Prepping: Hardware at the End of the World

So, back to the End of the World.  The gangs have all been sent packing, the neighbors are looking at you like you’re something of a God, having had the good sense to stock up on a dozen GMRS/FRS radios to pass out in the neighborhood along with a month of batteries each.  Which…in a pinch could be blasted out to three or four months by putting the radio checks on once an hour or twice an hour with only one station (net control) monitoring all the time…

Yes sir…what could go wrong now?  Got an Outhouse (see Wednesday’s diatribe) and coffee and propane and you are developing an appetite for rat…er..squirrels.

Until something breaks.

Now you have a problem.

Come with me out to the shop and let me show you a couple of odd tools that I really like to keep on hand in good times and bad.

The first is a set of aircraft safety wire pliers.  Look like this:

There’s a spinning knob and (*not visible) is a low pitch screw.  Clamp the pliers onto two ends of a piece of the thin wire, give it a good yank (spinning the wire, right?) and you end up with something that looks like this:

Honest-to-God, I don’t know why you’d ever want to wire two pairs of glasses together (which took 10 minutes to undo), but you see the point, right?

Not everything in the Afterlife (after WW III Lite) will be done with Super Glue or Epoxy.  Worse, unless you have a stash of small inverters and lots of solar panels (that you’re willing to defend from looters) there’s not likely to be much joy found in the use of a manual screwdriver if all you have is Dry Wall screws, coarse thread, which are the greatest building product in history…

There is one thing that might help:  that would be a Yankee Screwdriver.

Like the aircraft safety wire pliers, the secret of these is they also have a low-pitch screw.  They are marvelous.  Also, not cheap.

The first one I ever saw used was in about 4th grade.  A worker had come out from the Seattle Central School District #1 to the old grade school I went to where they still had cast-iron framed desks with pop-up lids.  Yes sir, old school all around.

So the guy whips out this almost 2-foot long push drill (about like the $107 Schroeder 17-1/2 Spiral Ratchet Yankee, RS10624 you can buy at Amazon, and in no time, he undid the four large wood-screws – about 2-1/2 inches long each from the hardwood floor – and moves the desk.

Wouldn’t you know it?  Times have changed. Still, this Yankee screwdriver business is pretty neat.

If you’re a little more frugal, try on the Eazypower 81966 9.5-Inch-12-Inch Push Pull Click Click Screwdriver/Drill Kit 1/4-Inch Hex with One-Inch Insert Bits for about $27-bucks, but old Mr. Ure will tell you based on having owned several over the years that longer is better.  The short one, seems like just when you get things going, you’re out of throw and time to ratchet-back-up.

Another important note:  Except for the high-end tools, there’s a certain amount of break-in time to this kind of tool.  And, they like to be meticulously oiled because the more “slick-em” there is, the more downward energy is turned into rotary motion and less gets lost as friction on the low pitch screw.  (You are following all this, right?)

Haywire Klamper

Here’s another great tool – recommended by one of our forum commenters.  As luck was running, his post was on a payday, so I ordered on.

It’s not a terribly complicated tool:

The package shown here is the high-end version of the product.  Comes in a soft rubbery case that will keep the rain out, but it’s not waterproof like “go scuba diving with it” waterproof.

You take the tool out of the box and check the end of the steel bar part.  I touched mine up with a file because it had a little extra paint from the factory in the necessary groove…

Next, you set up your work pieces like so…


Basically, you throw a loop over whatever you want to join, and then put the two wires throu7gh the loop.

The (now fitting) groove on the bar part of the tool goes between the two loose ends of the wire.  The loose wires go on either side of the twisting knob – there are two holes for just this purpose.

Then you twist and once you have enough pressure, you fold the tool back (so the loose wires (which are now tight as guitar strings) are folded over to a 180 degree angle.  Snip them off (as Mr. Skill has done here), and you’re done.

That is when you want to get the Band Aids out.  Because Mr. Skill forgets to mention that the ends should be neatly folded under the other wires so you don’t rip your hand apart…

When you’re done?

You can join many things – including putting a hammer or hatchet back together.  Toss on a couple of Haywire Klampers and some waterproof TiteBond III wood glue, and you could have a tool that might outlast you.  Even in good times.

To review:  We have a couple of strategies for fastening things that don’t involve glue – and we have a non-battery depending screwdriver idea so you don’t end the world with carpal tunnel syndrome.

The hardware idea is to keep some threaded drill rod on hand so you can make the home-made version of the Alaska Mill so you can mill up your own new building materials as shown in this rather cool video…

Don’t forget,  we aren’t responsible for chainsaw accidents (that’s on you, bub) and also be sure to get a Rapco Industries chain,  (reader recommended) unless you really just love to spend your time filing steel instead of getting the job done early, knocking off for a beer, and taking a snooze.

Oh, by the way, each of those slabs being cut in this video would go for $400-$500 EACH provided you could even find them,… A bit long (30-minutes) but like I said, several 3-foot pieces of  drill rod, some spacers, nuts, lock washers…let your mind wander….

What?  End of world has your microwave oven broken from the EMP blast?  Tisk, tisk.  Well, turn it into a simple spot-welder and help in the Global Recovery as shown in this totally cool video from Poland.

Say what you will, the Poles are damn awesome Makers of things.

Got enough to stay busy for the next 24-hours?  More then…off to the shop after the mandatory finger-counting.  Yep, going out with 10 intact…

Oh, and consider this your monthly nag on having fresh PVC glue on hand for broken pipes!

Write when you get rich!

10 thoughts on “Prepping: Hardware at the End of the World”

  1. I love that wire twister.. the Yankee.. wow.. I tell you I have few of them they hold the bits in the handle.. of course I have had mine since I paid four dollars a piece for them LOL.. and use them all the time.. finding bits is tough though since I have the old version and am not sure if the new ones will fit in it.
    the wire storage and twisting.. that one is cool and I will order one right away.. right now I have a hogs hook and a baggie..

    super glue.. well heres a good old version.. that you would use for paper and cloth..

    boil the water sugar and flour till it liquefies then add the other ingredients cook until it starts to thicken place in a container and seal.

    To make this super strong glue we need: Sugar = 300 gram ( 2 cups) Flour = 190 gram ( 1 cup ) Listerine or any antiseptic mouthwash or alcohol= 2 Tbspns. Vinegar = 3 tablespoons Baking soda= 2 tablespoons Water= 1 litre room temperature Cook Remember do not stop stirring in the whole procedure

    wood glue..

    Add water to skim milk powder to produce 100 mL of skim milk. ( a little more than a third of a cup just about a half cup)
    (The directions on your packet of skim milk will list the appropriate amount of water to add.)
    Pour water into a pan and add 15 mL of white vinegar. (1 TBS)
    Heat the contents of the pan on a low heat, while stirring with the stirring spoon. When the contents begin to curdle, remove the pan from the heat immediately so as not to ruin the glue.
    Create a filter by placing a paper towel over the top of the funnel. Pour the contents of the pan onto the paper towel so that the liquid drains through and the curdles of casein remain on top.
    Wash the casein under lukewarm water to remove any remaining vinegar.
    Stir a half teaspoon of baking soda into the curds in a separate container until the contents have achieved the consistency of regular wood glue.

    Hide glue..
    Deer legs or hide the sinew hide has to be processed soak in lime flesh soak flesh then rinse and dry.. you can cut the skin off or leave it on.. chop the legs up and cover with water boil.. ( it is better when making hide glue to flesh the skin and strip out the sinew..)chop it up or cut up the raw skins cover with water..cook but not to boiling. cook it down till it turns to a jello before it gets to that level you can skim the fat off the top this is neatsfoot oil for coating shoes etc in a waterproofing.
    the jello you let dry cut up in small chunks and then spread out and dry.
    you can use the deer hooves or cow or horse hooves it isn’t the hoof though that makes the glue but the connective tissues.. once the jell is getting really thick pour it off into a pan and then let it turn to a solid. (consistency of a gummy bear) then chop it up and dry it..
    to reconstitute hide glue..
    1/2 cup of the glue granules
    2 tsp salt
    1/2 cup of water
    soak over night
    then heat it in a pan over a pan or double boiler for two hours.. your liquid glue for furniture..

    • Hello LOOB et al, The old Yankee (spiral screwdriver bits come in at least three different shaft diameters.

      Take your reading calipers and get dimensions and go to Ebay to look up Yankee screwdriver bits and drill bits too.

      Lots of bits available some even in new condition. Buy extras!!
      A good tool never loses its usefulness.
      Thank you LOOB for all your great information.


      • thank you I will do just that.. I cherish mine and use it all the time..
        the same way with my stanley 49

  2. Nice post George.
    I have had the Klamper for years and it is amazing. Just the ticket for lashing antenna poles together at Field Day

  3. Hey George, Another good trick with your safety wire pliers is take a 3ft length of baling wire clamp one end in a vice the other in the pliers now start pulling with the spin knob and presto a perfectly straight length of wire! Also the bailing wire when you buy a new roll after you take off the retainer ties wrap the outside with 2 or 3 layers of duck tape and pull your wire from the center no more rats nest in the wire!

  4. One tool that everyone forgets until they need it is a manual impact driver! This small tool goes for less than $10.00 at Harbor Fright, and less than $50.00 anywhere else. Put the right bit in it, place on a stubborn fastener, and give it a whack with a heavy hammer and the fastener is broken loose(most times). Applying heat(when possible), penetrating oil, or ideally 50/50 acetone/ATF well shaken will help the job go smoothly. I consider it essential when working with small or countersunk fasteners.

  5. George, Thanks for the Haywire Klamper review; I just ordered one. All my chicken and garden fencing projects are almost exclusively wire-fastened, and I could instantly see the value of this tool; I hope to experiment with bamboo fastenings for my garden trellises (trelli?), too! I mentioned this site in the “how did you find out about it” box; hope that’s okay.

  6. Don’t forget the most-important of all:

    Levers and snatch-blocks. Never underestimate the importance of mechanical advantage…

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