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Survival Skills

6 Ways to Sharpen a Hatchet

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The humble hatchet is one of the most compact, versatile and useful wood processing tools that any prepper could want.

sharpen hatchet options collage

They also make for a gnarly weapon in a close-quarters situation. When a full-sized axe is too much or you’re just trying to save as much weight as possible from your load a hatchet will fit the bill.

But any cutting tool is only as good as its cutting edge, and if you want to utilize your hatchet with maximum efficiency, not to mention safety, you’ll need to keep a proper working edge on it.

Though it is true that chopping tools like hatchets typically don’t need to be kept at razor sharpness like most knives if you neglect to maintain the edge you will only be working harder than you have to while simultaneously shortening the lifespan of your tool.

You’ll also be inviting accident, as a dull hatchet is far more likely to skip or glance off of the wood and then embed itself in your thigh or shin! That could put you into an entirely new category of survival situation.

You can prevent all of these unhappy outcomes by staying on top of regular maintenance, and foremost among that maintenance is sharpening.

In this article, we will provide you with six time-tested ways to sharpen your hatchet. You are sure to find one or two favorite methods that you can employ with your hatchet so you can keep on chopping. Keep reading to learn more.

A Note on Powered Sharpening

There are all kinds of ways to sharpen any edged tool, including hatchets, and among these methods are counted a variety of manual methods, where you perform the sharpening task by hand, and powered methods, where you employ some sort of power tool.

Both work, both have their advantages and disadvantages, and you should endeavor to learn and make use of both.

But concerning power sharpening in particular you’ll need to be on your guard and pay attention.

This is because the friction created by a power tool acting on your hatchet’s head will be intense, and will heat up the metal substantially.

It is an easy thing to zone out while you are working on getting the perfect bevel or edge established and unwittingly overheat the head, ruining the temper of the steel and making your hatchet even more susceptible to damage, or potentially even ruining it.

That would be the worst possible outcome of your endeavor!

The way to avoid this unfortunate outcome is to simply take your time when using a power tool, and stop regularly to cool down your workpiece using water or oil, making sure to do this well before it gets piping hot.

As long as you remember this simple advice you won’t have any issues regarding sharpening with a power tool. Now, let’s get on to the list!

6 Ways to Sharpen a Hatchet

1. Belt Sander

A belt sander is one of the quickest and most efficient ways to sharpen a hatchet using a power tool.

It also has a major advantage of being one of the most controllable, whether or not you are using a benchtop model or a handheld model with the hatchet clamped in a vise or to your work surface.

The wide, rotating belt allows you to work a more significant proportion of the hatchets edge and bevel at any given time, saving you time and establishing a uniform, crisp edge.

Take note, you should try to establish a rhythm either in a certain number of passes on each side or a certain amount of time in contact with the hatch its head.

Aim to replicate this on the opposite side so the edge is even and well established.

Also, don’t use too much pressure, take great care that you do not overheat the hatchet’s head and remember to cool it regularly: more than most other power tools the belt sander will impart a dramatic amount of heat, quickly! Take care to avoid this mishap and it will do a fine job.

2. Grinder

The grinder comes in many, varied forms, be it a benchtop grinding wheel or a handheld angle grinder.

This beefy, mighty tool is sort of your “nuclear option” when it comes to sharpening a hatchet, but for an old, abused or previously damaged tool it can be just the trick.

This is one tool that will easily eliminate nicks, dings and small bends in the blade, allowing you to establish a bevel very quickly and (with a steady hand) put a useable, if not good, edge on it.

Similar to the belt sander above you should make a certain number of back and forth passes to accomplish the work while paying careful attention to heat levels and then replicate that process on the opposite side of the edge periodically before coming back around, if required.

Also, ensure that the disc on your grinder is not too aggressive. Eating up a substantial amount of material off your hatchet’s head is only going to shorten its service life and give you nothing in the bargain.

This can also destroy hatchets that are differentially tempered! As always, correct disc or grit selection combined with a steady hand and some patience is the recipe for success with the grinder!

3. File

Filing is one of the most versatile, effective, and portable methods for sharpening a hatchet and using nothing more than a carefully chosen file you’ll be able to reshape and repair your hatchet.

For this task, you should choose a single- or double-cut flat mill bastard file, preferably one that has a more aggressive cut on the opposite side to afford you more flexibility.

You won’t even need to use a clamp or vice, although they are helpful, since you can just press the hatchet into a stump using your free hand or even hold it between your knees.

All you’ll need to do then is draw or push the file across the edge matching the angle with the bevel.

Anywhere from 6 to 20 strokes per side is usually adequate to restore the edge of a hatchet and reasonably good repair.

The best part about using a file for the task is that you won’t have to worry about substantial heat buildup like you would with a power tool.

Make sure you pause periodically to clean the “pins” (metal shavings) from the file’s teeth and don’t forget that files cut in one direction; don’t use a back and forth motion as this will only be hard on your file!

4. Rotary Tool or “Dremel”

Whether you are using an actual Dremel-brand rotary tool or something like a Proxon doesn’t matter.

What matters is that the rotary tool is often one of the handiest, most convenient power tools for sharpening all kinds of edged implements, hatchets included.

Being far cheaper, more available, and more forgiving of mistakes the rotary tool makes sense for most people.

The key to success with a rotary tool, when used for sharpening, is to really concentrate on what you were doing for establishing the correct angle to properly sharpen your hatchet.

These tools are light and nimble, and that makes them prone to shifting, tilting and skittering across your workpiece when you can least afford it!

Equally important is the choice of bit, or tip. Sanding wheels definitely work though you’ll have to use an extremely light touch as the blistering speed of rotary tools, even on low, combined with the small contact area makes it too easy to groove or notch your precious hatchet.

A better option is a dedicated set of aluminum oxide grinding stones, though you will still need to be cautious. Take your time, go slow and work the edge as evenly as you can. Remember that heat buildup will still be an issue.

5. Whetstone

Whetstones are most commonly employed to sharpen knives, but they work just as well on hatchets, with a few modifications.

The chief issue you will run into with whetstones is that you have to use an extremely coarse stone to remove a significant amount of metal from your hatchet’s edge.

For serious repairs, reprofiling, and the like you’ll need to use whetstones that are far more aggressive than the average “coarse” stone found in a sharpening kit.

Nonetheless, they do work and work well, and whetstones excel at putting a truly sharp edge on a preliminary edge you have established using some other method.

If you are sharpening your hatchet to be used as a defensive weapon you’ll definitely want to give it a going over with fine wet stones prior to declaring it good. But once you cut or chop something with a truly sharp hatchet, you’ll know.

6. Sharpening System

There are a variety of sharpening systems on the market today, from powered affairs like the excellent WorkSharp system, to the tried, true and greatly beloved Spyderco Tri-Angle Sharpmaker that can seemingly sharpen anything with an edge or point, and a lot of things that don’t!

Many of these systems can work to sharpen your hatchet either by design or with a little adaptation.

The key, as with any approach to sharpening, is to ensure you are getting the edge to contact the sharpener surface at the correct angle.

Sometimes easier said than done when working with something that is comparatively so large and bulky like a hatchet head.

It is easy to get sucked into chasing perfect alignment on one side and neglect the other, so don’t make that mistake.

Depending on your requirements, and your overall skill at sharpening, a sharpening system that ensures the correct angle is maintained could save you a considerable amount of time and effort when it comes to putting a working edge on your hatchet.

Conclusion

The hatchet is an ancient and time-honored tool that preppers still employ today, and with good reason. No other tool is this compact while also packing in as much capability.

But that capability will degrade steadily with use, and this necessitates sharpening. Everyone has their favorite method, and we have shared several of them with you in this article.

Make sure to view the linked videos and you’ll find a method that works for you in no time.

sharpen hatchet pinterest

Source link: https://www.survivalsullivan.com/how-to-sharpen-a-hatchet/ by Tom Marlowe at www.survivalsullivan.com

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Now More Than Ever: You Need a Fallout Shelter

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In today’s increasingly uncertain world, the threat of nuclear war looms larger than it has in decades. Escalating tensions globally, particularly in regions like Israel and Ukraine, have heightened concerns about the potential for catastrophic conflict. As families seek to prepare for worst-case scenarios, building a fallout shelter in your basement can provide a crucial layer of protection. This guide will walk you through the steps to create a safe and effective fallout shelter in your home, ensuring that you and your loved ones are prepared for any eventuality.

Why Build a Fallout Shelter?

The primary purpose of a fallout shelter is to protect you and your family from the immediate dangers of a nuclear explosion and the subsequent radioactive fallout. A well-constructed shelter can significantly reduce your exposure to radiation, provide a safe space for survival, and give you peace of mind during these tumultuous times.

Assessing Your Basement

Before you start building your fallout shelter, you need to evaluate your basement to determine its suitability for conversion. Here are the key factors to consider:

Structural Integrity

Ensure your basement is structurally sound and free of leaks. Cracks in the foundation or walls can compromise the shelter’s integrity and allow radiation to penetrate.

Space Availability

Choose a location within your basement that offers enough space for your family and essential supplies. A minimum of 10 square feet per person is recommended for comfort and survival needs.

Accessibility

Ensure that the chosen area is easily accessible and can be quickly reached in an emergency. The entrance should also be securable to protect against external threats.

Designing Your Shelter

Radiation Shielding

The key to effective fallout protection is adequate shielding. Materials such as concrete, bricks, and earth are excellent for blocking radiation. Aim for walls that are at least 12 inches thick with concrete or 24 inches thick with packed earth.

Ventilation

Proper ventilation is crucial to prevent suffocation and ensure a fresh air supply. Install an air filtration system capable of removing radioactive particles. Consider manual ventilation options in case of power outages.

Water and Food Supply

Stock your shelter with a sufficient supply of water and non-perishable food. Aim for a minimum of one gallon of water per person per day and a two-week supply of food. Include a water filtration system for long-term sustainability.

Sanitation

Prepare for sanitation needs by including portable toilets, waste bags, and sanitation chemicals. Proper waste management is crucial to prevent disease and maintain hygiene.

Emergency Supplies

Equip your shelter with essential emergency supplies, including:

  • First aid kits
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Radios (preferably hand-cranked or battery-powered)
  • Blankets and warm clothing
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Tools for emergency repairs
  • Building the Shelter

Wall Construction

Begin by constructing the walls using your chosen materials. Concrete blocks are highly effective and can be reinforced with rebar for added strength. Ensure the walls are thick enough to provide adequate radiation shielding.

Ceiling and Floor

The ceiling should be as heavily shielded as the walls. If your basement ceiling isn’t suitable, add a layer of concrete or earth above it. The floor should be solid and free from cracks; consider adding a layer of protective material if necessary.

Entrance Protection

Install a sturdy, sealed door that can withstand blasts and radiation. Metal doors with rubber gaskets are effective. Ensure the door can be securely locked from the inside.

Ventilation System

Install your ventilation system, ensuring it can filter out radioactive particles. Include manual ventilation options, such as hand-cranked fans, in case of power failure.

Interior Setup

Arrange the interior for maximum comfort and efficiency. Place cots or sleeping mats along the walls, leaving the central area free for movement. Store supplies in an organized manner to make them easily accessible.

Testing and Maintenance

Regular Inspections

Regularly inspect your shelter for any signs of damage or wear. Check the integrity of the walls, ceiling, and floor, and ensure the ventilation system is functioning correctly.

Supply Rotation

Periodically rotate your food and water supplies to ensure they remain fresh and usable. Replace expired items promptly.

Emergency Drills

Conduct regular emergency drills with your family to ensure everyone knows how to quickly and safely access the shelter.

Building a fallout shelter in your basement is a proactive step towards ensuring your family’s safety in the face of nuclear threats. By carefully assessing your space, designing for maximum protection, and maintaining your shelter, you can create a secure environment to weather any storm. In these uncertain times, being prepared is not just a precaution; it’s a necessity.

Do you have any tips on building a fallout shelter in your basement? Leave them in the comments below. 

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Survival Skills

3 Practical Ways To Tie a Shemagh

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One of the most iconic pieces of headwear in the world, and one that is instantly recognizable, is the shemagh. Basically a giant bandana, this staple of Middle Eastern tradition has become a fashionable accessory elsewhere in the world and an indispensable part of a warfighter’s kit in arid, desert climates.

tying a shemag featured

They work wonderfully for keeping the sun off your head, face, and neck and sand out of your mouth, nose, and eyes. But compared to a bandana, it’s a lot more involved in tying on a shemagh, though you can learn easily enough thanks to our step-by-step guide.

Below you’ll find three proven ways for tying a shemagh, each suitable for different purposes and preferences. Let’s get right into it!

Military Style

The first method is the so-called military style, greatly preferred by military forces, as you might imagine, because it’s quicker and easier to don hastily when protection is needed.

This is a great one to start with since it is so similar to tying a bandana on, something you might already be used to…

military-style tied shemagh
wearing a shemag tied military-style

Step 1: Fold the shemagh in half. Holding the shemagh lengthwise, bring one corner to another to make a triangle with the corner hanging down in front of you. Being rectangular, it won’t be perfectly symmetrical, and that’s okay.

shemagh folded in half

Step 2: Place over the head. Pick out a spot that is about 3/4 of the way down the folded edge. Place this point in the middle of your forehead with the corners behind you.

If you are right-handed, the short end should be on the left side of your head. Keep hold of the folded edge the entire time. See picture for reference:

shemagh over head

Step 3: Bring the short end under the chin. Grab the corner at the short end along the folded edge. Wrap snugly directly under your chin, and bring it up along the right side of your face, pointing upward.

bringing shorter end under chin

Step 4: Wrap the long end around the front of the face. Keeping everything taut, take hold of the short end with your right hand now. Hold it in place, then use your left hand to bring the long end around in front of your face, covering your nose.

wrapping long end over face

Step 5: Continue wrapping the long end. Go all the way around behind your head until the corner overlaps the short end you are still holding on to.

Step 6: Tie. Make sure everything is snug enough, then tie both corners together with a pair of overhand knots.

tying shemagh

Step 7: Adjust. Make sure the shemagh is secure over your nose, under your chin, and across the top of your head and forehead. Undo the knot and retie it if necessary to make adjustments.

Step 8: Finished! You’re ready to face the wild.

With just a little bit of practice, the military-style shemagh wrap goes on very quickly. It’s my favorite method for getting protection in a hurry.

Bedouin Style

The Bedouin style wrap is slightly more involved, but more compact and very quick to take off when required. It also allows you to uncover your mouth if you want without untying the entire shemagh…

bedouin-style wrap bandana
wearing a shemag tied bedouin-style

Step 1: Fold the shemagh in half. Holding the fabric lengthwise, bring two opposite corners together. Again, it won’t be perfectly symmetrical, and that’s okay.

folding shemagh in half bedouin

Step 2: Lay the shemagh on the head. Place the middle of the fold on your forehead with the corner pointing backwards behind you.

placing shemagh over head

Step 3: Fold the bottom edge up, criscross ends. Fold about two or two and a half inches of material upward, then cross the two loose corners around the back of your head (without tying them):

crossing the two ends

Step 4: Wrap the first side. Gather one side of the material and wrap it around your head, staying above your eyes.

grabbing first end

wrapping first end around forehead

Step 5: Tuck first side. After completing one complete wrap, tuck the end into the fold you made earlier to secure it.

tucking first end behind head

Step 6: Wrap the second side. Now gather the remaining material from the other side:

bringing second end to front

…and bring it around covering your nose and mouth:

wrapping around second end

Step 7. securing second side behind head

After covering the front of your face, bring it back up, pull it snug, and then secure the end into the fold you made previously, as you did with the first wrap.

securing second side

Step 7: Adjust. Take a moment to make sure everything is snug and secure. If you can’t secure the ends of the fabric, simply start over, make the initial fold, and keep everything tight and taut as you wrap. If you keep it tight, it will secure the ends when you tuck them in.

Step 8: Done! You are ready to go. If you want to uncover your mouth, you can simply loosen it up and pull it free where you tucked it, and it can hang down without undoing the entire shemagh.

This method isn’t as intuitive as the military one we looked at first, but again with just a couple of repetitions, you’ll soon be able to put it on in just a couple of seconds, and then you can cover and uncover your mouth and nose as needed.

Traditional Style

The traditional style of tying a shemagh is super quick and easy, though it’s an all-or-nothing proposition.

traditional shemagh wrap
wearing a shemag tied traditional-style

If you don’t get the tension and placement right the first time, you’ll have to undo the whole thing to adjust it, and unlike the Bedouin style, you cannot just uncover your mouth if you want to. Nonetheless, it is a good method to know…

Step 1: Fold the shemagh in half. Holding it lengthwise, bring two opposite corners together. Just a reminder, it won’t be even and perfect, but that’s okay.

folded shemagh

Step 2: Drape the shemagh over the top of your head. The corners hanging down in front of you. See picture:

shemagh over head

Step 3: Bring the left side tightly under the chin. With your left hand, grab the right side hanging down in front of you, bunch it up, and then bring it under your chin tightly and up along the left side of your head.

bring left side under chin

Step 4: Wrap the right side in front. Now with your right hand, grab the left corner, lift it up so it is even with your nose, and then bring it across in front of your face.

Make sure you are still holding the right side you brought under your chin tightly so that everything stays snug; otherwise, it won’t hold.

wrapping right side

Step 5: Bring both ends behind the head. Holding on to both ends still, continue on and bring them both behind your head, tying them off with two overhand knots to secure them.

tie both ends

Step 6: Check and adjust. Make sure the fabric up front covering your nose is secure, but not mashing it flat; otherwise, you won’t be able to stand it for long. If it’s too tight or not tight enough, start over at the point where you have the fabric hanging down in front of you.

Step 7: Done! After you get the tension just right, you’ll be all set.

The traditional method is deceptively simple. You’ve got to get the tension just right for it to be comfortable and also stay secure, and it takes a couple of tries before you nail it.

But once you do, it’ll be just like tying your shoes: you’ll be able to do it without thinking about it and get it perfect every time.

tying a shemagh pinterest

Source link: https://www.survivalsullivan.com/how-to-tie-a-shemagh/ by Tom Marlowe at www.survivalsullivan.com

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Unveiling the Versatility of Wool Blankets in Survival Situations

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In the realm of survivalism, preparedness is paramount. The ability to adapt and thrive in challenging environments hinges on the possession of essential tools, among which wool blankets stand out as indispensable. Renowned for their warmth-retaining properties and multifunctionality, wool blankets are not just for keeping cozy; they serve as versatile assets in various survival scenarios. This guide delves into the history, composition, and myriad applications of wool blankets, shedding light on their enduring relevance in the wilderness.

A Brief History of the Wool Blanket

The lineage of wool blankets traces back through centuries of human history, evolving from rudimentary coverings fashioned from animal skins and woven reeds to the finely crafted blankets we know today. Originating in the 14th century, the modern wool blanket owes its name not to serendipity but to the Flemish weaver Thomas Blanket, whose innovation revolutionized bedding. 

Embraced by cultures worldwide, wool blankets found favor in the North American fur trade, where they became essential attire for enduring harsh winters. From military campaigns to civilian households, wool blankets became synonymous with warmth, durability, and utility, earning their place as quintessential survival gear.

What Is a Wool Blanket Made From?

At the heart of every wool blanket lies a testament to nature’s ingenuity: wool, harvested from a diverse array of animals including sheep, goats, and alpacas. The process begins with shearing, wherein wool-bearing animals undergo gentle grooming to procure their fleece. Subsequent steps involve cleaning, sorting, carding, spinning, and weaving, culminating in the production of resilient woolen textiles. Boasting microbial, moisture-wicking, and temperature-regulating properties, wool blankets epitomize the marriage of functionality and sustainability. With variations such as merino, cashmere, and alpaca wool, each blanket offers a unique blend of comfort and performance tailored to diverse needs.

Why Choose Wool Blankets for Survival?

Wool blankets emerge as quintessential companions for survivalists seeking reliable protection against the elements. Their inherent qualities render them indispensable in adverse conditions:

  • Temperature Regulation: Wool’s natural insulating properties, bolstered by a layer of keratin, facilitate optimal thermoregulation, keeping users warm in cold climates without causing overheating.
  • Water and Fire Resistance: Highly absorbent yet flame-retardant, wool blankets offer unparalleled protection against moisture and fire hazards, making them invaluable assets in unpredictable environments.
  • Environmental Friendliness: Sourced from renewable materials and biodegradable in nature, wool blankets epitomize eco-consciousness, ensuring minimal environmental impact throughout their lifecycle.

Best Survival Uses for a Wool Blanket

The versatility of wool blankets transcends mere warmth, extending to a myriad of survival applications:

  • Sleeping Bag: Folded and secured, a wool blanket transforms into an improvised sleeping bag, providing essential insulation and comfort during cold nights.
  • Poncho or Coat: Fashioned into a poncho or coat, a wool blanket offers on-the-go warmth and protection, guarding against hypothermia and inclement weather.
  • Insulated Seat or Pillow: Folded or rolled, a wool blanket serves as a cushioned seat or pillow, enhancing comfort and warmth during outdoor activities and rest breaks.
  • Traveling Pack: Wrapped around gear, a wool blanket doubles as a makeshift pack, safeguarding belongings and optimizing portability in transit.
  • Shielded Temporary Shelter: Deployed as a windbreak or overhead shelter, a wool blanket fortifies makeshift shelters, enhancing thermal insulation and weather resistance.
  • Emergency Signal Panel: With its conspicuous coloration, a wool blanket can serve as a signaling device, enhancing visibility and facilitating rescue efforts in emergency situations.
  • Protection for Firewood: Enveloping firewood bundles, a wool blanket shields against moisture, ensuring dry, readily combustible fuel for maintaining fires in adverse conditions.

In the tapestry of survival gear, wool blankets stand as enduring symbols of resilience and resourcefulness. From their humble origins to their modern-day applications, wool blankets epitomize the marriage of tradition and innovation, offering unparalleled warmth, durability, and versatility in the wilderness. 

As stalwart companions on the path to self-reliance, wool blankets empower adventurers to brave the elements, adapt to adversity, and emerge triumphant in the face of uncertainty. With their timeless appeal and unmatched utility, wool blankets remain steadfast allies in the pursuit of survival, beckoning explorers to embrace their warmth and embrace the wild with confidence.

Will you be stocking up on wool blankets? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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