A fid is a tool that is used to open the lay of a rope when working a splice or to loosen knots.


Split out an 8 inch by 3/4 inch piece of close grained, smooth, hardwood. Carve and smooth the piece to the shape shown in the diagram.



1 --- 8 inch * 1/2 inch copper tubing or steel electrical conduit.

2 --- 1 inch diameter * 3 inch long piece of smooth grained hardwood.

2 --- 4D finishing nails.


Cut the tubing diagonally into two pieces as shown in the diagram (Use a hacksaw).

Making a Closed Fid:

STEP 1: Use a triangular file to enlarge the diagonal opening in one of the halves of the tubing. File the opening to the shape indicated by the dotted lines in the diagram.

STEP 2: Close the diagonal opening. Using light taps with a hammer gently roll the two edges toward each other to form the tubing into a cone. (When the two edges of the opening meet the seam in the tubing should be straight).

STEP 3: Solder the edges of the opening together.

3A] Clean the edges of the opening with steel wool.

3B] Spread soldering paste along the cleaned edges.

3C] Solder the seam. Use a propane torch to apply heat to the side of the fid that is opposite the seam. (Heating the tube from the opposite side, will ensures that metal is heated all the way through so that the solder will flow into the seam and not just spread out on the surface.) As you heat the tubing test the seam for the proper temperature by touching the solder to the seam. When the solder starts to melt and flow into the seam, move the solder along the seam until the entire seam is filled with solder.

STEP 4: Cleanup the seam with steel-wool and a file. Make sure that there are no sharp edges to catch or cut the rope fibers when the fid is being used.

Making an Open Fid:

STEP 1: Enlarge the diagonal opening of the other piece of tubing by setting the tubing on end and forcing a rod into the opening. When the rod is forced into the opening, the cross section of the tubing should become "U" shaped.

STEP 2: With a round file, enlarge the diagonal opening to the shape shown by the dotted line.

STEP 3: Smooth all rough and sharp edges with a file and steel-wool.

STEP 4: Gently tap the edges of the opening toward each other so that a cross section anywhere along its entire length will be "U" shaped.

Making Handles For Fids:

STEP 1: Carve one end of a 1 inch diameter * 3 inch long piece of wood so that it will fit snugly into the end of the fid.

STEP 2: Attach handle to fid.

2A] Drill a small hole into the side of the fid about 1/2 inch from the end.

2B] Insert the handle into the end of the fid. Then drive a finishing nail through the hole into the wood of the handle.

2C] Cut the nail off close to the side of the fid. Then file the nail down so that it is smooth and even with the surface.

STEP 3: Finish the handle. Here is a chance to be creative. You can carve a simple rounded handle or let your imagination take over.