Tools You’ll Need When Manufacturing No Longer Exists

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You wouldn’t be reading this article trying to figure out what tools you needed to build stuff with if you thought life was like the Sound of Music. But if you’re reading this to add another layer of knowledge to your prepping arsenal, you are at the right spot. Figuring out the basic tools and machines that can get you productive in a time of crisis or in everyday life is more important than you think.


Let’s start with the basics. Having a mix of manual tools and battery operated power tools will not only keep you efficient but will ensure accuracy in whatever you decide to cut, saw, chop or drill. Here are the tools that will provide the best versatility in a time of crisis or just when you are trying to figure out how to mount those deer antlers above your master bed.

Manual tools:

  1. 16’ Measure tape and 100’ measure tape –  just in-case you want to draw that line in the sand that you dare your neighbor to cross or just need to measure the board length you are going to hand saw.
  2. 8” and 48” level – which allows you to check the horizontal and vertical (plum) of anything you want to truly keep squared.
  3. A good set of chisels – that run in sizes ¼”- 1 ½”. They work great for knocking down corners on wood and cleaning out saw cuts and joints. Make sure the handle is made to handle a hammer strike so if you need to carve out a Billy stick you won’t damage the handle.
  4. Prybars – in a few different sizes, 8” 16” and a 24” big one made for when you are really needing to pry your neighbors food supply door open.

    Solar Panel Starter Kit 400W

    Solar Panel Starter Kit 400W – You might appreciate a way to recharge your cordless electric tools.

  5. Clamps– you can never have enough clamps! C-clamps, F-clamps, Spreader clamps, Pipe clamps, everything you need to hold stuff together during a glue up or spread things apart.
  6. 6” layout square – It’s a triangle usually made out of aluminum or metal used to make square cuts on lumber stock. Framers sleep with this tool like it’s the Holy Grail. You just can’t make your life any easier with such a simple device.
  7. Block plane – Used to flatten edges of wood, smooth joints and works fantastic for cleaning an edge to glue up to.
  8. Handsaw – For when your battery operated reciprocating saw runs out of juice and the solar panels you are using are working less efficiently because it’s raining outside.
  9. Mallet – Use it as an attitude adjuster or for its real purpose: to coerce things into fitting correctly without destroying or denting them.
  10. T-Bevel/Sliding bevel – Made to measure all kinds of angles you may encounter when building your survival tree-house. Use it to cut angle trim or a slew of other things.
  11. A good screwdriver set and bit set that has a Phillips, star and flathead slotted bits in it.
  12. Utility scissors – A good industrial pair of scissors will be great for opening MRE’s or cutting your jeans to treat yourself when the neighbors Pit-bull decides to use your shin as a drumstick.


Enough of the manual stuff, lets dive into battery operated POWER TOOLS! As you already know we no longer live in the Stone Age, and technology can help us even when the grid is down. With advancements in solar, hooking up and using the sun to charge your tools through solar panels and inverters is a great way to keep efficient.

With Solar in mind, your power tool arsenal list should include the following:

  1. 20 Volt Jigsaw– Great for cutting angles, circles, arches and works when you need some speed when pumpkin carving.
  2. 20 Volt Impact Driver– you never know when you need the power, but at least you have it.
  3. 20 Volt 6 ½” Circular Saw made to cut lumber quickly and rip large sheets of plywood.
  4. 20 Volt Reciprocating Saw with multiple types of blades including smooth cut, rough cut and a few for all-purpose use. This tool is a must. It’s great for cutting low-lying tree limbs, flush cutting plugs and all sorts of things inside and outside of the shop.
  5. 20 Volt drill driver or simply called a drill. You will have the manual one that you will realize after ½ a turn makes the hair on your knuckles fall off due to the strain of a screw stuck in hardwood. But when you really need to screw stuff down fast this will be your Huckleberry.

For the serious hardcore woodworkers out there, you always have the Amish option. Which is going out and buying a Tablesaw, Jointer, Planer, Sander and Wood Lathe; pulling all the motors and attaching a pulley system so your buddy who lost at your poker table the night before, can pedal power your machine while you woodwork away. For the rest of us, the list above will enable you to handle 95% of most jobs around the house or when building your dream artillery bunker!

Find all of these tools and machinery at It’s a great source for all of your tool needs!

About the Author: Shabir Balolia is an avid woodworker and works in all aspects of the family business – Grizzly Industrial Inc. with a focus on marketing, retail store management, foreign product acquisitions, and new product development/R&D.

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hand operated oldstyle bit n brace drill..many are thrown away and they simply do not break..and the old bits are damn good quality as well, ive used a rusty old one from the tip and it drilled perfectly well, edges sel cleaned as I worked my way into the wood. yes it means effort
no power no batteries- always ready to be used.

Wendy Kaubisch

My 95 year old dad gave me his original hand crank drill with which he built his first house. It is wonderful. All bits fit it. It hangs on my wall for decor and easy grab as I continue to use it often. I used to have a push drill and wish I could find another.

John D

I really don’t like those 20 volt tools that much. Those batteries tend to lose capacity, and you find yourself waiting for one or more of them to charge in the middle of a project. A solar electric system with an inverter makes it possible to use AC-powered tools instead, without the charge-time wait. Cutting out the battery also provides an efficiency boost, since there are charging and discharging losses with those 20-volt batteries. If I didn’t already have solar panels on my roof, I’d invest in a portable solar electric system.


Good thoughts, John. I agree that while battery powered units are sexy and convenient, they are far more expensive than corded units that usually have more power. I recently discovered the ‘estate sale’ circuit. Get out there and find those cheap, still fully functional ‘professional grade’ corded saws and drills. 50-year old, completely serviceable torque wrenches for $1. Dirty Coleman white gas lantern that under the dust was shiny and new for $5. Just needed new meshy thingies. Its all out there, just need to get out there late on a Saturday (right before they close worked well), and negotiate… Read more »


My Dewalt drill is the handiest item I have ever bought.


I saw the lack of hammer as well. I’m sure its so simple and obvious that it was just overlooked. A mallet is either wood or rubber-tipped, and unsuitable for hammering nails. You can find those cheap brown work gloves in bundles at places like Malwart, Big R, or TSC for very cheap prices. I’d strongly recommend considering roofing material as a tool. Sure its a part, but in needs to be a tool listed here. Roofing nails, 3″ screws (star head seem to work best). As for power tools, look to a single platform that utilizes the same batteries.… Read more »

Cranford Ducain

I also noticed that no ax or pick or shovel was mentioned. How will you clear brush and dig holes without these?


AHhh, that’s alright. These articles are for arm-chair preppers. To most of ’em, anything mentioned thus far would be about as useful to the average reader as a football would be to the 350 lb. spectator sitting in a chair for 3 hours watching a game. (I’m not even a “prepper”, but darn….my mattock was one of the best tools I ever bought! – and only c. $20 at Lowes, with a lifetime guarantee! Try digging in hard ground without one!)


Also, hit up a TSC or Big R for a set of high quality winter work gloves. Leather with a fur lining. I learned fast this past winter that just because a blizzard is blowing through, the work doesn’t go away.


Relying on batteries will leave you without anything when they go bad. If you want to use electricity, use 120v tools and have a power source, otherwise, just use hand tools.


Uh, if someone is now without such essentials, and has to consult an article such as this, I don’t think the tools would do him any good. The very first essentials, are: A good set of sockets and ratchets- both standard depth and deep; metric and SAE, and not these little novelty sets which only go up to 3/4″- but you want to have ones up to 1.5″, with a good assortment of extensions and universal joints, etc. Plus a good collection of screwdrivers, allen keys; torx/star bits, etc. Plus, pliers, Vise-Grips, tin snips, pipe wrench…. (A HUGE pair of… Read more »


Thirty years ago I coined a mantra for staying focused on what are the most important things to do with my time: “Tools, Skills, Land, Water” Tools are no good without skills, and skills are no good without tools. The things that can be achieved with skills and tools are no good without land to do them on, and the tools, skills and land are no good without water, which is the most necessary thing for all life. Chant these four words to yourself occasionally, follow through on the implied course of action, and you’ll eventually find yourself in a… Read more »


Tom, you are SO right! Although I may have never verbalized your mantra, it is indeed what I have pursued since childhood (I used to spend my $2-a-week allowance at the hardware store!)- I achieved my goal of getting out of the NYC metro area and now live on 28 acres in the boonies- and rarely even go to town anymore (I work at home)- And you look at these farmers and country-folk around here…they can make or repair just about anything. Unlike the city-folk who are $100K in debt for having learned some nonsensical philosophy from a burnt-out ex-hippie… Read more »


Nice to hear from a kindred spirit. I too started buying tools and hardware as a child. I can still remember buying a ten-pack of coping saw blades for 99 cents from the close-out bin at the hardware store and I still have a couple left after 55 years. But this is one irony you’ll enjoy: the young owner of the hardware store had been my 7th grade teacher the year before. Instead of becoming a burned out teacher in a dysfunctional education system, he chose to run the best hardware store in the town until he retired. Like millions… Read more »

Wendy Kaubisch

The best tools I’ve ever had are my rural neighbors. None of us can have every tool nor skill but together, we have a big hardware store and working crew. Most long term country people do a lot without fancy tools. For anyone who is new to country living, go introduce yourself to your neighbors.


Wendy, that is SO true! It’s a completely different dynamic out here, as opposed to the city/suburbs. When I first moved here, my neighbors (who were then complete strangers) would even offer to lend me their tractors/farm equipment! And if something needs doing (a fire put out; a washed-out road fixed; a fallen tree across the road removed…) instead of just sitting back and waiting for “the authorities” to do it, a few neighbors just get together and before you know it, it’s done! This is the way it should be. In the city, everyone’s at each other’s throat. Here,… Read more »

Cranford Ducain

Why not include a bicycle generator as long as your holding on to the battery tools. Much more reliable than any solar panel and will give your kids and others a good way to contribute to the cause. Also remember, the batteries won’t last forever so keep some 120 ac tools to use straight off the generator.

Wendy Kaubisch

I have a 1950’s Schwinn: is there a good instruction manual out there that can show me how to make a generator with it?


Whats coming is not survivable , what you want to do is die on your feet fighting this evil. The life expectancy is zero to none, So make sure you have the tools to die on your feet, you have a song in your heart and a prayer. When this is over there will be nothing left to survive for.


dude..maybe a bit dark? Have faith and act on that faith. you’ll be fine.

Steve from Ohio

Don’t forget a gun. That is also a tool.

Wendy Kaubisch

I need more hand saws! And a new 2 person saw. I have a huge set of blade sharpeners but the saws made in the last 10 years are such chintzy steel…so I need more since the newer ones don’t sharpen well after a few times.

Roy Parker

You may be right about city people sitting on it and waiting for help, but, if 1 in 10 leave the densely populated areas around NYC there will be upwards of 2 to 3 million people on the road moving in all directions. They would devolve into a mass of marauders hellbent on survival and becoming more desperate by the hour. I hope Me and mine don’t live to see it.

Al Terego

Meh, once the few river crossings to the mainland get clogged up (Holland and Lincoln tunnels are only 2 lanes, and Geo. Wurshington Bridge will be clogged with traffic from CT, LI, etc.) no one’s going anywhere from that Hell-hole. Takes you three hours to go 50 miles (no exaggeration) on a normal rush-hour…imagine during the Zombie Apocalypse! Not to even mention the mess that Jersey normally is on any given day…. More people would die just in the madness of trying to get out of that place, than in the actual catastrophe. Be interesting too, that half the people… Read more »


shadir ravioli hasn”t got a freakin’ clue this is the lamest list I’ve run across yet on any of these fearmonger shtf websites. btw if you deal with grizzly, you can forget trying to sell to me. pile of crap.

Al Terego

You’d probably agree with me that come the Apocalypse/SHTF/Oprah farts, whatever, that the streets will be littered with water filters and Swiss Army Knives next to dead “preppers” who chose to stay in these horrible cities until the moment of crisis.


Pretty much, yes. But don’t write folks off so easily..gullibility can be scared out of people. When I was young (just before they invented color) I was trained how to survive with NOTHING..just what is around me. Then during my military years we were trained to fight in similar conditions. My take from that is if a shtf event happens cities are to be avoided. After, they will be great trash piles with all kinds of useful tools and supplies. But nothing you can’t live without.

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