Picture of Survival tool extraordinaire!

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!
owen57021 year ago
If u had a rock or something u could do something hammer like and hit the top and make the screwdriver part split wood ... That's just my 2 sense
buskrat1 year ago
The stihl brand ones are very nice as well they are slightly larger though. They have a longer wrench end. I also work in a shop and have been in several shops that have these convenient tools I got several of them at least 10, 15 if you count the ones with my saws. Ive never broke a stihl brand one but the poulan pro 2 or 3 of those have bloodied knuckles when they snap
Halphinian1 year ago
Thanks for the instructable next time I have the chance I'm going to make one
Blechmen2 years ago
Hey i just changed my name from legomaster92 to Blechmen so i was wondering if you would want to just tweak yours a bit so than the other users can get an accurate result if they wanted to check mine out.
Blechmen3 years ago
Haha This is so cool and I just realized you recognized me haha thanks for that.
KingArthur3 years ago
Great! This is a nice idea. The vast majority of people would never think about this item. It is another tool is the world of wilderness survival.
andrew2lu3 years ago
Lollolololol oh no! a fleeing palm tree! must catch it!
ajs13133 years ago
Great uses for a handy tool, but ......

I am still stuck on the purse!!!!
Don't diss the purse/merse. It's full of heavy tools, and he'll smack you into the middle of next week!
jamilks (author)  ajs13133 years ago
ajs, aloha....Ross on their Clearance shelf, $5.49, all leather...kinda classy...I down-sized from carrying Mountainsmith's largest "fanny pack"....forced me to think about what I carry with me and why....
lol... the purse...THAT's what first caught the TSA's attention! ;-D
ajs1313 jamilks3 years ago
not a bash, just caught my eye....lol
This could also be used in a street fight as a deterrent
jamilks (author)  hossweightlifter3 years ago
Aloha hoss, that is sort of the idea in the "Fist of fury" step....urban survival...
ohh dumb me :D
jamilks (author)  hossweightlifter3 years ago
Hoss, aloha~

Not dumb at all....I guess the pacifist (pun intended, heh heh) in me didn't want to talk about that fact and instead I kinda danced around it with the comment about "animals".... but I'm sure that it could be deadly....the amount of force you can put behind it with the wrench end as a handle.....
mjmare3 years ago
Nice idea!
I'm curious as to what you say to the TSA officials about this tool, who I find not to be the understanding kind.
jamilks (author)  mjmare3 years ago
mj, aloha~

Well, as a matter of fact, most of them just look at it, many of them don't even look as the x-ray profile doesn't look like anything they recognize (maybe) and the ones that have questioned me, I told them it was a combination screwdriver wrench and that seemed to be satisfactory....when asked what I need it for, I tell them that I'm always fixing things...

I guess it may be a case of their not "thinking outside the box".....I mean if someone was evil or deranged, it is possible to cause some serious injuries with just a ballpoint pen.
mjmare jamilks3 years ago
Thanks for the reply. Ever since a run-in with a TSA official over a Compass iPad stand (extremely lethal of course) I'm a bit more careful. Which is probably the point ;-)
timmycutts3 years ago
You're not sure whether you're 180 or -180 pounds? I could be wrong, but I'm almost certain that it's only possible to have a negative weight on Pluto. I'm pretty sure it should be "180 pounds +/-" or, more accurately "180 pounds, give or take".
If we are going to be pedantic, he won't have a negative weight on Pluto, he will be about 12 pounds.

You are correct about the wording, but if you are going to mock someone for their terminology, you should take extra care not to say something even more wrong yourself.

After all, the statement "-180 or 180" pounds is literally true, since one of the possibilities actually applies, but he won't normally have a negative weight on Pluto. :)
There's "mass", there's "weight" as it relates to gravity, and then if you really want to get pedantic, you can also calculate in the buoyancy of an object in a medium (e.g. air). I guess you could say that you have a negative weight if you are in a liquid medium that i more dense than you are. Say for example, you have attached your shoes to a scale and the scale is attached to the bottom of a tank and then the tank is filled with a heavy liquid, perhaps mercury. A 180 lb person would have a volume of about 0.81 cu-meters. Since buoyancy is related to the weight of the medium that you displace and since mercury has a density of 13.546 grams/cu-cm, you're looking at a bit of buoyancy and thus negative "weight".

OK, technically, we ignore our buoyancy when we are measuring our weight, but it does affect the measured value. You would weight slightly more in a vacuum chamber than you do in air.
Good point! I could claim I was thinking of buoyancy when I said "wouldn't normally" but really I was thinking of centripetal force counteracting gravity. If you spun pluto really fast, someone on the equator might eventually get to negative weight. Unfortunately, I suspect that pluto would then break up.
I apologise to anyone who was offended. First, while I am pedantic, normally, I am not familiar enough with the gravitational field of Pluto to actually know how much one would weigh. I've tried to avoid Pluto as much as humanly possible since the arguments way back in year 8 at school. Second, I am correct about the wording, that's really all that is supposed to matter. The point was to point out the possibility for confusion, while trying to be funny (something I can very rarely pull off unless the conditions are right), rather than try mock anyone. I also said "I could be wrong" meaning that I accept any correction, however you should take care with your tone of voice when pointing it out. While my being autistic has its benefits, such as my increased logical ability (normally), the flaws can almost always be more annoying, like my inability to detect sarcasm accurately or the inability to determine tone of voice in written text. Finally, I did take care not to say anything wrong about myself, I always do. So what on earth could you possibly be referring to? (Sorry it's so long, I find I have a need to explain every point at once. Also, it's not meant to be offensive in any way, I just struggle to write anything that's not fiction.)
jamilks (author)  timmycutts3 years ago
Timmy, thanks for taking the time to explain. I am/was not offended..I think I was reacting to some folks tendencies to find fault when they are not comfortable giving praise...not claiming to expect any, but so it goes..

Be well, jamil
Don't feel bad, tone in text is difficult for everyone to always get all the time in written text, it's not just you. I certainly struggle with getting it right in writing.

In case you're interested, I got the 12 pound figure from http://www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/weight/
jamilks (author)  timmycutts3 years ago
timmy, aloha ~

I apologize for the ambiguity and for any confusion it may have caused... as bobwojo points out I meant to say that I weigh "about" 180 pounds depending on when I ate last, what clothes I'm wearing (or not, as the case may be), the position of the moon, my elevation above sea level...etc. etc...Sorry....
ok, the wording may be ackward, but all the person wanted to say was "about 180 pounds". Would have been better said this way " ~180 lbs " or " 180 lbs + or - "
bobwojo bobwojo3 years ago
Or simply "about 180 lbs "
Oh, please...
I appreciate your well-written, well-illustrated, easy-to-read, authoritative instructable. Well done! You've convinced me...next chance I get at a yard sale or 2nd hand store, I'm snaggin' me a survival tool!
jamilks (author)  MiltReynolds3 years ago
Milt, aloha~

Thanks for your kind words....they are also darned handy workshop additions...
Amnesia Wes3 years ago
You carry one of these in your, uh: "purse"?
jamilks (author)  Amnesia Wes3 years ago
Aloha amnesia~
Not sure what else I might call it..."Merse"? over the shoulder type bag? Any ideas, I'm open....
menahunie3 years ago
LMAO.. A Chainsaw bar tool as an ultimate survival tool? NOT....
A coconut can and is opened with a fire hardened stick everyday; I do it and many Polynesians do it also. Also you can open a coconut after peeling along the fracture line with a rock if you have to.
As for a tool for surviving?
It is a strong and sturdy FIXED BLADE KNIFE..
Mine is around 18 inches long with a thick blade. This lets me chop and cut and do many needed things for REAL survival.
Everything from using it to create a shelter to cutting a straight branch to fire harden into a spear. Carve fish hooks if you don't have any and go fishing or make a spear for fishing. Much Much more.
This "tool" as you put it is made from soft steel and the real and only thing it can do is poke holes...
Also TSA will never let you carry this on a plane period.. Even inter island travel..
Pretty sure you can't carry an 18-inch knife on a plane either.
jamilks (author)  jschap13 years ago
Ya think?
jamilks (author)  menahunie3 years ago
Menahunie (is that a different species of "Menehune?) Aloha!

The idea is not to be the "Ultimate" survival tool but just one that for its size and weight (and price) can do many things....

There are obviously things an 18" long knife can do that this cannot but then I wouldn't want to pound it into a tree and try and hang from it.....or use it to drill a hole.

As far as being made from "soft steel" my opening comments mention the strength and hardness of this particular tool...I have no idea of the construction or strength of other brands out there. Hardly "soft" as I regularly use it to chisel concrete flash at work when trying to fit a pool fitting in place....

To each his/her own...Don't know what to say, but I have taken it interisland and I have taken it to the mainland and to Canada, recently....believe it or not, no matter to me brah!~
ldmorgan3 years ago
The handle is hollow. It could be filled up with as assortment of survival items such as a fire rod, fish hooks, an LED flashlite, a button compass, a small hacksaw knife blade, and the like.

The handle could also be given a few layers of duct tape on one side and maybe a few layers of snare wire and some heavy fishing line on the other.

You could also wrap a yard or two of orange nylon strip around the handle for marking your trail. Just clip a 2" length to flag rescuers at intervals.

The same strip could double as an improvised sling, tourniquet, bandage, or lashing as well.

Put the right kind of ink cartridge in the handle, and the nylon strip could also become waterproof notepaper to leave messages on the trail.

Lots of possibilities with that tool as the start of a survival kit.
jamilks (author)  ldmorgan3 years ago
Id, aloha, Thanks for the fresh ideas!
Horus93393 years ago
You could put sausage skin on one end and slowly push a variety of meat/vegetables/pulses to make succulent snacks.

Look through it like a monocular telescope to direct home movies.

Place the shaft between the hands (that's what she said) to whisk an omelet.

If you magnetize it, then you could suspend notes on the fridge for a partner, house mate or the police once they find out you have escaped prison using this as a shank (to disable the guards), digging tool (to carve out a tunnel), shaping tool (for a paddle) and a needle/punch (to sew a boat together).

It could also be thrown at me for being daft. Ouch!
jamilks (author)  Horus93393 years ago
Horus, aloha~

Not "daft' at all! Creative problem solving....indeed!
Awesome idea with the sausage stuffer thing! Excellent use for the entrails of the rabbit that you made the pies out of!
Has "musical instrument" been suggested yet? Put your lips inside the bigger hole and blow! Makes kazooo sort of noise. Failing that... use it to smash fingernails... this will make all sorts of noise (which can be handy in a survival situation!)
basefilm3 years ago
Enjoyed reading this. I have to say I think many commenters miss the point of these kinds of things is to try to think through 'what if' scenarios and make a case for a particular object being the 'best' survival tool.

All else being equal, the clear choice is obviously an overhead projector. Remove the fresnel lens in it and you can create a solar oven in the woods, allowing you to both be green and start a forest fire with one re-purposed device. That's versatility.
jamilks (author)  basefilm3 years ago
base, aloha~

I must say that try as I might, I can't figure out how to make this into an overhead projector, but somehow, I don't think that is what you are suggesting...heh heh..Thanks for the encouragement to problem solve creatively...
If you start a forest fire... they will find you! Ever wonder why a forest fire can be traced back to a cigarette butt, then DNA tested, then they arrest someone three states away... but they're still not sure if OJ is really guilty or not?!!
StuNutt3 years ago
Who needs a Winchester in the wilderness? If you get attacked by a grizzly, you can defend yourself with the chainsaw that came free with htis gadget :D
steve19113 years ago
I must admit I was skeptical at first, but wow, you really sold me on this tool. Better still, I know that I already have two! But tell me, do you really get this past the TSA folks at airports? What do you tell them and what do they say?
KenCan3 years ago
OK, you had me on board, kinda, until the CPR fix:
"...a very short snorkel.. for..mouth-to-mouth?"
carver1663 years ago
One more good use might be as a knapping tool for your obsidian, from one tool, many more.
TSA looks at this as both a tool and a weapon.
It should go into your checked luggage without any questions.
It depends on which airport ,which agent ,how anal etc .etc. they are.

I like your instructable.
It is a really good idea for camping and hiking also.
Doesn't weigh much and doesn't take up much room.
I'm getting a bunch of them to stash in each vehicle and in my survival gear.
I already keep a nice folding knife in each vehicle.

I wonder if they come in different sizes as per the brand of chainsaw ?

I still have a couple of those mail-order survival knives with the hollow handle that you can fill with all kinds of things.
The compass in located on the underside of the sealed screw-on cap on the butt of the handle.
They come with a nice sheath that can either go on your belt or stuck down in your boot strapped to your leg.
Just picked up mine at a Lowe's store for under $7.00 .
A cheap investment.
They do come in several different sizes depending on make of Chain saw.
jetcloud3 years ago
Always carry two bar-wrenches. They do break at the weld becoming darn useless for what they were made for, removing chainsaw sparkplugs and bar adjusting.
Beergnome3 years ago
and you can even use it to adjust your chainsaw!
80$man3 years ago
Very nice! I think it is great for someone in your line of work, I bet you can reassemble an entire lawn mower with your chainsaw bar wrench . I also love my knives so I don't want to do 'dirty' work with them (prying, drilling ect.), this tool does sort out those problems.

Further, I like your painted work knife handle. I'm also thinking of painting my one knife, currently it's matt black (gives visibility problems in low light conditions) so I want to repaint the grip in gun metal gray and regrind the blade to expose more shiny metal. Did you dissassemble your knife before painting it? Any tips for painting the knife?
jamilks (author)  80$man3 years ago
80$, aloha~ Thanks for the positive feedback....close, but not quite reassemble a whole mower.....heh heh....

As far as painting the knife, I just stuck it into a block of wood and sprayed it with fluorescent orange upside-down paint (the kind used in doing layouts on the dirt). It helps to have the knife semi clean and oil/grease (even hand/finger oil) free. You can either wipe it down with rubbing alcohol, spray it down with brake cleaner or other similar solvent and let it air dry before painting it. For that matter, even dish soap would work...
Be well~
Spray-on "Plasti-Dip" is nice for handles & it's a reversible modification (sometimes a little too reversible.) I just tape off the blade, which also makes it safer to handle by the pointy end while wet. For blades, I like black enamel, then a coat of the spray-wax they sell for shop tools. (I doubt that treatment would be considered food safe for a camping knife, though!) You can mask the bevel with silicone or just sharpen away the paint.
chuber3 80$man3 years ago
Dont know if the bar wrench could beat out my Leatherman but...Painting the knife (and other tools) is something I have done for years ( For me to find them, and when someone "borrows" it they will know who they got it from.). I start with white primer then finish with 1/2 (+/-) international orange. The white to help find "lost" items at night and the orange for when my item is in the bushes or tall grass.
trialsrc3 years ago
Any tool can be used several different ways. I also worked in the power equipment buss
They can indeed, mostly as throwing implements.

This is a good write up on a very handy tool. If you have a similar expose then please share, I have been thinking about the multiple uses of nail clippers, Plasticine and Lego bricks for some time now.

I will release this information and more when I come to teach you about the mysteries of the one shoe/sock at the side of country roads and the reason Rabbits should be avoided (well except in pies or sausages {see previous post})

Semper fidelis.
the husk is also essential (albiet paiful) if you have no toilet paper.
islandpiper3 years ago
Now...THIS....is why i follow Instructables.....excellent article. THANKS!! Headed for the chain saw store tomorrow. . islandpiper
leroym3 years ago
Back 65-70 years ago when I was a small boy they were referred to as spark plug wrenches so I always assumed that's what they were. They fit 2 different size spark plugs as I recall.
nlsnglls3 years ago
I have a spark plug wrench just like it.
galadriei3 years ago
i like it! i think this in one pocket and a knife in the other would make for the ultimate apocalypse kit! ;)
given a choice between this and my super tinker, i would not hesitate to take my super tinker. but this is not bad as a pry-bar replacement, though i would have to field test it first. i like it, thanks for the idea.

lknowles3 years ago
Sounds like some people need to turn off their computer and have some fun. Maybe playing on a real rope swing for say 20 minutes +or-.
bobwojo3 years ago
Boy, I'm surprised the TSA did not take it, it had a sharp point and a handle for holding,. A weapon is another use you did not cover in this instructable.
The TSA would not let my Son carry a RJ45 crimping tool on board that he borrowed from me. A couple hundred dollar tool, he has to toss in the trash or miss his flight. The damn agent prob. wanted one.
i think it might work well stashed in your vehicle by a lanyard so that you could smash a window to escape. underwater even? whatever, i'm a gettin one!
jabshier-13 years ago
well you've convinced me. mine's on its way now
Myklknife3 years ago
You do have obsidian in Hawaii... it can easily serve as flint in flint and steel firemaking
klhold3 years ago
Good multi-tool.  I could survive just fine on coconuts and their many products.
jamilks (author)  klhold3 years ago
KLhold, aloha~

It could be arranged.....it would save a lot on grocery bills.....set up a route 'round the Island to all the spots with untended coconut trees and bring them home.

If you were doing it on a regular basis and in larger scale at home, some sort of spike may work faster...
Fresh coconut juice usually doesn't have harmful bacteria and is almost pure
not to mention it also has alot of vitamins and minerals and has coconut meat!

oh btw i'm referring to the young coconut, the one called "Buko" in the Philippines. For me that is way more useful than the aged coconut
klhold jamilks3 years ago
You're hired;)
Thank you, I used one these for 18 years as a pruner and missed carrying it. Now I have a reason to carry one again.
klaurson3 years ago
What is the difference between this and a screwdriver?
The wrench in place of the screwdriver handle.

This makes it a better hammer than a screwdriver would be, acts as t-shaped handle for a number uses mentioned in the article, and makes a much better wrench than a screwdriver handle would.
I still rely on my trusty rock and sheer strength. Me being a geeky caveman and all...
ilpug3 years ago
where im from, those are called "Screnches" anyway, that is an awesome idea! I have like five of these laying around. i will put one in my geek-pack for emergencies.
rimar20003 years ago
You've convinced me, I bought it!
jamilks (author)  rimar20003 years ago
Hermano, muchas gracias por leer mi Instructible. Not sure if I got that right, its been many, many years since I've spoken/written any Spanish.

Aloha senor rimar2000!
zazenergy3 years ago
This is awesome!
jamilks (author)  zazenergy3 years ago
Zaze aloha~ Thanks for taking the time to read though this, even though it may be part of your "job description".....I bet you see some cool stuff on a daily basis....

be well~
caarntedd3 years ago
jamilks (author)  caarntedd3 years ago
Caarntedd, aloha~

Indeed!! Thanks for taking the time to plow through it...
This spork of the the tool world is called a scrench. Thanks for putting me onto this, jamilks!

Scrench, scrench, scrench... that's a funny word - sounds like boots on snow.
jamilks (author)  countrylivin3 years ago
Countrylivin, aloha~

You are so correct....so many words (in any language...) sound funny when repeated....makes one wonder: who makes them up to begin with? People who would be making Instructables???

"Today, I will write an Instructable on how to make a funny sounding word" in 6 easy steps (with pictures and notes and all...)"....heheh...

You're welcome!
malsonc3 years ago
At first I thought this was a joke Instructable. Then I realized it was serious - and the information was also serious. This was great. I've got a couple of extra screnches from dead chainsaws and I'm definitely going to modify one and add it to my bug out bag. Thank you for thinking outside the box!
jamilks (author)  malsonc3 years ago
Malsonc, aloha! Thanks for staying with it and reading through the silliness.... the jokes are also part of the whole survival thing. One very specific thing that differentiates us from our fellow creatures on this planet, that is, all the other critters, is our sense of humor....We weren't granted particularly sharp teeth, fingernails or swiftness but have our mind to play with and modify/manipulate our circumstance... until later, be well~