November 2019 Meeting Notes

November 9, 2019

  • Fire starting – flint and steel, fire plow, tender, Dakota fire pit, dealing with rain and dampness.
  • How to cook using a tripod and cast iron dutch oven and other cast iron utensils.
  • How to make a brick rocket stove
  • Alcohol stoves demo

Building a Rocket Stove

After discussion about the bulk radio purchase, the meeting began with a demonstration of how to build a rocket stove from standard concrete blocks. Dave built one and demonstrated how it works, and then showed several variations on the design. A quick search on YouTube will show various designs.


Using a Cooking Tripod

Another important aspect of primitive cooking is the use of a tripod to suspend a pot over the fire. At a time when food is scarce, the most common meal will probably be soups and stews with whatever is available at the time.

Cooking tripod with cast iron pot.

Fire-Starting Methods

Several methods of starting a fire were discussed and demonstrated.

While it is important to know various ways of starting a file, the point here is NOT to become highly skilled at using a flint and steel to start a fire. The point is realize the importance of having matches and/or a lighter so you don’t have to resort to something like flint and steel.

Have it With You

EDC Pocket kit. Outside pocket contains flashlight and spare keys.
EDC Pocket kit. Two fire-starting methods here: magnifying glass and “peanut” lighter. Also shown: S&W tactical pen, pocket knife, nail clipper, pill containers, flash drives.

Alcohol Stoves

Alcohol stoves – also called Spirit stoves – are about as simple as a cooking stove can get. There are no moving parts, no seals, and no pump. There is even a group of folks who enjoy designing and building their own alcohol stoves from things like discarded soda cans. Alcohol stoves use Denatured Alcohol, which is available by the quart or gallon in the paint section of just about any hardware store. Note that you must use Denatured Alcohol – rubbing alcohol, etc., will not work. It shouldn’t be needed, but we’ll point out here that Denatured Alcohol is a poison – not just sort of toxic, but highly toxic.

Trangia burner and stove. Weight = 7 ounces.
Trangia burner and stove assembled.
EverNew Titanium burner and stove. Weight = less than 2 ounces. Also shown is 8 ounces of Denatured Alcohol in a Stanley stainless steel flask: weight = 12 ounces.
Assembled EverNew Titanium burner and stove.

October 2018 Meeting

October 13, 2018

  • Radio Overview
  • Things you might not have thought about that aren’t high priority, but will make life better
  • Round-Table Q&A – Growing your own food: Gardens, Chickens, and Ducks, PART 2
  • Seed Bank Project

The group buy of radios has arrived, and an overview of the radio and how to use it was led by Bud H. A more detailed radio class will be held at the November meeting.


Those of us who have been prepping for a while have probably got the basics taken care of: Food, Water, Defense, Medical, etc. What comes next?

Looking at disasters in times past, the matter of morale keeps appearing. Even when people are tired, cold, and hungry, what they really want is to feel like a civilized human again. A hot shower becomes a priceless luxury, a chocolate bar becomes something that dreams are made of, and so forth.

What would you miss? What routines are a part of your life that would make you feel civilized again?

Is coffee or tea part of your normal routine? If so, then stockpile coffee or tea, and have an efficient way to boil water. A Kelly Kettle and an alcohol (or “spirit burner”) stove, along with a small tea pot, make it possible.

What about personal grooming? It doesn’t take much to get a haircut – some good scissors, a comb, and maybe a hand trimmer. What about shaving? With an old-school double edge razor, you can easily buy a lifetime supply of double edge razor blades. Razor blades require high precision machinery and large quantities to be economical to produce – they would be a very low priority item following a collapse, and probably very difficult to obtain.

Remember that maintaining your personal appearance is not just for yourself and your family. You want to be able to lead others, and if you’re just as dirty, grubby, and unkempt as they are, they would rightly ask, “why should we listen to you?”.

Toilet paper is something that most preppers have stockpiled. At some point, though, that is going to run out. What do you do then? Washing with water is a good alternative, and the Hygienna Solo is a good way to handle that task. Having one for each person you expect to have staying with you would be a good plan.

How will you clean your clothes? A couple of square galvanized wash tubs will make that much easier, and a hand wringer (sold for use at car washes) will make it relatively efficient. Don’t forget to stockpile laundry detergent (dry keeps better than liquid).

How will you repair and alter your clothing? With a limited diet, you may soon find your clothing to be several sizes too large. Hand crank and treadle operated sewing machines are still readily available on eBay.

Demonstrated at the meeting – the Singer Model 99K, hand crank sewing machine, made in 1935, and purchased on eBay. This model was made in electric, hand-crank, and treadle versions. The basic machine is interchangeable – the electric model can have the motor removed and replaced with a hand crank mechanism. Note that the hand wheel must be slotted rather than solid; otherwise, the hand wheel must be replaced with a slotted model in order to use a hand crank. Replacement cranks are available, but they are made in China and I am told they are usually a bit rough; functional, but rough.

Are all of your medical preps focused on life-or-death matters? Yes, it’s good to be able to treat gunshot wounds and broken bones and severed arteries and deadly disease, but don’t forget about something as simple as a splinter. When you’re working with your hands, you’re going to end up with splinters and thorns and metal slivers in your skin. That makes work painful, and the threat of infection is very real. Do you have the tools to remove those splinters? Can you even see those splinters? Jewelers eye loupe lets you see what you’re working on and still have both hands to work with. Disposable blood lancets are great for those you have to dig out, and precision tweezers are needed to remove them.

Sources

Coffee and Tea
Evernew Titanium burner
Evernew Titanium cross stand
Trangia Brass burner
Trangia Brass burner with triangle stove
tea pot
Kelly Kettle

Clothes washing
ꔷ tubs (special order from a local hardware store)
Clothes wringer
ꔷ Lots of soap – laundry soap, hand soap, etc.

Toilet paper alternative
Hygienna Solo

Sewing
Hand-crank sewing machine

Grooming
Razor and blades, and shave soap
Haircut hand trimmer

Splinters, thorns, and slivers
Blood Lancets
7x eye loupe
tweezers


Food Production Round Table

Continuation of the food production round table. Click here for outline.


Seed Bank Project

Discussion on the Seed Bank Project. We will be assembling packages of garden seeds that are proven to grow well in this area. They will be packaged for long term storage and will include plant-specific information, planting and harvest times, seed saving, and other information. More information to come as the project progresses.