preference, not that anyone under 50 would have a clues, more’n likely. Knife sharpening can be done in minutes and mastered, well, maybe never.

As you grow up, hand tools give way to power tools…and little projects become roofing, plumbing, electrical, framing, drywalling, taping.  There’s an almost  Masonic order of “going through the chairs” on your way to skilled tool work.

I remember coming home from 8th grade – Mr. Wolford at Asa Mercer Junior High in Seattle – and proudly explaining to my dad the fine points of “ramming up green sand” and “clearing the sprues” in preparation for pouring my own – first – aluminum casting.  Nothing complicated:  Just my ham radio call sign in cast aluminum, but Pappy was impressed.

Yu see, they didn’t generally have  that  level of industrial arts training in the Great Depression.  And he was delivering 150 to 200 papers a morning and everyone ate from the family garden.  Times were hard, the people tougher, more inventive, more…useful.

Everyone knew tools.  And it was that  ahuge – vast, really – pool of skills that allowed America to overcome all challengers.

Then a funny thing happen.  WW II.

We wont…but in ways we didn’t.

We were undone by an American president – a republican no less – Richard Nixon who brought the  great thaw to America’s former shut-in of the Maoist Chinese Communists.  Later, others like Bill Clinton, would oversee the ongoing sell-out – sending super computers to China.  Did anything change?

Well, yes, now that I think about it:  They managed their virus outbreak better and faster than we.  Oh…and back on point…not ALL, but the VAST majority of our tools come from China.

Along with everything else.

American Tools Matter – More

We can look at any “modern” tool and by simply test-fitting some wrenches, conclude whether the tool was made before the “Great American Sell-Out.”

BTSO (Before The Sell-Out) Tools were constructed using SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) threading.  As Globalism came along, we were forced by the “International Community” (whose asses we had totally just got done kicking in World War II) too make “the Change to Metric.”

Ex-squeeze me?  Since when do the Victors have to roll the f**k over?  The socialists (I’d include Roosevelt in that broad-brush, too) were set to build a United Nations that is still trying to take-down America (madness on bordering, Agenda-21, etc)  and our melting pot philosophy and merit-based thinking and promotion, even now.

“Income equalizers man your battle-stations.  Prepare to stomp out hard work, initiative, and innovation!”  Makes me wanna puke.

I don’t know where I can buy an American-made battery for some of my ham radio gear…it’s not bad…it’s worse than bad.  And if on Sunday you want too pray to God (whose name is being worked out of government and out of financial notes — it should be seen as a clue as to our generally Godless direction as a nation now).  That’s somehow wrong.

Liberalista’s are determined to take us all down their authoritarian road with anyone but patriots in charge.

Which is why they are people like me:  I collect (now and then) occasional Peak of America Tools.  Things Made In the U.S.A. and proudly sold as such.

Once upon a time – back when we were still exceptional.  With the “leveling of education” – under which everyone is equally stupidand brainwashed – exceptionalism has been convicted without a jury or a congressional vote.  If you notice?  You are branded a conspiracy theorist (despite the data) or a racist (yet the profile of America has swung 25 percentage points due to unchecked immigration and performance anxiety has killed the urge to excel), or you are shamed as a [fill in the blanks].  (I’m a self-defined right-thinking super-generational reprobate, I think…)

Exceptionalism is Tools

You can’t “Make America Great Again” unless you actually make things.  I am embarrassed to say our political leadership selling us out has resulted in the American-made Tool Desert.

I have had to haunt eBay to find the odd NIB (new in box) classic tools.  Take one of my table saws, for example:

This is an old Craftsman and it was virtually new when it arrived here:

What joy to assemble.  Even the instructions made sense back then!

As I may have advised a while back, to me real “wealth” is not having a bunch of zeroes sitting on their asses in banks and brokerages.  Real wealth is being able to cut a cabinet side on one table saw and then do some dado cuts on another saw – which is already set-up.  This saves time and time is what?  (Money!)

Shaper School

Bang!  You’ve just been sucked into “shaper school.”

What’s a “shaper” you’re wondering?  Well, a 1978 vintage TookKraft – sold under a variety of brands like Darra James and Craftsman – looks like this:

I’ll fess-up to getting some sawdust on the machine before the pictures, but you can see by looking at the bed – and how shiny and pristine it is – that the unit really was in N.I.B. condition when acquired.  Even have the box that says SHAPER on the outside…

How Shapers Work

Let’s begin by looking at a cutter head on the machine.  Imagine this thing spinning up at several thousand RPM – with an aftermarket speed control.

The workpiece is held firmly against the wood fence on the right and cautiously (because it can eat your hand, so you use push-sticks and we never allow beer around power tools) moving the workpiece right to left.

If you go the other way, the workpiece is pulled into the tool and, oh yeah, that hand you didn’t want, with it!

The cutter head is adjusted up and down.  (This is why we keep even modest sized scraps.  Test victims.

There’s a half-inch shaft the cutter rests on so if you can imagine the reflection below giving you some idea of x-ray vision, that’s part of the set-up:

Under the table (down the shaft) there are two nuts which lower or raise the cutter (top nut) and lock the positioning nut in place (bottom nut).  Then a nut on top secures the assembly.

The cutter heads come in a wide variety of shapes.  Some, like the 1/4 straight cutter, are just-the-ticket for putting glass into a frame, or putting 1/4″ plywood panels in a door, for example.

Sure you can do the same operation with hand tools, but it will take all day.  Screw that.

Life is about balance.  For me, that’s a balance between 240 volt, 110 volt and 20 volt tools.

The two cutters above can be used for many applications including glue joints and drop leaf table joints, though there are a series of special cutters for that job. They can also be used to make trim and moldings.  Run a board trough against the cutter, then slice off the cut piece with the table saw.

Most all of that trim you see at Lowes and Home Despots can be done with a shaper cutter and a rip fence on a table saw.  Oh, and out of 2-by-4’s.  So a $3 hunk of wood might yield 4 to 6 pieces of trim.  At $12 bucks each retail…seeing the value play now?

Cutters and Money

Don’t get me wrong, I love IKEA.

There are two things wrong with IKEA, though.  One:  You can’t get cocktails with their Swedish meatballs at any of the stores I went to.

The other?  A lot of their woodwork doesn’t have a lot of “soul” to it.  Boxy and functional, sure.

The reason IKEA is successful, though, is the fewer “machine operations” in manufacturing, the lower the unit costs.  If you can cut out plywood or plastic coasted MDF on a panel saw…almost no work.  A CNC drill machine for the attach-points, and off to the Amazoid – or whoever’s – warehouse.  Totally get it. (Holds up MBA and points.)

With a shaper, you can make your own moldings.  And since I also have a (ahem…) Chinese-made Harbor Freight shaper which mounts 1/2″ router bits, there gets to be very little in the shop that can’t be managed.

The cutters, though – yee gads!!!

That green one cutter – a simple Grizzly 1/2 and 1/4 round, adjusted to run as a round-over here – is almost $35-bucks.  EACH – PER!

Then I got lucky as hell.

Went searching and found an incredible website called  Yes, that’s right, no SSL.

I’ll be danged if they didn’t have really inexpensive shapers.  I mean instead of 35-bucks a throw, try $6.  A couple (carbide) were $8.

So after emailing me their list, I called back and told the guy who answered (another George – who was extremely helpful) that I wanted “a good assortment.”  “Gimme about a hundred-bucks worth,” I told him.

Joy upon joy…guess what came in the mail Saturday?

Cutters Galore!

Even old crummy ones on eBay run $16 plus shipping and this are BBRAND NEW.  Glue joints, moldings, and that one with the stick-um on it?  That’s a carbide cutter.

I wasn’t going to say anything, but if you know anyone who has a shaper and it takes 1/2″ bore bits, this is like the “deal of a lifetime.”

So yeah, I didn’t mean to go off sideways on America’s decline.  But now you know why, and see our perspective a little clearer.

People used to come to America for opportunity, not for the hand-outs.  And if those a$$holes in Washington – most of whom have never worked an honest job making a physical thing in their lives – have a lick of sense, they would have done something to improve our lot long before this.

No chance of that:  Not a lick of sense in both bodies of Congress combined.

As crap hits the fan in coming weeks, Ure will be out in the shop.

We’ll may end up the people barricaded in our house out  in the woods.  You’ll recognize the place:  Only trailer out here with spectacular woodwork detailing.

Say, need an inlaid foxhole cover?

Write when you get rich,

36 thoughts on “Chaos Hedging: With Wintage Tools”

  1. Thanks for the pics, music to a well “tooled man” I still have my first kromedge craftsman hand saws and mechanic tool chest from the 70’s. Always kept in the trunk of my 70′ Plymouth Fury III,318ci, still had original torqueflitetranny fluid at 222,000 when we parted.

  2. Disgracefully (oh, and unlike China!) the U.S. has been p*ssified into the mindset that “shop tools are too dangerous to teach children”

    I’ve always felt absolutely insulted by the hollow, molded plastic toy toolset, with it’s hammer, screwdriver, saw, and bench — “Recommended for ages 5 and up.” AYFKM!!? When I was 5 years old I had REAL screwdrivers, wrenches, and chain nose pliers which were MINE, and I had access to most of my father’s and brothers’ hand tools (TBH, my tools were the crap Japanese or Indian tools which got handed down, and the pliers were Xcelites that somebody had broken one tip off of. I snuck into the garage and ground the tips to match, then radiused them, giving me “bullnose chain nose” pliers, perfect for screw-looping wire, which I probably still possess, somewhere.) I can’t count the number of times I mashed a thumb with a hammer, jabbed myself with a screwdriver, or tried to do something with those pliers (when I should’ve used a wrench) and had them slip, putting a blood blister in one of my palms — but I survived, and learned. As a bonus, before I hit 1st Grade, I knew how to lance a blister and drill my fingernail…

    Even now, 28 to 30 degree edges are my preference, not that anyone under 50 would have a clues, more’n likely. Knife sharpening can be done in minutes and mastered, well, maybe never.

    Mine is 26 degrees. That will let you sharpen a knife as sharp as a razor, but will keep the edge for many hours. I do chisels at about 22° and pocketknives at ~28°. Knife sharpening IS never mastered. When I landed the butcher job I was thrown on a conveyor line where I had to carve 4000-7000 slabs per day (you had to be a “meat cutter” before you could become a butcher.) We sharpened our own. I was on that line for several months, until I could move to an actual “butcher” job. What I remember most about it is my forearms, screaming in pain for the first seven weeks I had that job, until I figured out how to get a knife sharp enough to do the work, and hold its edge long enough to run a 10-12 hour shift. Today’s kids can not appreciate, or even begin to comprehend how good a motivator pain is…

    A router/routertable is easier than a shaper to set-up and use, and is a better option for a “one-off.” What a shaper gives you is mass-repeatability — once it’s set-up, it’ll make boards or panels by the thousand feet — either linear or board, and every one is identical to the one previous. The two sets I use most-often are “tongue & groove” and “finger joint,” the latter because it lets you get 10x the amount of glue in a joint and really make that table or bench top solid…

    • “the U.S. has been p*ssified into the mindset that “shop tools are too dangerous to teach children”

      I agree Ray.. except for the power tools.. those I won’t let the kids play with.. the nail guns are as powerful as a small gun.. and when they are tiny.. that is not a good idea..
      ( I made the mistake of showing a bunch of six and seven year old kids a couple younger.. how to melt stone and make lava using the sun.. let me tell you.. bad mistake.. really bad.. they were out melting everything all over the place..I thought they were going to burn the house down.. so instead of making their own foundry.. we went with solar cooling using the sun’s rays to cool down beer and pop)
      It is also why I won’t show them how to make something that has a greater potential to being hazardous.. I am sure I shared the story about my jr. scientist kit when i was a little boy.. and playing with molds.. I killed the cat when I was showing mom my creation and blew the spores like a dandelion … my mom freaked out took my Jr. scientist kit and I never got it back again..
      so being cautious with power tools is a good thing.. I do give them tools though.. Like my five year old grandson fell in love with my pocket tape measure.. and ( I love this one.. ) Pocket square..( I heard a guy talking about his pocket square collection and I totally didn’t think he was talking about his hankies what they are called in this neck of the woods LOL LOL) so I gave them to him for his little tool box.. and he keeps it neat and tidy.. the hammer has been taken away though.. he wasn’t going to use it as a hammer..( tools are to be respected)
      so I do show them the basics.. like let the saw do the cutting.. don’t try to force it.. and I get them kits..
      or paper airplanes.. a great father child hobby.. for the girls.. bead work if that is what they are interested in.. or whatever they are interested in.. one grand daughter.. 12 wants to be one of the first to travel to mars.. and she has the abilities I told the kids to get her in applied physics.. she is well above her age limit…. ( I had to lecture her to milk the teachers and do what they tell her.. she was getting the thought that they didn’t have anything to offer her.. bad mistake.. don’t do it)
      I believe kids need to be taught how.. you never told my mother that you were bored.. or you thought about doing this or that.. if you did she had you doing it.. I told her one year I wondered how it would be to tan a cow hide.. next thing I knew the meat locker dropped off a cow hide.. and she made me flesh it and then tan it..

  3. I may not express this well, but I’m just on Quantum #1 of the bean juice this morning.

    When you want to fix or make anything, you need to think in the language of “tool.”

    Luckily, I was trained up in the technological nineteen-sixties, in several small entrepreneur companies that MADE THINGS — mostly electronic things. But the bosses and their master machinists and technicians taught me… …stuff — like how to drill and tap a hole (right) for a machine screw, and how to solder, and how to UNsolder, as well as many other procedures and methods for making things. Hands-on skills — a whole raft of them.

    Anyway, when you can think in “tool,” you instinctively know just what you need and how to do almost any small job or more complex phalanx of jobs to MAKE something.

    It amazes me how few adults around me today are able to DO, or make, or repair much of Anything.

    I’m very grateful to all my practical, real-life, commercially profitable small companies, and the great guys who eagerly shared all they knew with the snot-nosed Kidd Novice.

    • You know, I should do a Hands on Soldering course on here.
      Reason is I’m pretty good at it – new glasses have arrived, lol.
      I’ve got a pretty good assortment of irons, to start with – one for each job. And a vacuum desoldering machine, as well. Assorted pencils (digital and plain) not to mention an assortment of the new irons with the onboard spool and trigger – very cool and just right for some things
      AND the assorted soldering guns, both single and dual temp…
      Yeah – I think going through the right use of these would be useful for a lot of newbies… great idea (as always) Wm@RFRanch

      • Why am I not surprised George has one of every type soldering iron made? I get by with just two… a Weller dual-heat gun for the big stuff, and a temp controlled pencil station for the small stuff. I knew what I wanted to play with at an early age, and I taught myself to solder at age 10 so I could build my first electronic kit. But I am amazed how many ‘handymen’ don’t know how to solder properly as they attempt a plumbing job and cannot get their copper pipes solder joints to hold water.

        Two directives:
        Heat the WORK, not the solder.
        The solder must FLOW onto the work like wet water. Flux helps this.

      • “Two directives:
        Heat the WORK, not the solder.
        The solder must FLOW onto the work like wet water.”

        Yeah, I tell the kiddies to think of solder as a conductive glue. Its function is not to make a functional electrical connection, but to keep an already functional connection from wiggling or corroding until it is no-longer functional.*

        The analogy works wonderfully, until someone discovers PC boards…

  4. How about a series of columns about WHAT to put your money into before it transforms into toilet papers, I’m not talking about FINANCIAL investing, stock and such, I’m talking about TOOLS, Gardens, Machines, and more, what will hold it’s value? WE put our stimulus checks into MEAT, on tehe HOOF, we bought a boer meat goat herd, a stack of meat rabbits and some eggbirds, feel a lot better about things now, also doubled the size of our garden and put in THIRTY blueberry bushes, we are PLANNING FOR PLENTY, that is our new goal, I don’t like to think about FAMINE so I’m planning personally to have MORE than enough. That’s always been my approach, “too much” is about enough… a little extra never hurt. keep up the great work, best, e.

    • I don’t know if you’re a Peoplenomics subscriber but George’s book recommendation “Left of Bang” is a good thing to spend money on. I loved the first extensive comment one buyer of that had posted on Amazon. Situational awareness will change your priorities in whatever your location may be. Remember – the more you have the more people there will be that WANT what you have. At some point you’ll have to cut people off and be able to enforce that decision.

    • “I’m talking about TOOLS, Gardens, Machines, and more, what will hold it’s value?”

      Ellen, nothing will hold its value monetarily. Value will be measured by utility — what something does and how well it does it. Value is quality tools which will do what they’re supposed to, for as long as anyone needs them to do so, food which has both caloric and nutritive value, and machinery for which you, personally, have a use.

      Gardens? Fruits and roots. Celery is more sexy than carrots, but the carrot has much more food value. I’ve planted 4 cherry, 3 apple, 2 peach, a plum, a fig, and a nectarine tree this year, and have oranges, pineapple, and lemons growing indoors.

      When the SHTF, what will be important is food value. Do I have melons? Yes. But the beets & taters are much more nutrient-dense. They will hold value because they have both calories and nutrients.

      Machinery? What are you going to do with it?

      If you are making building materials, you need a sawmill, if not, a mill is wasted money & space.

      If you’re making furniture and cabinetry, you’ll probably need band, table & chop saws, a planer, jointer, shaper or router-table, several routers, a router pantograph, lathe, drill press, hand drill, sharpening jig, and maybe a nailgun. If you’re not, this stuff is a waste.

      If you’re fabbing metal you’ll need a brake, a shear, a planishing hammer, a grinder, and an English wheel, at the very least. If you’re not, it’s several tons of cast iron…

      If you live in a house and don’t plan on selling it, it doesn’t matter if it’s worth $20,000 or $20mln. The tool or machine which will hold its value in a crapfest is any one which will do the job you need it to do, and which can be repaired by the homeowner when it breaks.

  5. Hah! You youngins and your fancy ‘lectric tools. Up here in Radisson Canada,
    our master woodworker still has all hand tools to create everything including mouldings
    from scratch. You youngins don’t know what real work is, using all of your fancy machine run tools. LOL

  6. Hey George good job as always what really slays me today is this so called revival of all the old trades but now it’s soooooo cool because the people that are doing it are Artists! What about the poor bastards that worked their hearts out at those jobs and were shamed because they worked with there hands. I just about puke when people come to my shop and tell me what a great artist I am! I guess after 45yrs. of doing this that’s the level you sink too.

    • I consider myself much more the artisan than the artist! I build things that matter, like framing or welding up something that I can use. It’s strong and functional – and sometimes good looking. Regardless, the job gets done and my stuff doesn’t break easily.

      IMHO, most “artists” are good at visualizing and implementing beauty, but many are rather poor at tool handling.

  7. Hi George, I collect old Starrett Analog measuring tools, the ones made in Athol, Mass. I run an older MultiCam 3000 CNC machine at my part time job (I’m almost your age) and use them at work to measure thicknesses and depths to within thousands. Everyone else in the shop uses digital readout tools, and can’t even read my micrometer correctly! I love these old tools, you can recalibrate them yourself and they don’t need batteries!

    • I’ve the full set of 1-8 inch mics. They are outstanding! I did not buy the accompanying depth and telescoping gauges, which I regret, and the seller wouldn’t part with his B&S indicators.

      Mitutoyo linears are nifty, I’d only use one for a quick & dirty though…

  8. First, a suggestion on tweaking the website: I’d rather check the box for notifications than have to remember to always click it off, so I’d suggest changing the default setting. Getting many notices of comments each day is not useful to me. Occasionally, it might matter, so the check box has its place.

    Second – “It’s a poor tradesman that blames his tools”. It’s an old saying with some value. In framing a one off roof modification, a decent carpenter will be doing compound angles with a skilsaw on the fly. No need to bring or set up a table saw at all. Having excellent tools is almost necessary for precision work, and they certainly make for an easier job. A good assortment of proper tools requires a lot of space just to enclose them, and if there’s no climate control, you’ll always be chasing dust and rust. The optimum toolset is a personal thing, and this may well be late in the game to get what you need.

    Don’t forget to secure what you have! Tools have this nasty habit of walking away at the most inconvenient time!

  9. Fyi G, preliminary 3chos,

    As always the event is centered in the canyon it is the echos or “screen shots” that are precursersers to a centralized event. Essentially the effect before the cause. In that case, the Epi pen is circulating again and it will pick off them fkrs.

    Thems the rules. GOD Hates anyone hurting kids. Facts, yo!

    Check out that address,

    “300 block of Fortuna Avenue”

    Says much. The language within the language.

    See ya A-round old dude. All is well… for sum and for the fckers? Well, chomos dont fair well in prison no matter how wealthy they are.

    I’d never hurt a child. Not out of fear. Because I dont even think like that.


  10. I think 3D printing will introduce new tools to workshops. I think the old tools will in some cases be forgotten. Have you ever been to an antique market where a vendor is selling old tools? Sometimes it is impossible to know what the tools were for.

    There are basic tools that stand the test of time. The oldest tools like the knife and the hammer are obvious. But tools used in different trades can be opaque to people who don’t have training in the industry.

    What about modern tools? Let’s say you have a computer from the year 2000. Let’s say it has a dial up modem, and a Zip drive. Would a 20 year old who got their first Apple I phone 6 years ago be able to recognize what those components are or what they do?

  11. Sir, it’s amazing what you can do with a level, a piece of string, a hammer and nails. Just finished the outhouse composting toilet. I work for the above mentioned Starrett Co. back when they used to advertise about buying American. Those were the days.

  12. Perfect,,,,,,all the knowledgable tool Folk all on the same page.
    Any of You know where to pick up a good solid battery for an much older Makita drill.

    The present one is aftermarket and won’t hold a charge for 24 hours.

    It is rated at 7.2 V. and 9.4 Wh and 1300 mA h. and is charged by Makita Fast charger Model DC 7010. and says; for use with only Makita battery 7000

    It’s a moldy oldie but built like a tank and just the right weight for an old Dude, great drill.

    • You might be able to buy one from Makita, direct, but your best bet will be to disassemble the battery pack, identify the cells, then buy high-quality cells and rebuild it yourself.

      This is what any battery or service shop is going to do, ‘cept they are going to use the cheapest cells they can buy in-bulk…

  13. I remember putting a lengthy post on here a year or so ago about knife sharpening. Fine stones like the Arkansas are what I’ve always used unless I really have to remove some steel to “find” the edge then it’s the Corundum stones. I have no idea what those things with the ceramic sticks are for.

    But one thing is certain – I have no idea what “my” angle is when sharpening but it will differ from anyone else’s. If I work up a sweat putting an edge on a friend’s knife that friend will never duplicate that blade’s ability to shave (yes, shaving like a razor) again until they find their own angle on their blade. It’s a matter of physical geometry of the body, height of the surface the stone is on vs. your shoulder and arm length and the feel of the blade on the stone as well as the condition of the stone. Fine grain Arkansas stones may take a while and even need cleaning when working over an old blade with corrosion on it but that fineness makes an exceptionally smooth edge you can appreciate when either skinning an animal or doing “surgery” on yourself. The less effort you have to put into cutting something the better which reminds me I need to work on my knife after all the electrical work I’ve been doing over the past few months.

  14. I once used a carpenters pickle to draw a picture of a fish on a 4X4 treated post and worked a string line like a yo-yo.

    When I was 9 years old I made a blow dart gun out of a slurpee straw, some spit wads and needles from ma’s sowing kit. Me and old Johnny Miller must ave put a hundred of them in those ” “stupid chickens” (spruce hens) stitting up in a tall tree. Them f birds just sit there and yodle with all these needles sticking out of their head by the fort in the woods. Then we plinked them off with the 410 one at a time. Took them all home and ma cooked them up in the oven. The crazy things ya do as young boys in the words growing up out on funny river road in Alaska. Jumpin bikes without a helmet and reeling in 30-40 lb reds, silvers, rainbows and kings all day long.

    Learnt to tie my own flys when I was 10.

    You definitely have more skills than me old dude. I value you alot. I value the stuff you teach . However, we both know I’m way better looking. Ha ha!

    A beautiful red head lady, with long tan legs. around 29 ish. Super pretty. Just got in my car. Wonder how good she is at fly fishin. guess we will see.

    Y’all come back now. Ya hear! I will be back when its caraboo season

    • P.S. best knife I ever had was cut out of a piece of leaf spring from a 73 High Boy. Pounded that hot steel down to a fine thin blade in my Grandpas forge when I was 13. Nice brass tac and grizz bone handle. Finished it just before I built my Thompson center .54 cal mussel leader, Browned my own barrel, forged my own lead, cut my own patches, made my own powder horn out of a bull my granpa had slaughtered. Even learned the recipe back then for making my own black powder not that pirate x crap they pass off for black powder.

      Good stuff G. Looky there, I think I got a bite! Keep your hand off that net until I set the hook on that fly, it’s bad luck touch the net when you ain’t even set the hook. Kids these days. Hahaha.

  15. Solar power questions – did you tell us a while back that you no longer answer them? I fully understand if you don’t.

    • I answer all questions as time permits. Priorities are 1) Wife, home 2) Peoplenomics subscribers 3) UrbanSurvival readers…
      Since you’re a subscriber, sure, send it along!

      • Ok, let me send it to your e-mail because I don’t want to overload the comments section here. If you think it won’t be too much go ahead and post it here as an example of what to do or NOT do.


  16. George,
    Wow! You really hit the dinger out of the park.

    It seems to me that one of the benefits of owning and using classic tools growing up is a hightruck load higher cognitive development that you got. Working with your hands is a lot more than using your hands.

    Along with tools come some ancillary things The feel you running a hand plane down a board. The pleasure of finishing a project. The smell of fresh cut wood. I love the smell of rosin core solder in the morning.

    Speaking of sharpening, I learned to sharpen knives, hatchet and axes in the boy scouts (if there was ever an organization gutted by the women’s movement). Do you sharpen your shovels, spades and hoes?

    These days give a kid a framing square and ask him what it’s for and how to use it.

    Times change, my high school had a small bore gun range. A pick up in the high school parking lot with a 30.06 and a .22 (‘chucks) was not unusual.

    The Seattle circus made me think how poorly our younguns have been taught to use/fabricate tools for self preservation. Also, a major breakdown of the infrastructure will result in a die off of biblical proportions.

    Suggested readings.

    Lewis Mumford. Myth of the Machine

    Robert Pirsig. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

    William Golding.. Lord of the Flies.


  17. I went to a K-9th grade school run by the college for the purpose of training student teachers. It only had one class per grade. In junior high, the girls were to take art and the boys industrial arts. In six weeks I saw the boys were making neat projects and I was using crayons and string. 2 other girls accompanied me to the principal’s office to request that we be allowed to change to industrial arts.

    The school had a great shop but we also went to the college to use one of their specialty shops for six weeks – printing, forging, drafting, casting. I printed stationery setting type and using a big printing press plus made a large bbq fork using the forgery ovens and an anvil.

    I have been blessed with an education that very few children have access to. My husband would always ask “How do you know how to do all this stuff – like welding, electrical wiring, wood working, etc.?”

  18. P.S.S. I keep forgetting to mention. For the middle aged dude with the scratches all over his Glasses. Get some Pledge furniture polish and spray your glasses. Rub it in and wipe it off good. They will be just like new. You don’t have to thank me. Something my grandma from South Dakota taught me along with a hundred other home remedies. I think it’s the carnauba wax in the Pledge. Takes all the scratches right out of your glasses. They will be just like brand new.

    Ok, time to do some pantie wrangling. Like shooting tadpoles in a barrel. Uhem, fish.

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