Defense: (Almost) Free Stuff – Or How I’m A Cheap Bastage


I’m a cheap bastage.  I’ll put that out there right up front.  Don’t get me wrong – I’ll spend good money for a good product.  But if I can get what I need through something like some good old fashioned honest manual labor I’ll do so in a heartbeat.  Why is this relevant?  Keep reading.  As always this is not all inclusive but rather once again intended to get those creative gears grinding.

I’m going to go ahead and start covering some basic defensive TTPs (Tactics, techniques, and Procedures) in the blog and logically we are going to need a few, well more than a few, odds and ends during the process.  What kind of stuff?  Things like sandbags, wire, plywood, etc.  Good old basic Class IV stuff.  And man is that shit expensive.  Go and price a roll of barb wire.  You’ll go broke trying to stack all of the material needed.  That is unless you span the purchases out over a long period or wait until the very last minute when SHTF to run the plastic into the ground and then chances are there’s going to be a lot of empty shelves.  I’m not going to go into any uses yet, but rather how we can get that material stacked up and save a buck.

I’ll tell ya what – I love Barbwire.  And not the crappy Pam Anderson movie.  Barbwire is a good barrier to slow folks down and even stop a wheeled vehicle when used properly .  Most of us Rural tribe types already probably have a barbwire fence running around our property or splitting our fields.  That alone ain’t enough wire IMHO.  But if you price a roll of it it’s going to run probably about $50 a roll new.   And I want a LOT of it.  Being a cheap bastage how did I get that much and not spend a dime out of my own pocket?  Some good old fashioned down home ingenuity led me to run an ad in the local rag and put a couple of postcards up in the Co-op for “Free Fence and Outbuilding Removal” with the requirement I keep the material I tear down.  Now rural folks will understand that pulling out a five strand barbwire fence off of a ten acre side of pasture is a pretty labor intensive.  And when something comes along advertised as free folks will jump on it – especially the elderly if they don’t have the resources to do it themselves.  Within three days I had four gigs lined up – I would pull the fence out along with #1 son as long as I got to keep the wire and metal posts.  Over the next three Saturdays I spent pretty much from daylight to dark pulling fences out, stacking posts, rolling wire up, loading it on my trailer, and hauling it to the house.   But before I went out to start tearing fences down I rigged up a couple of tools.  The first thing I did was grab an old bumperjack from the junkyard for $5 and drill a hole in the hook.  Attached to that hole I put a Clevis so I could just slide it over the post and cinch it up, jack a few times and the posts generally would pop right up out of the ground.  I wish I could say I came up with the idea but I remember my granddaddy and a couple of his buddies doing that way back in the day.  Another tool I made (well not really a tool) was a bunch of homemade wire spools out of scrap lumber. I originally wanted cable spools but seems they’ve gotten scarce and when you find them folks want a premium for them – go figure.  So I made two “X”s out of 2x4s that were 2 feet long.  I drilled a hole large enough to run a piece of rebar through the center of them and then attached them to each other via some more 2x4s.  I then welded up a couple of pieces of angle iron to the side of my trailer and capped those with a short section of pipe.  Put the reel in place, slide the rebar through , and I had #1 son roll the reel whilst I tension and align the wire.  Just remember – the larger the reel the more it’s going to weigh when you get it done.   But it’s so much damn easier to handle when rolled up.  An added plus is I got probably the best damn Dutch apple pie I’ve ever had from a grateful old couple.  community service – everybody wins.

Another thing I’m kind of fond of is sandbags.  Sand is a helluva bullet stopper and it’s a given that 24 inches of dry sand will stop most direct hits from small arms – trust me on this one I’ve seen them at work.  But those little nylon suckers aren’t cheap either.  I did some calling around and couldn’t find any locally (we don’t live in a flood plain) and the ones I did find within a reasonable drive cost $50 for a bundle of 100.  Dammmmmn I ain’t paying that much. So being the cheap bastage I am (remember the solutions I favor are cheap, reliable, and simple) I did a little test with a nylon feedsack  half full of sand – and I ended up having to use a black plastic trashbag as a liner to contain the sand in the sack.  I folded the empty half over sand applied some good old duct tape to keep its form manageable and wala – bigass sandbag one each.  You can also use those nifty giant 50 lb. rice bags as well.  So I hit my neighbors up and asked if they would hold onto their old bags for me with the explanation of “I’m going to fill them with sand and build an embankment to expand my pond” and they were more than happy to.  Just realize these things are not as durable or manageable as a USGI sandbag.  But from what I’ve seen putting bullets into them they are as effective.

Wood is kind of a different matter altogether.  I had to do some waiting but I eventually did get some calls from elderly folks that were willing to let me keep the material if I would tear down a shed, barn, or whatever.  I did a couple of those gigs and from my observation it takes a lot of time to do, not all the material you will salvage is going to be useable, and it’s usually pretty damn snakey and you run the risk of getting stuck with a rusty nail (tetanus shot anyone?).    Where I did hit a good payoff was that the sheets of tin I didn’t keep that were salvaged from the roofs brought a decent price at our local auction so I was able to stick some money in the bank and give #1 son half of it for his efforts.  You should be able to get some decent sheets of plywood out of your efforts along with a ton of 2x4s, 4x4s, and maybe even some larger lumber.  Just watch out for those damn nails and snakes.

Another thing that will come in handy is 55 gallon drums.  I’m not talking those plastic food safe or water kind (if you get those free or cheap jump on them without hesitation) but steel ones that bulk oil and such comes in.  Try hitting up your local mom and pop oil shops for them and lot of times they’ll be more than happy to let you have them to keep from dealing with the HAZMAT disposal headache unless they are doing a trade in deal with their supplier.  If that’s the case try asking what the supplier gives them in trade price for the barrel and it may only be a few bucks in which case try topping the price they are getting and maybe they’ll let them go.  Still worth the investment.

One area I am still looking for finding a cheap source of is fill dirt and sand.  No luck on that yet (decent dirt is in demand around here) but when I expand my pond I imagine I’m going to have quite a bit of dirt left over. Just gotta keep looking for that sand.

Other things to look for are railroad rail, railroad crossties, any kind of metal scrap like piping, angle iron, etc.  Hopefully with some imagination and a little good old fashioned labor you should be able to build up a decent stock of material while saving some cash.  Plus to make the fuzzy rabbit huggin’ hippie libtards happy you can claim you’re “going green”.  At least until I fire up the chainsaw.

About Treaded

Semi-retired career and contract troop. I own and maintain my own small ranch out here in beautiful rural America.
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