Clico - Clifton Smoothing Plane - No. 3

clifton plane no 3
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Clico Clifton No.3 Plane Review By: I.Ball

Manufacturer: Clico (Sheffield) Tooling Ltd

Plane Type: Smoothing

Model No: 3


The old Clifton smoothing plane number 3 model was made by a Sheffield (UK) company called Clico. Clico made this model of plane for a number of years with a forest green colour until the Clifton tools part of the business was taken over by Thomas Flinn and Co in 2014.

See the new Clifton 3 plane review for the plane produced by Thomas Flinn and Co.

The Clifton smoothing plane number 3 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 forest green finish.

The plane was presented in a good quality dark blue cardboard box.

clifton plane cutter

Clifton Plane Blade

The old Clifton plane blade is a hand forged high carbon steel cutter. The forging process hammer blows the steel many times. This hammering process gives the steel a very fine grain structure and as a result the blade achieves the '60 to 62 Rockwell C' standard of hardness without the usual inevitable brittleness seen with extremely hard steel.

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

Due to the blade containing no alloying elements, it is suggested the blade is maintained with a thin coating of oil from time-to-time to protect it from rust.

clifton plane blade and ss cap iron

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').

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

Note: the photo shows a blade made by Thomas Flinn & Co.

Clico History

Clico was originally started in 1983 when Clico (Sheffield) Tooling Limited was formed after a Management buy-out from Record Ridgway Tools where they gained rights to designs for Aerospace cutting tools including staff and machinery.

Clico went on four years later to begin a plane making department when they hired the previous manager of the Record Plane Making Section. The first plane they took on of the Record plane designs was the Record 405 multiplane which was used to create Clifton's version of the 405. From there Clico went on to gradually increase their plane and tool range.

Plane Construction

clifton plane no 3


Length Of Sole:

Mouth Width:

Cast Thickness:

Handle and Knob: Bubinga (African Rosewood)

Plane finish: Forest green

clifton plane blade hand forged

Clifton 3 Plane Blade / Cutter

Width: 45mm

Blade Thickness: 3mm

Slot Length:

Slot Width:

Top Of Blade Shape: Slightly rounded

Material: Hand forged, high carbon steel

Hardness: 60 to 62 Rockwell C

Blade Markings: Clifton, Hand Forged, Sheffield

Plane Markings

"No 3" - 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.

Manufactured Dates

2000 - 2014


(i) This review/article may give warning(s) / advisory notes / cautions / guidelines given in good faith, any such information should not be solely relied upon and seen as the exhaustive list of warnings / advisory notes / cautions / guidelines. Refer to good safety practices for the safety of you and others. Refer to good practices for the good health of your tool and property.
(ii) The details here are given in good faith, the details are constantly growing and evolving including corrections, there is scope for error and shouldn't be fully relied upon, please confirm any details for yourself by performing additional research from reliable sources.

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