The fid has been around forever. It was traditionally made of bone or wood. It had a small rounded nose and was basically cone shaped. A good example of the fid's use was to push it thru the layers of a rope. Because it was smooth it didn't damage the fiber. This would create an opening for another piece of rope to slide through for splicing or braiding. It is very similar to a lacing awl but not sharp. A large sewing needle would also be similar. The sewing needle has an eye at the back of it. You thread your material through the eye and push the sharp end through the fibers you are working with. This creates a hole for your thread, cord or rope to be pulled through by the needle. This is an improvement over the basic fid. The fid created a hole, but you were pushing your thread, cord or rope through the opening by itself.
The modern fid used for working with paracord projects is a little different. This fid is made of metal. It is smooth and usually three to six inches long with a pointed yet rounded nose. Instead of an eye, like a needle, it is hollow and threaded at the back. Paracord is made of synthetic fibers. Melt the end of your paracord a little bit. Let it cool some and mold it with your fingers to shape it like a short round slightly pointed nose cone. Insert the cone into the threaded end of the fid and screw it in. You know have a nice fid needle or lacing needle with your cord attached by a single strand. No more doubling up the cordage through the eye of a regular needle or threading awl.
Because of the varied paracord uses a paracord fid makes working with the cordage much easier. 550 paracord is the most common cord worked with. Type III 550 Paracord is the commercial version of Mil Spec 550 Parachute Cord also known as Mil Spec Paracord or Mil Spec 550 Paracord. The popularity of paracord started with real parachute cord. Soldiers in the field new what a great resource it was. They stared weaving bracelets out of it to wear. Now they had an eight to ten foot piece of cord with them all the time. It soon became a work of art with the different knots or braiding styles used. This useful pastime of making paracord bracelets eventually made it home. Survivalists, preppers and every day carry people loved the idea of a paracord survival bracelet. Survival bracelets became more complex and useful by weaving in a fire staring aid, compass, whistle buckle or para-claw knife buckle, watch and adjustable metal buckles. At some point it crossed over to the everyday life of everyday people. The addition of beads and charms added creativity, personalization and style. Instructions on how to make a paracord bracelet were everywhere. The secret was out on the fun and usefulness of paracord. It's not just a bracelet or piece or rope anymore. The current thought is you can make almost anything out of paracord and it's being done. There are entire books dedicated to all the things you can do with paracord.
Loose paracord weaves don't need a paracord needle. They can be done by hand easily. A paracord lacing needle comes in real handy when doing tight weaves and intricate details. Many paracord projects require a very tight weave. Lacing another piece of paracord through that tight weave requires the use of a fid needle. If you are working with paracord now and don't have a fid needle get one. Paracord fids usually have a small or large threaded end and various lengths and shapes. Fids are inexpensive and you'll love working with them. If you want to start working with paracord do yourself a favor and start out with at least a basic three-to-four inch fid that fits 550 paracord. The paracord family of today has many sizes of cord. For the smaller paracord you will need a fid with a smaller threaded back.
M. Shane Sullivan, Owner/Manager of Paracordgalaxy.com