Samoan Material Culture
Fly whisks (fue) were made of a number of short lengths of sennit braid attached to a wooden handle. The technique was demonstrated by Mikaio of Tau. The fibres were taken direct from the matofi hank and twisted as the braiding proceeded without making the usual fa'ata'a rolls. In this way, thinner braids were formed than the usual sennit braid for lashing purposes. (See figure 326.)
Figure 326.—Fly whisk technique:
a, two sets (1, 3) of fibre are crossed as in the first part of a reef knot. b, The two ends directed away from the body (1 and 3) are divided so as to form a third ply (2). c, With the three plies formed, the ordinary three-ply braid is plaited, other strands of fibre being added as the plies shorten and the ends turned down in the usual braid join. The braiding is continued for about 21 inches and the end stopped by tying the two outer plies (1 and 3) in the first part of a reef knot over the middle ply (2). The two free ends at the commencement and the three plies at the end are all purposely left long to form free tufts at either end of the braid length. A number of similar braid lengths are made according to the size of the whisk desired. d, A two-ply twisted cord of sennit is made. To the cord (1) the braid lengths are attached (2 and 3) by doubling the braid, passing the loop under the cord from the far side and passing the ends through the loop after bringing them over the cord. Two were attached in this way and the next pair (4 and 5) reversed by passing the loop forward under the cord from the near side, bringing it back over the cord and then passing the ends through it. All the braid lengths are thus attached to the cord in alternating pairs. e, A suitable wooden handle with a groove cut around the thinner end has one end of the cord tied around the groove, with the braid lengths projecting away from the handle. The cord is wound around the handle in close turns and the braid lengths thus bound down to it. The cord after the last braid length is bound down is continued along the handle for a few turns and the end fixed by turning it back under three or four loose turns which are afterwards drawn taut and the slack pulled up.