As with most tools modern makers seek to improve upon the design and function of billhooks. Often this is led by the accountants who want to reduce the manufacturing costs, reduce the life expectancy and improve proftitablity. A tool that wears out in a year or two has to be replaced - hard point saws are an example, they cannot be resharpened by the user, and cost less than the price of resharpening a traditional saw. However, most modern billhooks seem to be fairly well made, even if stamped from sheet steel, rather than being forged from solid bar.
The ubiquitous Fiskars brush hook from Finland, sold in the UK as a Wilkinson Sword tool, and in the USA as a Gerber (mentioned elsewhere on the site), is a good example of a reworking of a traditional tool to 'improve it'.... India, Pakistan and China are producing copies of European billhooks, but there are other makers producing acceptable tools, and in England and the USA a rebirth of traditional hand made billhooks.
The Condor CTK3008B brush hook is made by Imacasa in El Salvador. The original blue plastic handle is now replaced by a grey/black one, and the blade appears to be DLC (diamond like carbon) coated. Dating from 1963, the factory was purpose built in Santa Ana by the Solingen (Germany) Weyersberg company. The Condor name is used for tools sold in North America.
The Protool WPT105A Utility Axe. Located in Pottsdown, Pensylvania (USA), Protool Industries also make the Woodsman's Pal.
The Condor Martef model with a coated blade and a rubber handgrip. Sold by Kellam Knives in the USA, this appears to be the Finnish 'vesuri' made by Marttiini Oy, although labelled as a Condor knife, this is the model and not the maker... Although not currently listed on Marttiini's website, it still appears to be in production. Martef is the name of the coating (I guess a special MARttini TEFlon).
A modern interpretation of the Llandillo pattern made by John Beavis of Olivemead Forge in Wiltshire. John is one of the new generation of blacksmiths who also make excellent hand forged edge tools.
A rare find - hand-forged billhooks from the USA. Forged by Elmer Roush of Brasstown in North Carolina, these distinctive shaped tools appear to be well made.