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Bessey K Body® REVO™ JR
Middle of the road clamping just took a step up
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted – 3-23-2011
Bessey never has been one to sit back and bask in their accomplishments. Their original Bessey K Body® REVO™ was a big success but they knew there was a portion of the woodworking world that had use for a somewhat smaller version so the Bessey K Body® REVO™ JR was born. The legendary Bessey German engineering and German steel are used with the clamps being assembled in the United States.
None of the original Bessey K Body® REVO™ design needed fixing so that concept was scaled down to what Bessey calls “mid-sized.” Despite the smaller overall dimensions the new Bessey K Body® REVO™ JR still has 3-1/4” of throat depth and is capable of generating a very stout 900-lbs of clamping force. Keep in mind that the Bessey K Body® REVO™ JR clamps are 30 to 40% lighter than parallel jaw clamps from other manufacturers who list pressure capabilities in the 900 to 1100-lb range.
The Bessey K Body® REVO™ JR clamps are being offered in a full range of sizes. The #KRJR-12 has a 12” clamping capacity and weighs 2.5-lb, the #KRJR-18 has an 18” clamping range with a 2.80-lb weight, the #KRJR-24 clamps up to 24”-wide and weighs 3.10-lbs, the #KRJR-36 has a 36”-clamping range and weighs 3.70-lbs and the biggest is the #KRJR-50 with a 50” clamping range and a weight of 4.50-lbs. That ought to about cover virtually all of the home shop mid-range clamping needs.
Bessey retains their famous hourglass-shaped, high-quality/strength bars from their full-sized parallel jaw clamps. Between the high-end Bessey steel and their precision manufacturing processes this hourglass-shaped bar is the backbone of the Bessey K Body® REVO™ JR and enables them to withstand the remarkable clamping forces they generate.
The Bessey K Body® REVO™ JR bars are 1”-tall and ¼”-thick which along with the hourglass shape make them very rigid. The bars have precisely formed serrations along the top and bottom edges that engage the plate system within the moveable jaw to lock it in place when pressure is applied. Look closely and you can see that the serrations are actually on three different surfaces along each edge of the bar. Bessey has developed that shape to make their locking system a little stronger to eliminate skipping or surprise releases. Despite the security of that lock, lift the handle slightly and the moveable jaw can be slid to where it is needed with one hand.
The bars come with an end clip that holds the bar level when the Bessey K Body® REVO™ JR is set on a flat surface. That makes getting the pieces to be clamped into position and applying pressure much easier.
Bessey also includes two plastic clips that hold the material being clamped level and off of the bar slightly. This helps eliminate glue transfer to the bar and discoloration of the wood that can occur when glue dries while in contact with metal.
Like their bigger brothers the Bessey K Body® REVO™ JR have tough jaws that remain square to the bars for precise clamping of your projects. The faces are 3-1/4”-tall above the bar, 4-7/8”-tall overall and 1-1/2”-wide. There is a useable space 5/8”-wide on the jaw faces to either side of the bar. That allows using the full length of the jaw when that is better for the job.
The jaws have removable, non-marring plastic covers that protect the wood and help to resist glue buildup. When glue does get on these covers you can slip them from the jaws and flex them to pop dried glue from their surface.
The moveable jaw slips along the bar easily but locks solidly when pressure is applied. The familiar red handle is comfortable to the hand and makes applying the pressure you want effortlessly. Further enhancing that pressure capability is the trusted Acme thread that Bessey has used for years because of its dependability and the easy application of pressure. That makes it easier to locate the Bessey K Body® REVO™ JR where you need them with the pressure you want.
In the Shop
Using the Bessey K Body® REVO™ JR in the shop is identical to their bigger brothers – dead simple. Slide the jaw up to the material and give the handle a turn or two to apply the clamping pressure. It really is that easy and one of the reasons that woodworkers have favored Bessey clamps for many years. They simply work very well and without a lot of fuss. That also makes your life less frustrating when you are working alone in the shop.
The jaws stay square to the bars under more pressure than I can imagine ever needing to use in woodworking. I can say that I cranked the Bessey K Body® REVO™ JR down more than I would normally and could not measure a deflection of the jaws.
The Acme threaded screw and the Bessey red handle make applying clamping pressure both easy and quick. This Acme thread has been a consistent feature on Bessey clamps for a long time because it is very durable and works very well.
Though I clamped up everything that I could find in my shop the Bessey K Body® REVO™ JR handled all of those tasks with ease. One of the hard things about reviewing Bessey clamps is that they are so consistent in how they work. That doesn’t give me much to report on. They just work as you expect and then keep on doing that for at least as long as the oldest Bessey clamp I have which has to be well over 20 years old.
While classified as a mid-range clamp the Bessey K Body® REVO™ JR’s have the size and capacities that make them just right for many home-based shop tasks. I don’t know that the Bessey K Body® REVO™ JR’s will replace the original REVO’s™ but adding several of the Bessey K Body® REVO™ JR’s to your clamp collection will be a good plan for many woodworkers that is also friendly to their budgets.
Along with the obvious quality of design and manufacturing, the Bessey K Body® REVO™ JR’s will carry a surprisingly modest price tag. The 12” Bessey K Body® REVO™ JR will sell for about $25.99 each, the 18” model for about $27.99, the 24” for around $29.99, the 36” ones for about $33.99 and the 50” for approximately $37.99. Not bad at all for Bessey’s!
After looking at the Bessey K Body® REVO™ JR and the expected price ranges you have to ask yourself why would you not go with the leading name in clamps? Compare the Bessey K Body® REVO™ JR’s size and clamping pressure with similarly capable models from other major clamp manufacturers and then compare the price differential. The more you compare the more difficult it gets to decide against the Bessey K Body® REVO™ JR's. If you enjoy using quality tools that do what you expect of them over and over for a very long time the decision to buy the Bessey K Body® REVO™ JR’s is pretty much a no-brainer.
I will add a pricing and availability link here as soon as I can confirm that the Bessey K Body® REVO™ JR's are in stock. The Bessey K Body® REVO™ JR clamps are due to be out in mid-April of 2011.
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