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268105 Thomas Conroy 2019‑03‑13 Re: Tool Disposition Abbreviations NIWIG and NTGBITC
Troy "once made a sewing stiletto (an awl like object) for my wife for 


Gorgous! Lovely! This is a tool it would be a joy to use.

[ramble starts] It is very similar in size and "presence" to a leather braiding
fid, a tool I use all the time for sewing books.
I use the fid for pulling short (like 1/8") lengths of thread tauter, and
especially for undoing knots and tangles. Leatherworkers use them for braiding,
and for lacing together craft projects by whipping leather lace around the
edges. Its a different tool from a sailor's fid, though the use is analogous;
but the scale is way different (perhaps 4" as opposed to maybe 12"). I was lucky
in having bought my first one in the early '80s, when they were being made
exactly as they were before WWII (based on photos on manuals). Shortly after
that they were hit by cost accounnting, manufacture was moved to a cheaper
company that used too long a handle and didn't understand the shape of the
point. Several cycles of different makers (the demand and price are so low that
there is only one pattern being sold at one time), then back to something that
looks like the one I originally bought, though the point is no longer quite
right. The point is actually a highly refined shape, thin enough to go between
threads but no9t so thin that it pierces a thread, spreading enough to pushs the
threads away from each other but not so spread that it jams, and flat to reduce
friction but not too flat.  When I was teaching book sewing I needed one with a
reworked point for each student, and since the students couldn't buy them with
the right tip shape I would sell them for cost of the basic tool. I must have
reshaped over a hundred over the years. I did make one for myself from scratch,
of black locust and brass, but concluded that brass was a bit too soft for the
job. [ramble ends]

Tom Conroy

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