Preparing for an EMP, part 3: saws laying on tile

Preparing For An EMP, Part 3

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Like we mentioned in the first article, the best way to approach EMP survival, I believe, is as simple as possible – especially for folks like us who’re on a limited budget.

Previously, we discussed food, water and containers. Now, let’s talk cutting tools.

Whether you’re new to home preparedness or not, the importance of axes, knives, saws, etc. can’t be emphasized enough.

Hands down, the ability to chop / cut / saw something is one of the most critical elements of survival. To prove it, here’s a short list of what you could do with a good set of tools:

-Chop/cut down trees.

-Split logs.

-Process tinder.

-Build a shelter.

-Craft cooking and eating utensils.

-Construct fortifications.

-Cut cordage.

-Strike a ferro rod.

-Process game.

-Craft items for spearing fish and game.

-Construct traps for fish and game.

-Free yourself from entanglement.

-Process kindling.

-Create hunting blinds.

…and the list goes on…

Here’s the thing: whether it’s a grid down event or a dire emergency, you may have to perform several (or all) of the aforementioned tasks. Don’t worry, though, because good equipment combined with actual skill will make a big difference.

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Preparing for an EMP, part 3: axes in woods

Axes are crucial for survival. Interestedly, many of the tasks listed above could be done with just an axe. When it comes to these tools, companies like Fiskars and Estwing offer great products at a reasonable price. Brands like Helko and Gransfors Bruk are higher quality and may perform better but come with a bigger price tag.


In the military all of us grunts were instructed to never buy an expensive knife. The reason is because knives aren’t used much and hand-to-hand combat isn’t a big part in modern warfare. Another reason is they get lost during training and combat.

In my post military life, when people ask what knife to buy, I recommend the opposite of what we were taught in the military. Here’s why: in situations of survival, you’ll use a knife longer and with more force than most service members ever will. Going cheap when you’re chopping, cutting, battoning, scraping or whatever will result in a broken piece of equipment – something you don’t want.

Preparing for an EMP, part 3: knives on wood stump

Knives from Benchmade, Morakniv and Gerber have served me well so far. Of the three, Morakniv and Gerber are more affordable while still offering tremendous value. Benchmade offers exceptional quality with a legendary warranty but you’ll pay more.

Another thing worth purchasing are specialty blades such as a fillet knife or some sort of carving knife. Also, don’t overlook food preparation either. Victorinox makes outstanding knives that would be great for camping or general home use.


Having a wide array of cutting tools is hugely important. It’s especially important when it comes to saws.

You can’t use a big saw when you’re making small traps and you can’t use a small saw when you’re cutting big diameter stuff. So far, we have about a half dozen saws with unique cutting capabilities. For larger tasks, we even doubled up on bow saws in the event we couldn’t use our chainsaws.

Manufacturers worth looking at are Bahco and Silky. We’ve done hundreds, if not thousands, of cuts with each brand and couldn’t be more happy. Bahco offers two saws worth every penny – the Laplander and Ergo Handle Bow Saw.

Between the two brands, Silky has more variety and is higher quality. Even though they’re a little more costly, they’re incredibly efficient.


Let’s discuss one more cutting tool that gets almost zero attention in the bushcraft / survival / home preparedness world: loppers.

Depending on the model, a tool like this can cut wood over an inch thick. In fact, the Fiskers 32 inch Bypass Lopper can cut wood up to 2 inches in diameter. That’s pretty good.

Why is this important? Loppers are efficient tools that require less energy than, say, using a saw to do the same thing. Obviously, they can’t handle large diameter wood but for smaller things, having a good set would be a wise investment – especially if you needed to conserve calories.

I firmly believe cutting tools are worth their weight in gold. They don’t run on electricity or fuel. They require little maintenance and can keep you alive. Just remember: don’t buy junk and always practice safe usage with anything sharp. In a grid down event, avoiding injury and mitigating risks is the wise move to make.


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