First I would like to say thank you to Bessey for allowing myself and a few other of my fellow Wood Whisperer Guild members to participate in the testing of their new product the Revo Jr.
I have now had my new Bessey clamps in the shop now for over a month and have been putting as much use of them as time will allow. This review is for Bessey’s new Revo Jr. These are not the first Bessey clamps I have had in my shop and have been using the standard Revo clamps for some time now and love them.
After the clamps arrived and all were unpacked I did a quick visual comparison. At first glance the Revo Jr. seemed to be a happy medium between the heavy duty Revo and the much lighter duty UniKlamp. The handle on the Revo Jr. was the first thing that I noticed that seemed to be a major down grade, but the over all clamp seemed sturdy enough for all but the heaviest of duties.
After using them for a few weeks here are the observations I have made.
As I stated before the handles do seem to be quite a bit of a downgrade but not totally bad. I really like the rubber grips on the standard Revo as you can get a really good grip when tightening, where as the wooden handles tend to get a little slippery especially after working up a sweat here in HOTlanta. The handles are also smaller on the Revo Jr. but for me this is just not an issue as my hands are not overly large anyway.
The bars on the Revo Jr. are smaller then the Revo bars but seem to have a lot of strength. Most of my work with a few exceptions tends to be smaller projects where a great amount of force in not needed. I tried to get the 24” and the 36” bar to flex with hand tightening on my bench as tight as I could get them but my hands started slipping before I could get them to flex (once again the handles). In contrast the UniKlamp bars can be made to flex fairly easy, but in their defense they are made for lighter duty projects.
I decided to group the heads and movement into one because they are a direct cause and effect relationship. I will start of by saying that the one complaint that I have always had about my Bessey Revo clamps it is that the heads tend to slip too easily, for example most often I work alone so at times I may only have one hand on the clamp. Several times I have had the head slip down the bar before I have a chance to get it tightened up against the work. This is NOT an issue with the Revo Jr. on the contrary one of the most frustrating aspects of the clamp is that the tends to stick. My guess is that the difference lies in the coating of the “tension lever”(?) that the handle screws into. The Revo has what appears to be a chrome plating that seems to slip almost to easily up and down the bar, where the Revo Jr. has a black painted metal that really sticks. This issue may go away as the parts start to wear but I also believe that the parts may wear out a little faster on the Revo Jr. because of the less durable coating.
All of this being said I still love the way the Bessey clamps…well clamp. The old style bar clamps tended to want to twist my work, where the Bessey clamps allow me better control with their 90 degree clamping surfaces and even pressure. When comparing the Revo Jr. with the standard Revo there are definitely a few areas that I feel are major down grades but if you a looking to save a little it is still a good clamp and definitely an up grade from the UniKlamp.
As alway keep woodworking and share what you know with someone else…