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Billhooks?  RSS feed

 
Jeff McLeod
Posts: 95
Location: New Hampshire
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I'm slowly building up a new collection of tools. But I've been having trouble finding a billhook. Does anyone know of a source for them? And recommendations on brands here in the US? I have a few corn saws etc but they don't work as well for me at least. The only new one I have been able to find is made by Fiskars and frankly it looks as though it won't last much over a couple of seasons at most.

Peace

Jeff
 
Adam Klaus
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gardener
Posts: 946
Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
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I bought one from Peaceful Valley (groworganic.com) about 6 years ago, they call it a 'Sicket', as in a sickle-hatchet hybrid. The tool is a beast. No durability issues whatsoever. Highly reccomended if that is what you need.
 
Jeff McLeod
Posts: 95
Location: New Hampshire
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Thanks Adam - I'll take a look
 
Ben Plummer
gardener
Posts: 345
Location: Midcoast Maine, Zone 5b
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I bought a Japanese tool similar to this at Shelter Institute. Doesn't look like they have it listed in their online store though. Had to do quite a bit of clearing and it worked pretty well. Couldn't handle 2" thick saplings like a billhook is supposed to though.

As billhooks were not a common tool in the states you may have to look abroad, these guys seem to have a good selection.
 
allen lumley
pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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books fungi hugelkultur solar wofati woodworking
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Billhooks : When I was growing up Smokey the Bear was in every Elementary School in the land and we had outdoor outings where our local Dept of Environmental
Conservation Attempted to scare and convince us children that the woods were deep and dark and sometimes wicked but always worth saving ! " Only you can -
prevent a forest fire '' One of the tools always on display was a Brushhook, or billhook, mated to an oversized ax handle and 40'' long. It was one of those tools a
D.E.C. Officer might carry when he went into those deep and dark woods to rescue a careless logger, or a down-state-dude Trapped by a forest fire.

The first time I ever saw one of these actually carried was by a longshoreman! They carried these and Bail hooks or bailing hooks looking like Capt.Hooks nose picker,
that and a pair of leather work gloves, declared that the carrier was 'in the Union'

Because the bill hook was often used to reach out and snag a Cargo Net, Must of the bill hooks single knife edge was actually dull, but with a silver dollar sized sweet
spot! always kept Razor Keen and shiny to announce to the brethren that that carrier was 'old school' !

A longshoreman 'going large a bit' - in a bar near the docks might get a hairy eyeball from the Bartender !

A longshoreman ' on a tear ' might get the regulars to look up from their drinks !

A longshoreman in a bar with a billhook would clear the place instantly !

The reality for You and I is these thinks raise blisters faster than Fire !

For the Good of the Craft ! Be safe, keep warm ! As always, all comments and questions are solicited and are Welcome ! PYRO-LOGICALLY Big AL !
 
Jeff McLeod
Posts: 95
Location: New Hampshire
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Thanks for all the sources guys. This place is always full of folks with a wealth of information Going to take a look at all the options and will let you know what I end up with. Kids delivered a nice fathers day box of opinel pruning knives so slowly getting another area of my kit sorted out.
 
Ben Plummer
gardener
Posts: 345
Location: Midcoast Maine, Zone 5b
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I love Opinel knives, inexpensive and good quality, a rare pairing. I was re-reading bits of The Woodland Way for another thread and here's what Ben Law has to say about billhooks:

The billhook is the perfect tool for cutting short rotation coppice or in cycle hazel. Make sure you find a real forged tool and not a massed produced modern replica. There is no comparison, as the metal on the modern replica will not have been tempered.


Edit: Rather than importing or buying a factory made billhook, maybe check around your area for a traditional blacksmith. I was considering picking up an expensive broad axe then I contacted a traditional smith down the road a piece who will make the single bevel axe I actually want for less.
 
Matt Stern
Posts: 44
Location: Williams, OR
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forest garden hunting woodworking
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Hi Jeff,

I know Earth Tools BCS sells a brush hook with a 30 or 42 inch handle. They are forged by SHW, a German company. I haven't used their brush hook, but their chopping hoes are top notch.

I'm a bit far from you, but I've started a little tool shop centered around high quality tools for the garden, shop, and woodlot. If you don't find what you need and would like to try the longer handled brush hook, I would sell you one at near wholesale cost plus shipping in exchange for your feedback of the tool. Either way, I'd be glad to hear what your research turns up.

All the best,

Matt
thetoolmerchants@gmail.com
 
S Carreg
Posts: 260
Location: De Cymru (West Wales, UK)
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nothing helpful from me, only surprise that they are hard to find in the US - they are EVERYWHERE in the UK, you can pick them up for a couple of bucks at any flea market in the pile of slightly rusty old tools. funny, but i guess it's a cultural difference? if you dont have any luck, try looking on UK ebay, there are lots of 'vintage' ones on there being sold as 'decorations' that are perfectly serviceable
 
K Nelfson
Posts: 129
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Is a billhook similar to a sickle? From looking, it looks like a heavy-duty sickle.
 
Ivan Weiss
Posts: 179
Location: Vashon WA, near Seattle and Tacoma
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McLeod Jeff wrote:The only new one I have been able to find is made by Fiskars and frankly it looks as though it won't last much over a couple of seasons at most.


I have a Fiskars billhook, and it gets daily use and sharpening. I see no reason why it wouldn't last indefinitely. But it's a poor substitute for the best billhook I ever had, made by Rinaldi in Italy. Have a look at this. This is a killing machine. It has perfect weight (heavier than most billhooks) and balance. I misplaced it somewhere and the supplier I bought it from (DR Power) has quit carrying them. I sure hope to find another someday. All online searches have been fruitless, and Rinaldi has not answered my e-mails. I like the Rinaldi because of its bigger hook. It whacks right through old growth Scotch broom.
 
andrew curr
Posts: 288
Location: Deepwater northern New South wales Australia
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google
bill hook new england permaculture!
 
John Richer
Posts: 5
Location: Ontario
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I've got one from Lee Valley and it is well made & tough..
http://www.leevalley.com/en/garden/page.aspx?p=10416&cat=2,42706,40718
 
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