20 Non-Electric Tools For a More Productive Homestead

By: Tom Chatham

Once you have started your homestead, you will want to make it as productive as possible in order to provide the many different items that enhance your quality of life. For a homesteader, quality of life will usually take precedence over monetary gain so some of your endeavors will achieve nothing more than personal satisfaction. Even so, in the process of providing satisfaction in your own life, you may be able with the aid of certain tools, to provide for additional production that can be traded or sold. Nothing could be better than enjoying the fruits of your labor and making some extra money to boot. Many of the tools that you acquire will be based largely on the types of production activities you are involved in so a homesteader should take that into account before they begin. Compiling a list of needed items in your future endeavor will help determine if it is a worthwhile purchase or if the funds should be spent elsewhere. For someone just starting out, every dime is important so careful thought should be given to any planned production activity. For many, it may take years of saving to acquire all of the tools that you wish to have so priorities must be assigned to the most beneficial tools. A benefit of buying slowly and purchasing quality tools is the knowledge that it is a purchase you will only need to make once in your lifetime if care is taken.

Butter churn

Cream separator

Cheese press

Sausage stuffer


Cider press

Grain mill

Ice cream maker

Honey extractor

Meat grinder

Wheel hoe

Ethanol still

Apple peeler/corer

Manual washing machine

Corn Sheller

Manual water pump

Hanging scale

Spinning wheel

Floor loom

Manual sewing machine

With a supply of woodworking tools and the knowledge to use them, many of these items, which can be expensive, can be homemade. In the coming weeks watch our blogroll for links to do-it-yourself plans for some of these items. The more you can build yourself, the less your homesteading activities will cost you and the greater your profit potential. The more production capabilities you have, the better you will be able to navigate the difficult times that are on the horizon. With the increasing energy demands of the world and the increasing cost of production, non-electric devices free you from the uncertainty of how you will process your raw materials into products you can use or sell. Power equipment can do more faster, but simple tools allow you to produce regardless of the energy situation and the simplicity of operation allows you to do most repairs on equipment yourself with minimal tools and repair parts. The world is changing and the more you can do for yourself, the better your quality of life will be in the future.


Posted on August 7, 2012, in Technology and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Wayne Creadick

    Tom, being somewhat impatient to wait for future articles on this subject, can you provide available/possible links (i.e. Interent) where each of those items could be purchased and/or instructions to hand build? Otherwise, I look forward to future input. 🙂

    • Thanks for the interest Wayne. I’m researching some links now for free plans but I’ll be glad to add some links to the blogroll where you can purchase some of these items. I’ll try to have those links up by tomorrow.


  2. While I own quite a few items on that list, I’ll just tell ya…..using a Country Living hand mill to make flour is a HECK of a lot of work compared to dropping two cups of wheat berries in a Vita-mix blender and a fraction of an amp/hr and 45 seconds later, pouring out finely milled whole wheat flour. That’s why I installed enough solar for electric based refrigeration, some lighting, and a few things like grinding grain, washing clothes and such…..the things that made the 20th century such an improvement over all those previous ones.

    Yeah, I’ve got a whole bunch of hand operated tools ( the White Mtn ice cream maker, I do actually prefer over the electric version…..but again…..you got to have ICE ), but they mostly for Plan B.

    • I totally agree that electrical appliances are faster and easier. My primary reason for non-electric is the fact that electrical systems have a lot of weak links that can stop them from working. I prefer a layered approach. Non-electric as a fail safe, electric as a secondary and the grocery store as a primary. With limited finances, I feel its safer to start at fail safe and work your way up as finances permit. But that’s just the way I think.


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