When is it not a billhook????

Although billhook in shape some tools are strictly speaking not billhooks - but as edge tools they do come into the same general classification...

Frequently sold on ebay as a double edged hedger's billhook, this is a Mauritius pattern sugar cane hook. This one is made by Elwell,  but they were made by all the major manufacturers such as Spear and Jackson, Jenks and Cattell and Skinner and Johson.

Although often sold a billhooks, and certainly a useful tool for cutting back light brushwood, these are pea and bean hooks, used to clear the haulm once the crop has been harvested. These are for sale from Glen Sibbick at Timeless Tools

Although called a serpette (small billhook), this is a 'serpette à glace' with a silver blade and is used for cutting ice-cream.

Known as a 'serpette à marriage' the actual function of this tool is unknown, but its name implies it is gift given by either the  bride or groom at a wedding, or like the 'serpette à glace' above, it may have been used to cut something edible or symbolic....

Although similar in appearance to several of the 'serpettes' shown above and below, this is a champagne bottle opener, used to lever the foil and wire cage from the neck of the bottle.

Another French serpette, this one known as a 'serpette PTT' is used in the French post office to cut the string on parcels and mailbags etc.

The modern 'serpette La Poste' (formerly PTT) see above....

 A 'serpette FACOM' - insulated to 10,000 volts, this is an electrician's knife for removing insulation from cable. FACOM is a maker of electricians' tools. Previously un-isulated knives, identical to folding pruning knives were used.

With an agate handle and a silver blade this billhook is actually a bookmark. The blade is slotted to clip over the edge of the page.

A grafting knife - although shaped like a small billhook, this also has a chisel blade and is used for grafting of vines and fruit trees and bushes.. Many regional variations in shape can be found.

This is a 'coupe cuir', or leather knife, made by Blanchard of Paris. Some are more like small billhooks, also known as a 'serpette à cuir'. They are used by saddle amd harness makers and cobblers to cut thick leather.

The top two came from France, the bottom one is an oyster knife. The others took longer to identify, but they are also oyster growers' tools, known as 'serpettes à ostréiculture', they are from Britanny.

The fabled golden sickle of druidic legend (see the Asterix comics) turns out to be really called a 'coupe gui' - a mistletoe cutter - is not usually sickle shaped and is made of iron and steel. From the collection of Jean Picot (known to his friends as 'la guignette' and founder of Outils-Anciens).

This is an English  'Gooseberry Hook', used for pruning gooseberry bushes. The long shank to the blade helps to avoid the sharp spikes on the branches.

An export model 'Oil Palm Knife' - a whole range of specialist edge tools have been made for export to other countries. The holes in the tang indicate a user made handle would be rivetted to the blade.

Like the above this is also an export tool: this time an Australian Fern Hook, similar to an English brush hook. Also supplied as a blade only for fitting with a locally made handle. This allowed more tools to be packed into a given space, and also avoided any import restrictions on timber products, and in some cases local taxes or duty.

This is a beet knife, a pattern often found in East Anglia. It has the Non Pariel 'Elephant' stamp of W Tyzack. Many regional variations of blade shape exist, some with a hook to pick up the beet to be trimmed. This shape is also common in Germany, possibly indicating a common ancestry. In France they are known a 'serpe à betterave' i.e. a. billhook for beet. In some areas it was also used for cutting cabbages, but a cabbage knife is a different tool altogether,

Not a billhook, but a billhook shaped machete. This one by Ralph Martindale of Birmingham who still offer a large range of blade shapes for export.

Called 'faucille à pain' 'serpe à pain' or 'couteau à pain' (sickle, billhook or knife) these were used to cut French bread. More decorative than a utilitarian tool, the shape varied from region to region.

With a thicker blade, more like that of a billhook than a sickle, this 'coupe-pain' or bread cutter has an extension to the blade to fit over the fore-arm.

Although billhook shaped, this tool that is sharpened on the outer edge, is actually a bark peeling 'spud' from Austria. Used to remove the bark from trees, e.g. to obtain oak bark for use in tanning leather.