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Thursday links


  1. Bear
    Bear July 18, 2013 7:30 am

    Bummer. Only 63 of the “78 skills”. But I’ve got a few not on the list.

  2. Joel
    Joel July 18, 2013 7:31 am

    78 things? Hell, I live in the boonies full-time and can’t do all that.

    What is it with this class of preppers who insist on primitivism? Isn’t the point of prepping to, I dunno, prep? Which I interpret as gathering and learning to use proper tools.

    I can’t read a knife review on a prepper forum without learning all about how suitable the knife is for “batoning.” As if splitting wood isn’t why John Browning (or maybe it was Jeff Cooper) invented the hatchet. Batoning is just knife abuse, to which I object.

    Primitive camping is probably good dirty fun, and I can see where some people might get into it. For a weekend. For actual long-term survival, I personally prefer my cabin.

  3. Pre-press veteran
    Pre-press veteran July 18, 2013 7:48 am

    LOL, Joel…

    the point of prepping is so’s ya don’t HAVE to go to the level of primitive camping… (at least, in my version of it).

  4. Matt, another
    Matt, another July 18, 2013 7:50 am

    If we all learn and master those 78 “skills” then the need for an economy, based on barter, precious metals or fiat dollars would be pretty limited. Apologies to Heinlien, but mankind has been specializing for ages, it is what we are good at and what we like to do.

    A get out of purgatory free card? Sweet. It would help if I belived in purgatory. Some people worship government, some people worship the catholic pope. Neither will get you out of purgatory.

  5. Benjamin
    Benjamin July 18, 2013 7:57 am

    “#77 Use hand tools” There are quite a few out there and I’m damn sure I don’t know how to properly use more than a couple that I have. That framing slick for example, still need to get a hang of that one.

  6. Bear
    Bear July 18, 2013 8:09 am

    RE: Primitive skills.
    In my case, I didn’t pick up all this stuff for “prepping” (I agree that the idea of prepping is that you don’t have to improvise everything at the last second). Obsolete technologies and techniques just happen to be my hobby (I make paper, inks, paints, cloth dyes, armor, knives…). I like trying to do things in old ways, then update them to modern circumstances. But it isn’t prepping.

  7. Pat
    Pat July 18, 2013 9:13 am

    I thought this Pope might be more down-to-earth, but – who is he (He?) to give a by-pass from Purgatory?

    Speaking of gun raffles – whatever happened to your snake-paint job, Claire?

  8. Woody
    Woody July 18, 2013 9:28 am

    I’m firmly in Joel’s camp on this one. I possess most of those skills but only because stuff like that has always interested me. I hardly ever read prepper blogs or forums because they generally seem like a bunch of Walter Mitty wannabes. I bugged out 35 years ago, before it was a popular buzz word with the prepper cognicenti, and I ain’t leaving anytime soon.

    Hotwiring a modern car might require more than the author realizes.

  9. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau July 18, 2013 9:50 am

    It’s not a bad thing having skills. You might not need 78, but you need enough to be useful to others, or at minimum the ability to pick them up quickly. If bad times come the useless will be weeded out pretty quickly.

    I’ve always leaned toward the “jack of all trades, master of none” end of the spectrum. I feel an emptiness in my life though, because I never picked up welding. 🙂

  10. Claire
    Claire July 18, 2013 10:20 am

    Pat — Agreed on His Popeness. This particular one does seem like a decent human being, but it always feels weird to get reminded that popes are always representing, and presumably believe in, some pretty silly sh*t. That they still believe they hold the power of God on Earth is just too, too weird.

    And … um … the gun raffle. I chickened out. I didn’t have the confidence to believe I could do a good job on the painting. I actually came up with three different designs I was going to ask people to v*te on. But it was going to cost about $100 to buy the right kinds of paint and supplies and I’ve never used the needed techniques before and I really feared I’d botch the job.

    Still, who knows? Maybe I’ll still try it one of these days. The kind person who donated the gun didn’t make me give it back.

  11. Pre-press veteran
    Pre-press veteran July 18, 2013 10:47 am

    Bear: we gotta talk… how are you making your inks? I’m in the market for a letterpress – a la Franklin – LOL…

  12. Bear
    Bear July 18, 2013 12:21 pm


    You can find links to some of my projects at:

    (the papermaking article is actually a reprint of one of my old Backwoods Home Magazine pieces, expanded with some more recent work; you can find others in their anthologies)

    A lot of it is SCA-oriented because I used to be an active member in that clusterfsck, but the techniques work for anyone. There’s an entire article on inks (and paint pigments) of various types: Iron gall, lampblack, and so forth. The iron “gall” (I actually use acorns or bark for the tannin source rather than galls) is just a tannin solution with steel wool dissolved into it. The pigment based inks are fine powders with egg whites or gum arabic as a thickener/binder.

    Haven’t done much with printing yet. A little improvised screen printing, and a couple of woodcuts. I’ve been thinking about a really basic letterpress, though. I have plenty of lead ingots sitting around, along with wax and clay (yeah, I dig and clean my own clay, too), so I can cast type. The press itself would be little more than a hinged arrangement that forces the type onto paper. I’m picturing a moveable frame held to one panel of the press with thumb screws to clamp the type into place.

    I’m about to wrap up a cloth dyes project (there’ll be an article, with pix, posted on my site eventually), so the press might be next. I’m on a… nonexistent budget, so what I can do depends on what I can scrounge.

  13. IndividualAudienceMember
    IndividualAudienceMember July 18, 2013 2:12 pm

    Charcloth – I learned a new word today.

    … Now if I can just get that image of the shark following the kayaker out of my mind… oh wait. That’s us, isn’t it.

  14. PrePressVeteran
    PrePressVeteran July 18, 2013 3:40 pm

    Thank you!

  15. Karen
    Karen July 18, 2013 4:50 pm

    Only 37 1/2 of the 78 makes me wonder how I’ve survived to be 62. But, like Bear said, I’ve got a few other skills not on the list.

  16. LarryA
    LarryA July 18, 2013 6:12 pm

    Interesting list of skills, but it seems to presuppose you’re isolated. There aren’t any social/team entries.

    And I’ll pass on skiing. Not much call for that in Texas. Also motorcycles, as a particularly vulnerable means of transportation.

    I looked at the JPFO gun, and it is purty. But I’d want to know which “Arizona charity” was involved. I emailed, and haven’t seen a reply. Sure, I trust JPFO as much as any pro-gun organization. But that seems like basic info.

  17. G.W.F.
    G.W.F. July 19, 2013 4:41 am

    How odd, of the 78 essential skills I noticed ‘knowing how to defend yourself against a bear attack’ was missing:


  18. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau July 19, 2013 6:55 am

    “And I’ll pass on skiing… Also motorcycles, as a particularly vulnerable means of transportation.”

    Ah, but John Ross, in “Unintended Consequences”, noted they are a pretty good way to travel anonymously. Also, both sport bikes (due to speed and handling) and dual-sports (due to offroad abilities) routinely evade cops on youtube, which could get pretty useful…

  19. LarryA
    LarryA July 19, 2013 11:01 pm

    All hail John Ross, but:
    Motorcycles have the advantage over four wheels when dodging through stuff, on or off-road.
    Vulnerable to bad weather.
    Hard for driver or passenger to accurately shoot from.
    Hard to “anonymously” carry a long gun.
    Easy to knock over, like with even a light line stretched across the road.
    Very limited storage.

    I’m not planning on surviving on YouTube. 😉


  20. Bonnie
    Bonnie July 24, 2013 8:10 am

    Claire – re the article about the Pope. I think you read only the very inaccurate headline & not the article. One does NOT get an indulgence simply for following the Pope on Twitter. The article was about the Vatican using social media to inform people about indulgences – highlighting Twitter.

    In the past, the only way to find out about indulgences was to read about them in the Enchiridion of Indulgences, Catholic newspapers, on old holy cards, or from one’s priest. Now the instructions for receiving an indulgence can be found on Twitter and other social media. Since part of the requirements for an indulgence include praying, going to confession, and attending mass, there is no way one can be received simply from reading Twitter posts.

    And by the way, the pope is human. Use the lower-case in personal pronouns referring to him. 🙂

    God bless,
    Bonnie, OFS
    NE WA

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