Clifton Smoothing Plane - No. 4

clifton plane no 4
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The Verdict

Reviewed By: I.Ball


Manufacturer: Thomas Flinn & Co.

Plane Type: Smoothing

Model No: 4

This Clifton smoothing plane review is of the current Clifton 4 plane manufactured by Thomas Flinn & Co, Sheffield, England.

The plane had previously been made by a tool company called Clico (Sheffield) Tooling Ltd until 2014 when Thomas Flinn and Co took on the Clifton tools part of the business.

The Thomas Flinn version of the number 4 is made in almost identical circumstances to the Clico version including being made by the same skilled personnel:

“We will still be using the same great production staff to manufacture the Clifton planes, so the knowledge and expertise will continue as before”.

Please see the old Clifton 4 plane review for more information about the Clico (Sheffield) Tooling Ltd Clifton smoothing plane number 4 (virtually identical other than the colour, blade type and the box).



clifton plane no 4

The Clifton smoothing plane number 4 is a high quality, accurate tool with smoothly operating parts which was designed to be ready to use from the moment the plane was taken from the box.

The plane incorporates the design of the ‘BEDROCK’ frog and frog seating pad, a two piece cap iron similar in design to the Record SS (Stay Set) planes, an extra thick high carbon steel blade, a ground flat sole within the British Standard of 0.075mm (0.003”), beautiful Bubinga rear handle and front knob, and finished with a graphite grey finish.

The plane is presented in a brown cardboard box with the Clifton logo on it.


Clifton Plane Blade

The Clifton plane blade is made from 01 steel which is then cryogenically treated to offer a longer lasting edge. This treatment process gives the blade the ‘60-62 Rockwell C’ standard of hardness.

This process gives the blade a better edge than most blades and it means it holds it edge for longer. There is extra peace of mind with the Clifton blades as the hardness is individually checked on each one.

clifton plane blade and ss cap iron

The blades are accurately ground and are 50% thicker than normal blades resulting in a much more rigid blade.

The blade is given the Clifton logo laser mark at the top of the blade.


Clifton 2-Piece Cap Iron

The Clifton two piece cap iron is extra thick with a hinged joint which helps reduce blade ‘chattering’.

This combination results in ensuring the plane blade is very rigidly clamped to the frog as well as the blade being strongly supported close to the mouth of the plane, across the width.

Additional features which eliminate irritating characteristics of the one piece cap iron are:

- the snug fit of the accurately machined edge of the lower part of the two-piece cap iron prevents shavings being forced between the cutting iron and cap iron, so reducing choking of the mouth.

- the two piece cap iron facilitates honing of the cutting iron, as the lower part can be easily removed without having to lose the original cap iron setting (for this reason, this feature is referred to in the Record ‘Planecraft’ books as ‘Stay-Set’).

clifton plane no 4

The Clifton two piece cap iron will fit most makes of traditional metal bench planes e.g. Stanley, Record, Marples, Footprint.


Clifton Frog

The plane has a cast iron frog and frog seating of ‘BEDROCK’ design. This design has a frog with a fully machined, full face underside which marries with a seating pad on the body that also has a fully machined, full face. The frog also has a fully machined upper face.

This combination maintains the perfect stability of the frog which in turn creates a stable setting for the plane blade.

The combination of the frog, frog seating, extra thick plane blade and the two piece cap iron produces an amazingly rigid and effective cutter and bed mechanism.

1.

Plane Construction

clifton plane no 4

Width:

Length Of Sole:

Mouth Width:

Cast Thickness:

Handle and Knob: Bubinga (African Rosewood)

Plane finish: Graphite Grey


Clifton 4 Plane Blade / Cutter

Width: 51mm (2 inch)

Blade Thickness: 3mm (1/8 inch)

Top Of Blade Shape: slightly rounded

Material: 01 steel - cryogenically treated

Hardness: 60-62 Rockwell C

Blade Markings: Cyrogenic Blade, Clifton, Sheffield, England


2.

Plane Markings

"Clifton" - found at the very front of the plane.

"No 4" - found at the front of the plane between the mouth and the front knob.

"Clifton, England" - found at the rear of the plane.

"Made In England" - found at the rear of the plane.

"Clifton" - found on the lever cap face.

3.

Manufactured Dates

2014 - Today

4.

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References

- Thomas Flinn & Co.

Disclaimer

(i) Please always refer to and follow the manufacturer’s instructions / guidelines / safety notices / cautions and similar notices as the manufacturer’s instructions may contain important information on your safety and the good health of your tool, something to which this review's scope does not guarantee to extend to.
(ii) This review may give warning(s) / advisory notes / cautions / guidelines given in good faith however any such information should not be solely relied upon and seen as the exhaustive list of warnings / advisory notes / cautions / guidelines. Always refer to disclaimer note (i) as the definitive source for information on your safety and the good health of your tool.




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