fredag 2 november 2012

Project: Billhook.

The raw shape.

Everyone needs a polearm! And I have wanted a billhook for many years. England used billmen as their general infantry besides their archers in the fifteenth century. I don’t think the billman used just the billhook; they used a variety of other polearms like glaives, halberds and spears. The bill developed from agricultural tools like many other polearms. It had a spike to thrust, some form of beak or blade to chop with and the hook itself to grapple your opponent and drag him off his feet or horse. 

What better way to get one than to make it yourself? I started this project last summer when I was working on the summer holiday in a metal workshop. I used a plasma cutter to make the raw shapes of four billhooks in 5 mm iron.  Next step was to go to my blacksmith-expert, Weiland… to cut away loads of spare material with an angle grinder. With that done it was time to get the forge going and start to make the long socket. It was a tiring job since I hadn’t been in the smithy for many years but after approximately an hour I came in “the flow” and it went much easier.  
Finishing the socket.

With the socket done it was time to start with the cutting edges on the lower half and the hook. And after that it was time to make the pike. On the lower part of the pike, above the hook, I wanted a long cutting section with ridge in the middle. And closer to the point the pike became more diamond-shaped in cross-section to make it more rigid when thrusting. I found this a little difficult with steep angels… so I decided to cheat a bit and take the polishing machine and shape all the edges a bit and then throw it back in the forge again to hammer away the modern touch they got.  All that were left were some finishing adjustments to line up the socket with the rest of the head and it was finished!
Shaping the hook.

No, you need a shaft. I went for an old elm piece (thought it was ash at first…), made it eight-sided and started to fit the head. I then decided to make extra some extra protection irons from the head down the shaft and a bottom-spike. I used linseed oil and some coal on the shaft to make it water-resistant and look old and used.
The whole thing turned out great I think and I’m very proud of myself! 
Yorkist billman on the march.
He carries his bill on the shoulder and his
jack and sallet are in the basket on his back.
Also in the basket you can see his royal livery
with the sun in splendour.
In the end.