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10 Steps To Sharpen A Chainsaw

My recent Prepography article “8 Tips For Using A Chainsaw” gave the basics on using a chainsaw. Having a sharp chain is very important for safety as well as productivity. Chains will dull very quickly, especially if cutting an extremely hard wood such as hedge. Knowing how to sharpen a chainsaw is an important skill to have. Not only will it increase the effectiveness of your efforts, it will save you money to boot because you’ll use fewer saw lubricating oils and won’t have to pay someone else to do it for you. How To Sharpen A Chainsaw In 10 Steps 1) Determine Your Chainsaw’s Gauge – You will need a rotary grindstone or chainsaw file that matches the size of the chain’s teeth. You can also buy a chainsaw sharpening kit that has everything you need in it, like the one to the right.  Typical sizes are 3/16, 5/32 and 7/32 of an inch in diameter. 2) Thoroughly Clean Your Chain – Use a brush and solvent to clean dirt, dust and debris off the chain. 3) Inspect Your Chain For Damage – Look for chipped, broken, or bent teeth. These will make a chain dangerous to use. If a tooth is worn short, it is at risk of breaking during operation, which is extremely dangerous to the operator. Replace any chain that is worn or damaged. 4) Place Your Saw On A Solid Surface – For safe and accurate filing your saw must be stable and the blade firmly supported. Use a vise to clamp the bar while allowing the chain to rotate freely is the best option. 5) Locate Your Start Point – The lead cutter on a chain is the shortest cutting tooth on the chain. If you can’t locate it, just take a permanent marker and mark a tooth as the starting point. 6)...

8 Tips For Using A Chainsaw

Using a chainsaw to cut wood is an essential part of maintaining a homestead and providing your home with an alternative heating fuel source. Both of the aforementioned are integral parts of the Full Spectrum Preparedness Doctrine. Whether you are an experienced chainsaw user, or a novice starting out, any time of year is a good time to cut wood.  In my book, now is the best time, though. Late fall is upon us, and we’ve had our first hard freeze. This is for a variety of reasons: It’s not too hot, or too cold; making cutting wood much more comfortable. Most of the things bite, sting and make you itch have been killed off with the first freeze. The small underlying vegetation and leaves have died back, or fallen, making it easier to move around and get to trees that will be cut. With this in mind, here are Prepography‘s: 8 Tips For Using A Chainsaw 1) Select a model that is dependable , that you can handle, and is the right size for what you are cutting. Chainsaws come in a variety of sizes, from a number of manufacturers. Like anything else you buy, “you get what you pay for”. There are some inexpensive reliable models, as well as some more expensive unreliable ones. Consumer reviews are great at helping you decide which one is best quality and best suited to your needs. Chainsaws range from small electric models with 12 inch bar blades, suitable only for cutting small limbs, to huge industrial ones with large bow blades used for lumberjacking. A novice would not want to start with one of the latter, as it would be too unwieldy for them. Conversely, they may find the smaller one incapable of doing what they want. As a rule of thumb, you should be able to comfortably lift the...

Hermitage Update

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks around The Hermitage that necessitated a short break from writing and editing.  Thought I’d bring you a Hermitage update. Completed our move to The Hermitage, our full time retreat Completed construction on our workshop Completed half of our trim carpentry in the house Installed a doggie door for daughter #3’s pet…still haven’t figured out what you’re supposed to hunt with a purse dog Finished up some light fixture installations in the house Built food storage area in the house to expand the pantry General cleanup both around the house and the workshop…salvaged a lot of materials for future projects First deer hunt on the hermitage Went shooting with son-in-law #1 and new extended family Hosted daughter #1 and son-in-law for a week On top of all that we celebrated Thanksgiving and married off daughter #2 to a great guy who I’m proud to call son-in-law #2.  What the new son-in-law lacks in practical skills he makes up for in common sense and being willing to lend a hand…not to mention that he treats my daughter like a princess and is a hell of a good shot…both great survival skills. What a great few weeks!  Back to our regular schedule later this week! FacebookPinterestGoogleRedditTwitterTumblrEmailPrintPocketMoreLinkedInLike this:Like...

Finding Your Prepper Homestead

Recently I announced that the Jackson clan completed a seven year quest to purchase acreage for a homestead and full time retreat.  Rachel and I had been considering purchasing acreage for a number of years as a combination hunting/recreation/retreat property but as I served in Iraq I watched neighborhoods turn into war zones and the radicalization of ordinary civilians I realized that the only (relative) safety in societal breakdown lies in either complete isolation or surrounding yourself with the fellow members of your family, ‘clan’ and ‘tribe.’  I hope that by sharing our story and homestead evaluation criterion we help you in finding your Prepper homestead. That said I want you to consider how unrealistic complete isolation is for the average person or family.  Not only are we social animals, but complete isolation in a family compound would make securing and trading for necessary resources…not to mention husbands and wives for your next generation… problematic.  No one can plan for or afford to prepare for every contingency so some trade will be required to deal with any extended and even many short term TEOTWAWKI events. I once read about a retreat island (in the Caribbean… I think) for sale that had been developed by a former employee of the CIA for his family.  This CIA alum had earned millions working in industry following his national service and to stock his island he purchased the inventory from entire hardware stores to ship to the retreat.  Most of us don’t have that kind of money or the resources to travel to such remote retreats when the balloon goes up or the stock market crashes down so what’s a regular guy to do to keep his family safe and sound…I say do the best you can where you are with what you have (financially, social network wise, etc.).  This doesn’t mean that you hunker...

Finding Your Prepper Homestead

Recently I announced that the Jackson clan completed a seven year quest to purchase acreage for a homestead and full time retreat.  Rachel and I had been considering purchasing acreage for a number of years as a combination hunting/recreation/retreat property but as I served in Iraq I watched neighborhoods turn into war zones and the radicalization of ordinary civilians I realized that the only (relative) safety in societal breakdown lies in either complete isolation or surrounding yourself with the fellow members of your family, ‘clan’ and ‘tribe.’  I hope that by sharing our story and homestead evaluation criterion we help you in finding your Prepper homestead. That said I want you to consider how unrealistic complete isolation is for the average person or family.  Not only are we social animals, but complete isolation in a family compound would make securing and trading for necessary resources…not to mention husbands and wives for your next generation… problematic.  No one can plan for or afford to prepare for every contingency so some trade will be required to deal with any extended and even many short term TEOTWAWKI events. I once read about a retreat island (in the Caribbean… I think) for sale that had been developed by a former employee of the CIA for his family.  This CIA alum had earned millions working in industry following his national service and to stock his island he purchased the inventory from entire hardware stores to ship to the retreat.  Most of us don’t have that kind of money or the resources to travel to such remote retreats when the balloon goes up or the stock market crashes down so what’s a regular guy to do to keep his family safe and sound…I say do the best you can where you are with what you have (financially, social network wise, etc.).  This doesn’t mean that you hunker...

Poor Is A Choice – 25 Ways To Choose A Rich Life

I’ve written previously about The Top 10 Symptoms of Poor Man’s Disease and about how I’ve been unemployed, lived check-to-check and once lived in such a rough neighborhood I counted prostitutes on my way home from work each night…but I never chose to be poor and I do believe that poor is a choice. I never went hungry growing up or did without anything I needed (and by my high school years had just about everything I wanted) but there was a time when I was very young when my folks would search through the couch cushions at the end of the month to scrape together enough money to have a treat at McDonalds.  As an adult I’ve been unemployed, lived check-to-check and I once lived in such a bad neighborhood that I made a game of counting how many prostitutes I passed on my way home from work. I now live in a small town and one of the benefits of living in a small town is that you get to know many different types of people.  Folks with varied economic and educational backgrounds…folks with  different definitions of success who define ‘the good life’ in ways many of us couldn’t even imagine.  I know lots of folks who don’t have a lot of financial resources but I don’t know a whole lot of ‘poor’ people…and most of the folks I know who are ‘poor’ live a life to be envied by most folks…and I’m not talking about people like Hillary Clinton talking about being broke when she and President Clinton left the White House. Even those that are members of the lucky sperm club and grow up with all the benefits that family wealth provides have been known to choose poverty… then there are guys like Donald Trump who’s failed and gone bankrupt multiple times, but never let it keep...

Survive The Apocalypse – Infographic

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Self Reliance Skills: Teach Someone Something

Why learn new self reliance skills Living a self-sufficient lifestyle, and trying to cut down your reliance on outside entities is not something that comes out of the blue. It is something that must be worked on and fostered. Part of that entails learning the skills and gathering the knowledge to do so. Without continued learning, your efforts stagnate, and you never achieve your goals. There is not a single person that I know who is traveling the path towards self reliance who is not constantly trying a new technique, or reading some book or manual in order to learn new skills and accumulate more knowledge. Why pass on your self reliance skills For many, a natural progression after gaining, or mastering, new skills, is to pass them along. The obvious answer as to why they do this is that they are propagating the idea of self-reliance and independent living. On the other hand, many people don’t consider themselves teachers and don’t have the confidence to teach others what they know. If you fall in to the latter category, there are a couple of reasons why you should reconsider becoming a teacher or mentor, if for no other reason then for your own self-improvement. The first reason is that by teaching others, you are forced to critically break down the process. You gain a more intimate knowledge of what you are teaching. By doing so, you become better at whatever you are passing along. The second reason for teaching others what you know is that you expose yourself to new ideas and outlooks on the subject matter. A student may give you fresh angle on the topic, or impart some knowledge you don’t have. Andrew’s Note:  In my Army life I’ve always volunteered to teach topics that I struggled with…preparing to teach others is the best way to learn...

Pallet Wood Projects

Frequent Prepography contributor Grumpy G is nothing less than a pallet aficionado and has had me taking a second look at pallet wood as a low cost resource for building pallet wood projects. I’d previously dismissed this abundant and low cost building material from an outdated worry surrounding introducing toxic chemicals into my immediate environment.  I can still hear one of my sergeants yelling at then Private Jackson…”Jackson, take that damned pallet off the fire, don’t you know they’re treated with toxic chemicals!” Grumpy G and others over the years have shared pallet wood project stories with me and I’ve been concerned with their safety but have had my concerns brushed off by those in the know…that doesn’t mean every pallet is safe to build from (or burn nearby) but some of them certainly are and you can find out which ones by reading this short article from Instructibles or this article for expanded information. …anyway, on to the purpose of this note to our readers…Grumpy G has shared a cool website with me called 1001 Pallets but would more appropriately be titled 1001 Pallet Wood Projects.  It’s a great place to view the possibilities for this most humble of recyclable materials.  You can see pictures of pallet wood projects for the garden, the workplace, the home or anyplace else you can imagine…check it out. FacebookPinterestGoogleRedditTwitterTumblrEmailPrintPocketMoreLinkedInLike this:Like...

Dehydrating Store Brand Frozen Vegetables

An Introduction To Dehydrating Store Brand Frozen Vegetables Dehydrating store brand frozen vegetables is a quick and easy way of creating inexpensive long term preps. They are less expensive than freeze dried, or prepared dehydrated vegetables and they are quicker and easier to prepare than fresh vegetables. They also offer more flexibility in your preparation schedule as well as providing a good, uniform quality in the end product.   There are certainly some negatives to using them but the benefits outweigh the negatives by a wide margin. The Cost Saving Of  Dehydrating Store Brand Frozen Vegetables Anyone on budget or is cost conscience knows that freeze dried or prepared dehydrated foods can be an expensive choice for long term food storage. Recently, an online store had #10 cans of freeze dried sweet corn on sale for $12.95. The suggested 23 servings per can cost $.56 apiece. That is on the low end, as regular prices can be upwards of 50% higher. In comparison, I recently bought all the store brand frozen veggies pictured to the left  for $.89 each, that’s five bags for just $4.45. Each bag contained ten servings, giving me a total of 50 servings. Broken down, that is $.09 a serving. Sometimes, you can even find store brand frozen veggies on sale for as low as $.69 each; driving the cost down even more. Dehydrating Store Brand Frozen Vegetables Gives You Flexibility I think almost everyone would agree that eating preserved home grown vegetables is preferable to eating store bought. The problem is that once most vegetables are picked, you have a very narrow window to preserve them in before they go bad. For someone in a time crunch this could be an issue. You are also limited by the amount of your harvest. If you have small garden, you may not be able to raise the amount...

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