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In my learning about "how it was done" and reading the Foxfire books and others... mainly old cookbooks: it's become apparent to me that there are many chemicals that are needed "in the simple life" when your making everything possible from scratch.
(It's amazing how much chemistry goes into everything.
Did you know that everyone would save their urine for tanning and bleaching clothes? It was a saleable product.)

I have a list around here somewhere, and almost didn't post this thread till I found it...

I'm not talking things like lye that can be simply made at home (interestingly.... that's what drain cleaner is made of.... although I haven't got up the nerve to use my homemade for that purpose. )

The only things I can think of off the cuff is salt and lime.
-and if you go far enough back and in the right places people made their own lime... which has many uses.

I figured rather than me looking for the list I'd give everyone a chance to list some basic (shelf stable) chemicals, and what it was used for.
And this way if my list has anything new on it that's not been mentioned, or when I come across something new I can just add it.


Things like grease, beeswax, off, tick granuels, glue, JB weld, etc (I'd have to Check my shelves for what else) aren't what I'm talking about, but the more basic elements and solutions.
I'm not even sure if I'd count vinegar as its pretty straightforward, but I would baking powder/soda due to the difficulty of... not getting it, but getting cream of tartar from old wine barrels in adequate volume (for the homesteader)
 

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Isenglass shows up in a lot of old diy/farmers/homekeepers type hand books. I think it is basically fishes swim bladder dried and ground into a powder.

It was used for glue, as a powder, to clear liquids of suspended particles and to make paints. I think it is still used to clear up wheat beers.

Sulpher was often burned to preserve food and clean wooden items.

Nitrates and nitrites were used for preserving food and making explosives.

White lead is often called for in old books, It is made by exposing rolled up lead strips with large surface area to the vapors of vinegar in a warm confined area for months then it is scraped of. It is much more of a health risk than lead and scraping it and milling it into a powder is the where the largest risk is.

Lime and quick lime and hydrated lime as you mentioned all have different uses and different levels of risk, quick lime being able to cause chemical burns, heat burns and explosions, the other two types being quite safe.

Lead would often be used for casting and soldering as well as for mixing with other metals.

Coal ash had uses but I can't remember what they are at the moment.

Borax and other types of soil and some salts were used for fluxes in metal working and ceramics and glass making.

Alum is useful

Ammonia & Urea

Cement

Tar & Rosins

Linseed oil

Turpentine

Minerals and oxides for paint coloring

Creosote, Copper sulfate & potassium silicate for preserving wood.

Possibly sulpheric acid

Plaster

White vitriol(zinc)

Potassium silicate

Water glass

Baking soda

Washing soda

Vinegar

Oxalic acid, tartaric acid, nitric acid

Shellac

Rotten stone, pumice

Gum Arabic

Peroxides
 

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Wile E Coyote, Genius.
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Here's a few.

Baking soda - antacid, dentifrice.
Alum block - deoderant, anti chafing agent, blood stopper.
Fine aluminum and iron oxide rust, magnesium ribbon - thermite for simple welding.
Borax - roach killer, metal forging flux, cleaner, neutron absorber. H3BoO3
Boric acid - eye wash
lead and antimony - bullets and casting weights.
Diatomaceous earth - paraciticide, insect killer (cuts exoskelaton, they dry up and die. Water filtration cake.
Vinegar - cures / kills skin fungus on contact.
 

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Did you know that everyone would save their urine for tanning and bleaching clothes? It was a saleable product.)
Dog poop as well.

In victorian era England it was called 'pure' and it was the job of the 'pure finders' to collect it.
 

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..Great thread topic.. :cool:

Let's not forget one of our greatest metallurgical heros, Silver, eh? :) Aside from all the Obvious values, it's definitely doable to consider 'DIY colloidal' in the wild, not that complicated to make (..albeit with Care to make properly, etc..)

..A few others we've included:

- Zinc Oxide.. ZOx + Clove oil (aka 'Eugenol'.. which is *essential*, imho, to have in your Med-stocks, for Dental use..) = Temp 'tooth filling' / crack-repair, etc..

..ZOx + Olive oil / Petroleum-jelly, and/or Lanolin = 'Desitin' cream.. Excellent for toe-blister topping / rashes / baby butts ;) etc..

- And (..Of course..) all stock-chems you'll need to make Black Powder... And how great that each of those are So useful in 'other categories', as well, so.. Well worth the effort to stock / source Each of those raw chems in your BOL-area, imo...

- Pine resin, for: Candles (+ orange oil..) and Glue... Not to mention how great 'fatwood' is for making waterproof firestarter, etc..

- Not really a 'chem', per-se, but.. Interesting thing I learned about those 'white, mold-looking blotches' that show up on Prickly-pear cactus.. (..obviously not-relevant if you live where they Don't grow, etc, but..) That's actually Not a 'mold', but a waxy 'secretion' that 'cochineal' bugs cover themselves with, to prevent birds / wind, etc from detaching them while they parasitically-suck the cacti-juices..

..And when they're 'squished', they release carminic acid.. Which is essentially the age-old famous red-purpley dye known as 'Carmine'... Practical usefulness after Shtf? Meh, not a whole lot, unless you plan to make / dye textiles / other items for Trade, what not, but.. Makes a pretty badass 'warrior stripe' on Your cheeks / forehead, & flanks of your horse.. :D: Interesting, anyway..

.02
jd
 

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Isopropyl alcohol - topical antiseptic.
Ethanol - for making various tinctures. extracting medicinal chemicals from plants.
Mink oil - waterproof, preserve, protect leather boots
 

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Details? How are these chemicals made?

I have never done the lye from wood ash but in "Encyclopedia of Country Living" she explains the solution should float an egg. Lye is necessary for soap making. Two different kinds of lye, I cannot remember at this moment which one is used for soap. I store a container of it. Kept dry, it lasts.

Somewhere I read sulfer was used in sick rooms as a disinfectant. Now I cannot remember if it was burned or used in solution. If I could remember half of what I have forgotten, I would be smart. Seems like sulfer can be procured easily, but again, cannot remember.

Wheat flour and water makes a simple paste that works surprisingly well.

I have to dig out my directions for making vegetable rennet for cheese making. Animal rennett comes from one of the stomachs in a baby, 72 hours or less, calf. To butcher a baby calf seems like an awful waste.
 

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One item off the top of my head would be sodium silicate to make "water glass" for long-term egg preservation without refrigeration.

Urea (52-0-0 fertilizer) is another, for gardening and other uses, but I'm sure you're already aware of this one. In fact most of the household chemicals and uses that I know are so obvious that I'm sure you're already aware of them and I'd just be preaching to the choir. These days it seems I can only keep the basic stuff in my head anymore and I turn to my reference books for the more complicated stuff.

Attached here is a quick reference chart with some simple "household chemistry" recipes. Some of the things listed would be useful, and some others listed... not so much. Much of this is probably familiar but I'm posting it here in case it gives you a use or two that you didn't already know, or might give you inspiration for more involved recipes.
 

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Check out:

Manual of Formulas: Recipes, Methods and Secret Processes

The Knowledge

Caveman Chemistry

Just a few I have found to be interesting.

When people learn about how things are actually made (and not like on the shows, but how we came to that point) it really helps to appreciate what we currently have. Unfortunately, it also tends to, at least for me, raise the frustration level of why we are "stuck" where we currently are.
 

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Check out:...
..Caveman Chemistry is a great one.. :cool: ..Also, here's a - albeit Pricey - resource for some 'otherwise, hard to source' chems, some of which will be good to stock up on (..while we Can.. :rolleyes:

http://unitednuclear.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=16_17_69

...Yes, yes, you Can get better Per/Oz. pricing from Actual Chem co's, but often times, they have rather High quantity-Mins to order.. which then requires Much more in the way of 'clearances' / permits, and/or HazMat fees, at the very least (..depending on the Chem, of course..) But, with 'UN' (..and other similar resources..) a 'couple Oz. here / there' of even 'exotic' stuff, isn't likely to raise any flags..

.02
jd
 

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All the urea I’ve bought, a couple hundred tons each year was 46-0-0 not 52-0-0
All the stuff I used to buy for my lawn for the past 20 years was 46-0-0 but for some reason about three years ago the stuff at IFA where I buy it is all 52-0-0. I have no idea why.
 

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If you bake baking soda, it turns into washing soda.

when baking soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) gets heated, it turns into washing soda (Sodium Carbonate) + Carbon Dioxide + Water.

2NaHCO3 + Heat ==> Na2CO3 + CO2 + H2O

(that formula is from a quick google search)

I've been making it for a few years now, simply by emptying a large box of baking soda, about 4 lbs I think, into a 9x13 pan and leaving it in the oven.

I just keep it in there whenever I bake or broil, and it changes to washing soda without me having to pay extra electricity for it.

I use it straight as dishwasher detergent. Baking soda is cheaper than washing soda in the store, and I figure if I'm baking something anyway ...
 

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Does caveman chemistry explain how to derive the basic chemicals from the environment? I know turpentine is distilled from pine sap and lye is made from hardwood ashes steeped in Water for a few days or a week.
 

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Does caveman chemistry explain how to derive the basic chemicals from the environment? I know turpentine is distilled from pine sap and lye is made from hardwood ashes steeped in Water for a few days or a week.
All three of those have explanations of how to and what to use for, to varying degrees. Personally, I think: Manual, Caveman and Knowledge (in that order). Simply because Caveman has a lot of science behind it, whereas Manual is more "work-a-day". Knowledge can be a bit sketchy if you do not have at least a modicum of understanding in the subject matter.

The Knowledge can get a little "throw backish" to Pysics 101, Chem 101 and Eng 101 etc., but has detailed diagrams of how to build things from raw materials to allow for industry re-start: smelters, kilns, engines etc. It is not quite what I had expected, but with some basic education in various Fields, you can derive what you need from it.

Manual of Formulas is constantly being updated as new material is found and added. It really is rather cool the things many people knew "back in the day". Much of it was not "specialist" information

Caveman Chemistry is just plain awesome, if not as broad as the other two. Literally "MacGyver" level of developing compounds. Dunn did a fantastic job of explaining the hows and whys and his descriptions for obtaining the needed base compounds from raw materials is excellent. Dunn has a supporting website (cavemanchemistry.com) with additional info and has several other books out.

1800 Mechanical Movements and Devices is also pretty interesting. It has some decent diagrams one can follow for developing counter weights, gears, drives etc. It will take you back to Geometry/Trig 101 and Eng 101 real fast :eek: I do not have that one, I was browsing through it in a bookstore a few years back. I wanted to get it, but keep forgetting to. This thread has reminded me to add to my tertiary shopping list :thumb:
 
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