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Tool/Accessory Review:

The Small Shop Second Generation "Hold and Fold" Tools


S u m m a r y

Description and Price The Small Shop Second Generation "Hold and Fold" Tools:
2" Tool; price USD$30.00
4" Tool; price USD$40.00
8" Tool Set; price USD$70.00
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: Great tool for folding etched metal or even plastic; now improved with user feedback and available for different modeling uses; precision milling makes for accurate work and good support
Disadvantages: Apparent high price (see text)
Recommendation: Highly Recommended for all fans of the original "Hold and Fold" and modelers who use etched metal parts to detail their models, or who make their own parts from etched metals


Reviewed by Cookie Sewell

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F i r s t L o o k


This year Pete Forrest of the The Small Shop and Alasdair Johnston of The Small Shop EU both attended AMPS 2003, and Pete used the occasion to debut his second generation versions of the "Hold and Fold" series of tools.

As I indicated in my first review of Pete's products in October 1999, the concept is surprisingly simple: take a pad of absolutely square aluminum, add a spring-loaded screw and guidance pins and a milled aluminum head, and you have a nearly goof-proof tool for folding etched metal or plastic into specific shapes.

While the original "Hold and Fold" was a 2" x 4" device, The Small Shop now offers three different improved tools for every need. Each comes as a kit of parts (base, head, screw or screws, knob or knobs, spring or springs, and alignment pins, a cutting/bending blade, plus a set of stick-on rubber feet to hold it in one place on your work surface and prevent scratching.

The smallest machine is 2" x 2" and is designed for those who do not need large parts folded, such as 1/72-76 armor or 1/72 or 1/144 aircraft modeling or figures. It comes with a tool head that provides two square edges and three different curved ones.

The next size up the one that replaces the original machine is 3" x 4" and has a deep reach tool that can be used two ways: one with a straight edge 4" long and one with five different sized indents and "teeth" for bending different sizes of objects. This is probably the best one for general purpose bending and shaping for most objects used by armor, car, and aircraft modelers.

The last size is a large tool 4" x 8" and comes with two knobs for better tension control and sure gripping of the material being bent. It has 8 cutouts of different size and different width "teeth". This set also comes with two useful accessories: it now includes The Small Shop's "Rolling Set", a wooden and metal bending and rolling set with a matrix for sure alignment, and a cutting set consisting of three plexiglass panels and a clear U-shaped gizmo and rectangle to keep parts from flying into oblivion. This set is great for armor modelers who use brass fender replacement as well as all ship modelers using etched brass for railings, masts, deck details, etc.

Assembly of the large one is easy to figure out, but the two smaller ones ran counterintuitive to what I expected (there are no directions, but it's not a subject requiring rocket science for most folks.) There is a machined fillet to the edge which looks like the routed edge of a plaque base. This side went DOWN on the two I had, and when set up in that fashion, the parts fit perfectly with some help (a small hammer sets the guide pins). Also, the tool head covered the entire surface. This is passed along as a word of warning so you don't put the rubber feet on the wrong side!

The large one is a great kit and provides nearly everything needed to work etched metals except a "guaranteed to hold when painting" glue!

Overall these are really great value if you figure that the average modeler may spend $19-33 a model for etched brass today and this set prevents both damage and loss of parts, plus pretty assured goof-proof folds. I noticed a competing product at AMPS 2003 and the 8" machine from The Small Shop appears to be a better design, with deeper reach and more uses, plus the two additional items in the set nail it down as a better value.

Thanks to Pete Forrest of The Small Shop for the review samples. The Small Shop can be reached at http://www.thesmallshop.com , e-mail smallshop@ipns.com . Their "snail" address is

PO Box 2701,
Battle Ground,
Washington, 98604,

telephone (360) 887-8367.

They note that there is state sales tax in Washington only, and $5 for postage and handling.

Also, The Small Shop EU can be reached for European sales at thesmallshopeu@aol.com or their "snail" address of Honeysuckle Cottage, Pound Lane, Gillingham, Dorset SP8 4NP, UK, telephone 44 (0) 1747 825 646.

Cookie Sewell

Review Copyright 2003 by Cookie Sewell
Page Created 15 April, 2003
Last updated 24 August, 2003

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