Laaadies and gentlemens, children of all ages, survivors in this show called Life , introducing the lowly chainsaw bar wrench.
If I was pressed to choose only ONE tool to be stuck somewhere with, as much as I love my knives and all that I can do with them, it would be a tough decision....I think I'd have to choose the bar wrench.
Weighing in at a mere 2.4 OZ (80 gm) and 5 1/2" (13cm) long and costing under $10, this amazingly low tech device can make the difference between making it back or not.
I have one in my purse (gotta tell you though, I get some raised eye brows from TSA at airports, who don't quite know what to make of it as it doesn't fit any prohibited tool/weapon category...heh heh..), one in my tool bag, one in each vehicle and several in my tool chest....
(Aside) A word of explanation on how it is that I have so many: In a previous life I worked as a small engine mechanic fixing/selling chainsaws, weedeaters, mowers, generators etc. and these were a basic tool of the trade and once I recognized them for what they could do, set about collecting several...
This particular one was made by/for Husqvarna and came with all their saws (I've considered approaching them as a sponsor..heh heh) and while I can't attest to the strength or durability of other makes out there, I can say that this one is an amazingly tough, durable tool! The tip will break before it bends. I have managed to break one off at the weld, but it took some doing and I had a big screwdriver through the wrench end to give me more torque trying to pry something loose. I routinely bang on the head with a hammer to chip, chisel or pry (with SAFETY first, of course!)
In this Instructable, i'll list some of its uses, other than the obvious which are: screwdriver, 13mm (1/2") and 19mm (3/4") box wrench. It will be up to you to come up with other possible survival uses in both the urban and the wilderness environment.
My thanks to the Instructable authors I have referenced here. Keep up the good work!
Step 1: Coco Nuts!
I'm at the beach and I find a coconut washed up. I'll open it up and share the goodies around. I've gotten a lot of strange looks from "locals" walking by who wonder at this foolish old "white guy" trying to get one open this way. Little do they know that I can get one open in under 5 minutes....
You make 2 rows of "poke" lines in the husk down the the side then pry the first row out, then make another row, and pry that out, then it goes a lot easier down to the nut itself.
Once you have the nut exposed, one of the 3 "eyes" is soft enough to poke through (usually the largest one) and get the water out. Drink that.(..aaaahhh, that's good, also full of valuable electrolytes and very thirst quenching) then holding it with one hand, rap it hard with the head (either the 19mm or the 13mm side) in a repetitive line around the "equator" going around a couple of times and at some point you'll hear the sound change as it develops a crack. Keep rapping until you have a visible crack then pry it apart. The closer you stay to your original line as you go around, the more evenly it will split giving you the makings of a cup (or 2 if you didn't poke the "eye" out).
Use the screwdriver side to score a couple of cross lines across the meat of the coconut so that the pieces come out larger and also it comes out easier without the likelihood of cracking the shell if you intend on using it for a cup. I suppose you could use your knife for prying out the pieces but at the risk of snapping your blade??? You can actually boil water in the shell cup ( a couple of times, anyway) if you had to.
The shell is incredibly hard and dense and has been used by many island cultures to make fish hooks, arrow points, spoons/scoopers etc. and it also burns very hot.
Coconut has an excellent balance of carbs, protein and fats and can keep you going for a long time in the absence of much else. It is good bait for fish, crabs and many other edible critters. You can chew some and (I know it may sound gross, but we're talking survival here, no?) smear it on yourself and the oils can keep your skin from drying out and cracking.
Save some of the fiber from the husk in case you need to make rope or for tinder.