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Old July 26, 2014, 09:01 AM   #1
hso
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Brush clearing

The goat barn had become overgrown with brush since my big billygoat died so I got out in the early morning light, before the temp got above 80, and cleared the 60ft along the front.

I used a BKT MachAxe for the greatest bulk of it (I used the BK5 starting out and it was fine on individual woody brush, but the MachAxe would swing through several at once). Allowing the MachAxe to contact behind the protruding blade head made it sweep through straw to 1/2" brush pretty easily. Heavier material got the head of the "knife" to chop through them.

A tree limb had broken off an elm and fallen on my fence so I needed to hack the 4" part on the fence loose from the larger hanging portion and the MachAxe did fine for that as well. This time the part of the blade just on the backside of the head bit the best and chopped through the wood in a handful of swings.

While I still consider my Finnish brush hatchet to be a better general cutter/chopper/hacker, the MachAxe did a pretty good job and I wouldn't be desperate if it were in the trunk.
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Last edited by hso; July 26, 2014 at 10:34 AM.
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Old July 26, 2014, 06:50 PM   #2
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Hso,

As I was reading this, I was wondering what happened to your Finn bill hook, and then I read the last paragraph!

Put me on the list if you ever decide to sell that!
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Old July 26, 2014, 07:11 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CWL View Post
Put me on the list if you ever decide to sell that!
Ben over at Baryonyx has a variety of european billhooks by Falci in stock for reasonable prices.

http://www.baryonyxknife.com/falcitools.html

Kellam has the Marttiinis like what Mike has.

http://www.kellamknives.com/index.ph...dex&cPath=1_40
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Old July 26, 2014, 07:22 PM   #4
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Good review. I tell you I used a khukri and a machete on my fence line but I think the MachAxe would have done it better and faster
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Old July 26, 2014, 08:05 PM   #5
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Good real world review.
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Old July 26, 2014, 09:13 PM   #6
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I've cleared a lot of brush this year including a neglected 40 acre farm fence line and two trees taken down by a terrible storm among other projects. The larger portions of the trees required a chain saw of course, but I found the best combination to be a 18" Tramontina machete and a battery powered reciprocating saw for brush and saplings.

John
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Old July 26, 2014, 09:16 PM   #7
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CWL, I'm not selling mine since I wasn't able to find a replacement for a long time after I'd given away/sold my previous 3.

OTOH, the 9" from Kellam is like my Finn hook, but mine predates those so I don't know if they'd perform the same (but they should). I should pick another up though to compare and have as a backup (or I could get the longer and contrast them!)

Here's some hook goodness from Italy - http://www.angelo-b.com/prodotti/agr...naggio/roncole

Something from Finland that looks more like my old one - http://www.metallituotesaarela.com/metsa.htm and something a bit different http://www.harmantaonta.fi/metsatyovalineet.htm

The key is to used these things with two different techniques depending upon whether you're cutting something heavy or light. Chopping for heavy and swinging with wrist snap for light.
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Last edited by hso; July 26, 2014 at 09:36 PM.
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Old July 26, 2014, 09:20 PM   #8
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Looks like work to me...

Work for Ryobi and Stihl that is.

It looks like your knives held up well. A decent pair of gloves to keep your hands blister free and the next thing you know, you just burned 2,000 calories playing with knives.
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Old July 26, 2014, 09:28 PM   #9
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Looks like it would have been a lot easier with an LC-14-B Woodsman Pal of WWII vintage, when they still were made right!

I don't leave home without it on projects like that.

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Old July 26, 2014, 09:38 PM   #10
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Sol,

I didn't raise a blister using either and haven't with my Finn, but I keep a pair of Mechanix gloves stuffed in my pocket just in case.

RC,

I have a Woodsman's Pal and it hasn't gotten any use after the Finn came along. It feels "dead" in the hand compared to the Finn and is heavier.

Dang, now I really need to order a couple more!
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Old July 26, 2014, 09:50 PM   #11
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My hands have some decent callouses, but smooth gripped hand tools and a little sweat for lubrication always make for the pain train later on.

Then again, I'm the type if person who cuts down a 20 foot mulberry tree with an almost 100 year old meat cleaver just to see if it can be done.

Let me assure you, it can be done...

Probably should have used the chainsaw.
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Old July 26, 2014, 09:58 PM   #12
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Ohhhhh, I thought my wife was foolish for purchasing a Ryobi 18v chainsaw until I used the thing. Now, I love it since all I need to do is grab a battery off the charger, push it into place, and walk down with the lightweight thing and cut limbs until I get bored with it.

Another hook a buddy brought from Germany did a good job on lighter material than my Finn one morning. He and I, mostly "I", hacked out over 100ft of 10ft deep overgrown fencerow that privet and holly had taken over (along with wild "grape" vine and poison ivy). His did ok, but not as well as the versuri. I wore my gloves that day! The Ryobi saw did yeoman's work as well.
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Old July 26, 2014, 10:45 PM   #13
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I'm inspired, I'm defoliating my fence tomorrow, weather permitting.

Tonight, I decide the fate of the grapevine.

I'm leaning towards death by Chinese made machete.

I have an older American made one with, I think, a Bakelite handle. That's for special occasions, such as sitting in a box, in obscura in my house for decades.
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Old July 27, 2014, 12:13 AM   #14
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I think I would rather buy another billy goat.
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Old July 27, 2014, 12:28 AM   #15
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Or 2,4-D weed spray, or Round-Up before they ever get over 5" inches tall!

I figured that out 40 years ago.
All by myself!

Nuke'm all and let a higher power sort'm out before I have to get blisters, I always say!

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Old July 27, 2014, 12:37 AM   #16
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Quote:
2,4-D weed spray
Costs too much and I'd rather save the poisons for poison ivy and swing a blade elsewhere.

Quote:
buy another billy goat.
I probably will since Curios George was such a great goat (even if he did get to be 130+lbs), but I'd rather find one with a similar good disposition and curious nature.
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Old July 27, 2014, 12:48 AM   #17
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Those original "red" bill hooks from Kellam were hand forged by a gent who has sadly passed-on. There's something about the slight difference in the blade angle and hook that made his a fantastic field chopper. It's something I didn't get at the time and regret to this day. Still at the top of my want list.

Haven't needed to use one recently, but I sure could have used one when I had to take down about 20' of Bougainvillea a while back.

I've bookmarked the links, those Italian bill hooks look pretty good. thanks!
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Old July 27, 2014, 11:03 AM   #18
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Those original "red" bill hooks from Kellam were hand forged by a gent who has sadly passed-on.
All the ones I've seen were Marttiinis.
They aren't a regular catalog item any more but Kellam might do enough volume to warrant a special run.
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Old July 27, 2014, 11:16 AM   #19
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Interesting.

The current Kellams look like they are Härmän Taonta made.

http://www.harmantaonta.fi/metsatyovalineet.htm
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Old July 27, 2014, 01:24 PM   #20
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I sent an email to the METSÄTYÖVÄLINEET folks asking how to purchase their product and I'll let ya'll know if they can point me to a dealer.
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Old July 27, 2014, 03:57 PM   #21
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And this morning's tools for getting rid of the big limb that fell and trimming low hanging limbs that whack you in the head while mowing under the trees.
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Old July 27, 2014, 09:19 PM   #22
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The cigar is one of the very important tools! Don't leave home with out it!

Ka-Bar is going to be releasing the Reinhardt Becker Kukri next year. From the reports Ethan is giving, that thing is going to be GREAT for this kind of stuff. They are deciding between 3 sizes, I'm pretty sure though whatever they decide will be pretty good.

For stuff like this, the MachAX is great cause it's so light and if you can get a good wrist flick it will snap cut through small vegetation (around an 1"-1.5") absolutely beautifully.
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Old July 28, 2014, 08:33 AM   #23
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CB,

The Finn outdid the MachAx in all tasks, but the Finn isn't readily available and the MachAx is AND the MachAx wasn't too far behind the Finn for the jobs they both had to do so yesterday confirmed to me that I'd happily take a MachAx with me in reserve.
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Old July 28, 2014, 09:27 AM   #24
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The Finn is the red bladed tool? If so, then yes I guess it would.
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Old July 28, 2014, 09:46 AM   #25
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Yep, the red "Finn" is the vesuri that I've used before and again on Sunday.

I used the MacAx on Saturday and the Finnish vesuri on Sunday in much the same roles. The vesuri was a much better performer on all tasks this weekend than the MachAx, but it has the advantage of a greater length/momentum. The MachAx didn't perform badly, it just didn't match the vesuri. The MachAx is readily available and the vesuri isn't so the MachAx is a good tool that I would be comfortable recommending. I'll keep the the MachAx handy as a backup to the vesuri or primary when I don't want to risk losing the vesuri.

One thing I don't know is if the vesuri that Kellam is carrying would perform the same as my "old" one. I'd have to spring for one and do a side by side test to know. At $95+SH I'm not going to do that any time soon, but if one of you guys wants to get one and send it to me I'll happily post the results.
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