LN vs Clifton Plane?

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Just about ready to break down, spend some $ and order a Lie-Nielsen 4 1/2 smoothing plane when I wandered across Clifton's web site. Price is too close to matter much (LN = $300, Clifton $310) but all the chatter here is on LN. Anyone used both, have an opinion?
Regards.
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What about the "chatter" on the Veritas planes, Tom? Ever considered ordering a beaut of a plane from Lee Valley?
Dave
Tom Banes wrote:

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The fine woodworking May/June 2005 issue evaluated no. 4 metal smoothing planes including L-N and Cliffton. The Clifton has a dished sole that "made for erratic performance". They lapped the sole for 30 minutes and corrected it, but did not rate it as high as the L-N. L-N and Veritas tied as Best Overall.
Having to lap the sole on a $250-$300 plane is totally unacceptable in my book.
Personnally, I would spend my money on the Veritas. But then I place no value in how "pretty" a plane is. If that's important, the L-N wins hands down.
Bob
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MAYBE a LN is prettier, but isn't a Veritas pretty ENOUGH? Even my wife thinks my Veritas planes are tres cool. I'll check out their web site to see what you mean about "pretty".
Dave
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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I just looked at LN. I fail to see the improvement in esthetics over a Veritas. I looked at the LA Jack.
Dave
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote in
<snip>

In a 'pretty contest', you need to add in Steve Knight's and Wayne Anderson's work.
I own a couple of Steve's, and aspire to owning one of Wayne's.
Steve's designs work exceptionally well. So do the Veritas designs, of which I have a LA Smoother, with the high angle blade.
But an _old_ Stanley Sweetheart 4.5, well tuned, and with a slight back bevel, is not too shabby, unless the grain is really nasty.
Patriarch, wondering about the 12 steps...
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bronze is just so darned hard to cut.

12 steps? Naw, you don't have any problem ;-)
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The question is do you know how to tune up a plane? If you don't and don't want to bother to learn beyond a quick honeing of the blade the only answer is Lie-Nielsen. The others mentioned will require a fair amount of rework to get them into shape.
I've owned a couple of Veritas planes and they needed a lot of tuning but worked well after they were tuned up. Personally, I feel they are probably worth the money but I wouldn't buy another.
I have recently been in class with someone who tuned up a new Clifton after giving up on another cheap plane. It also required some tuning but worked very well afterwards. I seemed very well made and I would consider buying one.
If you want to learn who to tune up a plane and get something decent in the bargain I would look for a used older Stanley in fairly good shape and learn how to tune it up. You will wind up with a very good plane, gained a lot of useful knowledge and not have spent a lot of money.
I currently have 4 or 5 different Lie-Nielson and 3 or 4 Older Stanley's and have recently ordered a Steve Knight plane. Although I got rid of my Veritas planes they would be a very acceptable alternative. I have had an opportunity to try several others but I haven't seen anything else worth the money (of course there are some REALLY expensive planes I haven't seen that are probably very good).
Additionally your would have to take any plane purchase decision on a case by case basis as I'm sure LN, Veritas and Clifton all have some models better then others. I can only go by my experience for what I have owned and directly had experience using. Others my have a different experience.
On Wed, 22 Jun 2005 21:59:28 -0500, Tom Banes

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<Ron> wrote

A visit to Planing Notes - Fettling a Cast Iron Plane will reveal some information that supports Ron's view. Maybe you could spend the considerable saving on some more tools?
Jeff G
--
Jeff Gorman, West Yorkshire, UK
email : Username is amgron
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On Wed, 22 Jun 2005 21:59:28 -0500, Tom Banes

For a simple smoother, get a Veritas
For rare repros, get a Lie-Nielsen.
For crap English production quality, get a Clifton.
If you're in Europe, just stock up on cheap Lie-Nielsens, because the dollar is in the toilet.
Cliftons are _supposed_ to be the best Stanley repro made. They have the best irons, the materials are better chosen (bronze isn't the best choice for a bench plane in the English climate). But they still can't make the things reliably. If you get a good one, they're an excellent plane - as good as anything. But you've only a 50:50 chance of getting one that's made to an acceptable standard of quality for a plane at this price level.
As someone who in the past has worked on trying to improve production quality in English factories, this really annoys me. Clifton make aerospace tooling (hopefully better than this) and they should have no trouble at all making a mere plane. Yet they demonstrably can't. I don't know whether it's poor machining, or that old favourite of letting the accountants season the castings for too short a time beforehand -- but at this price, they shoudl be _right_ and they're not.
If you don't like the Clifton bench plane, certainly don't waste your money on their curved spokeshaves. These are an example of how non-woodworking designers can foul up a tool by drawing it out and never actually using one.
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Hi Andy, Tom, et al, On Thu, 23 Jun 2005, Andy Dingley wrote:

Apparantly with Cliftons it's a bit of a crapshoot. I bought a #6 Clifton when Woodcraft was clearing them out for half price. I really like that plane a lot. But, others' experiences that I've read about have been different as Andy documents. The only complaint I might have with mine is that the backlash adjustment is a little sloppy, but other than that it's fine. I like the blade and chip-breaker...it's a lot easier to sharpen than the A2 blades you often see with L-N and Veritas planes.

I agree here...had mine been a bad one, I'd have been mightily pissed off.

It would be interesting to know whether English, not Scottish, planes have historically been really high quality. We have a different perspective on precision in the 21st century than was common back in the day, don't you think?
--
Joseph Crowe

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There doesn't seem to be any quality difference between English and Scottish. Sheffield was the mass market and somewhat built down to a price. The better makers (Scotland, Bristol or Norris in London) were aiming at a higher market, so took more care.
I imagine Cliftons are the best planes Sheffield has ever produced. But old Record or Footprint aren't the target here - Lie-Nielsen is. Old planes had easier clients than modern ones too. A journeyman would have bought a Stanley just to make packing cases or window boxes with - but these days that work is done with power tools, and anyone buying L-N is using it for fine cabinetry (actual or aspirational).
--
Smert' spamionam

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Lie-Niesen 4 1/2 is better than the Veritas, although Veritas has some excellent planes.
For example, the Veritas Edge Trimming Block plane is better than the LN one.
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Tom, may I have that Clifton website link please?
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Lost the one I was reading, but here's another. http://www.thebestthings.com/newtools/clifton.htm
Regards.

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I have a Clifton #6 (fore plane) that I really like, but probably wouldn't have bought it if it weren't for the Woodcraft liquidation sale awhile ago (got it for $175).
I also have several Lie-Nielsen planes including the 4 1/2, low-angle jack and a couple specialty ones. I don't own a Veritas bench plane, but have their LA block plane and several other tools made by them. I also have many old Stanley planes, and 2 Steven Knight woodies. Planes are good :)
At any rate, the fit and finish of the clifton plane is very nice, but is just a little lower in quality than the Lie-Nielsen. My particular #6 had a very flat sole and was machined extremely well, but the adjuster has just enough backlash (relative to the Lie-Nielsen) to be noticeable. The Lie-Nielsen is definitely the way to go, even when compared to the Veritas (for the 4.5 at any rate).
Mike

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Many thanks to all for the feedback. I hadn't even considered an LV plane, so it's back to the drawing board! The seemingly random quality of Clifton is not what I'm looking for.
In response to a couple of questions, I've tuned up several old Stanley bench planes (#3, #5, #8) and a small Stanley block plane (9 1/2) that I scarffed up on Ebay when no one was looking. A bit of electrolysis, a bunch of lapping, even more iron fixing and honing (why do folks WANT to cut nails with a plane?), and they all perform to my satisfaction. I have an LN scrub plane that is great, though a pain to hone, and an LN rabbet plane that I'm still learning to use (not many rabbets will sit still long enough to shave!). So I'm no expert, just ham fisted learner.
I do appreciate the input as the best learning is:
1. Personal experience 2. Others' personal experience
and I haven't had time to learn everything about being a woodie, not by a long shot.
Regards.
On Wed, 22 Jun 2005 21:59:28 -0500, Tom Banes

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Wed, 22 Jun 2005 21:59:28 -0500, Tom Banes

Woodcraft has the LN 4 1/2 on sale for $270 in a sale brochure that came today.
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wrote:
Checking online as I pen this - thanks!
Regards.

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If you choose to go the LN route you might consider purchasing an additional high angle frog or an additional blade that you can grind to a different angle.This can sometimes be a great help if you wind up planning some difficult figured wood. LN also has Toothed Blades available for their number 4 and number 5 bench planes. I don't think they have this blade available for the 4 1/2. This blade also can be of some help on difficult woods. The combination of the high angle frog and a toothed blade gives quite a few additional options for one plane. I have used both the high angle frog and a toothed blade on occasions and it was very helpful. There is also a toothed blade available for the low angle jack which I have used to good effect on some curly maple and curly cherry. To bad the planes are so expensive but I guess you get what you pay for.
Glad to hear you like the scrub plane as it's probably my next purchase. Don't know who's plane just yet but the LN is up near the top of the list.
On Thu, 23 Jun 2005 14:29:05 -0500, Tom Banes

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