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Thread: clifton vs lie nielsen????

  1. #1
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    clifton vs lie nielsen????

    Been wanting a #4-1/2 for a while and decided to save up the cash and buy new. I'd love to hear from any owners of Clifton planes, as that is LN's only competition for my $$$. I'd set it up and use it only for fine smoothing, to complement my #3. So let's hear some opinions from the Clifton folks!

  2. #2
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    I don't have first hand experience with them, but this might be of your interest.

    By the way, are you ruling out Veritas 4-1/2?

  3. #3
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    Thanks for posting the Clifton review. I've always hesitated with Clifton as if I want to fettle I'll get an old Stanley and if I'm spending the $ I do feel better knowing that LN or LV is close by and will make it right. I can't imagine that you can send a Clifton back to the UK to correct a problem very easily.

  4. #4
    I realize that Veritas is not in your short list of choices, but if you are not tied to the traditional look of the LN, I suggest you buy the Veritas Bevel Up Smoother, and never look back! With a couple (or three) blades, it will do everything you ask of it. At $215 ($291 with all three blades), it is less expensive than the LN at $325, or the Clifton at $300.

    For a great review of the LV BUS, check out Derek Cohen's site here or, more to your original question, the comparison Derek makes here to the $2,000 Marcou BUS and the LN 4.5.

    All that being said, it is not a traditional looking plane, and if that is a requirement, then I vote for the LN.

    But, the LV BUS is my go to, absolute favorite, plane!


  5. #5
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    I have the LN 4 1/2. It is a remarkable plane. I've never used a Clifton, so I can't compare.

    The LN came out of the box working. I spent about 30 seconds putting a secondary bevel on it and it worked.
    Every time I pick it up, I'm glad I have it. I have some Bedrock's. The LN is superior to them.

    I would also consider a BU smoother. I have a BU jack plane that is pretty much my go to plane. I like being able to change the pitch by changing irons. It is the plane I use on difficult wood like sapele or curly maple.

  6. #6

    Clifton Questions

    I can sort of compare. I have many LN planes and a Clifton #7. The LN's are ready to go out of the box. I finally had enough of the poor blade and worthless 2 piece chip breaker on my Clifton that I ordered Hock replacements for it. The link to Christopher's article is worth a read.

    My advice? Buy the LN and be sure you got good stuff, not the potential for a Friday made Clifton.

  7. #7
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    Here is another review done by Schwartz on a Clifton #3 smoother. It's probably an earlier review than the other. http://www.rlarson.com/WebPages/Clifton%20Review.htm

  8. #8
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    Clifton #3

    I've been using my Clifton #3 for several years now. The blade takes an excellent edge and keeps it for quite a while. Resharpening is quicker than the A2 LN blades I have.

    I had to spend a whole 1/2 hour true-ing the sole. I've never had to touch the sole again. It's given me great service on cheery, red oak, and even Aftrican mahogany ( up to a point where no smoother I have will do the whole job and a scraper session is demanded. ).

    It's a great value in my book and I'm glad I bought when they first came out instead of later when the price went up a bit.

    If I had to choose between a Clifton #3 and a LN #4 bronze...well after pulling a few hairs and a longing look at the #3...I'd get the LN. Fickel you say? Nah...grass is always greener in smoother land...hoot!

    Enjoy the shavings.

  9. #9
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    Just reading the Chris Schwarz review about Clifton planes and something jumps out at me. Clifton planes are made from old-school cast iron. LN planes are ductile iron. That alone is enough to scare me away from Clifton.

    Cast iron can shatter if you drop it. Ductile iron won't crack if you hit it with a hammer. For old tools, cast is fine. For modern, fine tools with a price to match, I just say no.

  10. #10
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    I'd have to second taking a look at the Bevel Up Smoother from LV. I don't have the smoother (yet) but I have the Low Angle Jack and Bevel Up Jointer with all 3 blades. The set screws on the sides are great. They are an amazing feature that I think get overlooked too many times. Setting the blades after swapping them out would be much more time consuming without them.

    If you don't like the weird look of the LV, Matt's point would definitely be a deal breaker for me. Ductile iron (on the LV and LN) is priceless, IMHO, compared to cast iron.

    Good luck and I hope this helps!

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Radtke View Post
    Just reading the Chris Schwarz review about Clifton planes and something jumps out at me. Clifton planes are made from old-school cast iron. LN planes are ductile iron. That alone is enough to scare me away from Clifton.

    Cast iron can shatter if you drop it. Ductile iron won't crack if you hit it with a hammer. For old tools, cast is fine. For modern, fine tools with a price to match, I just say no.
    I think its a little bit better than that, but I have no experience with Clifton planes. For what its worth, I found this on-line.
    "The bodies of Clifton planes are machined from annealed grey iron, which has much greater strength than raw grey iron but unlike malleable or ductile iron will not distort in the event of an impact."

  12. #12
    I respect yr decision to go Clifton or LN, but I'll 3rd the suggestion to look at the BU smoother from Veritas. It takes the thinnest, most consistent shavings I've ever experienced.

  13. #13
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    grey vs. ductile cast iron

    This is a write up of how Clifton planes are manufactured. It seems that they also drop their planes from about 20 feet and hit them with hammers.

    http://www.getwoodworking.com/news/article.asp?a=917

    Grey iron comes in different grades. Clifton exercises significant quality control. All grey iron isn't as brittle as I thought. The writer of this article addresses the grey iron, ductile iron debate directly. It's pretty rah, rah, but worth a read before you decide against Clifton planes on the basis of materials.

  14. #14
    You may also want to consider the LN low angle smoothing plane.

    Or eliminate the guessing & compromises & just get a Holtey.

    Kevin Looker

  15. #15
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    Roger, I have a Clifton 6, and the LN 62, so not a direct comparison. I love mass of the Clifton, the iron gets very sharp, and the cap iron is quite thick. The downside, IMHO, is that the handle shape isn't great. The handle on the LN, in contrast, is perfect. If possible, try out the handles first, because hand size varies and what might be great for most, might feel horrible to you.

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