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Thread: clifton vs lie nielsen????

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
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    I've got an army of LN planes (SWMBO gets their catalogs and their tools are my birthday, Christmas and Father's Day presents) and a single Clifton #3. The Clifton #3 is my favorite bevel down plane (out of many LNs, vintage Stanleys and Sargents).

    Other planes that rank up with the Clifton as near favorites are an LN #4 with a high angle frog, a LN low angle jack, a LN low angle jointer and the LV bevel up smoother.

    Planes are like Fritos--you can't get just one!

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Carol Stream Illinois
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    Roger,

    I have a Clifton #4 and a Lie-Nielsen #4 in bronze, both are excellent planes, the Lie-Nielson was purchased with a York Pitch Frog for challenging grain. While attending a six week woodworking program I had the opportunity to test drive Lee Valley, Lie-Nielsen and Clifton shoulder planes, my money went for the Clifton 410.

    As far as the Friday made Clifton, that is really not an issue, simply do business with "The Best Things". http://www.thebestthings.com/newtools/clifton.htm
    Their customer service is excellent, they are friendly, fast and recognize my voice when I call (have only called a handfull of times).

    To address the issue of set up, I always spend time with any plane, nothing comes out of the box ready to use.

    And on a closing thought, the reviews by Christopher Schwarz, did you ever notice that he attends every event that Lie-Nielsen Toolworks is at, remember this is business.

    Either way you go, you will have a smile on your face as you make some fine shavings, enjoy.

    Heather
    Any thing with sharp teeth eats meat.
    Most powertools have sharp teeth.
    People are made of meat.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Yokohama, Japan/St. Petersburg, Russia
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    726
    But I don't think he's making an unfair assessment on Clifton, though. His point wasn't that the Clifton is a bad brand, but have quality consistency problem, and that he had such and such problems with his Clifton. He wasn't pulling problems from his rear end simply out of spite.

    LN planes are excellent tools and perhaps he never had to deal with the problems he had with Clifton. I'm not partial to either brands, but I wouldn't be happy to buy a plane in $200 - $400 range and have some piece falling off or something that doesn't work right. I don't mean 'fine tuning' a plane, but requiring work to get the basic function right, like making relatively uninterrupted shavings (I don't mean .001" shaving, but relatively smooth and consistent shaving). Fine tune I can do, and for a vintage plane under $80, I would even be willing to work out the kinks, but in $200 - $400, having to complete the manufacturing process seems like a bit of dull task, especially when there are other manufacturers that offer excellent alternatives. The way I see it, in that price range, quality of tool shouldn't depend on which box out of a batch is the lucky or unlucky one.

  4. #19
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    Aug 2005
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
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    For me the hesitation over Clifton is that the factory is over the pond. LN's do rarely have issues -- my #62 wasn't square on one side -- but they cheerfully and promptly fixed it and refunded my shipping costs.

  5. #20
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    With the so-called Clifton problems, maybe a poll should be conducted of those who actually had problems, and post what those problems were. The time frame of when the problems occurred would also be interesting: were the problems recent (a week or two ago), a year ago or several years ago.

    I only own one Clifton versus many LNs, LVs & vintage planes. It is nice to have solid alternatives.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    Los Angeles, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Zaffuto View Post
    With the so-called Clifton problems, maybe a poll should be conducted of those who actually had problems, and post what those problems were. The time frame of when the problems occurred would also be interesting: were the problems recent (a week or two ago), a year ago or several years ago.

    I only own one Clifton versus many LNs, LVs & vintage planes. It is nice to have solid alternatives.


    All you Clifton owners please post!

  7. When the Cliftons first came out there were growing pains. In the past few years however we have never had any complaints except for a loose handle - just tighten the screw - England is wetter than here and the handles sometimes shrink.
    I think Chris's review is just dated. This is one problem with the internet - everything lives forever. Imagine if there was an Internet in 1909 - we would still be reading Stanley reviews that talked about Rosewood handles, and a smooth tight adjuster.
    Last edited by Joel Moskowitz; 10-07-2009 at 10:58 PM.

  8. #23
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    Feb 2009
    Location
    Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada
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    I think, for me anyway, that buying American(Canadian) as much as I can is a plus vallue. I don't say that Clifton is not good anough, I just think that we have great tool makers here in North America that build tools here in North America and if we want them to keep doing so we should buy from them!! On top of that, I would say that I try to give my money to small tool makers. Of course you have to compare apple to apple so inbetween LV, LN and Clifton #4, I woud probably go with LV first since I'm in Canada... and since I think they are all some what the same( I know I know, I don't want to start something here so we will live it at that!)

  9. While I perfectly agree with the concept of buying local on the size issue Clifton is by far the smallest company of the three.

  10. #25
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    Mar 2004
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    Joel,

    Thanks for your response--that was the point I was trying to make! I would still like to hear from any SMC member that has had an issue with his/her Clifton plane, and what the issue was.

    The way I look at my Clifton is, the blade is superb, and the equal of any other manufacturer's. Some love the 2-piece chip breaker (I do) and some hate it, but again it is a premium piece. When I bought my #3, the price was substantially less than the equivalent LN.

    T.Z.

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Wawickshire, UK
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    All this of course is, "In my experience."

    Of ten bench planes, all bar three (Record CS88 smoother and T5 technical jack and Knight smoother) are Cliftons. Block planes and scrub are LN.

    I've had one Cliffie (5 1/2) which needed minor flattening, two LNs that needed work (60 1/2 depth adjuster, 507 sole and cap iron tuning) and one that needed replacement ( 140R )

    Personal experience (and recent hearsay) of both companies' customer service (and that of their principal dealers) is exemplary.

    Cliffie blades need a little more work than LN (assuming no ruler trick) but heaps less than Hock. Would that I had Cliffie carbon steel for my LN blocks.

    Cliffies are heavier than their LN equivalents.

    I have seen the home movies of Cliftons being flight tested - scary stuff, and quite convincing!

    The modern looking Clifton handles are supposed to be an improvement ergonomically - though I do prefer the more traditional LN shape - perhaps because I like a low bench.

    Please apply seasoning to taste - as is no doubt apparent, I'm a Clifton fan (plus a Brit - so the opposite 'buy local' argument applies.)

    Cheers
    Steve

  12. #27
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    Please apply seasoning to taste - as is no doubt apparent, I'm a Clifton fan (plus a Brit - so the opposite 'buy local' argument applies.)

    Cheers
    Steve
    It still amazes me to have world wide commentary on something such as our personal feelings about one hand plane versus another.

    Exhilarating...

    jim
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Queens, NY
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    Thanks

    thanks for all the input.
    the grey iron vs ductile iron matter wasn't even something i was aware of, glad I asked!
    All in all, seems like with LN you can't go wrong and with the clifton you'd get a quality tool that may take some work to get running well. the LV bevel up smoother with 3 blades at different pitches for the same (or less) money is interesting... i love the feel and performance of my baileys and wanted to stay with the bedrock style because i feel like i know what to expect from an extremely well made version of that style. i think i will wait to spend the cash until i can demo an LV BUS.
    thanks again for all the info and opinions.

    -Roger Benton

  14. #29
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
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    Roger, I'm in the LN camp all the way. I own the 4 1/2 as well as many of their other planes. You can't go wrong with the 4 1/2. I will say however that I recently purchased the LV BUS by recommendation from MANY people. While IMO it is one ugly plane the performance is superb. I bought it to tame some African Mahogany which I couldn't do with my LN 4 1/2 with HA frog (55-degree). The LV BUS just scoffed at it and proceeded to whip it into submission on all accounts. I ended up with a perfectly smooth surface after just a few passes. Now I'm not a super skilled hand tool worker so many would say you can do it with the LN 4 1/2 (and I'm sure you can) - I can't. But I can with the LV BUS. Boy, if it could just look like the LN smoother.
    With skill and tool we put our trust and when that won't do then power we must.

  15. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Erickson View Post
    ... Boy, if it could just look like the LN smoother.
    Rick, Was there any particular reason, other than recommendations, you choose the LV over the LN. Price is not that fair apart. You seem to like LN, and the looks of the LN BUS, but choose the LV ?

    I'm kind of fond of LN's myself.
    “Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway”
    - John Wayne (1907-1979)

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