Originally Posted by hiwall
things won't be quite like the 1800's. for many many years there will be scavengers- people who find and make useful items out of all the stuff around us. Some places will have electric power for many years as the hydro-electric plants will keep producing electricity for years to come(mechanics and electricians needed). For awhile wild game populations will drop(I think) but when they return hunters and trappers would be needed.
I agree with your point and I realize that it isn't really practical to make a lot of things. I could theoretically get enough black sand from a creek and make a knife from it. And of course I would have to make several to eventually make a decent one. Or I could just go down to the store and buy a good knife that would last me a life time.
But there is something that has just been driving me nuts lately, and that's how disposable everything is becoming. It seems like every time I turn around I'm having to run to the store and buy a replacement something. Not too long ago you bought something and if it broke you bought a new part and fixed it. Now you're going to break 5 more plastic parts just getting to the part you need to replace. That drives me nuts on so many levels and for so many reasons.
The alternative is to buy older products, and the hand planes that texaswoodworker mentioned are the perfect example. You can buy older products like that Stanley No. 5, add a few spare parts, and then you're good to go for a long time. The problem is if you run out of those spare parts. That No.5 has will always need blades. Not very often but it will need them and they will need to be the right size and so on. The further back you go the simpler tools become and the easier they are to repair/maintain/make.
I figure start around the colonial period with the most basic tools and skills then work my way forward. I can figure out what works best along the way. Besides it's fun using and learning about old tools, and its fun getting the occasional surprise. I got an old style planter's hoe this year. I was stunned at how much better it works than new styles hows. Now I just have to figure out which trades I want to learn more about and try my hand at.
And on a side note, I do a lot of metal detecting and relic hunting, and all of this just fits right in with that. The reason I got a planter's hoe to try is because I found so many metal detecting. After researching them I learned they go all of the way back to the colonial period. That's pretty much the style hoe everyone hear used up until the 20th century. Now I know why they used that style for well over 100 years. It is vastly superior to a normal how.