How does a plane like the clifton multiplane work?

Hello, if one looks at the clifton multiplane, e.g. http://www3.woodcraft.com/Planes&Spokeshaves/woodworking/4139.htm one wonders how it works, since it seems to have no proper sole, at least not one matching all the differnet irons, so does it sacrifice cleannes of cut for versatility?
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Dr. Juergen Hannappel http://lisa2.physik.uni-bonn.de/~hannappe
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Hi, Juergen,
It's hard to explain in text, but basically the plane body consists of 2 flat sides, which slide apart on the two round steel bars you can see in the picture (detached from the plane) The iron bridges the gap between the sides - different irons, different gaps. There are attachable guide fences and some have inbuilt "nickers" for cross-grain cutting.
It's not a finishing plane at all - it has no sole (so no real mouth) and no back iron. It's purely used for cutting rebates, dadoes and some simple mouldings.
In my experience they work well (and relatively quickly!) in mild, straight-grained timber, but the lack of refinements in the cutting action means that they can leave a poor finish, or even heavy tear-out, in awkward grain.
I have the Record version of this plane - it was a useful tool in its day, but I can set up a router for a rebate cut as quickly as I can set up this plane, and the cut itself goes a lot faster and cleaner. I suspect that many older woodworkers are in the same position as me - I still have a wee twinge of nostalgia for the multiplane, but I'm glad I don't have to make my living using it. A bit like the difference between using a horse or a tractor for ploughing, I suppose. <sigh>
However, if you're aspriring to being a purist Neander ( and there's nothing wrong with that) then it's a useful tool to have in your armoury. You might have a problem getting one cheaply - the originals are becoming quite collectable (if there's a full set of cutters) - and modern high-quality reproductions, like the Clifton, are very expensive.
Cheers,
Frank
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[... very useful explanation of the multiplane ]

Thanks for the explanations, but seeing the price of the beasts and the sucess i had in making my first two planes (dado planes inspired by those made by the famous Steve Knight, but still lacking the nickers) i will rather convert the maple slab i recently aquired into a lot of custom planes with full soles. The fences i plan to make in a reusable way, either controlled by thumbscrews o held in place by wegdes, a point still under consideration.
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On Sun, 14 Dec 2003 17:05:35 +0100, Juergen Hannappel
Badly.
Personally I prefer a shelf of old wooden moulders. At least they work.
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I've had pretty good luck with my multi-plane. Some ovolos, some dados, some beads. Mostly in cherry, which isn't the easiest wood to work with. Sharp, sharp, sharp is the key. Of course, with the several hundred dollars I spend on it all (used Stanley 45 body with Clifton irons), I could have bought quite a few wooden planes, which, as you suggest, would probably work much better.
Greg
Andy Dingley wrote:

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On Sun, 14 Dec 2003 17:05:35 +0100, Juergen Hannappel

I've a Stanley 55 and a Record 405 and, as soon as I can sell them, I will. They were somewhat useful when I was doing some work in Elfreth's Alley in Philadelphia - back in the seventies. In that instance I was making short runs of molding to match the existing pieces that had been cut away during ill-advised remodeling projects.
Since the projects involved short lengths of molding in various profiles, I was able to modify the existing cutters to create a match and thus avoided the knife charges for a molder setup.
I found stock selection to be critical. The grain needed to be straight and the wood mild (paint grade project). Setup is very fussy with these planes and the cutters must be super sharp to work even moderately well.
They are no match for a set of individual profile planes and have always seemed to me to be a cross between Rube Goldberg and a Swiss Army Knife approach to profiling.
Regards, Tom Thomas J. Watson-Cabinetmaker Gulph Mills, Pennsylvania 19428 http://users.snip.net/~tjwatson
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Tom Watson writes:

You may want to try Ebay if you didn't pay too heavy a price for those new. I just now ran a check and they've got a 55 with a "Buy It Now" price of $499. Trouble is, the starting bid was $399 and no one has bit yet. A friend who was once heavily into Ebay auctions told me the best bet was to always bring it in with a low starting bid and a high reserve. The high starting bid kept too many people out, and the more people who are in, the more likely it is someone will get excited and bid higher than otherwise might be the case.

But leave us not forget, Rube Goldberg made big bucks from his crazy gadget cartoons, while the SA knife is probably one of the best marketing jobs in the western world.
Charlie Self
"Man is a reasoning rather than a reasonable animal." Alexander Hamilton
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) writes:
[...]

At least the SA knife (even the cheapest ones) feature one extremely important tool that even the to grade leathermans and lokk-alikes lack: the cork extractor for wine bottles. (Is that a late side effect of the alcohol prohibition times?)
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Juergen Hannappel asks:

In what way? Didn't know Switzerland had prohibition. Thought that was a completely U.S. idiocy.
Charlie Self
"Man is a reasoning rather than a reasonable animal." Alexander Hamilton
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) writes:

I was referening to the lack of the extractor in the leatherman tools, which (to my knowledge, which may well be wrong) originated in the U.S. Almost every *european* pocket knife has an extractor.
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Dr. Juergen Hannappel http://lisa2.physik.uni-bonn.de/~hannappe
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Juergen Hannappel responds:

Fair enough. Couldn't begin to guess why the multi-tools don't consider a corkscrew a tool, but...I note that even the 5-6 or however manymodels Crescent has have none. Maybe we've got too many screw-top wine drinkers here?
Charlie Self
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On 17 Dec 2003 08:17:46 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) brought forth from the murky depths:

And too many bag o' wine-in-a-box drinkers.

Charlie, are you EVER going to remove those? Crikey!
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Larry Jaques responds:

Didn't know that existed...I was never much of a wine drinker. When my liver called a halt to all drinking, I was mainly interested in Wild Turkey 101 and Courvoisier.
Charlie Self
"Man is a reasoning rather than a reasonable animal." Alexander Hamilton
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On 17 Dec 2003 18:54:52 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) brought forth from the murky depths:

When my liver gently persuaded me to quit, I was down to rum and coke (breakfast, lunch, dinner, nights) and Coors (afternoons, evenings).
I don't miss it and I sure -feel- better in the morning nowadays, despite the aches and pains of growing older.

Well?
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Larry Jaques responds:

I wouldn't say I feel better in the morning...a double shot of WT 101 in good coffee is a real eye-opener--but I'm sure as hell more effective in the afternoon when I haven't had that, the mid-morning pick-me-up, the lunchtime double or triple and the after lunch kicker.
Pain, what pain?
Now, I take Vioxx.
Charlie Self
"Man is a reasoning rather than a reasonable animal." Alexander Hamilton
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Charlie Self wrote:

I'm glad you both quit. Proud of you. It's not easy. I went through that with Mom. Ugly, ugly business.
I don't even want to think about it, and I probably shouldn't air my family's dirty laundry for the archives anyway.
I do drink in spite of all this, but I don't think I drink the same way I might have had I not experienced what I did. I get wasted very easily, and a bottle of liquor lasts me three or four years. I think I'm OK, but if I ever suspect otherwise, I will just quit the damn stuff entirely.
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On Tue, 16 Dec 2003 10:31:42 +0100, Juergen Hannappel
depths:

'Murricans are less lushy than Europeens. And most 'Murricans I know would just take a stick and push that cork thing into the bottle. What's the _problem_? ;)
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