7 Primitive Tools to Increase Skills and Survivability

It seems that every person, at some point in their life, wants to go ‘back to basics.’ To something more simple, more rugged. While most people don’t necessarily want to go back to being a nomadic hunter/gatherer, there is something to be said about the ability to make what you need to survive.


There are 7 primitive tools that, while simple, are strong and can serve you very well. Knowing how to hand make them will ensure that you can not only make the tools you need to build a shelter or whatever you need, it’s something that cannot be taken from you. Considering how few people know how to craft tools of any sort, the bartering possibilities are huge, as well.

I asked my friend, Dan Sullivan of SullivanSurvival.com to dive into this seldom discussed aspect to being prepared not only for disasters, but in general on the homestead, too! Look for my additional comments on homestead uses and enjoy the videos linked that will show you how to make your own.

These 7 primitive tools will increase your stockpile and polish your skills

Who says you need to buy more gear? Spending gives us a false sense of security: we feel that the more we buy, the more protected we become. But that’s not always the case, as the survival skills we learn will be worth a lot more in a major disaster or collapse.

What if I told you there is a way to get more gear, improve your skills AND save money? I’m talking about one skill in particular and that’s woodworking. Basic woodworking, nothing fancy. There’re a number of survival items that you can carve on your own to use either post-collapse or even today. So let’s see them!

#1. Wooden Spoons and Spatulas

This is probably the first thing you can do if you’re just starting out. The beauty of these spoons is that you can make them any size you want, for either eating or stirring. You can make serving plates and all manner of other items that will help make life easier and take you from surviving to thriving!

Besides spoons, you can also make spatulas for indoor and outdoor cooking endeavors. Homestead Use: What about bowls, plates, and cups? The possibilities are endless!

Here’s a great video showing how to carve a very nice looking spoon:

#2. Mortar and Pestle

These are just a wooden bowl and a small club that people use to mix various ingredients, either for cooking or medicinal purposes. If you have or thinking of growing medicinal herbs, save yourself the 15 bucks that you would pay to get one and make your own. Homestead Use: Make a larger one to grind thicker plant matter in. This could help with making jam or extracting fibers.

Check out this video showing how to make a wooden pestle:

#3. Hoko Knives

Ok, so this knife won’t be as efficient as one that’s made of carbon steel. But it does have one huge advantage: you can disassemble it… so if, for some reason, the law enforcement decides to confiscate all knives, they will never know that a stick split in the middle, a piece of flat rock and some cordage are in fact a hoko knife.

Check out this video showing one way to make a hoko knife:

#4. Rock Slings

I’m talking about a sling that you throw by spinning it into the air in circles, not like the ones we used to make when we were kids with a piece of wood that was Y-shaped and some rubber or elastic. This instructables video shows how to make one using basic materials. The cordage can be anything, but you can use Paracord, since you probably have it already.

Watch this video on how to not just make one but also throwing techniques:

#5. Parts for the Bow Drill

If you want to have a back-up fire starting method, you know that the bow drill method is the oldest one out there. So long as you can find the right wood (white cedar, cottonwood, aspen), you can make your own board, hearth and spindle. You’re also going to need a piece of cordage (either Paracord or something else) for your bow.

Homestead Use: Absolutely anytime! Everyone should be practiced in making and using these to start a fire. 

Survival Lily has multiple videos on how to make bow sets using different wood types. This one is cypress from the cedar family:

#6. A Spear and a Spear Thrower (a.k.a. an atl-atl)

To make the spear, you’re going to need a pole that’s at least your height and about 1.5 inches thick. One that’s made of hardwood is best, but make sure you cut something from the tree rather than taking a dead branch.

Next, you either carve the tip using a knife or you use cordage to attach a knife to the end of the pole. Obviously, you’ll need a back-up knife. You don’t want to sacrifice your survival knife for this (unless you have no choice).

Needless to say, the pole itself needs to be straight, so it doesn’t change direction as you throw it. You may want to use your knife to clean it with your knife.

As for the Atl Atl (funny name, I know), that’s just a device used to help you throw spears more forcibly and at longer distances. I’ll leave Survival Lily to show you how to make one:

#7. A Stone Hammer

Stone hammers resemble the hook knives we talked earlier: you tie a rock to a pole using cordage. The flat rock needs to be inserted into one end of the pole that you previously split like so:

OK, so it may not be as comfortable to hold as the $9 hammer on amazon, but it’ll get the job done. Homestead Use: Honestly, when couldn’t you use a hammer?! 

Final Word

As you can see, there are quite a few primitive tools and weapons you can make to not only grow your stockpile but also to improve your woodworking skills. And if you start enjoying it, you may even barter with or sell them to other preppers. Which one is the first on your list?

Stay safe,

Dan F. Sullivan


About Dan Sullivan
My dad was military. My grandfather was a cop. They served their country well. But I don’t like taking orders. I’m taking matters into my own hands so I’m not just preparing, I’m going to a friggin’ war to provide you the best of the best survival and preparedness content out there.