A77_154_b.jpg Fid. Collection of Puke Ariki (A77.154).

Those with knotty problems just need a good fid. This large whalebone fid from the Puke Ariki Heritage Collection is a plain example of a tool which comes in handy on the high seas. Fids can be used to help with splicing rope or breaking open over-tightened knots or those seized up by the weather. They were traditionally fashioned from bone or wood in a plain, utilitarian style. It would probably surprise many of the original owners that their humble tools, especially those made from whalebone, are becoming increasingly sought after by collectors and museums, rather than those working with rope. Modern versions, made from stainless steel and other materials, are still being used but as one home handyman remarked when he saw the fid: “Nowadays you would just shove a screwdriver in there”. 

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