In 2010, I was working at an aerostructures factory where I was known for being a collector of old carpentry tools. One of my colleagues, Norrie Hay, who worked in another department happened to mention my name to a visiting engineer about my interest in old tools.
The engineer was on site to see if he could help with an issue which there was on the use of tooling on one of our leading edges. The engineer, who worked for Clico, came up to my office to introduce himself. Mike Hudson was his name and when he told me what his background, I couldn’t have been more interested.
Being able to speak to someone who was part of the history of my chosen pastime was very enlightening. Mike spoke about his involvement with Clifton Planes and about Record also. Mike mentioned that Clifton was doing a series of anniversary planes. Only 25 sets would be made, No.3-No.7. I seriously thought about buying the full set but in the end went for a No.3, No.4, and a No.4 ½. All from set 20, costing just short of £800.
The thing is, I have only seen the planes on two occasions: once to check them when they arrived and once to see how they were doing in 2014. The rest of the time they have been boxed on the top shelf of my display cabinet. I suppose this only shows that I am a collector! With Clico’s involvement in Clifton planes now ended I suppose getting three of these planes may yet prove worthwhile.
Footnote: When I purchased the Clifton planes, Mike Hudson asked if I wanted to have my name etched on the side of the planes. I gave it a bit of a thought and decided, no. I believed this was a long-standing tradition that carpenters mark the planes with their names. This to me gave precedence to a tool and a bit of history, to think of the work that has been carried out by this plane and its owner. So as a collector, I didn’t think that it was fitting to get my name added.