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Archive for July, 2016

How to Make a Chair With Duct Tape

How to Make a Chair With Duct Tape

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One of the things that you will most-likely miss during a bare-bones survival situation is a chair.  It’s one of those things that we hardly ever think about, and incorporating a chair into our survival kits or bug out bags is not always that practical.  Let’s take a look at a way that you can make a chair out of some duct tape and a few branches.  You can apply the same principles and come up with a more customized option that can make life a lot easier during a crisis.

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Getting Started

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The first step is to gather a couple of long branches that are about 2 inches in diameter.  They should be at least four feet long each, and this will serve as the backrest for the chair as well as part of the frame.  You can make them shorter or longer depending on your preferences, but three feet seems to be a good starting point.  Trim the branches so they don’t have twigs or other sharp parts that protrude from the sides. 

You also want to gather two shorter branches that are also about 2 inches in diameter.  Strip them of any protrusions as well.  This will serve as the seat portion of the chair.  It’s hard to say how long these pieces should be, and it will depend on the height of the person who will be using the chair once it’s finished.  Generally speaking, both the back and seat should be about the same length, but you can improvise according to your needs as well.  It’s also important that the branches for the seat, as well as the back, are thick and strong enough to support the weight of the person using the chair as well.  Both sets of branches should be trimmed to be equal in length and have a similar diameter.

Finally, you will need a smaller branch that’s about 12-18 inches long and an inch in diameter.  This will serve as a cross-support beam that will rest just above the seat. 

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Putting the Seat Together

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If you have long branches, you can make a cut in the middle that almost extends all the way through the wood.  Leave just enough of the branch intact so you can bend it without causing it to break.  This little bit of material can dramatically increase the strength and stability of the chair.  However, if you only have shorter branches, you can simply tape the ends together for a suitable fitting. 

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In both cases, the object is to form a “V” shape with each set of branches and anchor them in place with the tape.  Wrap each branch and then connect them while also looping the tape around the “bridge” to temporarily secure everything together.  Just apply enough tape to hold the branches together for now.  You can reinforce these connections later once the chair has been assembled, and this will help you to conserve on tape as well.

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The next step is to tape the support beam to the larger V about ¼ the way up from the bottom.  Then, place the smaller V inside and against the larger one so that it touches this support beam.  Situate the V so that the pointed end extends back and down and serves as the third leg of the tripod that you are making.  Tape this V to the support beam, as well as the legs of the back portion of the chair, to secure it in place.  The front of the V will be your seat, so adjust how far it extends forward accordingly.

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Securing the Chair

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Test and adjust your fittings as necessary until you have everything just right.  Start to make the chair more secure by adding a strip of tape about ¼ the way up from the support beam, and wrap it around each of the branches.  Take another strip or two of tape and secure the connections at the pointed ends of the seat and back.   Attach a strip of tape to the front feet of the chair and connect them with the back leg.  You can also place a strip between the front legs for some additional support as well.

Finally, take a few strips of tape and wrap them around each branch of the seat before stretching the tape across to the other side.  Make these strips taut enough to support the weight of the heaviest person using the chair while keeping sagging to a minimum.  You can expect to use anywhere from 3 to 10 strips to fashion the seat to your liking.  Consider adding another layer of tape to cover the sticky-side of each of the strips on the chair.  This will reinforce the strength of each of the strips while preventing the tape from sticking to itself if you decide to make the chair collapsible and portable. 

Try this rudimentary project out for yourself and feel free to build on the idea to make something more suitable for your needs and purposes.  The main thing to take away from this project is that you don’t need a lot of material to create a chair in the field, and it only takes a few minutes to put together.

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How to Cook With Your Vehicle Engine

How to Cook With Your Vehicle Engine


Did you know that engine manifold and exhaust temperatures can reach up to 1200 degrees?  It’s true, and this is why it’s so important to make sure that your cooling system is working properly in order to protect your engine.  However, this high level of heat is also one of the reasons that using an engine to cook a meal during an emergency is such a practical idea.  You don’t need to gather wood and build a fire.  You don’t need to use fuel in order to get it going, and you can be eating your next meal in just a few minutes as opposed to a few hours. 

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Practical Considerations

It’s important to be mindful of some precautions and common-sense steps that are needed in order to avoid damaging the engine, causing a fire or ruining your dinner.  While it is completely possible to put a frying pan on top of a hot manifold, there are a lot of other ways that you can use your engine as a cooker.  The trick is to prepare the food properly and make sure that you are placing it in a location that poses minimal risk.

When slow-cooking a meal in your engine compartment, it’s important that you package the food so that it will be shielded from excessive heat.  It’s also important to prepare foods that produce a minimal amount of grease, and all meals should be packaged safely.  This involves wrapping food in quality aluminum foil and not in paper or plastic products.  You also want to make sure that the food can’t drip or leak out grease into the engine compartment as it cooks.  This could cause a fire or damage sensitive electronic components. 

The food should also be secured with wire since the heat in the engine compartment won’t cause other types of cordage or tape to smolder, burn or break.  One of the biggest concerns is to prevent the food from getting loose and ending up in the fan or fuel system.  Food particles, as well as the foil can also get caught in belts or pulleys and cause a lot of damage.  Finally, although unlikely, food can work its way into gears or brake systems. 

While the risk will be minimal when your vehicle is parked and you have the hood open,  you want to make sure that everything is bundled up nicely if you cook and drive.  Yes, you can cook and drive.  Think about the amount of heat that is radiating in your engine compartment, far away from the manifold.  If you strategically place a meal bundle in a spot that heats to an optimal temperature, you can theoretically slow-cook almost anything.  You just need to make sure that you prepare properly.

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Using the Manifold

The easiest and most practical way to cook with your engine is to use the heat from the manifold.  However, due to it’s high temperatures, you will want to position the food so that it won’t burn or vaporize.  This may involve building a rack that rests atop the manifold, or holding the pot or pan with your hand a couple of inches away to regulate temperature.  You can also start to cook some foods when the engine is off and the manifold begins to slowly cool down. 

As mentioned before, the most important thing to remember is that you don’t want to spill grease, have food splatter or put yourself in a situation where you can get burned as well.  Use common sense, take proper precautions and tinker around until you find the most efficient way to use your engine as a way to cook food.  As crazy as it sounds, it really works, and you may end up benefiting from this option during an unexpected crisis or survival situation. 

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