Clifton Number 3 Plane Blade

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Established Member
13 Aug 2009
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I have a new Clifton No 3, bought by me directly from flinn-garlik.

I have struggled to get a decent edge on the Cryogenic Blade and on closer inspection there is a ridge running along the back of the blade.

I have emailed them this evening.

Is there anything I should know about prepping Cryogenic Blades and anyone seen a blade with a ridge like in the picture ?


It appears like those scratches are from suspended very course grit.
Have you since got an idea of what the surface is like?
Looks to need a quick lap on something flat, start with 120g paper and work up to 1000 paper then sharpen.

If it’s not holding an edge - what angle have you sharpened at and what are you planing with it?

If you’re sharpening at 25 deg and planing something with a lot of silica like teak you could expect the edge to dull fairly quickly.
The side of the blade has a definite low point which I dont think is acceptable but the rest of the back of te blade needs quite a lot of flattening/polishing before you will get a good result
For a plane supposed to be top shelf that blade is a disgrace. The quality control guy must have had a day off or something. There is serious lapping required to get it right. Best bet is send it back for a replacement.
By serious lapping - about 10 minutes to even it up and then another 5 to polish it up tops. The steel in the clico irons isn’t abrasion resistant so pretty straight forward.
Even easier if you hot glue a block of wood to the blade to give better purchase on it.

Whilst not ideal is a quick and easy fix.
So, is the ridge raised or depressed. If it is slightly raised, that should be easy to remove as it's a small area and a bit of lapping on a diamond stone or equivalent should take it off in no-time. If it is depressed, then the rest of the iron needs to be ground down which is a bigger job.

Were the very coarse scratches across the iron how it came? That is certainly not how my Clifton irons arrived.
...The steel in the clico irons isn’t abrasion resistant so pretty straight forward...
Except that this isn't a Clico iron, it's a Flinn cryogenic iron.

Contact Flinn-Garlick and discuss whether to send back either just the iron, or the whole plane.

My Clico era Cliftons are good planes and Richarddownunder's Flinn era Clifton is every bit as good. There's obviously been a QA problem with yours. Get it exchanged, and get planing.

Cheers, Vann.
Except that this isn't a Clico iron, it's a Flinn cryogenic iron.

Cheers, Vann.

Will still be something of a similar type to O1, 1084,1095 which are all low alloyed and therefore not abrasion resistant.
Cryo will be more marketing than any real benefit in these steels - may give a slight increase in hardness for a corresponding drop in toughness but marginal. Won’t do anything to abrasion resistance though.

The deep scratches that the OP has added to back have nearly hit the low already, by focusing pressure nearer the edge as you lap it’ll be gone even quicker.

By all means go the replacement route- just will take more of your time than a quick lap.
Benefit of the lap will also be you can get the iron prepped for use at the same time by polishing the back.
That raised edge along the top of the picture looks like it was cut with a shear. Perhaps the edge of the original sheet stock. I can't speak for Clifton or anyone else but I feel that should have been removed when they made the blade. At this point if Clifton doesn't replace it, as others have said, is to flatten the back or at least just along the cutting edge (raised ruler trick). I'll sit corrected if my assessment is wrong.

Looks more like a run with a surface grinder that didn’t continue across the whole surface
If they make them in any volume I’d expect them to be waterjetting the blades from sheets so won’t go near the edge of a sheet as will need room for fixturing and to hold the pieces steady while cutting. Waterjetting gives no noticeable distortion to the edges
I'm sure yhe will replace that. If not come on here and let us know. I've never had a veritas,lie nielsen arrive any less than perfect. Might happen but I've never seen it. They take stuff really seriously. Veritas invested heavily to lap there plane iron back to outrageous values. And these guys just send out that.
From my experience the quality control at Clifton isn't what it used to be. I purchased a #4 plane earlier this year and needed to use it straight away but it took a fair bit of fettling, when I mention this to Clifton's customer support they essentially said I wasn't in a position to say that the sole wasn't flat and made no apology for the cap iron and blade not being ground square (they were out quite a bit unfortunately), but as they only replied to one email I couldn't discuss anything further with them. For items that are classed as 'high tolerance quality tools' the one I received must have been produced on a Friday afternoon by the work experience trainee ;-) If I'd not just broken my previous #4 and needing a plane for a project I'd have sent mine back for a refund. I bought a #6 Clifton nearly twenty years ago and it was an amazing tool straight out of the box and has never had any issues.
We are very good at bashing British manufacturers. It will be interesting to see how Clifton resolve Segovias problem (they should replace )
Yes we/manufacturers can all make errors with what we send out it is how it is dealt with that is important.