E.C. Emmerich 741-P English Pattern Jack Plane Review

Unlike most other planes made now, all but a couple of the many types of planes made by E.C. Emmerich are constructed almost entirely of wood. The bodies are made of some close grained hardwood like Beech , the soles are made from a dense wood specifically selected for it's hardness and resistance to wear. The sole of the model 741-P is made of Lignum Vitae; there is a resin which exists naturally in the species, this resin along with the hardness and durability of the wood fiber itself imparts a lower coefficient of friction compared to other planes.
E.C. Emmerich 741-P

There really wasn't anything to do to the plane to get it ready to work, even the blade was sharp! Aside from cleaning the blade, the plane was basically ready to use right out of the box. I was curious to see how this wooden plane would compare to the machined metal planes I own in regards to the flatness of the sole. What I discovered was that the Emmerich is every bit as flat and square as my machined cast-iron Veritas smoother plane.

If I'm going to do much hand planning, I'll usually make a couple of swipes with a paraffin block on the sole to make the task a little easier. I've found that this is totally unnecessary with the 741-P. It requires noticeably less effort to push, no doubt due to the natural oils contained in the Lignum Vitae sole.

There is a smallish (tote) handle in the back and none up front. Actually the whole front is the handle - it just looks a little different compared to other planes. I have found the handle in the back to be a little on the short side. I think I'll alleviate that feeling after I sand the top horn down a little. I've found that I really like the front grip. In use, I found the 741-P to be very controllable and adjustable; I think the length and grip has a lot to do with this controlled feel.

The plane uses a simple but effective anti-backlash adjustment mechanism. At a glance the mechanics look like other planes but in fact, the blade along with its cap and lateral adjustment are held in position by a long rod that is tensioned by a stout spring. Some gross adjustments are performed by a knob in the rear which varies the tension on the rod. However, most adjustments are made using the long stemmed knob behind the blade. What this means to a user is when the blade needs to be lowered or raised, it doesn't have a "dead" spot on the knob where there is no blade movement. This makes it very easy to make small adjustments with out a lot of tedious back and forth adjustments required of other planes.

I compared the 741-P to several of my iron planes, just to get a feel for the differences. Basically what I've come to believe is that in simple planning action, the 741-P performs more or less as good as my Veritas planes. Where one slightly edges out another in one aspect, it is regained in another. The blade is bedded at a steeper angle than most planes. I believe this keeps the chips flowing more freely, this can be a bit of a nuisance on some of my other planes. It is in the areas of ergonomics and adjustment that the differences become clear. In regard to adjustment, the Emmerich is a clear winner. In overall feel of heft, control, and action, I prefer the Emmerich, it would probably be perfect if it had a larger tote handle.

The Emmerich 741-P is a very good plane among several good planes to choose from. Compared to other planes I've used, it offers far better depth adjustment and a hard to describe "live" feel to it. Emmerich makes a multitude of different types of planes, the model 741-P is basically deigned for general purpose flattening of boards. It is somewhere in between a true jointer plane and a smoother, basically (as I've found), it's a very good general purpose plane.

Other reviews of ECE planes are the 711 Smooth and 710-P Rabbet planes

In the interest of full disclosure E.C. Emmerich provided this product to facilitate this review.