Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Wallet "bearing block socket"

I'm always looking to improve my EDC ("every day carry"), and I came up with this idea a couple of days ago.

When making a bow/drill fireset, the bearing block you hold in your hand-- containing the socket that lets the top of the spindle spin freely-- is the hardest part to come up with in a survival situation.

If you carry paracord (and you do, right?) you won't have any trouble with cordage. Plus, you can make cordage in a pinch... although it will slow you down a bit. The other parts are just simple wood pieces-- the fireboard, the spindle, and the bow. Leaving the bearing block as the hard part; a part you might want to carry with you. (Yes, you can make a bearing block/socket from wood, too, but I wouldn't except in an emergency for several reasons-- I know from experience.)

I've noticed recently several knives with a built-in socket/divot in the micarta handle to serve as a bearing block socket-- it seems other people are recognizing that it's the hard part to come up with. I would rather not use a knife handle in that way if I don't have to, thinking that's a bit dangerous.

In the past, I carried a small stone-- just big enough to fill the palm of my hand-- that I chipped and ground until I formed a socket in it (I have a few of these around). It worked great but was a bit bulky to carry. I wanted a better solution.

So, what I did was take a brass dog tag blank and put a deep dimple in it to serve as the socket. I made the dimple by laying the tag on a thick piece of leather, placing a ball bearing on it, and hammering the ball bearing until the dimple was deep enough to serve as a socket. Originally, I put this brass socket on a separate piece of leather several months ago. This wasn't ideal and it kept getting in the way.

My better idea was to drill an extra hole in the "bottom" of the tag and rivet it to the flatter side of my wallet. After it was riveted in place, I took some needle-nosed pliers and bent the corners to fit the natural curve of my wallet. You can look at the picture to see what I'm talking about.

The wallet is quite a bit larger than the bearing blocks I'm accustomed to using (it's really thick leather), but I went outside and tried it and it worked great. The brass piece doesn't get in the way of how I carry my wallet, and hardly adds any weight, but it will be there if I need it. This is the kind of solution I love.

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