Hold & Fold
2" Etched Metal Bending Tool
Review by Terry Ashley
Hold & Fold

Hold & Fold/Small Shop EU have released an updated version of the small 2” Hold & Fold “Bug” with additional features from the first issued units and what it lacks in size is made up with an impressive array of features.

The ‘Bug’ comes ‘unassembled’ with seven separate parts which you have to put together before using the unit but this only takes a few minutes. The base plate (with four rubber ‘feet’ underneath so it doesn’t walk when being used) has the two locating pins already fitted to avoid any damage or misalignment and the central ‘threaded screw’ is attached using the Allan key provided, you can use a small amount of cyanoacrylate or tread lock on this to make sure it doesn’t go anywhere and then the spring is slipped over the ‘threaded screw’ and the tool head is positioned and held in place by the securing knob which is grooved for a good grip.

Hold & Fold

There is also the ‘Stanley’ blade for bending the etched parts and you should remember this is a blade and a sharp one at that, something that can be forgotten when not using it for cutting but the usual care should be taken when handing this blade. When not using the blade I store this by pressing it into a small piece of balsa wood to protect the cutting edge.

Hold & Fold

The tool head has different sized ‘fingers’ on three sides with the fourth 2” full length side and can be easily rotated on the base by loosening the securing knob and rotating the head, this has been made easier on newer units by the locating pins being reduced in height so you don’t have to completely remove the head to rotate it which makes life easier.

Images showing the four positions of the head for different bending jobs
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The base is longer at one side to give some working space while the other three sides see the head even with the sides of the base and this allows the base to be used to bend parts ‘down’ as well as ‘up’ using the fingers for greater flexibility when bending complex shapes.

One set of ‘fingers’ are heavy duty for bending thicker parts and also have longer fingers again to deal with different bending jobs and the unit is small enough to fit snugly in the hand when bending smaller parts as this can be a more comfortable working position in these instances.

There are also integrated ‘fingers’ machined on the top of the unit that can be used to make small handles and tie downs from thin wire by bending the wire around the square end if the ‘fingers’ top make multiple handles all the same size.

The unit is also designed to fit onto the 8” H&F base or the new 14” H&F base for greater flexibility.

Using the tool is exactly the same as previous units where you loosen the head, slip the etched part under and after aligning correctly, tighten the head and using the blade bend to shape and as mentioned the sides of the base can also be used to bend complex shapes. When bending parts requiring multiple bends it is a good idea to ‘plan’ (visualise) the best bending sequence before starting as you don’t want to have to re-bend edges as these will quickly snap off if bent only a few times.

Update December 12, 2006:
With tools of this type, using them for the short period it takes for a review can often give different results than after using the tool for an extended period of time.

After using the "Bug" for quite a few months I found the small fingers had bowed slightly meaning that no matter how hard you wound down the securing knob the fingers didn't meet the base and the etched part could not be held in place firmly enough to allow safe bending. I reported this the Small Shop EU who were kind enough to replace the "Bug" no questions.

The replacement was fine and worked perfectly but unfortunately again after a period of time the same thing has happened where the small fingers have bowed slightly and will now not hold the etched part firmly in place and this may be an inherent design problem with this smaller size.

The images below show using the 8” H&F but the techniques are the same for the 2” Bug.

The full length 2" side can be used for small fender sections or similar 'larger' jobs.

Hold & Fold

For bending thicker than average sized parts the single bevel 'power' fingers can be used. These can also be used when bending your own pieces of brass which don't have pre-etched bending lines.

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

This is an ideal tool for the many smaller bending jobs such as tool clips, small boxes and can also be used for large parts with the full length side and thicker ‘power’ fingers and the rotating head offers greater flexibility. It is also very easy to use being able to fit in the hand as this can be more comfortable when working with smaller parts.

Recommended with reservations on durability.

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.

Page created December 29, 2004
Updated December 12, 2006 (Blue text)

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