When the SHTF, scavenging will become more than just a hobby, it may become a necessary part of survival. Gear, materials, and equipment will be abandoned, because it simply does not work, or because people cannot take certain things with them as they flee the disaster. Many of these items can be used for any number of things in a survival situation.
Take a Push Lawn Mower For Example
Many homes have one and people will discard them when they stop working, and in a crisis when people have fled the area, you may find lawnmowers abandoned that are mechanically sound. You probably will not need one to keep your lawn up, but think parts and materials.
1.) Make a Push/Pull Cart
The mower has four wheels, so immediately you have a cart of sorts. Removing the engine, gives you a bigger, lighter cart that can be used to transport gear, or you can attach the ad hoc cart to a bicycle and pull it behind as you scavenge the area for more useful material. Strap a plastic carton, (milk carton) to the frame to hold your gear.
In some cases, if you can start the mower and it is self propelled you may be able to transport heavier items this way. However, the noise may give you away, and remember when the motor is running the blade is spinning so be careful when moving over materials that could ruin the blade or throw out dangerous projectiles.
2.) A Blade Is a Blade
The lawn mower blade may be one of the more valuable items you could remove. The uses for a heavy blade are endless. Once off you can duct tape and/or wrap Paracord on one end for a handle. The blade can be easily sharpened with a good metal file.
Oil from the mower can be used for lubrication and to protect metal from moisture damage, and it can be used to help start fires. The oil will have broken down so its lubricating abilities will be questionable, so remember this if using to lubricate/cool moving parts. The oil can be filtered using cotton material, coffee filters or use the filter that is attached to the mower to filter out metal and other debris that may potentially damage moving parts. Use to lubricate a chainsaw blade, for example.
Most small lawn mowers and other small gasoline engines do not require a battery to generate a spark, so how then is the fuel ignited? A spark is created by the use of a magneto, which can generate extremely high voltage up to 20,000 volts. The voltage creates a spark that jumps across the spark plugs’ gap, and then of course the spark ignites the fuel.
A magneto is an electrical generator that is designed to create a periodic spark and not a continuous current. Pull the cord, the generator spins to create a short, but high voltage spark, and you know how valuable a spark can be when creating fire.
If you were to pull the rubber cap off the spark plug wire you will expose the wired end that fits over the plug. Exposing the wire and not fitting it over the plug, but propping it close leaves a gap, a gap that the spark is forced to jump. A spark is produced that can be utilized.
You can do this alone if you can set it up to where your tinder is exposed to the spark. Ideally you would have an accelerant that could be used with the tinder so when the spark is created it readily ignites. Having a helper would make it easier to create a fire this way.
Be very careful when using gasoline as an accelerant especially when close to the mower’s fuel tank. Even if the tank is empty the fumes can be ignited.
5.) Cordage Rope and Wire
Any length of rope is a good length so always look for cordage and cables that can be used. The pull cord unless dry rotted or otherwise is not serviceable can be utilized for any number of things. Short lengths can be spliced to create long lengths. The various cables and springs that operate the self propelled gears, choke, carburetor and so on, can be used for any number of things as well.
The handles themselves can be used for various things, and if nothing else you can remove the wheels to make your own cart. You have to keep an open mind and always be on the lookout for usable materials, and before you toss something in the trash evaluate it for use when disaster strikes. It may not be something you can use now, but you may need it when the SHTF.
Obviously, you will need tools when salvaging, so when prepping for any crisis you would need to add tools to keep what you currently have up and running and what you may scavenge in the future.