Basic Blacksmithing Book

There is a very good book on making basic tools from such things as re-bar as well as coil & leaf springs. It is written for rural Africa so I’m not sure how many people will kill and skin a goat to make their bellows, but the other steps in being able to get up and running without much external support.

The book is titled “Basic blacksmithing” by David Harries and Bernhard Heer. A pdf is currently available here. I’m not sure of the copyright status of this book, but I was able to find a pdf several places on the internet so it may be pseudo public domain. The sub-title is “An introduction to toolmaking with locally available materials” and really is a book that starts with the basic blacksmith techniques and tells you how to use metals that can be scrounged from a junk yard.

Some items the book teaches you to make are:

  • Round Punch
  • Hot Chisel
  • Cold Chisel
  • Hot and Cold Sets
  • Tongs
  • Fullers
  • Hammers
  • Axe, Hoe & Knife Making
  • Carpenter Tools


Remember “It’s not the tools that make the Blacksmith, it’s the Blacksmith that makes the tools”.

Episode 18 – News from the homestead and

Today’s podcast is a quick homestead update. I tell you about my plans for chickens and ask for a bit of help, we talk about some consideration when using maple for growing shiitake and finally I ask you very nicely to rate me in itunes.

I also remind you that I’m busy making plans for SOS 2.0 and (so forgive the slow down in posts)

After that I have included a copy of Craig Cole’s podcast. He interviewed me about my climb up mt. Rainier.

If you are into fishing, hunting, kayaking, biking, climbing, etc then consider listening to the

Save Our Skills News Update 3/17/2011

I had a few minor things I wanted to let you guys know about and figured one post would be best.


After talking to some trusted friends in the homesteading community they all seemed to think that I could keep bees, quadruple the size of my garden, run a podcast, hold down a job, stay married, have my first son and also start a new chicken coup. That sounds like something a sane person would do right?

I’m just nuts enough to give it a go. I’ve decided after much deliberation to build a chicken tractor and research more into making a paddock system later. Now it is GO time so I need to bust some serious but to get this coup built. I think I have more than enough scrap wood. Stay tuned for my mis-adventures!!!

Shiitake Mushrooms

If you are planning to grow your own shiitake mushrooms please do yourself a favor and give Joe and Mary Ellen from a call first. I called them to discuss my maple tree and found out that the type of spore I get will be dependent on the specific maple variety. In fact in the podcast I mentioned that you would want a wide range spore, however for red maple you would want a heat loving variety and use the wide range for a sugar maple. Joel also recommended to me the specific strains he would use for my situation and gave me advice in regards to placing the logs on my property.

The time to order your spore is now as they said they get backed up in april when most people (myself included) will be inoculating. You can keep your spore ready once you get it by putting it into the refrigerator.

The Outdoor Podcast

I love the outdoors, and I think most people reading this blog share that sentiment. I’m going to be recording a podcast tonight with Craig from

Find the outdoor podcast on facebook here

We are going to be discussing my experience with mountaineering on Mount Rainier. In the meantime please enjoy a few photos from the trip:

I enjoy making panoramic photos as a hobby, you can see some panoramic photos of the Rainier trip here

4 very simple do it yourself root cellar ideas!

The biggest challenge, at least for me, with gardening is preserving the harvest. It makes me sick to think of the amount of food I have let go to waste through not having these skills. Root cellaring is something I am looking at hard as it is a no impact way to store food. It uses the earth to maintain the freshness of the crops stored within.

Idea #1

Bury a 5 gallon bucket and cover it with a straw bale.

Photo via mother earth news


Idea #2

Build a root cellar from plastic drums

Another Barrel Design

Idea #3
Make it out of pallets
Pallet wood root cellar

Idea #4
A galvanized trash can. This is basically the same as the barrel one so I am cheating a bit.

Trash Can Root Cellar
Another Trash Can Root Cellar

Free eBook Giveaway! Limited time offer (Valid through 11:59PM 3/16)

I’m going into promo mode here, to support a really great guy putting out an awesome product. Since I am a Food Security Knowledge Pack subscriber I’ve already gotten my copy of Jason’s new ebook and I want to share with you how you can get yours!

Download the sample PDF to get a sneak peak

Jason Akers over at the self sufficient gardener has just released a new eBook entitled “The Process Oriented Gardener” which is an 8MB 80+ page book which cuts to the chase and gives you the straight story on getting things done in the garden. No hype or hoopla just essential gardening knowledge such as

  • Starting seeds with soil cubes
  • Composting
  • Selecting varieties
  • Rain barrel system
  • poultry and chickens
  • and so MUCH MORE

Download the sample PDF to get a sneak peak

For a limited time you can get this book for free when you purchase the Food Security Knowledge Pack for $7.99

For those of you who don’t know the food security knowledge pack is a crazy cheap package of information that Jason has put together. You get a novel of homesteading information about hunting, fishing, gardening, permaculture and more along with years worth of audio content that Jason has produced.

After 3/16/2011 the process oriented gardener will only be sold separately for $7.99

Click Here and purchase a copy of the Food Security Knowledge Pack and Jason will personally email you an exclusive download link to get your copy of “The Process Oriented Gardener”

How to setup your own podcast

First off, I realize this post isn’t for everyone. This is for a few people who have emailed me recently to ask how to setup a podcast. I keep getting this question over and over again so I figured I would write a blog post about it and the next time someone asks I’ll send them to this link.

I’ll recommend 2 solutions here. Please feel free to chime in with your own solutions. There are so many ways you can set this up, don’t think these are the only 2 ways.

Solution #1: WordPress with plug-ins

2 minutes to blogging with wordpress and fantastico by Jack Spirko

Assuming your already blogging with WordPress there are a variety of plug-ins you can use to setup your podcast. For the Save Our Skills Podcast I use PodPress. I learned about this from Jack over at TSP

If you want to know how to get WordPress up and running on your website please check out this link and video.

Setting this up is a fairly simple process. First just go into wordpress admin area and go to plug-ins. Search for podpress and install the plugin.

Next watch this video for a tutorial on how to use PodPress. Please note he uses FTP to install the plugin which will work but is not necessary. You can install the plugin right in wordpress

In PodPress it lists your RSS feed. This step is VERY important. If you want to see stats on your feed and know how many subscribers you have you need to “burn” your feed using feedburner. So just go here and login with your gmail account or go and setup a new account. Once you log in just paste in the feed from podpress and select “burn”. Then you use your feedburner feed to give out on your website and also to submit to itunes. Then anyone that subscribes to your podcast will be counted in your feedburner stats. Don’t skip this step or you will regret it!

Once you have your feedburner feed your ready to put this baby onto itunes. Click Here for the itunes page

Solution #2 podbean

If you want something a little more out of the box then this is a site I have read good reviews on (no personal experience)

Bonus Solution

One or 2 podcasts I have checked out are hosted on this service.