2 Pioneer Skills That Built our Country Now Making a Huge Comeback

  • Both blacksmithing and woodworking are less common activities these days. We can purchase pretty much anything we need instead of making it on our own. However, if you look around your home, you’ll realize how many things were made using both of these skills. So, it’s important to understand why blacksmithing and woodworking should be added to your survival skill set. When SHTF, it's likely you won't have access to the same conveniences that you do today.

    Blacksmithing: The Master of All Crafts

    Shop yard sales, flea markets, scrap yards, farm auctions, estate sales, and antique stores – the highest prices are usually paid at antique stores.

    Here are the basic tools needed for beginners like me…

    • Anvil ~ A real blacksmithing anvil may be your largest cash outlay. A common man’s anvil can be a section of railroad track or large block of metal – 100 plus pounds mounted to a wooden stump.
    • Forge ~ Charcoal, coal, or gas-powered, the forge will heat your steel for shaping and tempering metal. A hole in the ground will work. Some sort of blower to increase heat in your coal or charcoal. Blowers are not needed for a propane forge.
    • Hammer ~ A 2 to 3 pound hammer to work hot metal.
    • Tongs ~ Long handle pliers used to grip hot steel while hammering.
    • Vise ~ A bench vise mounted on a sturdy work bench.
    • Files ~ Flat and half-round
    • Quench Bucket ~ Container large enough to hold about 5 gallons of water to cool hot metal and for tempering.
    • Safety Equipment ~ Eye protection, ear protection, leather boots, natural fiber clothing, welding gloves, fire extinguisher and water bucket/hose, first aid kit.

    Your skill level doesn’t have to be superior to be useful for long-term self-reliance.

    Blacksmithing Resources

    • Artist Blacksmith Association of North America. Look for state and local chapters in your area.
    • Book ~ The Backyard Blacksmith: Traditional Techniques of the Modern Smith
    • Book ~ The Complete Modern Blacksmith
    • Book ~ Mechanick Exercises: Or the Doctrine of Handy-Works.


    The craft of woodworking compliments blacksmithing more so than any two trades I know. Developing the skill to make handles for metal tools or mill lumber from a tree to accept the nails you forged on your anvil could one day feed your family in hard times.

    Working wood with pioneer tools is based on the same principles as modern woodworking… with a steeper learning curve and physicality. Don’t abandon your power tools.

    Modern Tools

    • Hammers ~ A 16 oz. claw hammer and a larger framing hammer (20 oz.) to get you started.
    • Saws ~ Circular, chop/miter, table, jig, reciprocating – cordless and corded.
    • Drills ~ Cordless impact driver and drill, corded drill press, and an assortment of drill bits (wood and metal), screw bits, and socket bit adapters.
    • Squares ~ Tri-square, combination, speed square, and carpenter’s square. Buy metal squares to use with hot metal work. Plastic melts.
    • Levels ~ Torpedo, 2 foot, and 4 foot bubble levels keep things plumb.
    • Measuring and Marking Devices ~ 25 foot steel tape measure, wooden folding ruler, carpenter’s pencil, chalk line.
    • Utility Knife

    Pioneer Tools

    • Hammers, Mallets, and Mauls.
    • Saws ~ Hand saws: crosscut, rip, compass saw, coping, and bucksaw.
    • Drills ~ Brace and bit, augers, bits of various sizes.
    • Squares ~ Same as listed above; Tri-square, combination, speed square, and carpenter’s square. Used to mark and test angles. Buy metal squares to use with hot metal work. Plastic melts.
    • Levels ~ Torpedo, 2 foot, and 4 foot bubble levels keep things plumb and work as straight edges.
    • Measuring and Marking Devices ~ 25 foot steel tape measure (roughing work), wooden folding ruler, steel drafting ruler (bench work), pencil, chalk line.
    • Smoothing Planes ~ Both long and short.
    • Chisels ~ A variety of sizes kept super sharp… which I’m known not to do.
    • Draw Knives ~ Draw knives for roughing wood to shape and spoke shaves for finishing form.
    • Shave Horse ~ Holds stock freeing both hands to work wood with a draw knife or spoke shave.
    • Froe ~ A simple tool used to split (rive) wood into shingles, boards, and staves.
    • Rasp ~ Both flat and half-round. A 4-in-1 rasp is utilitarian.

    Oh, and never pass up scrap metal. Collect lawn mower blades, leaf springs, bar stock, round stock, pallet wood, hardware (nails, screws, nuts and bolts), old files, tool steel, sharpening devices, sheet metal, saws, etc., etc.

    Are there any other pioneer skills you think everyone should know? Do you have any advice for woodworking or blacksmithing beginners?

    Article Source: Survival Sherpa


    1. Jeff Stevens said:

      Yeah, you’re mistaken. I have a level made by Stabila that is specifically used for hanging doors that reads both level and plumb. Most levels have two sets of bubble glasses installed in them to read both level ( horizontal ) and Plumb ( vertical ) a (Plumb Bob ) would also be a good indicator for plumb on larger projects and learning the Pythagoras Theorem ( A square + B square = C square ) or 3,4,5. or any variant of that 6,8,10. 12,16,20. etc… would guarantee your projects are square ( 90 degrees )

    2. Mike Scott said:

      Blacksmithing and woodworking if you don’t want to go through the click-bait.