Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Building a quick structure: Using scavenging methods to build shelter

road work ahead
road work ahead (Photo credit: theinvisiblewombat)
I'd like to talk about a material that can be used to build a simple structure and that is easy to scavenge. We've all seen the roadwork ahead signs or the signs that suggests there's construction work being done. These signs are typically square and can be used to fashion together makeshift huts or small and sealed buildings.  Let me explain a little bit. When I was about 11 years old growing up in the city I always had a very hard time finding a good place to building Fort. The more I looked or searched the harder it was to locate large amounts  of wood and/or building supplies. It was by chance I happened on an idea that led to some of the best forts I've ever built (I have no idea if I am the only one who ever thought of this, I doubt it, but I was 11 at the time). 

Walking home from school I noticed several signs along the way that would inform me that there was roadwork being done up ahead. The signs were square and for the most part easy to carry, now as 11 years old I found I could only carry one of  them at a time, but with enough trips I was able to get a few dozen of these. Now the only thing I had to figure out was where do I build my structure so I grabbed my nails and hammer along with my brother and we set out to find the perfect fort building location. We ended up settling inside of a Briar patch, just so happened that it was right in berry season so we would get to enjoy a snack as we built our Fort. With a simple machete we were able to hollow out inside one of these patches I can't remember the exact size of the of the patch, but we were able to make a tunnel that led into four rooms. Once inside you can actually set up several sleeping quarters for general places to get out of rain, because the brush set over the top of the structure it was actually quite possible to remain dry for a period of time. So if you're a city dweller, and you find yourself in need of a structure and you have no preplanned location perhaps take a look around you.

There are literally thousands of pre-built signs just lying around it wouldn't take long for you to find a location to set up your hut. Here's a few things I learned as a child. When clearing out a blackberry bush don't clear out too much too fast try to bring some of your boards inside and see if you can use the brush as a natural seal. What I mean by this is to save yourself the need for nails or any adhesive, you simply use a tight space to force the boards together. Always put the colored side down. Always. As you will notice if you leave the colored side up that any holes with inside the blackberry patch will show outside. This will allow people to see your structures if you try to use the colored side. The inside typically is Brown or darker color and it will blend in with the surroundings much easier. Don't worry about walking. If you have to make a journey of a mile or more that's not a big deal don't be tempted to make your structure right next to the location where there are hundreds of signs. If there is a better location farther away be willing to use that. Well I hope this helped you a little bit, as with any scavenging method: always be prepared ,  ready and expect setbacks.

 Building a quick structure: Using scavenging methods to build shelter
This childhood adventure was brought to you by the letter S and D as in SecWh Directory

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