Hot New Tools Issue 85: Clamp with a New Twist

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This article is from Issue 85 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Bessey GearKlamp


  • Available with 6-, 12-, 18-, and 24"-long bars.
  • 23⁄8" throat depth
  • 450 lbs. stated clamping force
  • Retail price ranges from $15.97 to $24.97

Traditional F-style clamps are a fixture in most woodshops for good reason. Thanks to their stone-simple design, these clamps reliably deliver pressure wherever it’s needed—most of the time. Whether you own a few clamps, or your collection numbers in the dozens, odds are good that you’ve encountered a few situations where the handle got in the way. With their new GearKlamp, Bessey has found a clever way around the problem. By repositioning the handle on the steel bar, they’ve created a clamp that can reach into spots where others can’t.

To eliminate the traditional handle with its threaded screw, Bessey managed to hide a geared drive in the clamp’s bottom jaw. To apply clamping pressure, you make your initial adjustments by depressing the release button and sliding the moveable jaw against your workpiece. Then twist the handle to advance the jaw pad, which has a 3/4" throw.

The clamp operates very smoothly. Applying pressure was easier, in fact, than with my smaller-handled F-style clamps, and much easier than with one-handed trigger-style clamps. And despite the internal gear mechanism, the GearKlamp weighs only slightly more than its cast-metal counterpart. This is probably because the jaws are made from a fiberglass-reinforced composite. GearKlamps cost 1-1/2 to 2 times more than traditional F-clamps, but I suspect that, like me, most woodworkers would consider this a reasonable upcharge for a clever solution to difficult clamping problems.

—Tester, Joe Hurst-Wasjszczuk


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