Old Billhook
First of all, I understand this is a tool rather than a weapon, but agricultural tools turned weapons have been discussed on this forum before (for example http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=32368&highlight=) so I decided to post here.

I picked up this old blade at an antique shop in upstate NY. In general I wouldn't consider something like this "my thing" but it just spoke to me: "hilt me, sharpen me, use me!".
The surface has obvious forging marks, and is covered in small rust pits with black patina on top of them. Overall impression between this and the shape is of some kind of fantasy bad guy weapon, like say an Uruk-hai from Lord of the Rings could carry as a sidearm/backup. That hook point looks like it would work pretty well as a back spike on a medieval weapon.

The 8.5" long x 6.5" wide blade has nice distal taper (over 5mm at base to under 3mm) and 6" tang tapers even more radically, almost flat ribbon at the end. Based on all that, I would consider it pretty old (like 19th century) and not factory made. But it is stamped with DB2456 in standard modern looking script (see attachment). So it must have come from a factory and not too old, I guess first half of 20th century?
I looked around online and found similar blade shape only at one modern Italian billhook model (doesn't look obviously forged though) and a French 19th century antique.
If anybody has any ideas as to age/origin of the blade, please let me know!

Anyway, I am in the process of mounting it with a nicer sort of handle than a tool would normally get. Using walnut with copper ferrules, and probably will add some brass accents as well.
Will leave the blade flats in the current state, just reestablish the edges. Going for that "fantasy bad guy weapon" look (which I had never been the least bit attracted to before).

I am curious how the tang angle it is set up with going to work for me. I would place it more inline with centerline of the blade, but it was made with this distinct angle for some reason. When done, will try to cut different sorts of things with both edges and hopefully will find that there was a good reason for this shape...


 Attachment: 247.83 KB
stamp [ Download ]

 Attachment: 264.99 KB
blade [ Download ]
Very cool! I can't really help you but would love to see progress/the finished product.
AFAIK this form is English, hedging/thatching tool. Very similar one with its original handle can be seen here:
Yes, this English type is similar, but not quite the same shape (the straight "hatchet" edge is much shorter, and the top of the blade isn't straight). As I said, I have seen modern Italian and antique French billhooks of almost exactly same shape as mine.

My handle will be a bit more complicated in shape and finish. I got it roughly shaped by now, will post when finished.

As promised, picture of completed billhook project.

Handle is walnut wood treated with tung oil.
Copper ferrules. The front one has an extension to be used as belt hook. The one at the butt is decorated with brass tacks.
Brass peen plate.

I haven't had a chance to test cut with it yet, but due to the handle to blade angle it feels like the straight edge is set up to be the main one for serious chopping work. The hook could probably be used for cutting very thin flexible branches, or as a sickle to cut soft vegetation (the edge is noticeably thinner on the hook side).


 Attachment: 90.47 KB
billhook [ Download ]
A few more pictures of the handle.

 Attachment: 93.65 KB
[ Download ]

 Attachment: 45.44 KB
[ Download ]

 Attachment: 62.97 KB
[ Download ]
Nice work. Can't help but get a fantasy Medieval vibe from it even if it is a modern agricultural tool. I expect it'll look even better once the copper and brass have aged to match the blade.
maybe this website could be of interest.

Dan, that "fantasy Medieval vibe" is exactly why I bought the blade. I just had to see what I could make out of it...

Frank, yes I have seen this British site when I started researching billhooks. Got a lot of interesting info out of it, but alas no indication as to when and by whom my blade could have been made.


Page 1 of 1

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum

All contents © Copyright 2003-2006 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Full-featured Version of the forum