The fid is a simple shaping project that will yield a very useful tool if you are going to undertake knot tying. In my layout 1/4D=6mm chisel. You can use 1/4″-3/8″ or 6mm-10mm chisel to set the width of 1/4D. Then complete the module and then the layout. For my fid I used a piece of white oak but any hardwood will work just fine. I shaped my fid by removing the bulk of the waste with a chisel, refining with a spokeshave and following up with a card scraper. Then I waxed and burnished it with the polissoir and another piece of hardwood where the polissoir would not work (the rounded end). You don’t really need to put a finish on your fid but it helps to keep it clean. Wax and oil finishes are probably the best bet for a working fid. I’ve tried using shellac and it tends to be worn off during use.
I added a lanyard to my fid. The knot, appropriately, is a lanyard knot and I’ve enclosed instructions for tying it. You will need a piece of twine about six times longer than your intended loop. It is really quite a simple knot but you will need to practice it a few times to fully understand how to tie it. Almost all knots, including this one, are tied loosely and then methodically tightened. If you try to yank this, or any, knot tight in one go you will end up with a distorted mess and be forced to start over. Take your time and tighten the knot following each line from one end to the other. Since you will not be able to use the fid on this knot, that’s why you are making it, I recommend the cautious use of a flat bladed screw driver. To form the tassel simply fray out the remaining loose ends of the twine.
Hopefully my illustration will be enough for you to build your own fid, its just a sharp stick after all, but let me point out a few things that will make the build go a little smoother.
- Complete a full-size layout. Its overkill, but good practice.
- Leave the wood blank longer than the finished fid. The extra length will allow you to clamp the fid in the vise while your shaping the it.
- Drill the lanyard hole before you do any shaping.
- I designed the duckbill tip wider than it needs to be. After you use your fid a few times adjust the width of the tip to suit you.
- Take your time and enjoy the process.