Billhook?

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Everything Mac

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 30, 2009
3,106
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Scotland
That's what the "hook" part was for.

The really pronounced curve makes it easy to ap into a thin ish hazel rod. Then you use the rest of the body of it as a lever to split your way down the rod. Its been a while since I've done it but you get quite proficient at it very quickly.
Superb tools for what they're designed for.


Got curious
http://www.timelesstools.co.uk/cat_pages.htm
Cheers
 
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Dave Budd

Gold Trader
Staff member
Jan 8, 2006
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Dartmoor (Devon)
www.davebudd.com
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.
As mentioned earlier, I like my billhooks. Partly coz I use them as part of my daily work ;) The use of sheet material is as you say a cost saving device, but makers of old wouldn't have used it because their customers wouldn't let them. Billhooks made from a uniform thickness sheet just don't work as well, they flex in the wrong places, the weight is distributed in the wrong ways (usually, but different patterns effect this also) and the thickness of the blade behind the edge stops it penetrating well (which is also why I refuse to make scandi ground knives). The only reason they are selling hooks made this way today is because so few people use them and so those who care if a tool works proeperly or not can go and find an old billhook ;) Even the Morris hooks (made down the road from me) are only tapered in one direction (distal taper, not edge to back taper) these days as a way of saviing production costs; this mean that they work better than the pressed sheet metal ones but not as well as the old ones made in the same factory.

I make them, but they are a PITA to make properly so I don't make many. I could make them the way bulldog or even morris' do, but I want to make a tool that works as it should.
 

tombear

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 9, 2004
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Rossendale, Lancashire
Cheers, fascinating stuff. I'm glad I refurbed this old one, just need a reason to use it now.



I've put it back in the linseed oil bath so it will get a full day, the handles on very tight anyway but every little helps.

It's razor sharp so i will make a guard for the edge while I get some thick leather for a sheath.

Cheers!

Tom
 

demographic

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Apr 15, 2005
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They are often in the secondhand tool sales barn fairly close to where I live. There's loads about but they don't get used as much nowadays as traditional hedge laying isn't done as much either.
Good tool for the job though.
 

Everything Mac

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 30, 2009
3,106
77
32
Scotland
I have a single edge billhook that I bought from KnivesbyNick. I don't know opinions on his ones but my one is fantastic and gets loads of use.

http://www.knivesbynick.co.uk/tools.htm - fourth one up from the bottom.

I have a feeling he frequents the bushcraft/knife forums (???).

:)

kawasemi
Thats an awful lot of hammer marks for someone who's been doing it since 1963. Unless of course they are to give that "forged look"

Some interesting tools though. And very cheap I don't know many smiths who could produce stuff like that for those prices.
Cheers
 
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treelore

Nomad
Jan 4, 2008
299
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Northamptonshire
most of my hand tools are old...i have a good colecton of billhooks,slashers,grass hook,greenwood working tools and alot of my tools i use on my allotment are all old too....i don't think you can beat them to be honest...no modern hand tools i've used for hedgelaying or in my coppice work stand up to the job or the test of time !!
 

kawasemi

Full Member
May 27, 2009
1,548
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Where the path takes me
most of my hand tools are old...i have a good colecton of billhooks,slashers,grass hook,greenwood working tools and alot of my tools i use on my allotment are all old too....i don't think you can beat them to be honest...no modern hand tools i've used for hedgelaying or in my coppice work stand up to the job or the test of time !!
;) agree with that...ditched the power mower and got a push along Panther this year and I'm not going back!!
 
The handles shot so I picked up a modern replacement that I will alter to fit. On the blade is says

DUNSFORD
MORRIS
DEVON
The old handle is really nice - the heavy and thick ferrule indicates a replacement at some time in the past - I'd copy that rather than fit that nasty factory made one (probably made from hickory, not good English ash....)...
 
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