Hold & Fold
8 inch

Etched Metal Bending Tool

Review by Terry Ashley
Hold & Fold

These days most modellers who frequently use etched metal detail sets probably have some form of bending tool in their tool kit and with a few different types available to choose from which offer different features it can be a bit of a puzzle, but overall they all do basically the same job, bending etched parts so it probably comes down to the features and what best suits your needs to pick which is for you.

This review is of the larger 8 inch model Hold & Fold which includes some refinements and additional features from earlier H&F models.
Let me say up front this review is not meant to be a comparison review with the Etch Mate I reviewed some time back, I will leave it to the individual to read both reviews and decide from there which tool is for them.

The 8 inch Hold & Fold requires some minor assembly when you first receive it but this only takes a few minutes and you are ready to get to work, an A4 sized instruction sheet is included to explain the assembly required and gives some basic tips on using the tool.

The set comes with a large thick base plate with two alignment pins pre-fitted to ensure they are fitted correctly, you then have to screw in the two threaded setscrew posts and these have Allen Key sockets in the end so they can be tightened with the appropriate Allen Key (not supplied). You can also add a small drop of cyanoacrylate or thread lock to make sure the setscrew posts don’t move.
Slip the springs over the setscrews and place the tool head over the springs and alignment pins and screw down the two knobs for a secure fit, all very easy.

Hold & Fold

There are four self adhesive “feet” provided to attach to the underside corners of the base plate and I found these very sticky giving a secure footing on the workbench eliminating any movement while bending and thankfully the baseplate and tool head were perfectly straight which was a problem with my original Hold & Fold bought some years ago and has obviously been recified.

The large tool head is finely machined in aluminium with different sized fingers with bevelled edges for different bending jobs and can also be moved on the base due to the inclusion of two sets of locating holes in the tool head.
This allows you to position the tool head in the normal position or move it back on the base plate giving more room in front of the tool head for larger parts, the tool head can also be rotated to position the straight edge to the front for bending larger etched parts such as the long fender sections in the Eduard Karl set (35628) and this can also be positioned forward or back on the base plate as you wish for more working room.
Click to see alternate positions of the Tool Head

I found when taking the tool head off for repositioning it is best to hold it down with one hand while unscrewing the two knobs with the other, this keeps the tool head square with the base and you can then easily slip it off the setscrews and alignment pins as it tends to get stuck on the posts if one side rises higher than the other, this is not a criticism of the tool just plain physics.

Finally there is the “Stanley” type blade provided to assist in bending the parts and a word of caution on this as it IS a blade and a very sharp one at that and it’s primary job is cutting. This tends to be forgotten when you aren’t actually cutting anything and you can become careless but due care should always be taken when handling and using the blade during the bending process so you don’t end up with claret over your etched parts.
When not using the blade I press it into a suitable sized block of balsa wood or pencil eraser to keep the cutting edge out of harms way.

Hold & Fold

Using the tool:
For the purposes of this exercise I have used some of the parts from the Voyager Hetzer PE Set (35009) to illustrate the H&F in action.

Being the 8 inch version you may think it is only suitable for large jobs such as ship railings and large vehicle fenders but the tool head has at one end very small fingers and indentations to allow small etched parts to be worked while at the other end is one larger finger with different size fingers and spacings in between, this allows virtually any sized part to be worked.

Before bending any part with more than one bend it is best to visualise the bending sequence before starting as bending a join more than once usually results in it snapping off and that’s not what you want.

To bend the larger Hetzer fenders simply reverse the tool head and align the fender bend line with the front of the tool head. It is best to align the rear of the engraved line on the etched part with the edge of the tool head; this allows the part to be bent on the actual engraved line and not on the part itself as it would if aligned at the front of the engraved line.
Tighten the knob to secure the part and slip the bending blade under the part and bend to the required angle, reverse the part and bend the other side of the fender ensuring and section already bent will miss the finger as its bent upward.

Hold & Fold

For bending thicker average sized parts the centre fingers are the full thickness of the tool head with a single bevel for greater strength and can be used. The distance between the two extended fingers each side of these being just wide enough for the width of the bending blade showing the well thought out design.

Hold & Fold

When bending parts with two opposing angles the outer corner of the tool head can be used so the two angles can be bent at the same time, simply line up the part with the engraved bend lines even with the front and side of the tool head and bend as usual.

Hold & Fold

The extended finger with reduced height is just the thing for bending parts with multiple bends that come back onto itself. After making the first two bends the third will fold back over the thin finger without any problems, this can be used for even very small parts.

Hold & Fold

This extended finger is also useful for parts with multiple bends such as the Hetzer storage boxes where after bending the two sides and the first couple of bends the final bend can be made where the box folds back on itself with the sides missing the edges of the finger. The part can be wider than the finger as the parts already bent will ensure the final bend is even.

Hold & Fold

After using the tool for a while you will get to know which finger or tool head arrangement best suits the bending job required and the spring loaded tool head only requires a slight reduction in knob pressure to slip the parts in and out.

The finished boxes and fenders were achieved quickly and without any problems, the H&F makes the job extremely easy with its extended fingers and corner sections making bending two sides at once easy. There is another tool I use in conjunction with bending tools which is invaluable for simple bends and handling the etched parts, this is a pair of snub nosed tweezers which are also just the thing for holding the etched parts while filing off the resulting burr after cutting them from the frets.

Hold & Fold

Overall an excellent tool that does its job very easily and well, some of the features such as the extended fingers with reduced height and multiple position tool head make different bending jobs easy to handle. The versatility of the tool in handling items from large fenders and railings to the smallest tool clips is also very impressive.

Highly recommended.

This and the other Hold & Fold models can be purchased directly from The Small Shop EU
Thanks to Alasdair of The Small Shop EU for the Hold & Fold sample.

Comment on the other tools:
As I mentioned the choice between this and other tools such as the Etch Mate is up to the individual as both types work well and do the job intended, it is really a matter of personal preference as it's difficult to compare directly as this 8 inch model will obviously handle some jobs the smaller 6 1/2" Etch Mate can't while conversely the Etch Mate will handle some jobs the smaller 4" H&F won't, so basically what works for you, works for you.

Page created 28 March 2004

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