As far back as James Ballou can remember, his interests have included survival activities - hunting, fishing, exploring, treasure hunting, backpacking, shooting, making and using tools, and just plain improvising. The author of dozens of magazine articles on various subjects, he also served four years in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division.
I bought this book for ideas for a pending shop project, and also I thought it might give some useful tips for when I am in the sticks. I have experienced vehicle breakdowns while tens of miles up some river or trail that required exceptional creativity to get home. Much of what is shown can be handled for a few dollars in any hardware store, this book is about when there is no hardware store. I was pleasantly suprised by the content, and am glad that I purchased it. It's thorough and systemic approach to materials, techniques and tools made it feel like a textbook to me, which was precisely what I wanted. The book was easily absorbed in a hour and even after decades of doing everything from car repair to blacksmithing to building my own home, Ballou managed to show me some tricks I didn't know, and while I hope I never need these techniques, its good to know them. If your into the new "extreme sport" of survival and self reliance, you owe youself this book.
I recieved this within days of ordering it. As far as the book goes it's pretty good. There are a lot of good ideas for making/doing all types of things. I'm very excited about this book. The one point of criticism I have is that there are a few things that really don't need to put in a book. Example: using duct tape to tape things together, anyone who needs a book to point that out to them probably shouldn't be allowed near tools. Otherwise a really great book. I especially like the low tech approach. I recently built a forge in my backyard, I built it from scrap and about $100 worth of new supplies. Most of the forge plans I'd seen before were too sophisticated for me, not that I couldn't handle it, just that I didn't care enough to build a fancy forge. There's a plan in this book for a homemade forge that is really similar to the one I built. Easy to make and requires almost no specially purchased materials.
In these economically distressed times, the mantra of 'reuse, recycle, repair, re-purpose' has never been more applicable. That's why James Ballou's 'do-it-yourself' instruction guide, the "Makeshift Workshop Skills For Survival And Self-Reliance: Expedient Ways to Make Your Own Tools, Do Your Own Repairs and Construct Useful Things Out of Raw and Salvaged Materials" is so timely and so valuable. Profusely illustrated, this 'how-to' instruction guide will enable anyone to create homemade tools (hammers, drills, screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, saws, files, chisels, vises, clamps, and more!); make successful repairs using glue, tape, cord, wire, dowels, nuts and bolts); construct useful items out of coat hangers, old care parts, 2 x 4s, wooden dowels, nails, rebar, coffee cans, and other readily available materials); "Makeshift Workshop Skills For Survival And Self-Reliance" even shows how to build a homemade forge out of an old barbeque, perform soldering using a road flare, and do quick weld repairs using care batters, jumper cables, and a pair of pliers. From makeshift metalworking, to practical calculating, to salvaging, along with a wealth of practical tips, tricks and techniques, "Makeshift Workshop Skills For Survival And Self-Reliance" is a welcome, thoroughly 'user friendly', and highly recommended addition to personal, family, and community library collections.
This book gave me many new ideas. making your own forge from easy to find materials around the house. Knot tying,rope making,simple drill presses, etc. It arrived in 2 buiseness days. Thank you very much for this informative read.
Excellent idea book for people who like to improvise when solving problems. Great ideas on use of rawhide, cord & string. Also a basic introduction to blacksmithing which is a very handy skill-set to have.
I subscribe to Backwoods Magazine. James Ballou's many articles about using found objects to fix all sorts of strange things you'd otherwise give up to the town landfill have always come in handy, so when I saw he'd gathered together a compilation of them, I snapped it up to add to my 'Suburban Prepper' library. McGuyver has nothing on this guy!