26 Pioneer Items We’ll Need Again Someday

by Tommy Grant

Technology and energy have really taken over our world and they run most aspects of our daily lives. From pumping water to growing food to digging holes and having GPS devices installed inside tractors, there really isn’t a part of our modern society that they don’t touch.

But what if you wanted a simpler lifestyle by living off the grid or by homesteading? Or what if a simpler lifestyle was forced upon you due to the collapse of our modern way of life? Scenarios like these would call for a more basic approach with basic tools needed.

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To figure out what tools you need to take care of your daily necessities, we’ve put together a list of common yet critical tools the pioneers used to create a life and maintain it. While some of the tools listed below can be used indoors or outdoors we’ve gone ahead and separated the lists into two different categories, outdoor tools and indoor tools.

1. Adze

An adze can have a short handle like a hatchet, or a longer handle like an axe and it has a curved blade running perpendicular to the handle. The adze is used for chopping wood out of the interior of a piece of a log, as you might need to do in creating a large bowl or a canoe.

To see how an adze is used, check out this video.

2. Animal  Traps

Trapping is a fantastic way of passively acquiring food. Once traps are set out they allow you to get other work done. Traps come in a variety of different sizes and shapes depending on the target animal but modern live catch traps are extremely easy to use and give you the option of choosing whether or not to keep what you catch before dispatching it.

To see how live traps are used, check out this video.

3. Axe

There are a ton of different variations of the axe but one of the most versatile models is the felling axe. It can be used to cut limbs, down trees, split firewood, and shape larger pieces of wood. No matter which kind of ax you choose just be sure to have one.

4. Draw Knife

Draw knives can come in a variety of sizes and they either have a straight cutting edge or a curved cutting edge, with two handles on either side of the blade. Unlike most knives, which are pushed away from the body, the draw knife is drawn in towards it. It is primarily used for removing bark from a log and removing material during the shaping process.

To see how to use a draw knife, check out this video.

5. Froe

The froe has a relatively short handle with a long straight blade that is perpendicular to the handle. It’s a great tool for splitting smaller pieces of wood into boards which were typically used for roofing shingles.

6. Gimlet

A gimlet is a tool with a handle and thin shaft with an auger tip on the end. It is used for drilling small holes primarily in wood but can also be used on other materials.

To see how to use a gimlet, check out this video.

7. Grinding Stone

With all these edged tools at your disposal, you are going to need a way to keep them nice and sharp. You can either choose from a small handheld grinding or sharpening stone, or a much larger stone that was typically powered by foot or hand.

To see how to use a grinding stone, check out this video. 

8. Hammer

The hammer is another very simple tool that many people overlook. When you need to drive posts, nails, build, or demolish, an ordinary hammer can be worth its weight in gold.

9. Hand Auger Wrench

When you need larger holes drilled in wood and a gimlet just won’t cut it, a hand auger wrench will help you get the job done. These auger bits come in various sizes and the top hole section allows for handles to be easily improvised from pieces of wood.

To see how to use an auger wrench, check out this video.

10. Hatchet

A hatchet is nothing more than a smaller version of an axe. They are a great tool to have on hand for smaller jobs and they are compact enough to be easily carried on your person when you are on the move.

11. Logjack

A logjack is a long-handled tool with a spiked end and a large adjustable hook. The end of the tool is used to grab onto a large piece of wood and the long handle provides the needed leverage for one person to move a heavy log.

To see how to use a logjack, check out this video.

12. Manual Hand Tiller

If you don’t plan on having any livestock around to pull a plow, there is another option. Nowadays there are even smaller tools that do the same work as a plow and while using them will be laborious, they don’t require the use of livestock.

To see how a manual hand tiller is used, check out this video.

13. Maul

When it’s time for larger pieces of wood to be chopped down into smaller pieces, you are going to want to break out a maul. Unlike an axe, a maul has a broad-shaped cutting surface and a much heavier head. The broad cutting surface helps to prevent the maul from getting stuck and the heavier head helps in driving through the wood.

14. Plow

Before planting any seeds in a garden or large field, the soil needs to be turned over first. Modern plows are huge and pulled by tractors but older plows were much smaller and pulled by livestock.

15. Saw

The saw is a highly underrated tool and it should be a part of everyone’s tool set. Saws can cut through limbs and down trees just like an axe can but where it really shines is its ability to make clean and precise cuts. When it comes to processing wood into building supplies, you are definitely going to need a quality saw.

16. Scythes

A scythe has an extremely long handle accompanied by a long curved blade running perpendicular to the handle. Without fuel or a push mower, a scythe is used to cut grasses and certain crops. There is a light learning curve to using one but once mastered, they can actually be quicker than modern cutting machines.

To see how fast using a scythe can be, check out this video.

17. Shoulder Yokes

Anyone who has had to carry buckets around for a time can tell you how tiring and unbalanced that job can be. A shoulder yoke is a length of wood that is placed just behind the neck and over the shoulders.

Two pieces of cordage with hooks hang down on either side. The hooks are secured around the handles of buckets and when a person stands up, the buckets are lifted off the ground. Shoulder yokes make transporting materials much easier and more comfortable.

To see how to use shoulder yokes, check out this video.

18. Sickle

The sickle is nothing more than a much smaller, handheld version of the scythe. While it can be used for a variety of tasks, it was mainly used in the harvesting of certain crops. 

To see how to use a sickle, check out this video.

19. Spade and Hoe

When there is a lot of work to be done outside, a simple spade and hoe can be used for much of it. From digging holes, moving dirt, weeding, breaking up tough soil, and planting your garden, these two tools will prove to be invaluable.

To learn how to use a froe, check out this video.

20. Spokeshave

The spokeshave is a handheld wood planer with razor razor-sharp blade secured inside. This small tool is easy to maneuver and allows you to precisely remove small amounts of material from any wood project.

To see how to use a spokeshave, check out this video.

21. Cast Iron Cookware

A lot of modern cookware is made with questionable materials and processes and they don’t last the test of time. Cast iron cookware is durable, can be used both indoors and outdoors and when it is taken care of properly, it will last generations.

22. Manual Grain Mill

If you are growing grains in any amount you will need a way to process them and a manual grain mill will make that job much easier and quicker.

To see how a grain mill is used, check out this video.

23. Pestle and Mortar

A pestle and mortar is an older and smaller version of the mill grinder and it is made up of a stone bowl and stone handle. It’s great for crushing small amounts of ingredients that can be used for cooking, drinks, or medicinal purposes.

To see how a pestle and mortar is used, check out this video. 

24. Spinning Wheel

A spinning wheel is a device that allows you to process natural fibers into denser strands that can be used for the creation of clothes. Everyone wears clothes and needs them, so if you plan on continuing that trend then a spinning wheel wouldn’t be a bad investment.

To see how to use a spinning wheel, check out this video

25. Washboard

Before indoor-powered washing machines, the washboard was a common tool around the house. It consists of a straight board with ripples or ribs running perpendicular down its length. Once clothes are wet and soaped up, the ribs help to provide the scrubbing action needed to clean soiled clothes. You may roll your eyes at having to use one of these but when laundry day comes you’ll be glad you have one. 

To learn more about washboards, check out this video.

26. Wooden Utensils

Whether the utensils are used for eating, baking, or cooking, wooden utensils are a great addition to any kitchen. They not only provide utensils made from healthier materials but they are also aesthetically pleasing.

Conclusion

When the SHTF and our modern lifestyle goes out the window, work will still need to be done. And the most likely way that work will get done is with basic tools and good old-fashioned elbow grease. Make sure you are prepared by using our list and adding your own tools so that you aren’t caught off guard and can get done what needs to get done.

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