SHTF Library: Pocket References


SHTF Library: Pocket References

One of the things I’m interested in is building up a post-SHTF reference library over time. There are a lot of good posts on this that Google turns up, but here on AllOutdoor I’d like to take it a bit slower and look at one book at a time. I’d also like to solicit suggestions from the audience, so any time you see one of these posts please drop in and offer any other suggestions or alternatives.

I’ll kick this series off with a pair of volumes that are a classic favorite of building supers, mechanics, and DIYers everywhere: Pocket Ref and its larger companion, Desk Ref.

Both of these books are collections of formulas, specifications, conversions, tables of data, and general facts about weights, measures, material properties, weather, cars, houses, anything else that’s likely to come up in the course of dealing with civilization or, as if it comes to it, post-civilization. In fact, Wikipedia has a good entry on this:

Pocket Ref is a comprehensive, all-purpose pocket-sized reference book/handbook and how-to guide containing various tips, tables, maps, formulas, constants and conversions by Thomas J. Glover.[1] It is published by Sequoia Publishing, and is currently in its fourth edition at 864 pages in length, released in late 2010.[2]

It contains references, tables, and instructional guides on such varied subjects as automotive repair; carpentry and construction; chemistry and physics; computers; physical, chemical, and mathematical constants; electronics; money and measurement conversions; advanced first aid; glue, solvents, paints, and finishes; hardware; mine, mill, and aggregate; plumbing; zip codes; rope, cable, and knots; steel and metals; surveying and mapping; and more.[2]

Described as an “oracle of all things DIY,” the Pocket Ref has been featured on the television series MythBusters.[3] In the “Shop ’til You Drop” episode, Adam Savage noted that “nearly everyone” had asked him about the little black book.[4]

The desktop version is a larger version of the pocket edition, plus it contains a bunch of added handyman-related data.

Drawbacks to these are that print is small, and they’re unavailable on Kindle. But they’re so cheap that there’s no excuse not to have at least the Pocket Ref laying around.

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billj is currently a writer for AllOutdoor who has chosen not to write a short bio at this time.

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