Billhook?

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santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
16,213
798
63
Florida
Can you post a pic please. I've heard these referenced on the forum many times and I'm still not sure exactly what it is. I'm imagining something similar to what we call a kaiser blade but I'm probably wrong.
 

Silverclaws

Forager
Jul 23, 2009
249
1
Plymouth, Devon
Yep, I still use one, a Morris of Dunsford Devon pattern and I find it a very versatile tool, of which I use for chopping woody material in the place of a hatchet. Also the concave bit of the blade down by the handle I find get your fingers on that the blade can be used with a lot of accuracy for smaller more precise jobs as the blade is always at it's sharpest near the handle.



But yes, an ancient tool of the landsman and a tool that found it's way into war with the addition of a long pole added.
 
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santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
16,213
798
63
Florida
Ahh. Thanks guys. They are similar although apparently have a shorter handle than a kaiser blade. www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaiser_blade

The wiki article does have a mistake however; a kaiser blade bears no resemblance whatsoever to a sling blade. This is the best pic I can find of one www.busytools.com/Metal-Tools/Sling-Blade-Tool but bear every sling blade I've ever used had a yoke attaching to both ends of the blade rather than just one end as shown in the link. Bothe sides of the blade have a serrated edge so that it cuts weeds on the fore swing and back swing.
 

Silverclaws

Forager
Jul 23, 2009
249
1
Plymouth, Devon
Ahh. Thanks guys. They are similar although apparently have a shorter handle than a kaiser blade. www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaiser_blade

The wiki article does have a mistake however; a kaiser blade bears no resemblance whatsoever to a sling blade. This is the best pic I can find of one www.busytools.com/Metal-Tools/Sling-Blade-Tool but bear every sling blade I've ever used had a yoke attaching to both ends of the blade rather than just one end as shown in the link. Bothe sides of the blade have a serrated edge so that it cuts weeds on the fore swing and back swing.
Everywhere will have it's own variation of the billhook, as it is just a heavy blade used for chopping whatever and even the parang and the machete are your kaiser are variations of and developed for whatever was at hand.

But Wiki, even I have modified a page on that, for anyone can, it asks you to do so, so regards wiki, it is useful, but by no means the definitive, but change it if you like, but persist as the bots try to undo your work.

But someone I know uses an thing he calls an arkensaw toothpick for slashing weeds, it being something he got hold of in the US when he worked over there as a American Civil war re enactor.
 

santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
16,213
798
63
Florida
Everywhere will have it's own variation of the billhook, as it is just a heavy blade used for chopping whatever and even the parang and the machete are your kaiser are variations of and developed for whatever was at hand.

But Wiki, even I have modified a page on that, for anyone can, it asks you to do so, so regards wiki, it is useful, but by no means the definitive, but change it if you like, but persist as the bots try to undo your work.

But someone I know uses an thing he calls an arkensaw toothpick for slashing weeds, it being something he got hold of in the US when he worked over there as a American Civil war re enactor.
All very true. Especially the bit about wiki undoing your changes. LOL.

Love the Arkansas toothpick. Not sure the neighbors would like to see someone out and about with one though www.atlantacutlery.com/p-832-arkansas-toothpick.aspx
 

Noddy

Nomad
Jul 12, 2006
257
0
Away
I use a Knighton and a Devon - I like the Knighton much as it is lighter than most but just as good at chopping, splitting etc - and I find it more accurate than an axe for splitting off bits from a knotty round
 

Silverclaws

Forager
Jul 23, 2009
249
1
Plymouth, Devon
I use a Knighton and a Devon - I like the Knighton much as it is lighter than most but just as good at chopping, splitting etc - and I find it more accurate than an axe for splitting off bits from a knotty round
Likewise I find it more controllable than a hatchet and more useful and how it splits bigger sections of timber, just chop the thing in as far you can, then batten it or if it's a section that is light enough to picked up with the billhook handle, do so and smack it down again until the log splits through. The hook end I find good for scraping along staves to remove the knobbly bits as no doubt that might have been the intention of the hooked end when it was a woodsman or bodgers tool of the trade.

Axes I find to be single use, I like multi purpose tools, compromises as I like less tools to get lost or stolen.

But Ebay one can't buy knives on there now because of the anal attitude on knives in the UK everyone must be punished for the actions of a few, machete's can't be sold, but billhooks can and they are available on there quite cheaply and where mine came from for £20 all in.
 

dwardo

Maker
Aug 30, 2006
6,161
193
42
Nr Chester
I use mine a lot for splitting and roughing out bow staves its a great tool.
Dont tend to take it out with me to the woods as its a whole lot of cutting edge very close to the body, i prefer my axe.
 

Everything Mac

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 30, 2009
3,106
76
32
Scotland
Yup. I used one for years before I got an axe. Then I used one for coppicing and hurdle making for a while

Mine haven't seen action for a long time though. I plan on forging a small one at some point for general everyday stuff.

Yet another project to do lol.

All the best
andy
 

tombear

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 9, 2004
4,078
168
50
Rossendale, Lancashire
Just rescued this one from the inlaws cottage



The handles shot so I picked up a modern replacement that I will alter to fit. On the blade is says

DUNSFORD
MORRIS
DEVON

It's good and heavy and should clean up OK, there's a nasty burr on the spine I will have to remove and the cutting edge will need a lot of file work, I left them the modern Bulldog one that looked like it was cut out of a sheet rather than forged! Will post a pic after its done.

ATB

Tom
 

Everything Mac

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 30, 2009
3,106
76
32
Scotland
Has anyone else seen the hook with a big swell of material in the tip of the blade?
It's great for a bit of extra swing!

Iquitefancy as all one for making hurdles. Like I said, I plan on forging one at some point.

Cheers
Andy
 

Silverclaws

Forager
Jul 23, 2009
249
1
Plymouth, Devon
The burrs on the spine come from the past use of using a hammer on the back edge to aid driving the blade through something hefty, mine had one too, I ground off most of it then discovered using a hammer with these things makes them even more capable, hence why it was done in the past.

But modern use of sheet material should be fine if the sheet material contains some carbon and no doubt if sheet material was available in the past tool makers would have used it as the name of the game is produce a tool ata cost it will sell, minimise production and material costs and one can profit in small areas.
 
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tombear

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 9, 2004
4,078
168
50
Rossendale, Lancashire
Aye its the nearest thing to a froe i'll get unless I turn one up on a carboot so no doubt I'll be using a hammer on mine at some point!

Oddly enough they still make them, the very model, (Google Morris and Son, Dunsford). One place was selling the same, forged hook for about £26 which i think is very reasonable. the drop hammer they use was made in 1890!

Here's as far as I've got cleaning mine up, took a couple of hours.



I'm for once not going mad to remove every dink and mark and just from the cleaning up process its wickedly sharp, I'll finish sharpening it with grades of ceramic rod the first time, I've a scythe stone somewhere to use out in the field.

I suppose I better make a sheath of some sort for it.

ATB

Tom

PS will have another go at knocking the pin out, if it wont budge I will dremmel it off and drill the hole out, although I doubt I will try and pin the new handle on, a good tight fit and araldite will do me fine!
 
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Silverclaws

Forager
Jul 23, 2009
249
1
Plymouth, Devon
I usually find a combination of heat and sulphuric acid removes most stuck metal, but with my billhook, the faces appear to be browned, and it's not rust residue, definitely some metal treatment applied, mind I have seen them with the fire scale left on which also resists rust.

Also on mine the tang goes all the way through the handle and is peened over at the end to include a metal washer.
 
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