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Disappointed with a Clifton 420

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Ulrich

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Hallo,

relying on the high reputation of Clifton planes I recently purchased a Clifton 420 shoulderplane. But after the first more detailed look at this plane I am rather disappointed with the quality I received. Just a few examples:

The lever cap shows a lot of blowholes – probably not relevant when using the plane, but not to be expected at a plane, which is commonly regarded as one of the best on the market. Here two examples:





The end of the lever cap is tapered on the one side more than on the other:



The lever cap only partially contacts the iron, since the lever cap is crowned and at its distant end has been deeply marred when it was grinded.



The pin, around which the lever cap pivots in the body has been installed to the lever cap so that it protrudes on the one side about 3,1 mm, on the other side 5,4 mm. So when the lever cap is mounted, the pin even protrudes about the plane body on one side. The pin itselve shows blowholes, too:





The plane body is slightly asymmetric – probably not relevant for the function but in my opinion not be expected on a Clifton plane. As can be seen on the side of the plane the casting mould for this plane seems not to have been the best any more, either:





Now, Clifton ist not a too common plane maker among German woodworkers. That is why I should like to ask here for your experiences with Clifton planes. In my opinion, any of these small defects might be acceptable on its own. But all together these really seem to me too much defects on a single plane for such a renowned plane maker. Or am I expecting, too much? But my Veritas and Lie-Nielsen planes – the only high end planes I can compare the Clifton 420 with - never have shown such flaws (and the Veritas planes are even cheaper than Cliftons...).

I should be glad to receive your opinions and advice

Ulrich
 

Philly

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Ulrich
Give Clifton a ring or drop them a letter voicing your concerns. I have been assured that any problems will be dealt with ASAP.
Cheers
Philly :D
 

tombo

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Ulrich,

been there, got the tee shirt :wink:
https://www.ukworkshop.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=5871
my veritas shoulder plane gave me similar feelings when it arrived I was unsure if i was expecting too much, if you dont get it sorted it will forever play on your mind. Hope Clifton are as good as lee valley were replacing the item.

Tom
 
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Anonymous

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Ulrich

Mod note: Please post smaller pictures

As far as I can tell, none of the points you have noted will affect the performance of the plane (except the pin?) and so I say that they would not matter to me.

I think it is unreasonable ot attempt to compare Clifton to LN or LV as they really are not direct competitors. Sure, Cliftons are excellent planes and far better than Stanley/Record, but they generally have a much smaller market and cost a lot less than LN/LV and will never be of the same quality

If the issues reeally bother you, then I am sure Clifton will sort them out as they have in the past but in my opinion, if the plane cuts fine do they really matter?
 

Ulrich

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Hello Tony,

sorry for the large pictures - I noticed that they were too large only when I had already posted. Most of the faults really are more of aesthetic than functional concern but at least the protruding pin and the crowned foot of the levercap will both affect the performance of the plane and ought to be corrected. As for the price: At least here in Germany Clifton planes cost almost as much as LN planes and a lot more the than LV planes - for example I pay at the moment 250 € for a Clifton 420 and about 170 € for the LV medium shoulder plane and 190 € for the large shoulder plane.

Ulrich
 

Jarviser

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Tony, I am with Ulrich here. (sorry, can't do the "quote" thing). The Axminster prices are £137 for the Clifton against £169 for the larger LN 073 which is superbly finish ground, and then shipped here. I have only seen pictures of the Cliftons, but I was concerned about the rounded corners to the castings, as though they hand linish them on a belt, which is OK for door furniture, but planes should be ground on all faces for that price. Blow holes are severe weaknesses in any casting, and I believe Clifton uses grey iron, not malleable, so I would not like to drop it. The original Record 042 had crisp lines all round. I noticed similar squiffy hand linishing marks on new Stanley 93's.
 

Alf

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I think it'd come as a surprise to most of Clifton's potential customers that they're not competing with L-N and L-V for said customers' hard-earned lolly. :-s

Cheers, Alf
 
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Anonymous

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Alf

Having owned and liked Clifton, LV and LN, planes, there really is a large disparity in quality but not performance.

Clifton, in my experience and from evidence on the forum, are sitting somewhere between LN/LV and the modern Record/Stanley when it comes to quality of finish and materials. Closer to LN/LV.

However, the Clifton I purchased, whilst far from perfect in casting, finishing etc., cut as well as any of my LNs or LVs with no fettling required. To me, the casting imperfections or lack of finishing are of little importance when compared to how it cuts but one definiteyly would be agrieved if paying LN prices for considerably lower quality tools.

For instance, I was offered a new Clifton #7 recently for £159 ( at a woodworking show), whilst the LN #7 is £300.45. Not really competition or the same market in my opinion

Ulrich
If you paid same as LN prices, I really can understand why you would be unhappy and would suggest a refund and replacement with a Veritas Large (or medium) shoulder plane.
 

Alf

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To compare apples with apples:
The Clifton 420 is £137.70 in the current Ax Cat.
The Veritas Medium is £109.47 on the BriMarc site.
The L-N Medium is $175, which given other L-N prices over here, will work out about, what? £125-130?

Not only are they in competition, but the Clifton is the most expensive! My case rests, m'lud. :D

Cheers, Alf
 

Ulrich

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Thankyou for your advice - as I conclude from your comments it seems as if the - in comparison for example LV - high prices of Clifton planes are not totally matched by their quality...

Anyway: I sent a fax to Clico Tools yesterday voicing my concerns about the lack of quality in this special plane - I will inform you, if and how Clico Tools will answer.

Cheers

Ulrich
 

ydb1md

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Tony":rw1ev0n3 said:
I think it is unreasonable ot attempt to compare Clifton to LN or LV as they really are not direct competitors. Sure, Cliftons are excellent planes and far better than Stanley/Record, but they generally have a much smaller market and cost a lot less than LN/LV and will never be of the same quality
Tony, I think it's entirely reasonable to hold Clifton to as high a standard as LN and LV. I'm not sure where you compare prices, but Clifton's prices seem to fall between LN and LV, not lower than both. When people mention the "top" manufacturers, they often mention LN, LV and Clifton in the same breath so why should their slipping quality be excused?

From Hartville tool, a Clifton #5 jack is $249. A LN #5 jack goes for about $300. A LV junior jack, while not a totally direct comparison, goes for about $195.

If Clifton could fix their quality issues, I'm sure they would begin to see a larger buyer base.
 

bugbear

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Alice said:

To compare apples with apples:
The L-N Medium is $175, which given other L-N prices over here, will work out about, what? £125-130?
Well, the L-N site has the large shoulder plane at $225.00 which Axminster have at £169.00.

So the medium should be (pro rata) 175 * 169/225 = £131

BugBear
 

Alf

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And there was I looking for another $175 L-N that Axminster also stocked.
Think of the time I'd save if I was any good at maths (and if L-N's site didn't
make one go to each tool individually to find the price)... #-o

Cheers, Alf

P.S. I also don't know much about History, don't know much Biology,
don't know much about Science books, don't know much about the
French I took, etc etc. :D

P.P.S. You missed off the 44p :wink:
 

Scott

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Alf":1c06p43i said:
(and if L-N's site didn't
make one go to each tool individually to find the price)... #-o
You're supposed to look at them all! A picture is worth a thousand words....and in this case that's "buy me" x 500! :)
 

Alf

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Scott":73hbj934 said:
You're supposed to look at them all!
Really? I thought you just scraped together what funds you could and then bought whatever you could afford - regardless. :oops: :lol:

Cheers, Alf
 
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Anonymous

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ydb1md":ra4pp1d6 said:
Tony, I think it's entirely reasonable to hold Clifton to as high a standard as LN and LV.
I am not really talking about whether it is reasonable or not, my Clifton #5 was nowhere near the qulity of the LN #5, but then it costs £70 less. I am stating a simple and true fact. Clifton aren't of the same manufactured quality even if people want to believe they are based on the price of their shoulder planes. Most bench planes made by Clifton are much cheaper than LNs.


When people mention the "top" manufacturers, they often mention LN, LV and Clifton in the same breath so why should their slipping quality be excused?
I am almost the only person who regularly quotes Clifton as a very good manufacturer on this forum :D :D Most seem to only recomend LV :?

The quality of finish is not even close to LN or LV in my experience BUT the planes I have tried and owned work as well as the same LN or LV model

I paid £150 for my Clifton #5 jack, £40 for my Stanley #5 Jack and £235 for my LN 5 1/2

Axminster have the Clifton at #5 £154 and the LN #5 at £225

If Clifton could fix their quality issues, I'm sure they would begin to see a larger buyer base.
Never a truer word spoken.
 
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Anonymous

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Alf":211meeqo said:
To compare apples with apples:
The Clifton 420 is £137.70 in the current Ax Cat.
The Veritas Medium is £109.47 on the BriMarc site.
The L-N Medium is $175, which given other L-N prices over here, will work out about, what? £125-130?

Not only are they in competition, but the Clifton is the most expensive! My case rests, m'lud. :D

Cheers, Alf
Alf, I have only talked about bench planes in my posts in this thread (only the #5 Jack which I purchased and a #7 that I nearly purchased) as I have not seen nor tried a Clifton shoulder plane and so cannot directly comment on them.

Possibly, this was not as clear in my posts as it was in my head.

Axminster have the Clifton #5 at £154 and the LN #5 at £225

Apples and pears i think you'll find

You pay £70 less and you get lower quality of finish and materials - but what a great plane to use!!!
 

MikeW

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Alf":37ggwg8u said:
...P.S. I also don't know much about History, don't know much Biology, don't know much about Science books, don't know much about the French I took, etc etc. :D
Good thing you left off there--I was gonna have to grab a hanky...

Yeah. Herman's Hermits live on...

WONDERFUL WORLD

Don't know much about history
Don't know much biology
Don't know much about science books
Don't know much about the french I took
But I do know that I love you
And I know that if you loved me too
What a wonderful world this would be

Don't know much about geography
Don't know much trigonometry
Don't know much about algebra
Don't know what a slide rule is for
But I know that one and one is two
And if this one could be with you
What a wonderful world this would be

Now I don't claim to be an A student
But I'm tryin' to be
Oh maybe by being an A student, baby
I can win your love for me

Don't know much about history
Don't know much biology
Don't know much about science books
Don't know much about the french I took
But I do know that I love you
And I know that if you loved me too
What a wonderful world this would be

But I do know that I love you
And I know that if you loved me too
What a wonderful world this would be
 

Alf

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Tony":zm78by6d said:
Alf, I have only talked about bench planes in my posts in this thread
Yes, I know. I was wondering why, given it was shoulder planes that are the issue... :lol:

Mike, glad someone knew what I was on about anyway. :lol:

Cheers, Alf
 
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Alf":1ysd7z4m said:
Tony":1ysd7z4m said:
Alf, I have only talked about bench planes in my posts in this thread
Yes, I know. I was wondering why, given it was shoulder planes that are the issue... :lol:

heers, Alf
Because I have never purchased or useda Clifton Shoulder plane and so know nothing about them.

I can only comment on the quality of planes I have actually used and/or owned - 3 bench planes - all of inferior quality to LN/LV and all costing much less. Although all Cliftons worked very nicely without fettling
 
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