Clifton Smoothing Plane - No. 4

clifton plane no 4
Our Rating


Clifton 4 Plane Review By: I.Ball

Manufacturer: Thomas Flinn & Co.

Plane Type: Smoothing

Model No: 4


This Clifton smoothing plane review is of the current Clifton 4 plane manufactured by Thomas Flinn & Co, Sheffield, England.

The plane had previously been made by a tool company called Clico (Sheffield) Tooling Ltd until 2014 when Thomas Flinn and Co took on the Clifton tools part of the business.

The Thomas Flinn version of the number 4 is made in almost identical circumstances to the Clico version including being made by the same skilled personnel:

"We will still be using the same great production staff to manufacture the Clifton planes, so the knowledge and expertise will continue as before".

Please see the old Clifton 4 plane review for more information about the Clico (Sheffield) Tooling Ltd Clifton smoothing plane number 4.

clifton plane no 4

The Clifton smoothing plane number 4 is a high quality, accurate tool with smoothly operating parts which was designed to be ready to use from the moment the plane was taken from the box.

The plane incorporates the design of the 'BEDROCK' frog and frog seating pad, a rigid one-piece cap iron, an extra thick high carbon steel blade, a ground flat sole within the British Standard of 0.075mm (0.003"), beautiful dark hardwood rear handle and front knob, and finished with a graphite grey finish.

The plane is presented in a brown cardboard box with the Clifton logo on it.

The Thomas Flinn Clifton planes I believe stopped using Bubinga in about 2017, quite possibly related to CITES listing updates and relating export issues. Bubinga is part of the Rosewood family, sometimes referred to as African Rosewood.

The planes are now fitted with a rich, beautiful Walnut front knob and rear handle.

Clifton Plane Blade

The Clifton plane blade is made from 01 steel which is then cryogenically treated to offer a longer lasting edge. This treatment process gives the blade the '60-62 Rockwell C' standard of hardness.

This process gives the blade a better edge than most blades and it means it holds it edge for longer. There is extra peace of mind with the Clifton blades as the hardness is individually checked on each one.

The blades are accurately ground and are 50% thicker than normal blades resulting in a much more rigid blade.

The blade is given the Clifton logo laser mark at the top of the blade.

clifton plane no 4

Clifton Frog

The plane has a cast iron frog and frog seating of 'BEDROCK' design. This design has a frog with a fully machined, full face underside which marries with a seating pad on the body that also has a fully machined, full face. The frog also has a fully machined upper face.

This combination maintains the perfect stability of the frog which in turn creates a stable setting for the plane blade.

The combination of the frog, frog seating, extra thick plane blade and the two piece cap iron produces an amazingly rigid and effective cutter and bed mechanism.

Plane Construction

clifton plane no 4


Length Of Sole:

Mouth Width:

Cast Thickness:

Handle and Knob: Walnut (formerly made from Bubinga (African Rosewood))

Plane finish: Graphite Grey

Clifton 4 Plane Blade / Cutter

Width: 51mm (2 inch)

Blade Thickness: 3mm (1/8 inch)

Top Of Blade Shape: slightly rounded

Material: 01 steel - cryogenically treated

Hardness: 60-62 Rockwell C

Blade Markings: Cyrogenic Blade, Clifton, Sheffield, England

Plane Markings

"Clifton" - found at the very front of the plane.

"No 4" - found at the front of the plane between the mouth and the front knob.

"Clifton, England" - found at the rear of the plane.

"Made In England" - found at the rear of the plane.

"Clifton" - found on the lever cap face.

Manufactured Dates

2014 - Today

Clifton 4 Plane Updates / News

The Clifton 4 Plane - News Updates:

2014 - Thomas Flinn & Co take over the making of the Clifton 4 planes after buying the Clifton range of tools from Clico, the same staff and machinery that had been used at Clico is used. The planes are supplied in the same blue cardboard boxes as when Clico made them.

2015 - A brown Clifton cardboard box is used.

2016 - The two-piece cap iron is changed to a one piece cap iron.

2019-2020 - Wooden Handle and Knob changed from Bubinga to Walnut.

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- Thomas Flinn & Co.


(i) Please always refer to and follow the manufacturer's instructions / guidelines / safety notices / cautions and similar notices as the manufacturer's instructions may contain important information on safety, personal safety and the good health of your tool, something to which this review's scope does not guarantee to extend to.
(ii) This review may give warning(s) / advisory notes / cautions / guidelines given in good faith however any such information should not be solely relied upon and should not be seen as the exhaustive list of warnings / advisory notes / cautions / guidelines. Refer to disclaimer note (i) for information on safety, as well as the good health of your tool. In addition refer to good safety practices for the safety of you and others. Refer to good practices for the good health of your tool and property.
(iii) The details here are given in good faith, there is scope for error and shouldn't be fully relied upon, please be aware the details may also become out of date due to manufacturer changes to the product, please confirm any details for yourself by performing additional research from reliable sources.

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