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Clifton block plane price

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JohnPW

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As far as I can see, UK made Clifton bench planes are about 15% cheaper than the imported Lie Nielsen bench planes eg £324 vs £380 for 5 1/2, and the shoulder planes are about the same.

Why is the Clifton block plane with adjustable mouth priced at £288 which is more than £100 more expensive than the Lie Nielsen equivalent?!!
 

D_W

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Probably production efficiency. The block plane isn't like anything else that clifton's made as far as I can tell, and it's got the wood bits fitted on the metal bits for style.

Has anything significant changed in their bench planes other than replacement of the iron and cap iron with a lower-cost design? (no more forged irons, and no two piece cap irons - both of those make no real difference in performance, by the way, so if you're going to simplify things, that's a great place to do it).
 

thetyreman

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the clifton block plane is unique to them as far as I know, it has some solid wood in it so would be more labour intensive to make one compared to the LN, probably the higher cost is more labour involved in creating it.
 

JohnCee

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The Clifton block plane is quite a bit nicer than the LN in my opinion. The mouth adjustment and blade adjustment are better, and the blade takes and holds an edge better. Whether these are worth an extra £100, I wouldn't like to say. The Clifton is quite a bit bigger, which some people might struggle with.
Either plane is an extravagance, really. You can't do anything with them that you couldn't do with a decent Record or Stanley. I say that despite owning both the LN and the Clifton. I'm just a sucker for nice tools... :)
I do prefer LN bench planes to Cliftons, so the price anomaly makes sense to me, anyway.
 

Jacob

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Why is the Clifton block plane with adjustable mouth priced at £288 which is more than £100 more expensive than the Lie Nielsen equivalent?!!
Because they reckon that's what people will pay.
 

D_W

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Because they reckon that's what people will pay.
Not sure clifton is that progressive, but they could be.

They strike me more as the cost plus type (as in, see what it costs to make, add margin that's needed to make it worth making and then see how it goes). If they were revenue maximizers, they'd probably be making tools overseas with their brand on and "final quality assurance" in the UK.

And then sell the brand through woodcraft in the states because of the huge market.
 

G S Haydon

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The Lie-Nielsen blocks are quality mass produced. The Clifton is more a limited production craft item. I don't know for sure but I'd assume the LN block has been their top seller.

 

D_W

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LN has invested a lot in streamlining process on their mass produced tools (CNC lathes, CNC machining, etc). The difference between a $150 block plane and a $300 is not much in terms of decisions about how such a thing is made.

About 14 years ago, I bought a Lie Nielsen 7. The list price was $425 (it could've been 12 years ago, not totally sure). I just looked at their page - $425. Much of the reason their planes haven't increased in cost is because they've been able to make them long enough to figure out how to do it efficiently.

I think early on when they were making a few planes, they probably weren't making much, but they're in maine. Maine is a different country here.
 

shed9

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Most of my premium planes are LN and only recently did I dip a toe in the Clifton plane pool. It wasn't necessarily by direct choice but I received a 4 1/2 Smoother as a gift and and I'll be in two minds the next time I buy premium on which tool maker to go with. I've been eying up the Clifton block for a while now but can't quite bring myself to pull the trigger on >£280 for a block plane - seems too far a step, especially in the current climate of blind purchasing.
 

JohnPW

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Note a Clifton no 4 is "only" £300.

It seems other plane makers price their blocks quite bit cheaper than their bench planes but Clifton doesn't.

"what people will pay",
seems unlikely, why would a block plane be their one and only super premium plane?

"production costs"
maybe.

"low numbers sold"
maybe the high price puts people off! But that's circular reasoning. It's always been that high price, did they think there's only a limited number of potential buyers?

Anyhow, I don't expect the price to go down, current owners would be fuming if it did.

My impression of Clifton itself is they're a very small firm with a handful of workers and it's low volume batch production rather than a production line churning out planes, but I could be wrong.
 

JohnCee

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My impression of Clifton itself is they're a very small firm with a handful of workers and it's low volume batch production rather than a production line churning out planes, but I could be wrong.
You're right. It's a very small firm.
As for the position of the block plane in the price range, all I'd say is that it's the only Clifton plane that really "wows" me (although the whole range is very nice).
 
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