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robkb

Billhook - which one?

Does anyone have any specific recommendations? Needed mainly for clearance of brambles etc at the end of my allotment.
cab

Its such a hard thing to define! If it feels good in the hand, if it'll take a good edge, then its the right billhook. Without trying a few out, its pretty much impossible to know which is the right one.

For bramble clearance, I recall using a Devon bill hook when out with the BTCV a couple of times, and I couldn't have asked for a better tool. Well, petrol and a match maybe.
dpack

for brashing a fairly long handle and a long narrow blade is best

iirc stanley make one called a brush hook, for about£20 mine was fine til i lost it even though it was bright orange
Ty Gwyn

For brambles,you wont a long handled Slasher,easier on the back,and you can drag the cut brambles out.
robkb

petrol and a match maybe.


Laughing

Cheers Cab.

Actually I've just been looking at the Devon on the BTCV website which suggests that's what I want. Just need to find somewhere nearby that sells them now.
robkb

And cheers dpack and Ty Gwyn as well.
Treacodactyl

I found my billhooks tend to pull the brambles towards me so avoid using it from bramble clearance and use a small machete. If you wish to remove the bramble roots as well then I've found a rake is hard work but it pulls the roots out as well.
dpack

a small folding pruning saw will deal with any thick bits Wink
dpack

I found my billhooks tend to pull the brambles towards me so avoid using it from bramble clearance and use a small machete. If you wish to remove the bramble roots as well then I've found a rake is hard work but it pulls the roots out as well.


a sharp edge and a flicky strike with follow through avoids that problem with most hooks
Treacodactyl

I found my billhooks tend to pull the brambles towards me so avoid using it from bramble clearance and use a small machete. If you wish to remove the bramble roots as well then I've found a rake is hard work but it pulls the roots out as well.

a sharp edge and a flicky strike with follow through avoids that problem with most hooks

They edge is reasonably sharp and cuts through several stems but often catches on others when tackling a thicket in limited space. Still, I've got plenty to practice on. Laughing
vegplot

A mattock works well with brambles, you can get a good swing on it in a limited space. Sharpening the edge helps. dpack

i try to clear a patch by working along a line and pulling the cuttings out and throwing them behind but brambles can have other ideas

slash slash backslash pull ,it should be flowing to make it easy ,steady is fastest with brambles
dpack

find the ground with a hook and mattock the roots is a tidy idea Midland Spinner

When I was a kid an old chap we knew always had a hooked stick in his left hand when he used a sickle for nettles & stuff. He reckoned that he could sickle nettles all day in shorts & singlet & never get a sting. Should work with brambles as well? vegplot

Doubtful although worth a go. Brambles don't tend to stand like nettles and are less compliant to the gentle pressure of a stick. MikeM

as has already been mentioned, for what you want a long handled slasher is better. I have cleared brambles using a billhook and it was an exercise in pain.
With regards to billhooks, I personally believe you are best off buyiung second hand, and trying before buying. I use mine quite a lot, and having used other peoples in the past know how uncomfortable a poor "fitting" hook is. I was lucky in that I got mine from a 2nd hand garden tools dealer at a country show. He had a large selection and I got to choose the one that felt best (to me). I can happily use it for hours and feel no ill effects.
cab

I've used a longer handled slasher, and it'll clear brambles, but a Devon bill hook handled well will do so better. The mistake I think is that people use a bill hook like its made for slashing through loads of stems at once, they try to do too much with it. robkb

Blimey - one day offline and I come back to a two-page discussion! Once again, DS proves itself to be a mine of useful information and opinion.

Think I might ask around the site and see if anyone has either a billhook or a slasher to try before I buy. As for a mattock I've got one of those already for the roots.

Cheers all.
Treacodactyl

I'm a bit disappointed no one has suggested pigs... Wink cab


Think I might ask around the site and see if anyone has either a billhook or a slasher to try before I buy.

Thats sensible.

I think I can clear thorny stuff faster with a bill hook, but its harder work. A slasher is a less precision tool, but I've not found it as quick.

Once you'e got either tool, you'll find plenty of uses for it. I use my bill hook for trimming the hedge Smile
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