- New Products
- Exclusive Gear
- Bushcraft Gear
- First Aid
- Food Gathering
- Knives & Tools
- Logo Gear
- Misc. Items
- Packs, Pouches & Bags
- Personal Care
- Repair Gear
- Shelter & Protection
- Urban Survival
- Writing Gear
- John's Books
- Bargain Bin
Do It Yourself
Click on a photo below to see that article or video.
DIY Moveable Candle Wicks
For many years I used the Nuwick 44 Hour Candle which had Moveable Wicks. The name of the candle was Trademarked and the moveable wicks were patented and were pretty neat. You could put one, two, or three in the can containing the wax, depending the amount of light or heat you wanted. The following is a quick photo tutorial on how you can make these moveable wicks for yourself.
Esbit Pocket Stove - Windscreen Modification
Thumb Lanyard for Knife Retention
There are various types of lanyards that can be attached to knives if a lanyard hole is available. A lanyard can be used to keep from losing the knife when working over water, etc. Some go over the wrist and I don't prefer this type of lanyard. I want a lanyard to keep me from dropping the knife, as well as help me control the knife. I use the following type of lanyard on my knives, which I call the Thumb Lanyard, which provides me with both security and controllability.
Baldric Rig Adapter For Knife Sheaths
I always wanted to make a Baldric Rig Adapter, so in the winter, I didn't have to dig under my Filson Coat to get to my belt knife. I wanted to design something I could slip into the belt loop of any of the leather sheaths I make for my knives, and then hang it from a leather Shoulder strap.
Free Standing Bails
Back when I was young (a long time ago), most pots for camping seemed to have bails on them. It made them easy to hang over a fire, and lift out of a fire. However, in today's world of ultra-light gear, bails are often deleted from smaller pots, and replaced (sometimes) with small folding handles. But I still like bails.
Collapsible Pocket Ferro Rod
I wanted a Ferro rod for my pocket, but they are always too long for a decent size rod, so I modified some existing stuff to work for my purpose. First, I got a Scout Firesteel and Gerber Knife Sharpener.
DIY Backup Disc Compass
What I like to put in mini kits is a small disc which is very flat and can be used to push your magnetized needle through (I'm sure all the needles you carry in you kit are magnetized), so it floats and can be used as a compass, floating it in water.
DIY Kydex Monitor Mount for Youtubers
Well, it seems like I have found another use for Kydex. The problem started when I realized my eyes aren't as good as they used to be. Most of my videos I do by myself, so I spend a lot of time setting up the shot so everything is in the viewing area.
Modifying A Cup As A Stove
I have carried a titanium Snow Peak Solo Pot for many years. It came with a small cup that fit over the bottom, but was too small for my use as a coffee cup. I liked the fact that it fit over the pot, but just didn't have enough depth for a real coffee cup. Looking at it one day, I though if it was modified, it could be used as a stove, using Esbit tabs or an alcohol stove, or even be used as a small wood burning stove.
DIY Kydex Machete Sheath
I got a 16" Fiddleback Machete and the quality is great. I really like the micarta grips... but the only problem was... no sheath. So I figured I might as well take a few hours and build a Kydex sheath for it.
Trangia Burner Pot Support And Stabilizer
I really like the Trangia Spirit Alcohol Burner for short day hikes as it carries alcohol in the stove, so I don't have to carry extra alcohol. It allows me to make a couple of cups of coffee and takes up very little space. But in order to use it with a small pot or mug, you need to set up some type of contraption to hold the mug or cup above the stove, or buy one of the commercially available stove stand. I wanted something that would be light, small, and easy to carry along with the stove. Basically I wanted a "Pot Support" and some type of "Stabilizer" to make the base more stable.
Bails For Nalgene Stainless Steel Bottles
I have always preferred the Nalgene Stainless Steel Water Bottle (originally made by Guyot) as it is the most substantial bottle made, has deep threads, and a completely flat bottom. I wanted to be able to hang my the bottle over a fire in order to boil water, one of the advantages of having a stainless steel bottle. The bottle obviously gets hot, and I wanted a way, not only to hang it, but lift it if I set the bottle in the coals of a fire. Over the years I have tried various modifications and thought I might share some of them.
DIY Wired Battery Pack for Dewalt Cordless Drill
A few years ago I bought a 12 volt Dewalt Cordless Drill with the plan to modify one of the battery packs with a cord and cigarette plug so that it could be plugged into a 12 volt cigarette socket. This would provide me with another option of powering the cordless drill if all my battery packs were dead.
EDC Pocket Striker
Whenever I'm out for a hike, or just enjoying the woods, I am always checking out small stones I find to determine if they hard enough to use with a striker for fire starting with char cloth. Because of this, I wanted a small striker that would always be with me. I decided to make a small one that would stay attached to my EDC Pocket Ring, that is always in my right pocket.
Making A Can Whistle
This is a whistle that can be made from any old can found in the field. This technique was originally in Boys Life, a Boy Scout magazine, back in the 1950's. My father, who was an Eagle Scout as well as my Scoutmaster, used to have our troop make these.
DIY Countertop Water Filter
I wanted a gravity filter for filtering water in an emergency situation. There are various commercial brands available like the Katadyn and Berkey. These units cost in the $200.00 to $350.00 range and basically use ceramic filter elements in a top container which you fill with water. Gravity then draws water through the ceramic filter, whereby the filtered water is deposited in a second container under the first.
Noggin-Kuksa Multi-Use Lanyard
Most belt toggles I've seen for a noggin are single strand and are short. The single strand is tucked up under the belt and the toggle on the end keeps the strand from pulling out under the belt. I wanted a multi-use lanyard that would have various uses.
DIY Tomato Cage Bird Bath
Last year I saw a post somewhere, possibly Pinterest, where a person used an old tomato cage to make a bird bath. I thought it would be an interesting project that would quick, yet provide another dimension to some of the other bird baths I have made. All you really need is a tomato cage and a planter saucer that that has a rim that fits into the top ring of the cage. Something to cut the cage with, and you are ready to go.
Making A Leather Holster
There are many leather holster makers out there, and although I find most are adequate for the purpose, they just don’t have the finish of a custom holster. Being I make all of my own custom leather sheaths for my knives, I like making holsters to match my sheaths.
DIY Vehicle Camp Kitchen
Wanting to build some type of a kitchen that could be carried in a vehicle and used for camping, I obviously started with a Pelican case. I selected a Pelican #1550 which measures 20" x 16" x 8" high. I wanted to place various dividers inside to hold the different types of cooking utensils and bottles that I planned to put inside it.
Making A "Robo" Rat Trap
The first question I will be asked is, "Why". So I'll cover that up front. I'm not sure, but it was a challenge. I always wanted a thinner rat trap so I could carry more in the same space in my pack, and because I was talking about it a while back with a friend and he said, "That would be cool, why don't you do it".
Making A Leather Knife Sheath
Some of the leather knife sheaths I was getting with new knives left a bit to be desired. I thought it might be a good time to start hand making my own so I could decide on the type and style of sheath. After buying some leather, a few leather tools, and a few short lessons, I was on my way.
DIY 5 Gal. Bucket Clothes Washer
In an extended emergency situation you will find the need to wash your clothes. Of course, if you do not have power, you will not be able to use your normal washer and dryer. The following article is an excerpt from John's book Practical Self-Reliance - Reducing Your Dependency On Others, which shows how to make a DIY Clothes Washer.
Older Military Canteen Cup Modifications
I have carried the Military Canteen Cup for years. I carry the old style that has the handle which folds under the cup (I have a 1951 and a couple of 1963's). They are made from stainless steel and are very robust. However, I needed to make a few modifications in order for it to be for versatile for my use.
DIY Solar Oven
We wanted to build a solar oven that would be substantial and last for years. For our own purposes, we differentiate between a solar cooker and a solar oven as follows. A solar cooker, like the "Hot Pot" solar cooker, is subject to heat loss mechanisms because it is open to the environment. A solar oven is enclosed and insulated to help retain the heat. Of course, many people use the names interchangeably and, again, we use these different terms for our own purposes.
DIY Braided Paracord Hatband
Over the years I have received dozens of emails and calls in regard to making the braided band on my hat. Therefore, I thought I might do a short tutorial in regard to making a five plait braided hatband from parachute cord.
Drinking Glasses From Bottles
My wife, Denise, and I believe in self-reliance and therefore we are always looking for ways to provide for ourselves. Whenever we can, we would rather make something instead of buying it. This not only saves money but provides us with a real sense of accomplishment. While looking through a catalog Denise saw a set of drinking glasses, and the catalog indicated they were made from old wine bottles. Drinking glasses are something that always seem to get broken so she said, "We should try doing this".
DIY Water Distiller
I have been interested for some time in building a Water Distiller, as it can be used to purify water and to desalinate water. Both would be handy in a survival situation. Keep in mind that distilled water can also be used in soap making, for use in steam irons, and to refill lead-acid batteries.
DIY Survival Bracelet for Suunto M9 Compass
I have always been interested in wearing one of the Suunto M9 Wrist compasses, as they are handy as a backup compass, and can be aimed through the side. However, I always wear a watch on my left wrist and a survival bracelet on my right wrist. I really didn't want to give up either. Then looking at the wrist compass and my survival bracelet, I thought I might think outside the box, and make a survival bracelet for the M9 wrist compass.
DIY Kydex Maxpedition Clips
I needed a new pack like a hole in the head, but I wanted to play with the Maxpedition Falcon 2, and add a Maxpedition 10x4 Bottle holder on each side. Anyway. when I tried to attach the bottle holders with the new strap connector thingies, the bottles just flopped. So I tried the old Malice clips that you used to get with Maxpedition, and they weren't much better.
DIY Porch Table from Composite Material
My wife and I love to sit on the back screened in porch and spend most of our time there when the weather allows. We have had an old metal round table with glass top for many years. It gets wet whenever it rains so if has finally rusted pretty badly.
Check back often for new Articles & Videos