If you can get at least a dozen sturdy sand bags and enough sand from your favorite source: the beach, the park, the Home Depot, the Garden Shop, The landscapers place, etc, get some for home protection or pouring on your driveway for some traction after the ice storm or the back of that front-wheeled drive vehicle to weigh it down, or to offer some bullet protection INSIDE a room with thin walls, the use of sand bags can really come in handy (mixing cement). There’s a number of videos on the rocket mass heater which are excellent, I get the feeling we are starting to wrap our minds around what does this winter have instore? Some early snow in the Midwest,


Some things to think about.

1. It’s gonna take more than a dozen sandbags to protect from small arms fire. Elsewhere, I posted a link to the US Army’s Engineering Manual for Field Fortifications. If you can’t find the link, then do a search for that manual – you can probably get a copy through Amazon or even online for free.

2. Sandbags are heavy. To have enough to actually matter means a lot of weight. Most modern houses aren’t built to sustain that kind of weight – they’re made of soaking wet soft pine spiked together with No. 16 nails. And “2×4″ isn’t really two inches by four inches. They used to be, once upon a time, but the mills learned they can “subtract” the width of the saw blade, still call it a “2×4″ and sell it for the same price.

They’re actually 1 and 3/4 by 3 and 3/4 (the width of a saw blade is 1/8th inch. Two cuts = 1/4 inch.) What that means and why that is important is that the floor joists are that much weaker. Take all that material out and multiply that by all the floor joists made of schlocky soft pine, and collapsing your floor becomes a real possibility. When the wood does dry out and normalize, the nails get loose, which is why a new house creaks like a pirate ship after a year or so… which doesn’t help things.

3. Mixed media works better. Meaning: You can use sand, yes, but using a layer of sand and then a layer of gravel will yield better results. Gravel just chews up bullets.

4. Having a stash of dimensional lumber will pay big dividends. And the hardware to go with it. Big screws are superior to nails, but you have to run what you brung… When we would create fighting positions, one of the first things we would do – if we could – is grab a HUMMV and hit the local dump. Always big piles of damaged oak loading skids there. A wealth of building material. Knock them apart and use them for reinforcing the walls, putting in floors, overhead cover and support for same, making seats, etc… Usually, the local Big Box store has these hardwood loading skids stacked up outside behind the building… aint’ saying what you should or should not do, just putting that out there. If not Big Box, then the local hardware store…

5. Spalling is a problem. This is stuff like window glass becoming secondary projectiles that can really ruin your day. Pasting mylar sheeting over the windows will hold them together, or at least keep the glass from flying around the room at terminal velocities…

Just some FYI for your benefit…

The wicked flee when none pursueth..." - Proverbs 28:1

  • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Malgus Malgus.