These shop-made tools work like curved detail sanders, without a power cord
Synopsis: A fid is a traditional tapered wooden tool that’s used by sailmakers to stretch holes in canvas or rope grommets. King Heiple explains how to use this tool to sand wood, and he shows how easy fids are to make. They’re useful for sanding carvings, furniture legs, and turnings with varying coves, and for fairing one compound cove curve smoothly into another. And they help your sandpaper last longer. The degree of taper isn’t critical, but the taper must be uniform.
A fid is traditionally a tapered wooden tool that’s used by sail makers to stretch holes in canvas or to stretch and size rope grommets. In Italy, furniture makers developed a similarly shaped tool for sanding wood. I saw a picture of a sanding fid a few years ago, and I have since made several versions of this curiously named tool.
Fids turn out to be widely useful in the shop, and making one is a quick and straightforward project, even if you have only very basic wood-turning skills. Fids are particularly useful for sanding carvings, furniture legs and turnings with varying coves, as well as for fairing one compound cove curve smoothly into another.
As anyone who’s used a drum or disc sander knows, supported sandpaper lasts two to 10 times longer than handheld sandpaper. Even better, with a fid you can use almost any sandpaper or sanding cloth, without the need for snap locks, hooks and loops or adhesive backing. And you can change from one grit to another in about 10 seconds.
My fids happen to be cherry, because I like tools to look good and feel nice, but even a construction-grade 2×2 would work fine. The handles can be of any design that meets your fancy, from a straight cylinder to…