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The Clifton is a superbly detailed plane, with polished edges, bubinga handles, and fittings that are machined from solid brass or stainless steel. Clifton has patterned this plane after the Bedrock design, so the frog is rock solid and easy to adjust. The blade is 0.12 in. thick and made from hand-forged high-carbon steel. The back of the blade was slightly distorted, and it took me about 20 minutes to lap it flat.
The two-piece, Stay-Set chipbreaker required no tuning. This unique design has a couple of advantages. First of all, it makes touch-up honing of the blade quick because the front piece lifts right off, exposing the cutting edge and the back of the blade. Also, the chipbreaker adds excellent support and dampening qualities to the blade, especially near the cutting edge where it’s most needed.
One disappointment with the Clifton was the sole, which was dished 0.003 in. from toe to heel. In use, the concave sole made for erratic performance, especially in harder woods. Fortunately, this was remedied easily in about 30 minutes by lapping the sole with abrasives on a flat surface. With its sole flattened, I was able to take full advantage of this good-quality tool.
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