Homesteading Resources

Electromagnetic Meter

To know if you are at a safe distance from power lines you can’t tell by looking at power lines just how much EMF (EMR) the power lines give off. The amount of EMF given off varies with the situation.

The strongest EMF usually come from the high power lines connected to those tall metal towers that look like they are walking across the land. You know that the magnetic field extends out quite some distance from these power lines.

But, interestingly enough, the hardest power lines to predict a safe distance from are the common power lines that run down most any street. Homes near a transformer can have higher EMF readings due o the fact that the transformer boosts the power and the wires carry more electricity coming out of the transformer.

Can you reduce the EMF by burying the electrical power lines? NO. The EMF can be just as strong or even stronger because the lines are only buried a few feet deep rather than being 20 to 30 feet about you!

With electromagnetic radiation, the problem is that there is not a good way to shield against it. You need to know if there is there is an electronic pollution (EMR) present before purchasing or even renting a home.

Even most homes are not affected by EMR, there is no way to know for sure except to measure the amount of EMR in the home. The damage when exposed to EMR over a period of time can be life threatening.

The only way to know you are at a safe distance from power lines is to measure the EMF (EMR) with a reasonably priced EMF Meter Meterk Electric Field and Magnetic Field Radiation Handheld Mini Digital LCD Temperature EMF Detector Dosimeter Tester (link to Amazon). A Gaussmeter is a testing device that is designed to measure the strength of the magnetic field of the house you live in or are looking to purchase.

Fuel Storage Products

Bung Wrench

If you use a 55 gallon drum for storing your fuel, I have found that a handy item to have is an Aluminum Bung Wrench (link to Amazon). This makes removal of the bung, the cap, on the drum so much easier.

This bung wrench fits the standard 2 inch and 3/4 inch bungs on both steel and plastic drums. The aluminum construction prevents sparks which could cause a fire or explosion in steel drums where gasoline is stored.

GPI Pump

When storing fuel in 55 gallon drums you need a way to get the fuel out of the drums. The best way is with a hand pump. I have used a GPI HP-100-UL Fluid Transfer Hand Pump (link to Amazon) for 20 years that still works as well as it did the first time I used it. I purchased a rotary hand pump first but it did not last for even one 55 gallon drum of fuel.

GPI’s premium fuel piston hand pump, features a Dual-Flo piston design that pumps fluid on both the push and pull stroke which delivers the highest flow rate in the industry year after year, up to 50 gallons per 100 stroke cycles (push/pull). This pump gives superior fluid dispensing and reduces operator fatigue.

The two-position handle allows you to change increments from quarts to pints to dispense gasoline, diesel fuel, hydrolic fluid, 30W oil and kerosene with ease. The GPI HP-100-UL pump is constructed from light weight and durable cast aluminum. The light-weight aluminum body provides corrosion resistance and reduces tank stress. This GPI pump comes with a lockable handle, fuel hose and a metal spout nozzle.

Fuel Storage Containers

The standard U.S. designation for 5 gallon fuel storage containers is gas that is stored in red containers. This Eagle Red Galvanized Steel Type I Gasoline Safety Can with Funnel (link to Amazon) is a good choice for storing your gasoline safely.

We have several Eagle 5 gallon steel gas cans that are pushing 25 years old and are still in good safe condition. We also have a 5 gallon plastic container that the plastic pour spout started leaking after less than 12 years of usage. From our experience we are convinced that Eagle’s steel gas cans are an excellent value for homestead gas storage.

For storing diesel fuel the standard U.S. designation for 5 gallon fuel storage containers is yellow containers. The SureCan – Diesel Gas Can with Rotating Spout (link to Amazon) is a good choice for transferring diesel fuel from 55 gallon drums to your tractor, your diesel generator or other diesel powered implements.

The rotating spout and thumb control make transferring diesel fuel without the use of a funnel extremely easy. The SureCan is made of a sturdy plastic material and is CARB compliant.

To store kerosene, the standard U.S. designation is to keep it in blue containers. The Midwest 5 gallon Kerosene container (link to Amazon) is one that will work for storing your kerosene in safely.

The Midwest container has a wide base making it harder to accidentally tip over. It has an air tight leak proof seal and is CARB compliant plastic construction.

New Jerry Cans

You need to be careful when using military surplus Jerry Cans to store fuel in. Many of them are corroded inside of them and this will hasten the deterioration of the fuel. The seal on some military surplus Jerry Cans deteriorates when it comes into contact with gas.

Wavian Authentic NATO Jerry Fuel Can (link to Amazon) that are made for gas and diesel are suitable for fuel storage. These are metal Jerry fuel cans that come with the attachable spout for ease of pouring fuel into fuel tanks.

Cutting Firewood Tools

Chain Saw Chaps

One of the must-have safety equipment tools needed when safely working with firewood is to have a pair of Husqvarna Technical Apron Wrap Chaps (link to Amazon). These are available up to 42 inch waist size.

Designed to reduce the chances of injury by clogging the sprocket of the chainsaw by either stopping or slowing the chain. These chaps are ASTM, ANSI and OSHA certified for safety.

Hard Hat

To safely work with firewood you need to protect your head and ears with a TR Industrial Forestry Safety Helmet and Hearing Protection System (link to Amazon). This 5 in 1 safety helmet is complete with 23dB reduction ear muffs, a plastic visor, a mesh visor and easily adjusts to most head sizes.

This safety helmet gives dynamic protection to brush cutters, trimmers and anyone using chainsaws. All parts of the helmet are ANSI and CE approved.

Ear Protection

For those who already have a good quality safety helmet but need hearing protection a good choice is Pro For Sho 34dB Safety Ear Protection (link to Amazon). There is a lot of noise from a chainsaw when working with getting your firewood so it’s important to protect your hearing.

Steel Toed Boots

Whenever you are working with cutting down trees and cutting up firewood, you need to protect your feet. Getting a good pair of well constructed and comfortable steel toed boots is the best way to do that. Caterpillar Men’s Second Shift Steel Toe Work Boot (link to Amazon) make an excellent and highly rated choice for a steel toed boot.

The Caterpillar steel toed work boot is a 100% rugged leather with an oil resistant traction sole. This classic work boot is right at home in the woods, in the field or in your homestead workshop. This truly one boot that can serve multiple purposes and by doing so can save you money.


There are times on the homestead when a good axe can save you from having to pull out a chainsaw and all of the associated adjustments that might be necessary for safe chainsaw operation. A few swings of a good axe can take care of several small problems much faster than a chainsaw. A good choice is the Husqvarna 26″ Wooden Multi-Purpose Axe (link to Amazon).

The Husqvarna Multi-Purpose Axe is ideal for tree felling, wood chopping and other wood cutting jobs such as limbing, branch trimming and clearing bushes. Power to a cut is provided with a longer handle.

With consistently high quality, these axes are forged in Sweden from Swedish axe steel. If maintained well, this axe will last for a long time.

Cant Hook

When cutting down trees you might encounter a tree hang-up and one of the ways to handle this is by using a cant hook. The LogOX 3-in-1 Forestry Multitool – The Back-Saving Log Hauler, Cant Hook, and Timberjack (link to Amazon) is a good choice to use to help handle the hang-up easily.

The LogOX is a combination of three forestry tools, a hauler, a cant hook and a timberjack.

The hauler allows lifting and moving of log rounds or split pieces without the need to bend over and lifting. The cant hook allows you to grip and roll logs of up to 32 inches in diameter. The timberjack allows you to lift up to 12 inches in diameter off the ground, providing a cutting platform to save you from dulling your chainsaw chain by hitting the dirt.

Made from American steel this is the best woodsman’s combination tool. If all three tools were purchased seperately the cost would be over $300. This tool is lightweight, easy to transport and sets up in minutes. Ideal for those who do a lot of wood cutting but want to save their back from strain and injury.

Steel and Plastic Wedges

Steel and plastic wedges are valuable woodsman’s tools. There are times when you are out in the woods and a good pair of steel wedges will help you split a log when no wood splitter or splitting maul is available. Plastic wedges are used to prevent set-backs from binding your chainsaw bar and chain and stopping the chainsaw from cutting while cutting down a tree.

Many professinal woodsman in addition to their chainsaw will carry both steel and plastic wedges and an axe with them when they are working in the woods.

There are times on the homestead when you need to split logs that are much longer than can be split by a hydralic wood splitter. This is when you need steel splitting wedges to drive into the logs and split them. It’s a good idea to have at least two steel splitting wedges but in some cases three or more makes the job easier. True Temper Wood-Splitting Wedges (link to Amazon) are good ones to have on hand.

You can drive the splitting wedges into the wood using a hammer, or the backside of a single blade axe or hatchet. Once the wedges are started into the wood, some people choose to use a sledge hammer to drive them in because that gets the job done faster.

Plastic wedges are very useful when cutting down large diameter trees. Their primary usage is to insert in the backcut to prevent the tree from leaning back, known as a set-back, and pinching the chain and the bar of the chainsaw.

In the event of a set-back, driving the wedges into the tree can relieve the set-back, allowing you to remove the chainsaw without damaging the bar. Continued driving of the wedges can help the tree fall in the desired direction. Good quality plastic wedges are Redneck Convent Spiked Tree Felling Wedges (link to Amazon).

Come A-long

A very versatile piece of equipment for a homestead is a come a-long. I have used a come a-long when falling trees that hang up on other trees, to pull disabled vehicles up on a trailer and to ease the same disabled vehicle off of a trailer.

For the price, a come a-long is one of the least expensive and yet highly useful tools for a homestead that I know of. A come a-long’s usage is only limited by the experience of the user. In combination with a chain or a strong rope, a come a-long can accomplish tasks that would take at least a half a dozen men without a come a-long to be able to do.

The Maasdam Pow’R Pull 6 2 Ton Capacity (link to Amazon) is USA made, has OSHA recommended safety latches and hooks that stay connected. It can be used in moving, placing and installing heavy equipment, tightening fences, loading heavy equipment or debris onto a trailer or pickup bed and helping erect walls and other portions of homestead construction.

Like any piece of equipment a come a-long is designed for a specific weight or load and exceeding that weight or load can result in damage to the equipment. The Maasdam Pow’R Pull is designed for handling loads up to 2,000 lbs, has quality construction and meets ANSI/AMSE specifications. This is one piece of equipment that can easily pay for it’s self many times over in just it’s first usage.

Electric Chainsaw Chain Sharpener

A Yescom Electric Chainsaw Sharpener (link to Amazon) is a handy and easy to use piece of homestead equipment. For nearly 30 years I used a round file to sharpen dull chainsaw chains. The process usually resulted in needing to be done three or four times during a days worth of cutting wood with a chainsaw.

Until you get proficient with using a round file and a file guide, it is very common to have half of the teeth on a chainsaw chain sharper than the teeth pointing in the other direction. This can result in the chainsaw cutting at an angle instead of cutting straight. Over time I had collected several chains that fit my chainsaw.

I decided to purchase an Electric Chainsaw Sharpener and after carefully reading the instructions I found that I could sharpen 3 or 4 chains much better and faster than sharpening just one by hand. Chains sharpened by the Electric Chainsaw Sharpener stay sharp longer and the saw cuts better with electric sharpened chains than it does with hand sharpened chains.

I still carry a round file and fie guide when I go out into the woods but I have learned it is much easier and the saw cuts much better when the chain has been sharpened by the Electric Chainsaw Sharpener.