I don’t think hand-powered tools and utensils have ever really gone out of style. I know they have never lost their purpose, that’s for sure! The power of primitive tools is starting to regain some popularity for many reasons. One of them being, what’s old to one is new to the next. There seems to be an increase of off-gridders, hikers, campers, survivalists and travelers which brings about this particular article.
Whether these are tools you add to your collection just for back-up or for regular use, these 21 tools and appliances are worth checking out. For some, it may bring back memories and for others a new find, so let’s get started.
- Air Pumps – Hand or foot powered air pumps are a fantastic tool to have around. Before it was the norm for the average household to have air compressors in the garage, there were these simple pumps. You could use them to fill sports balls, bike tires, air mattresses, and even car tires although that took a little while. Hand air pumps are also really great to use when filling balloons at your next big party. Easy to use, lightweight, and simple to store.
- Grinding Wheel – The hand-powered grinding wheel is something that could be found in many workshops, some still use them today. These bad boys are great for sharpening knives, hatchets, and axes. It takes a little longer to sharpen something using the hand-powered grinding wheel. However, there’s a little more safety because you have more control of the action and force. Whereas the electric or fuel powered grinders have a tendency to snap tools or send them flying.
- Drills – There is a variety of hand drills that are just as effective as the battery powered drills. Sure, just as with many of the tools on this list the job may take a little longer to get done. However, when there’s no power source around or available there’s no problem. I do a little woodworking and building and I find it more enjoyable to use hand tools for my projects. These hand drills are pretty amazing.
- Saws – Hand saws are one of the more common hand tools used, even to fell trees.
- Scythe – Typically used as a Halloween prop and in scary movies but the scythe is actually a very useful tool on a farm or homestead. Farmers would reap the fields come early morning using a scythe. There’s no gas to use, smoke to smell, or loud engines whirring in your ear. There’s more of a connection between person and plant, that’s how I see it anyway.
- Bow Drills – A tool used for making fire but also for drilling holes. You could say this drill was the inspiration that lead to the invention of the Hand-powered drill. This drill is very primitive and uses sticks, twine or vine, and an arrowhead or sharp rock. The bow drill requires a little more work than a hand-drill but can be just as effective.
- Augers – The hand auger is the tool that was used for drilling holes for water wells and things of that nature. Augers come in many shapes and sizes and are designed to suit different terrain.
- Clocks & Timers: Before everything become battery powered or electric clocks and timers were all wind up. You can still buy them today, they are made to work using spring action so you just wind it up and when it’s time it will buzz. Wind-up alarm clocks were always fun to deal with and I find them easier to quiet than the electric versions.
The Next 12 Items Are Kitchen Appliances
- Mixers – Hand-powered mixers allow you to mix ingredients for cake batter and many other recipes. Appliances break all the time so having one of these on hand can save a meal. Living off of the grid taught me a lot about the old ways. Especially how they’re good for the modern age.
- Blenders – There’s nothing more annoying than blending up a margarita or a milkshake and the motor in the bender going out. With a little muscle power and a hand-powered blender your problems are solved.
- Beaters – I think using hand beaters for little things like eggs or whipping cream are better to have, especially when it comes time for clean up. You don’t have to take anything apart or unplug it, just wash it off in the sink.
- Kitchen Timers – Digital timers that are built into stoves are wonderful….if you’re in the kitchen when it beeps. These little crank timers can go anywhere with you. They are also usually much louder and ring longer than the electric versions. I love to put brownies in the oven and still be able to go work out in the garden. I just bring my timer along.
- Juice Press – Hand powered juice presses are efficient for making small batches of juice but they are also really awesome at zesting the fruits for you too.
- Pestle & Mortar – I make my own medicines and grow my own herbs having a pestle and mortar are amazing tools to have. It seems more organic to me to use hand tools.
- Butter Churn – Who doesn’t love old fashioned churn butter? Whip some up in small or large batches using the hand churn.
- Food Dehydrators – Using an old fashioned food dehydrator/drying rack seems to hold in more of the flavor than using the quick equipment.
- Food Processors – I remember the day I found out I could still make a nice pesto sauce off the grid. It makes camping trips and outings a little healthier because you can still bring the freshness to the table.
- Pasta Machine – There’s nothing nicer than making homemade pasta and rolling it out in the machine by hand. I think it adds a little touch of magic.
- Mandolin Slicer – Homemade chips are the bomb. Before I learned of the mandolin slicer I used a potato peeler, need I say more.
- Oil Press – Hand pressed oil is delicious. It seems to me that the slower methods to cooking and preparing foods hold in more of the flavors and goodness.
- Grinders: Meat and Grain – When the local butcher has some meat on sale for a steal it’s nice to get extra and grind your own meat into burger.
If you are a fan of the old or a fan of the new, this list of hand powered tools and appliances might have something to show you that you’ve never considered. Sometimes it’s the hard work that brings about more of a humble feeling and satisfaction in what you’ve accomplished. Old school is the New school.
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