From 2010 to 2011
Ebay and visits to brocantes when in France, plus a network of friends and accomplices in France, Italy, Spain and Germany mean that I spend far too much each year on old rusty bits of metal that are vaguely billhooks shaped. I occasionally buy them in good condition, or pay over the odds for an unusal one, but my target price is under £10 (15 USD or 12 euros) and often I pay less, but with postage for those on eBay the price rises..
A visit to France in April 2012 allowed me to collect a few purchases from eBay.fr that had been sent to my step-son's house in Haute Savoie (74). As well as 'serpes et serpettes' there are a few other tools including two 'arrache betterave' (beetroot fork) and a 'plane de boisettier' (box maker's drawknife).
A 'coutelle' - a type of billhook from the Basses Pyrénées in the south west of France, with the maker's mark SAUTIÉ. Often with a horn handle and single bevel to the blade its actual usage remains a mystery. More conventional billhooks with shorter and wider blades, but of the same genre, are also found in the region. This one acquired in March 2012.
As above, but this time from ebay.de - some German 'hippen and haumesser' that also arrived during May 2012. The central tool is a single bladed mortice axe, known as a 'stichaxt' or 'stossaxt'. At the bottom is a home made chopper, probably used as a beet knife: the blade is recycled from an old knife from a mechanical mangold (beet) cutter (note the square bolt holes in the blade).
Some Indian 'aruval' currently en route from India (June 2013) - thanks to Robert, a German friend living in India. See his video about Indian billhooks on You Tube... and a second video an handling (i.e. carrying and using) an aruval... In India the billhook is a multi-purpose tool, used for food preparation as well as chopping wood etc...
Update (August 2013): the above aruval have not arrived as thery have been returned to Robert by Mumbai airport for security reasons. How a billhook is going to jump out of a sealed package sent via Indian Mail in the hold of a cargo plane and create a security risk is beyond me....
2nd Update (2014): they have arrived - Robert had to visit his home in Germany and sent them from there...
Not a lot of new ones this year, despite a couple of stays in France in the 1st half of the year. Wife, Lyn, diagnosed with multiple myeloma (cancer of the bone marrow) which has caused osteoporosis and kyphosis of the spine, so 2nd half of the year written off with bi-weekly hospital trips for chemotherapy - maybe 2015 will be better.
Lyn's treatment has gone well, the cancer is in remission, although blood platelet count is worryingly low. As far as billhooks, also a bit better luck this year - I've also made a new contact in Bulgaria, as well as in Sweden and Finland.