Monday, March 28, 2016

Delta Unica

by Tony Thomas

I decided to purchase a Delta Unica as my first foray into the world of Italian fountain pens. It is a beautiful fountain pen with a lovely acrylic body and nicely priced at under $80. The blue acrylic is truly stunning and is a material that you would usually find on a much more expensive pen. The pen is medium sized (a bit less than 5.25") and feels great in the hand. The pen is also very light, weighing in at less than an ounce. The section is nice and the threads aren't sharp. The design is classic with silver hardware and a nice clip with a moving ball that makes it easy to clip to your pocket.

My biggest problem with this pen was the nib. First of all, I am not a big fan of the matte finish. I don't think that it looks that attractive. The fine nib was just ok. It wrote more like a medium. When I have a problem with a nib, I generally grind it into submission. That was the case with Delta nib provided -- I ground it into a nice cursive italic and am much more pleased with it. I also have the option of changing out the #6 nib as needed if I want to use other line widths.

Despite the nib, I am pleased with my purchase and the Unica will find a place in my daily rotation.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Noodlers #10 Dixie Rebellion Red Ripple Konrad

by Tony Thomas

I am a fan of Noodler's pens. They are affordable, well made, and a tinkerer's dream. They have their origins in India and I love Indian pens. They are easy to break down and clean and can be easily customized by just adding a new nib. I know that some people think they are finicky and temperamental, but I have found them to be very reliable once they are set up correctly.

The object of this review is the #10 Dixie Rebellion Red Ripple Konrad. I would like to thank Luxury Brands (Noodler's distributor) for making this pen available for review. 

The #10 is a piston filler with a very simple mechanism. It is very easy to fill and it stores a fair amount of ink. This pen has an ebonite body with an acrylic ink window and is a very attractive medium-sized pen. The pen cap is solid-black, there is a silver colored band at the bottom of the cap and the body is figured reddish brown and black ebonite with a solid-black blind cap. The clip is also silver-colored and is quite stiff. The pen is about 5.5" long, the cap width is about 9/16" and the body is about 7/16" at its widest point. The grip section is about 3/8". It weighs only .6 oz. when filled with ink.As the pen is made of ebonite, it has a faint rubber smell.

I found it warm and comfortable to hold and the cap posts securely and deeply. Out of the box, it was fitted with the #6 Noodler's fine medium-flex nib. In my writing tests, I found it to be a smooth writer with good ink flow. As with other Noodler's flex pens I have used, it requires quite a bit of pressure to get any line variation. If you write with normal pressure, you will get a uniform fine/medium line. I pulled the nib out slightly to make it flex a bit easier. However, if you want to flex a lot, you have to take it slow otherwise you will experience some railroading. 

The #10 Konrad has a lot of things I like in a pen:

Nibs can be easily replaced with any #6 nib.
Easy to disassemble for cleaning and maintenance.
Piston filler mechanism.
Holds plenty of ink.
Machined ebonite feed.
Great pen for the pen tinkerer.

All in all, it is a wonderful value for an ebonite piston-filler.

Full Disclosure: In compliance with FTC 16 CFR Part 255. I hereby disclose that the manufacturer or retailer mentioned in this article provided the product for review purposes with the knowledge that I would provide a full, unbiased and impartial review.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Franklin-Christoph 02 Intrinsic - Pen Chalet Special Edition

by Tony Thomas

I have been checking out Franklin-Christoph fountain pens lately and decided it was time to own one. I am impressed that they are made in the USA, are CNC machined out of resin, and are very attractive with a somewhat understated appearance.

I contacted my friends at Pen Chalet and they were kind enough to assist with providing a pen for this review. As a result, I now am the owner of the Franklin-Christoph Model 02 Intrinsic Pen Chalet Special edition fountain pen. That certainly is a mouthful!

The pen has a smoke brown translucent demonstrator finish with an inside that appears to be covered by a thin sheet of ice. The body of the pen tapers towards the end, allowing for the cap to post very deeply. So deeply, in fact, that the posted length is almost identical to the capped length (5.75" capped vs. 5.85" posted including the nib). The body width varies from .55" to .445" as it tapers. The cap diameter is .61" and the section is .44" at its narrowest point.

And, speaking of the section, there are no sharp threads to deal with. The wide section thread has been moved to the bottom of the section near the nib so that it is completely out of the way when you are writing. A brilliant design! The cap is easy and quick to remove and requires less than two turns.

The pen is surprisingly light, weighing in at less than an ounce, and I found it very comfortable to hold either capped or uncapped (I have large hands). The clip is somewhat light but very springy.

As for filling options, the pen ships with a typical Schmidt-type international converter, but you can also use cartridges or add some silicone grease to the threads and use it as an eyedropper if you need plenty of ink. As it is translucent, you will be able to see the ink sloshing around and that always adds to the "fun factor" of owning such a pen.

I specified an extra-fine steel nib and the nib wrote perfectly out of the box without any tuning or smoothing. A very nice writing experience. Kudos to Franklin-Christoph! One nice thing about the pen is that it uses a #6 Jowo nib unit that can be changed out easily with other Franklin Christoph nibs, including their custom music nib, gold nibs and Mike Matsuyama custom ground nibs. The pen also comes with a lifetime mechanical warranty.

All and all, I am very pleased with the pen and it is nice and comfortable enough to be an everyday writer. The attention to detail is clearly evident and its design and versatility makes it worth the price.

Thanks to Pen Chalet for their remarkably quick service in getting the pen into my hand!

Check out this pen at Pen Chalet

Full Disclosure: In compliance with FTC 16 CFR Part 255. I hereby disclose that the manufacturer or retailer mentioned in this article provided the product at a discounted price for review purposes with the knowledge that I would provide a full, unbiased and impartial review.