Almost Forgotten Skills

Discussion in 'Survival & Sustenance Living Forum' started by TLuker, Aug 5, 2012.

  1. TLuker

    TLuker New Member

    3,937
    0
    0
    I was just wondering what some thoughts were on the most important almost lost trades would be for EOTWAWNI, or even for just being more self sufficient. I'm referring to trades such as blacksmith, cooper, or even tailor.

    A lot of the old trades are almost gone now. Many of those trades are difficult to learn and require specialized tools. I'm thinking this would be a good time work on acquiring some of those tools and skills. I'm an ok machinist and cabinet maker now. Those are nice skills to have but neither would very useful for EOTWAWNI. I'm thinking many of the older trades would be much more useful. I just need to decide which ones would be the most useful?
     
  2. dog2000tj

    dog2000tj New Member

    8,176
    2
    0
    farming, hunting, food prep, basic medicine would be good to learn
     

  3. texaswoodworker

    texaswoodworker New Member

    10,198
    0
    0
    Woodworking WITHOUT power tools, and blacksmithing the old fashion way are two skills that would be really good to have in case of EOTWAWKI.

    Tanning hides, and crafting them into useful things would also be good things to know how to do.

    Let's not forget about learning how to keep food good for a long time without a fridge.
     
  4. stoppingpower

    stoppingpower New Member

    379
    0
    0
    Prepping your kill as far as smoking it and making jerky. Canning, learn to can everything that is perishable.I think basic mechanic skills would be a plus. I think learning about electric set up as far as making a generator from scratch. What about how to make ethanol for fuel... and drinking. Ummm... what about tanning hides and reloading ammo??
    Idk just some thoughts.. good thread btw
     
  5. JonM

    JonM Moderator

    20,110
    11
    38
    using a spinning wheel to make thread for cloth out of various raw materials.

    using a loom to weave thread into cloth.

    woodcutting without power tools.

    farming without prepackaged seeds, fertilizers, insecticide, machinery

    building a fire without modern tools ie rubing sticks together

    hunting with primitive weapons
     
  6. TLuker

    TLuker New Member

    3,937
    0
    0
    I've got most of the basic skills like hunting and farming. I'm referring to skills like texaswoodworker mentioned, woodworking without power tools and blacksmithing. Just to expand on that, how many could make a hand plain to use for wood working without power tools or pedal powered lath?

    Most of us generally think of the same basic things for prepping but those are usually short term emergency skills like hunting and fishing. Those are great skills but long term would require many more skills. For example, its good to be able to tan hides but then you need all of the skills that go with making cloths in order to do something useful with that hide. Some heavy needles would also be useful and maybe even an old Singer? Smoking meat is good but it would useful to know how to make bricks to build a smoke house or fire bricks for a chimney.

    A lot of the skills I'm referring to really aren't useful now like barrel or glass making. That's why those skills are almost forgotten. I'm just trying to figure which of those skills would be the most useful to learn now.
     
  7. TLuker

    TLuker New Member

    3,937
    0
    0
    That's what I'm talking about. I hadn't even thought about a spinning wheel and loom. Those were two of the most important pieces of equipment found in colonial homes.
     
  8. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

    21,326
    163
    63
    Take a look at some of the old Anglo-Saxon surnames that came from a man's work.
    Farmer
    Smith (black AND white- y'all DID know there is a whitesmith- right?)
    Cooper
    Mason
    Joiner (carpenter)
    Turner (lathe work- for that spinning wheel)
    Miller
    Baker (know how to make sourdough starter?)
    Sawyer
    Vinter (wine, beer, shine anyone?)
    Tanner
    Collier (maker of charcoal)
    Weaver
    and Miner or Minor

    And unmarried women were, of course- Spinsters.

    Yep- I can (and have) made a plane for woodworking, starting with forging the iron- to see if I could. And have made wood chisels (#4 rebar, forge, 2 lb hammer) and a spring pole lathe. Worked suprisingly well.
     
  9. Gone_South

    Gone_South New Member

    441
    0
    0
    We named our oldest boy Tanner.
     
  10. TekGreg

    TekGreg Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

    2,000
    0
    0
    Some of these skills need to be further analyzed. If we get to EOTWAWKI, is every farmer going to grow food, or do we also need marijuana, opium poppies, willow trees (bark is basis for aspirin), belladonna and other medicinal herbs? I never condone drug abuse, but I can't imagine some hard-working guy gashing his leg open and not having pain medication so the doc can sew him up.

    Also, how many people have the skill to take flax from growing it in te fields all the way to wearing it on their backs? The loom and spinning wheel are great ideas, but useless without the raw materials and skill to process it.

    We will all be living in much smaller communities where work and survival is shared, but this also means that each person needs more than one skill to be useful. In colonial times, everyone hunted and gardened or farmed. That was part of your individual skill set, but hardly marketable. Everyone will need at least one skill that is hard to find or uses complex items, i.e. blacksmithing.
     
  11. TekGreg

    TekGreg Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

    2,000
    0
    0
    Oh, also from the list of surnames:

    Fletcher - mounted the feathers on the back of arrows expertly and sometimes made arrows.

    Boyer - a maker of bows (but surprisingly not the arrows)

    Potter - clay pots, anyone?

    Mason - a stone cutter and engineer.

    Tailor - A professional at fitting clothes.

    Hatter - maker and fitter of hats. These will become very important as heaters and air conditioning go away and we spend much more time outdoors.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2012
  12. texaswoodworker

    texaswoodworker New Member

    10,198
    0
    0
    I have never made a hand plane before (haven't gotten around to it yet), but I have seen how their made. It is not too difficult. I would recommend making one before TEOTWAWKI, because making a good quality plane by hand is a little more difficult than doing it with power tools.

    This video give you a pretty good idea about how it's done.

    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mb7OUESlVT4[/ame]

    Here's what I use. :)

    Stanley No. 5 jack plane that I restored.

    I also have a Stanley No. 4 bench plane and a Shelton No. 05 jack plane (I don't have any pics). They usually get the job done. ;)
     

    Attached Files:

  13. texaswoodworker

    texaswoodworker New Member

    10,198
    0
    0
    Another good thing to know is how to cast metal parts. Look up some of the stuff about backyard foundries. It would also be a good idea to learn how to carve wood so you can make molds too.
     
  14. hiwall

    hiwall Active Member

    4,268
    20
    38
    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.
     
  15. bkt

    bkt New Member

    6,964
    0
    0
    This is a great thread and there are some good suggestions. A site I found might give some folks some help or ideas: http://www.saveourskills.com/

    Seems pretty cool.
     
  16. Tackleberry1

    Tackleberry1 New Member

    6,165
    0
    0
    Beyond immediate survival skills the next most important skills will belong to those who can reestablish power and sanitation. Which is one reason I work for a commercial electrician and have many friends who are plumbers.

    Tack
     
  17. downsouth

    downsouth New Member

    5,007
    3
    0
    Tack hit on something about sanitation. Human waste piles up quick and can make a bad situation MUCH WORSE if not handled properly. Pest, disease, contamination, all manner of problems fast. A slip trench in the proper location and lime go a long way in this matter.
     
  18. srtolly1

    srtolly1 New Member

    206
    0
    0
    As they say, knowledge is power. We grow some veggies and spices. Plant identification will be a necessary skill for food and medicine. Then knowing how to process it into other things like wheat into flour, corn into corn meal, oats into oatmeal...

    I have made several tools out of necessity. Learning gunsmithing and blacksmithing.
     
  19. TLuker

    TLuker New Member

    3,937
    0
    0
    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. :)
     
  20. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

    21,326
    163
    63
    Go to Amazon, get a copy of Old Ways of Working Wood. Will run you about $5 including shipping.