In Tool Reviews, Tools

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We love the original wooden-handled Bessey K Body clamps. But they became unavailable in 2008 when Bessey released the Revo clamps, which had a larger clamping surface (of about 30 percent) than the K Bodies and a soft-grip handle that allowed for easier and more comfortable tightening – but we found the clamps often slipped under heavy pressure, particularly if the bars got wet (say, when you’re cleaning up glue). Plus, the plastic on the clamp heads broke easily when dropped.

Bessey is about to release the next generation of Revos (they’ll be available in the first quarter of 2018), so we got a handful of them in for testing, and I talked with Karl Kish in Bessey’s product development group about the changes.

The company got complaints, he said, that the moveable head slipped too easily when not under pressure, and could slide back on the bar to smack the hand of the person holding it. Bessey improved that slippage issue by adding more play in how you disengage the head from the rail – you have to lift it higher to loosen it. Well, that seems to have also taken care of the slippage issue when the clamps are under heavy pressure, even after a misting of water. No slippage.

Plus, the plastic has changed. I dropped a clamp from chest height and it bounced, but didn’t crack.

The new clamps will be available in 12″-98″ lengths, can be used for spreading by toolless reversal of the head, have a throat depth of 312“, a clamping force of 1,700 pounds and a load limit of 2,200 pounds – far more than is necessary in most situations.

Bessey Revo Clamps
Bessey.com
40″ clamp, $50

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