Clifton - 3-in-1 Shoulder Plane 3110
The Clifton 3-in-1 plane morphs from a shoulder plane to a bull-nose plane to a chisel plane.
Clifton is a maker of hand tools in Sheffield, England, a historic mecca for steel- and tool-making. Each of the Clifton planes has a cast-iron body, which is ground and polished. The lever caps are made from unbreakable, malleable iron. The machining of the Clifton 3110 was of high quality except for the sole, which required slight lapping, the soles and sides of the plane were straight and true.
The 1/8-in.-thick blade, made from oil-hardened tool steel, contributed to a solid, chatter-free cut. Blade adjustments are made by knurled captive nuts that engage the blade via a slot in its back. Although smooth and precise, with minimal backlash (slop), the nuts inadvertently slightly altered the blade’s lateral position.
The wide blades on the Clifton planes require them to be set either to the left or to the right for use. To avoid this adjustment, the blades can be ground narrower.
The Clifton 3110 is a fine general-purpose shoulder plane in its own right, but it has the added benefit of being able to convert to a bullnose plane or a chisel plane.
In shoulder-plane mode, the 3110 covered ground quickly, working tenon cheeks cross-grain. Its width also made it the easiest of the Clifton planes to hold while shooting tenon shoulders. The tool had a tight mouth and came with two additional shims, enabling me to regulate its opening.
The 3110 can be converted to a bullnose plane by unscrewing the long nosepiece and replacing it with a shorter one. By removing the nosepiece altogether, the 3110 becomes a chisel plane.