Billhook Appreciation

Discussion in 'Edged Tools' started by Boonedoggle, Apr 27, 2018.

  1. Boonedoggle

    Boonedoggle Tracker

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    Let me start this post by saying that I live in FL, and my statements are based on my personal experience in this specific environment.

    [​IMG]

    I'm almost exclusively using my billhook in place of my Latin machetes, and burriquito (panga) machete working on the yard. The bow saw and loppers still get used for specific jobs.

    Also, when heading out for the woods for day trips, I find myself grabbing the billhook over my other machetes. I've even started leaving my folding saw at home for those trips.

    Here's a short list of some of its capabilities that I've experienced:

    • It's great at dealing with tangles of woody vines.

    • It does a good job of limbing reasonably sized branches.

    • Once you learn the right angles to hold & swing, it's a decent chopper.

    • It can reach under brush and perform pull cuts.

    • It isn't great at batoning, but can split wood just fine by using a method similar to how you'd use a hatchet.

    It has its weaknesses, but all tools do.
    They aren't for everyone, and that's fine. I'm not trying to convert anyone. Just sharing my love for an ugly tool that is more versatile than I thought it would be.

    Are there any other billhook fans here?
     
  2. stillman

    stillman Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    I have the Gerber version of this tool. It's exceptional for going through briars and vines.

    Billhooks were traditionally used for splitting smaller stock, using the hook for leverage. More like a froe than an axe or driving a wedge all the way through a piece.
     
  3. yohan

    yohan Tracker

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    I have the same tool. It comes in handy around the place when clearing the fence line.

    In His service

    Yohan
     
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  4. stillman

    stillman Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Here's a pic of my Gerber billhook with the padded cover. I have a twisted paracord loop tied to it for cross shoulder carry, since it's uncomfortable on a belt.

    I bought the other one at a forestry store in PA. I haven't used it very much. The blade is 3/16" thick

    Also, a close-up of the Fiskars and Gerber logos on the same tool. My old Back Paxe is marked the same way.

    20180427_193949.jpg


    20180427_194024.jpg
     
  5. central joe

    central joe Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    While I have never had a billhook, years ago I did have a bush axe with the broken handle cut down to about a foot long. Really handy, but probably heavier. I really liked it, unfortunately so did someone else. I have looked at and thought about those. joe
     
  6. Boonedoggle

    Boonedoggle Tracker

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    I need to get one of those Gerber sheaths. I have the case/hanger/packaging thing that came with my Fiskars.

    I've been trying to figure out a kydex sheath design that wouldn't be complicated.
    I'll probably just go with one of those Gerbers though.

    I like the angle of the hook on that Forester.

    I should try using my billhook like a froe. Never thought of it that way.
     
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  7. Boonedoggle

    Boonedoggle Tracker

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    I know that feeling. Lost a lot of stuff to filthy thieves.

    I highly recommend these, or any other of decent quality.
    Good ones can be had at reasonable prices.

    You could always pick up another brush axe and cut down the handle.
     
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  8. Vanitas

    Vanitas Supporter Supporter

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    I had the back side of my panga machete sharpened into a billhook.
     
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  9. Muleman77

    Muleman77 Hobbyist Hobbyist

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    I've been using an old kelly brush axe a lot the last couple weeks, cutting and burning down in the creekbottom. I really like it, for thorny, viny patches. Its kind of heavy for some of it though.

    One of these hooks could be just the thing for that stuff!
     
  10. JD Miller

    JD Miller Scout

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  11. Boonedoggle

    Boonedoggle Tracker

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    Been checking out the Silky Yoki. Looks like it should be good.

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. darodalaf

    darodalaf Guide

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    I bought one of those Fiskars billhooks to deal with 3 acres of SW Ohio cliffside jungle.

    There were areas that were too steep or unstable to use the brushcutter safely so the billhook was my go to in those spots. I really liked it and it makes a good camp/trail maintenence tool.
     
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  13. Knighthorse

    Knighthorse Guide

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    Tractor supply co and look for brush knife.
     
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  14. stillman

    stillman Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    I made a corn machete sheath from plywood that would work for your hook. Basically, its 2 rectangles with a spacer between them, kind of like a pocket.
     
  15. Boonedoggle

    Boonedoggle Tracker

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    That'd be a bit too heavy for my liking. Plus, I've been trying to get away from natural materials like wood and leather.

    The soft synthetic sheaths are fine with me. Much lighter, easier to attach to my small pack, and I can coat them with silicone waterproofing spray.
     
  16. stillman

    stillman Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Makes sense. A plywood cover is more for riding around in the truck than carrying.
     
  17. Red Yeti

    Red Yeti Mostly Harmless Hobbyist Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Found this in an old book... enjoy!

    IMG_20180328_135506612.jpg
     
  18. Kreger

    Kreger Guide

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    IMG_0902.JPG IMG_0900.JPG IMG_0893.JPG
    My latest project. I picked this up at a moving sale a couple weekends ago. I have stripped the paint off the handle. Coated it with a bunch of boiled linseed oil. Also soaking the head in vinegar and scrubbing it to clean off the rust. It's coming around. Looking forward to using it.
     
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  19. Knighthorse

    Knighthorse Guide

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    Yup, brush axe. Next one of those, or bill hook used, I'm buying it.
     
  20. Boonedoggle

    Boonedoggle Tracker

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    Beastly. Nice.
     
  21. mtnoutdoors

    mtnoutdoors Prov 27:17 Supporter

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    Very nice I wounder how well it well work on black berry patches I have them all over the place. Prov 27 : 17
     
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  22. Muleman77

    Muleman77 Hobbyist Hobbyist

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    I use one for that all the time. With some practice you can work the vines, and roll them up as you go, until you get a good size wad ready to burn.

    They compress a lot, a 20 foot x20 patch several feet tall ends up about the size of a couch
     
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  23. Knighthorse

    Knighthorse Guide

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    Here the tempest is "multiflora rose". Smell nice, but wow are they spiny, fast spreading monsters. Tough whippy stems wave easily around and catch things. I am not a fan. There’s another here, have not found a name, but makes cactus look cuddly. Vine like, with many different sizes of thorns, covering every square mm. The medium to smaller thorns break off easily. Run into that, you get a souvenir, or a hundred. I’ll post a pic sometime.
     
  24. oddjob35

    oddjob35 Scout

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    The Lincoln style Billhook at the bottom (left) of that page is very similar to the one my dad had when I was a kid back in the 60's. The "extra" hatchet style blade on the back of the hook was used for processing more solid wood/branches and the hook for the twiggy stuff and vines/grasses. That extra blade was really useful for fire prep as long as you watched out for where the hook was going on the backswing!! It would seem that you are still able to get hold of similar billhooks, for example .... http://www.baryonyxknife.com/rizbi.html ... & ... http://www.baryonyxknife.com/anbabi.html, so if you are really interested in the billhook for general use, it may be worth trying one with the extra edge. As already noted by @Boonedoggle billhooks are a bit awkward to baton with anyway and the extra blade on the back makes it near impossible as your baton just gets sliced up!! So you just have to use a different technique to split larger wood like using wedges and smacking them in with the flat of the billhook blade!!

    OJ
     
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  25. Sandcut

    Sandcut Sed ego sum homo indomitus Vendor

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    So, we finally had a weekend day that was sunny and spring-like and worth spending outside doing yard work. So this morning I spent some time cleaning all of the downed branches and sticks out of the yard, since it'll only be a week or so until we have to mow the lawn. But rather than drag out the chainsaw to lop up some of the larger branches for the burn pile, I drug out an old, unused tool that I've had for about six years, but only used once before. A Condor Bush Knife (NOT the Primitive Bush Knife).

    IMG_20180505_100959.jpg IMG_20180505_101139.jpg


    Not a bad little tool overall. To start, this is the first Condor that I've had any luck with. I've had some disappointments with other knives from them.

    Having been sharpened to my satisfaction, it did a decent job of cutting through some Beech branches on both the axe and the hook sides. I'm still trying to find the correct job for this tool. It is moderately heavy and short and somewhat awkward to use, but would be a suitable "Jack of all Trades, Master of None" kinda tool. As a chopper, I greatly prefer one of our Fiskars Brush Axes. They are lighter, with a longer handle for infinitely more torque and much better balanced. However, having said that, the Condor's hook, being more squared off at a right angle, does work better than the Fiskars on draw/pulling cuts, since the Fiskars is more open-angled. So, credit where credit is due, the Condor does surpass the Fiskars in this one task. I'm looking at trying it out this summer on some wicker-type projects this summer from local reed grass.

    The sheath is decently heavy leather. It is a bit awkward to resheath due to .oth the shape of the blade and weight of leather, but wearing it cross-draw helps that out.

    That's it for today. No projected tasks for the Fiskarseses as of yet, but I'm trying to think of one.
     
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  26. Boonedoggle

    Boonedoggle Tracker

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    Decided to improve the grip on my Fiskars.
    Sanded off the orange paint, and slipped on a bicycle inner tube for a 24" mountain bike that I no longer own.
    It was a bit of a pain to get on, but it fits perfectly.
    The grip is definitely improved for wet weather.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Now I just gotta make or buy a new sheath to improve carrying it.
     

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