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How to Learn Handy Skills

In the spirit of apocalypse planning, let’s talk about really long-term survival strategies. In a zombie outbreak or other cataclysmic event you may find yourself needing to build or repair structures without the help of a construction company. While building a simple survival shelter will keep you alive in the short-term, the comfort and convenience of buildings can’t be overlooked. This is why it can be a good idea to learn the basics of carpentry, or even stonework, prior to an apocalypse.

Seek Real-World Guidance

The internet has hundreds of thousands of resources to help people learn how to use tools and build. If you are serious about learning more than just the basics, however, seek out a course or mentor in your area to learn. There’s nothing like in-person lessons for physical skills – especially ones with potentially dangerous power tools!

Photo by Jana Sabeth on Unsplash

Learn Both Power and Hand Tools

I LOVE my power tools. Nothing beats the convenience of drilling a hole in seconds or sawing through a piece of wood without breaking a sweat. Practical, time-saving know-how like this can come in handy in everyday life. Keep your skills and tools sharp and maintained in case you still have access to a generator in an emergency. However, electricity may not always be available, so practice with the non-powered alternatives too.

Don’t Stop at Tools

Once you know how to saw wood in two and hammer a few nails, you’re done, right? Wrong! There’s a reason people go to school for years to become tradespeople. In the apocalypse you probably won’t need to have your Journeyman’s ticket in a trade (though it can’t hurt!) but you need to know a little more than just basic tool use.

Choose a few small projects to build and find plans that look simple to follow – or ask your teacher/mentor for good places to start. This will help you get a feel for how to fit pieces together in a secure way and create solid corners and joints. You also get something neat to show off to your friends and family!

Practice, Practice, Practice

The fastest way to learn any skill is to practice using it and learn from your mistakes. Once you have the basics down, choose more ambitious projects and keep using your skills. The more you learn, the better off you’ll be in a post-apocalypse.

Know Where to Find What You Need

Have a route planned to your local hardware store and lumber yard. Even if you don’t have the space or resources to keep your own tool-stuffed workshop, if the world ends, you can likely borrow or trade for some tools and materials to get you started.


Hopefully, we will never see a world like those portrayed in Mad Max, Water World, or Robins

on Crusoe where we will need to build our own shelters without the help of a community. Still, it never hurts to be prepared, and the ability to build your own shelters and furniture is useful in day-to-day life as well.

If you’re like me and need your power tools when it comes to carpentry, check out our line of Goal Zero solar generators so you never need to be without your beloved drill or table saw!

This article was written by Zenia Platten – Author and emergency preparedness professional

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