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recommend a billhook for dressing coppiced hazel

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Re: recommend a billhook for dressing coppiced hazel

Postby SimonFisher » Tue Dec 23, 2014 8:35 am

smojo wrote:
We have bought a Silky saw...


... They seem like the ideal tool for getting into the hazel stools. I think my bowsaw will be too bulky so it seems like a good tool to have.

Another alternative is a small battery chainsaw. We have a Makita BUC122, part of their 18V Lithium Ion tool range, which I've used to cut coppice.
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Re: recommend a billhook for dressing coppiced hazel

Postby Terry » Thu Dec 25, 2014 8:54 am

would agree with the general feeling that the silky saws are a better option than bow saws which are a bit awkward around a stool, although historically they did the job when there were no other options.
Also heard good reports about the new battery chainsaws which are ideally suited to smaller diameter stuff typically found in coppice or pruning operations. Just dont forget to fill up the chain oil regularly as you wont be stopping to fuel the saw which normally prompts you to do the chain oil.
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Re: recommend a billhook for dressing coppiced hazel

Postby SimonFisher » Thu Dec 25, 2014 10:28 am

Terry wrote:... heard good reports about the new battery chainsaws which are ideally suited to smaller diameter stuff typically found in coppice or pruning operations. Just dont forget to fill up the chain oil regularly as you wont be stopping to fuel the saw which normally prompts you to do the chain oil.

You will be changing the battery regularly though, and my experience of the Makita 18 volt (BUC122) is that the oil outlasts a single battery, so topping up the oil each time the battery is changed is easy to do. I do find mine leaks oil when it's not in use so I usually drain it after use.
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Re: recommend a billhook for dressing coppiced hazel

Postby smojo » Tue Dec 30, 2014 9:02 am

Just ordered a Morris Newton pattern billhook. Seem to get good reviews for what I want it for. Let you know how good it is when I get it.
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Re: recommend a billhook for dressing coppiced hazel

Postby Terry » Wed Dec 31, 2014 1:52 am

SimonFisher wrote:
Terry wrote:... heard good reports about the new battery chainsaws which are ideally suited to smaller diameter stuff typically found in coppice or pruning operations. Just dont forget to fill up the chain oil regularly as you wont be stopping to fuel the saw which normally prompts you to do the chain oil.

You will be changing the battery regularly though, and my experience of the Makita 18 volt (BUC122) is that the oil outlasts a single battery, so topping up the oil each time the battery is changed is easy to do. I do find mine leaks oil when it's not in use so I usually drain it after use.


Fair comment Simon - was thinking more about the plug in electric ones than the battery ones :oops:
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Re: recommend a billhook for dressing coppiced hazel

Postby smojo » Thu Jan 08, 2015 8:46 am

The Morris Newton billhook arrived yesterday so here's my review so far. It has a nice weight to it, not too much but enough to feel like you have some clout. There are a few niggles which I'm sure I can sort out but I have to say that it is not "ready to go". The blade looks like it has been sprayed matt black to hide the irregular colouring and uneven surface from the hardening process. That's not a problem and although the irregularity makes it look a bit rough and ready, to me it suggests it's hand forged and shaped rather than cut out of a sheet of steel. My main gripe is the edge. It has been rough ground to a slight concave profile but there are two areas where the grind has not gone far enough to give it an edge. In fact there is one spot about 6cm long where there is no edge, there's a good 1-2 mm thickness of flat metal rather than an edge. That's going to need more grinding or filing to bring it close for a final honing. There was also numerous burrs which need honing down too. The handle is comfortable and looks like ash. The end of it is cut straight with hard angles to it. Not really a problem but it will be better if I round them off slightly. Haven't used it yet of course so can't comment on that. On the whole I would say for the price it looks a decent tool but not in the league of vintage ones. A little more quality control over the grinding of the edge is needed as it needs more than the expected final honing to get it to a workable tool. If I can find time I'll take some photos but got the kitchen to decorate now. :(
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Re: recommend a billhook for dressing coppiced hazel

Postby SimonFisher » Sun Jan 11, 2015 9:18 am

Much the same problem when we bought a new billhook - not ready to use without working on them, and in our case heavy and didn't feel good in the hand. We subsequently bought a couple of used Elwell ones - one at the Bentley Weald Woodfair and the other via eBay. They're really nice to use.
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Re: recommend a billhook for dressing coppiced hazel

Postby Dexter's Shed » Tue Jan 13, 2015 1:44 pm

I too felt the need to rush out and buy a couple of billhooks, and same as you, they were not really up to much when they arrived, they did get used a couple of times in the early days, but I find that unless your hedge laying with them, then for coppicing the small husky chainsaw is the better tool,quick and easy, allowing you to do a lot more work in the same amount of time, the strimmers with a blade attachment also work well


http://youtu.be/Cqq9cOCSEh4
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Re: recommend a billhook for dressing coppiced hazel

Postby Daniel » Sat Jun 20, 2015 7:47 pm

smojo wrote:There are a few niggles which I'm sure I can sort out but I have to say that it is not "ready to go". The blade looks like it has been sprayed matt black to hide the irregular colouring and uneven surface from the hardening process. That's not a problem and although the irregularity makes it look a bit rough and ready, to me it suggests it's hand forged and shaped rather than cut out of a sheet of steel. My main gripe is the edge.(


I have one of these too, I think it is good to have something from a traditional business that makes things by hand, so I can accept the irregularity of the blade, however, I think a bit more thought could have gone into the handle, it feels a bit cheap, and working any length of time with a varnished finish isn't ideal, I would prefer to have something arrive untreated and apply linseed oil (or equivalent) myself.
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