Survival Series, Part #5: Shelters, Fire, Traps, and Tools...

Principles of survival, from a multiplicity of resources.
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Anyman
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Survival Series, Part #5: Shelters, Fire, Traps, and Tools...

Postby Anyman » Tue Apr 05, 2016 7:17 pm

Once you have the majority of the emergencies taken care of - God on your side, proper mentality, awareness of the situation, awareness of time and space, and first aide, - the next thing to take care of, and perhaps the one thing you need to keep track of as you go along, is the development of tools, supplies, and equipment.

The first time we see any mention of tools of any sort in the Bible is in Genesis 4:20-22. "And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle. And his brother's name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ. And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah." Some of the most famous mentions of tools come from the books of Exodus and Leviticus, and while they were taken from the spoils of other civilizations that had wronged the Israelites, some of them were built up from surrounding materials. You might wonder why we're even discussing the tools at use in Exodus and Leviticus, when they were made for the Tabernacle; put simply, the Tabernacle was supposed to be like God's dwelling, where His people could visit on Earth, like the Temple would later become (there are plenty of examples of important tools used in the Temple, as well). Furthermore, the priests spent a lot of time at the Tabernacle, practically taking turns living there for certain parts of the day. As such, the Tabernacle, and it's tools and fixtures, were all made like the tools and fixtures of a person's dwelling. That's why it can be useful to the novice to consult the Bible on making tools, as well as consulting their own memories of tools they needed and used prior to their survival situations; nothing can teach you better than experience.

It's important to initially focus on utilitarian construction and use of tools, before you decorate them to look nice; after all, necessity comes before anything else. It's also important to improvise anything you may not have, or anything you may have had that broke on you. Granted, you may not be able to improvise another communication device to take the place of your cell-phone or walkie-talkie, yet... that doesn't mean you can't improvise a hammering device out of a rock. A key to survival is this: everything you had before your survival situation, was based on previous observations and recreations of natural designs. Initially, people realized that God must have known what He was doing, when He designed things, and reasoned that nobody would know better; they took what they could observe about God's designs, and imitated them in the invention of new tools, equipment, and supplies. These initial designs were altered throughout time, and now, we have much more advanced versions of those very simple, early supplies. That means you can do something that's called "reverse engineering": by remembering how the things you used, before, are designed to work, you can piece together lower-tech versions that will work about as well. Believe it or not, the stories of Jael and Samson, in Judges 4:17-24 and 13-16, are great examples of improvising tools from your surroundings... though, of course, not good for following, outside of the principle of improvisation, itself.

Your first tool should be some kind of knife, if you don't have one. Knives are extremely useful, for all kinds of things. You can use them for stabbing and cutting, of course; you can also use them for splitting and chopping, for hollowing and digging, for prying and anchoring, and even for hammering, if you use the flats of the blade or the handle. If you don't have a knife, you can make something like a knife out of easily-chipped stone (similar to a ceramic knife, which can be sharper than metal knives), pliable metal, or even wood (if you don't mind having a much more dull blade). Your knife should have at least a smooth edge, if not a serrated or partially-serrated edge, and a point at one end. You can wrap some kind of fabric around the other end, so as to make gripping it easier and more comfortable, and many basic knives today have a notch for the lead finger to rest inside, so it's that much harder for the hand to slip on the blade and cut you. Of course, this makes the use of a blunt object necessary, if not also another sharp or pointed object, to form the blade of the knife; however, that can be a temporary tool, to fashion a more permanent one. Another thing you can do with your knife, is split a small piece of wood, stick one end of the knife into the split, and lash it together to the blade, to secure it better. Once you have a knife, you can use it to make other tools out of raw materials, help you build up a shelter and gather materials for a fire, and even put together some traps.

Once you get some tools put together, your next concern will be fire. Fire has multiple uses. It can help you see in the dark; the light can blind other predators, as can the smoke; walking through the smoke can cover your scent; it can cook food, and burn wooden objects just enough to make it harder; it can boil water, and aide in cauterizing serious wounds (something you should only do in a dire emergency); it can warm you up, and scare away pests... the list goes on. In fact, God has used fire, multiple times; mainly, as a sign, or a way to smite people, but there have been times that God used it to consume sacrifices, cover His image, and do a host of other things. In Psalm 104:4, it even says that He makes His angels spirits (the word for "spirit" is the same as "wind" or "air"), and His ministers a flaming fire. This is of great importance, especially since oxygen helps fuel fire. There are three important aspects to making fire, emphasized by the so-called "fire triangle": oxygen, heat, and fuel. To make a fire, you need some form of tinder to catch on fire, kindling to get it to grow to a sustainable level, and then fuel to keep it burning. There are multiple ways to make a fire, including focusing light intensely into one area with a lens or reflective surface, and getting certain elements wet, or combining certain elements to make an unstable chemical reaction. There are also friction-related methods, such as the use of the fire-bow, or fire-drill: a slab of wood, with a pock-mark for an ember, a piece of wood to fit in the pock-mark, and the energy to grind and twist that wood in the mark, to get it heated up enough to spark up the material in the mark and make a coal. There's also striking flint and metal together, or the use of a magnesium or ferro-rod, sending sparks down into the tinder to make it light up. Speaking of tinder, there's the use of the feather-stick, and the nest; you can get a bunch of wood shavings, dry grass, etc., mash it together, and twist it into a nest-shape, or you can shave sections of a branch into frayed ends, which is called "feathering", which can then be sparked and made to burn. Then, you can use as little as zero sticks (by using fuel, and a ton of tinder), or as many as can make a huge, pyramidal stack, with tinder and kindling on top, burning down to the fuel below. Next, you need to feed it with oxygen; you can do this, by making trenches for fire to travel along (a great way to hide fire is to make a Dakota fire-hole, which involves two holes and a tunnel between, so air can be fed through one to the fire in the other; another is the scout-fire, in which you light a very small fire between your legs, wrapped around it, perhaps with a trench leading to the fire to keep it burning with oxygen flow, and wrap a coat or poncho around yourself as you sit there, heating it up), or you can stack the wood up with a ton of gaps for air to flow through. You can do this with urban material, as well, provided you use something that can contain the fire (like a bowl, a hobo stove - an upside-down can, with a notch open at the bottom, and holes in the top, - or a donohi, which is an old Japanese cylinder, used to hold lit coals, both for heat and light, and to light other fires), but as usual, you have to come up with a method of containing the fire, and put it out when not in use. In an urban environment, you can also use a small candle for heat and light, in an enclosed space; in a wilderness environment, you can bury the fire beneath yourself, which will put it out and keep a warm space for you to sleep on. You can use fire to do anything involving heating, lighting, and making smoke, which can be used for anything requiring darkness or obscuring smells and sights in general. Afterward, the ashes can be used to darken things you need to darken, by being smeared on them; as mentioned previously, ashes can also be used to make soap. Did you know that you can also use some kinds of ashes for flavoring, in cooking? Yeah, that's a major plus...


Once you have the ability to make and control a fire, you'll need to build up your location into a shelter. Your shelter should take your surroundings into account, and fill in the "gaps" and weaknesses in that location; for example, making a snow-pit or igloo in the snow, or making a "swamp bed" in the swamps (sort of like making a bed-frame out of raw wood, in the swamps, to elevate yourself above the waters). In so doing, of course, you have to make sure your shelter conforms to the following anagram, "B.L.I.S.S.":

Blend in with the surroundings
Low silhouette (shadow)
Irregular shape (no perfect circles; they're not natural)
Small
Secluded location.

Some great types of shelters are seen in the Bible, including the aforementioned passages in Genesis about tents (Paul was a tentmaker, by the way; Acts 18:3), tabernacles (remember earlier? Exodus 26), and booths (Leviticus 23:34-42). Booths combined the best of both worlds, giving a sturdy frame for a shelter, and then covering it with the easily portable and versatile material for a tent. Even today, Jews around the world still celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, in which they dwell in small booths for the whole feast. Take a look at some. In fact, take a look at some Native shelters, which use the same principles.

What about traps? Why would we need traps, when the Bible talks about how bad traps are (such as Psalm 141:9)? There are also passages about God setting traps for evildoers (sometimes, turning their own traps on them, such as in Proverbs 28:10), and setting traps was often an acceptable method of hunting in the days of the Bible. I'll include a link, here, to 74 verses on traps, and you'll all be able to read about different kinds.

http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Trap

Traps can also be set to protect oneself from predators, by setting them and covering them up in seemingly open "gaps"; unknown to predators that try to close in on your location, through these gaps, they will stumble upon traps, trigger them to change the gap in a way that suddenly makes getting through too difficult, and be caught. The #1 thing to remember, when setting traps, is to hide the triggers, as well as the traps, well enough to prevent their being spotted; the close second thing to remember is where they are and what triggers them, so you can avoid them or free yourself. I'm sure I don't need to explain the value of trapping, when it comes to catching animals you intend to use for food, and other purposes...

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you all come back next time, when we discuss getting, filtering, purifying, storing, and using water.

By the way... a few important websites, for survival and self-improvement. They're all free.

https://www.khanacademy.org/
http://www.social-engineer.org/
http://www.changingminds.org/
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ ... y/army/fm/
http://www.equipped.com/fm21-76.htm

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Blue
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Re: Survival Series, Part #5: Shelters, Fire, Traps, and Tools...

Postby Blue » Sun Oct 30, 2016 6:24 am

I appreciate your notes on improvisation at all levels of resources somebody might have. Another important idea is getting around 'functional fixedness'-- which is getting stuck thinking that a particular item or tool is only good for the task it was designed for. A ladder can be a bridge, an item of clothing can be a bandage... You get a lot of value out of mentally reverse engineering objects and finding new uses for them.

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Anyman
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Re: Survival Series, Part #5: Shelters, Fire, Traps, and Tools...

Postby Anyman » Tue Nov 01, 2016 2:51 am

Absolutely, and that's a great point. It's also known as lateral thinking, and it's great for life in general. There are exercises to help with lateral thinking, all over the Internet; the only problem is, they tend to repeat each-other, so finding fresh ones after a while can be a chore...

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Re: Survival Series, Part #5: Shelters, Fire, Traps, and Tools...

Postby Blue » Wed Nov 02, 2016 12:28 am

Ah, the challenges of thinking laterally about lateral thinking.


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