A gripfid is a tool for ply-split braiding that (1) splits the cords and (2) grips another cord to pull it back though the split plies. Its key parts are a smooth tip, a hollow cavity into which the cord is placed, an interior vee-groove to grip the cord being pulled, and a smooth shaft that glides easily through the plies. A knob on the end is often included to provide better handling. The gripfid is the invention of Stuart Granger who fashioned a tool for ply-split braiding by adding a vee-grove at the tip of a knotter's fid. This vee-groove acts as a jam cleat (the "grip") to pull the cord back through the splits. Granger's method was to start with a hollow brass tube, cut a special profile, and hammer this to a rounded point. Here is his method in profile:
The problems with Granger's gripfids and those who use his method are that it is time-consuming and very often leaves an imperfect tip that catches on the work piece.
Our method is a big improvement over Granger's method because it starts with a hollow knitting needle rather than a tube. Thus the point is already perfectly formed. We need only make the hollow cord channel and interior vee-groove.
Our processes and tools are designed for making gripfids as quickly and reproducibly as possible, but always within a defined quality specification. One gripfid maker, who attempts to imitate our design, makes them with handheld techniques and even has a video on YouTube showing how he does it. We believe his method will yield inferior gripfids with highly varying dimensions.
We make our gripfids in our Wisconsin studio/workshop and offer them online in three standard sizes: Fine (3.7mm), Medium (4.5mm), and Large (6.5mm). Standard length is 4 inches. Special diameters and lengths are available on special order: 2.5 mm to 8 mm diameter and lengths to about 8 inches. To order gripfids click here or write PSB-tools @ louisefrench.com .
New to Ply-split Braiding? See Getting
Started in Ply-split Braiding.