This tool consists of two complementary parts – a chisel at one end and a mortise chisel at the other. In its long form, it is French in origin, and probably is the descendant of a much more hazardous tool, which had a longer handle and shorter head. It was known as a twybill, a piochon in French, and a Kreuzaxt in Germany. The bisaiguë is also called a carpenter's plane; the chisel end allows the user to smooth the surface of a piece of wood or shape a tenon. An architect's project description from the 18th century states that "the wood will be washed with the bisaiguë." The mortise chisel is used to shape mortises, once an auger has been used to create a series of holes. Even though it is rarely used today, the bisaiguë has been adopted as the symbol of the French Carpenter's Guild. One of the classic uses for this tool is for making wooden pegs.
Paul Dubois's bisaiguë is decorated on the side of the tips of the tool ends, and the shaft has been meticulously forged. It could date back to the 18th century, even if the cutting parts have been replaced over time as the tool has been used. Hence the "Peugeot" mark on the chisel.
The tool's shaft is empty, even though its predecessor the twybill had a wooden handle. A classic initiation trick among carpenters consists in sending an apprentice to look for "the bisaiguë handle". One of the earliest depictions of the long bisaiguë dates back to the 16th century, and it is mentioned in the 1702 re-edition of Jousse's L’Art de charpenterie. The twybill, on the other hand, was mentioned by Vitruvius in the 1st century BCE.
In eastern France, there is also the mortising push axe or (pontache in French), which is German in origin (Stoßaxt).