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Delta Planet -- Blue


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#1 Sazerac

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 00:27

I bought this Delta Planet in the spring of 2006 when this model was quickly selling out. I wanted it in blue with a stub nib, so I had to look high and low. Finally, the folks at Bertram’s Inkwell located one for me that was en route from Italy to the Delta distributor – Yafa in California – and since I live in Washington State and Bertram’s Inkwell is in Maryland, they arranged to have it shipped directly to me from Yafa. I was so pleased when the pen arrived, still shrink wrapped from the factory.

After opening it, I found that it did not have a converter, so a phone call later one was on its way from Bertram’s Inkwell. Only when it arrived, it did not fit. The converter would not screw in to the nib section – it was too fat – worse, there is no way that the nib section with a converter in it would fit in the barrel of this pen. It was too long. Thinking the Planet must use a special, shorter converter, I had several reputable Delta dealers send me a converter “for a Delta Planet” one after another, looking for the one that would fit it. None fit. All were the same Delta converter. This led me to conclude that the barrel of this particular pen was not drilled out all the way because there is no way any of these converts would fit inside this pen. Each was simply too long, and none of them would fit into the nib section anyway.

In the mean time, I had concluded that the tines on the nib were too far apart for the nib to write properly – it railroaded constantly and the ink almost poured out of the nib. Thinking the nib needed to be “broken in” and would settle down after some use, I continued to work with it. Since I could only use standard international cartridges in the pen, I started going through them quickly. By the time I gave up on the pen as unusable, it was too late to return it. So, I threw it in an unused desk drawer and forgot about it, regretting that I had looked so hard for it and spent so much on it – $220. As a result of this experience, I concluded that quality control at Delta had diminished over the years and swore off of them. (All my other Delta pens worked perfectly right out of the box, but they were purchased a several years ago.) I could not bring myself to sell it as it seemed to me to have too many problems.

So the pen sat in my drawer for about a year and a half. This past fall, I discovered the wonders of having nibs tuned by a nibmeister. After a very good experience with a persnickety Ancora nib that I sent to Michael Masuyama at Mike-It-Work, I sent off this Delta Planet to get the tines adjusted and the flow under control. The pen was back to me in a couple of weeks. Mike did an excellent job. The flow is perfect for Aurora Blue ink, my favorite, and Mike softened the edges of the nib just a bit to make it more comfortable without diminishing the amazing line variation. I love this nib now. (I have no affiliation with Mike, just a satisfied customer.)

With the nib in working order, I next had to figure out the ink deliver system because with a broad stub nib, this pen would go through cartridges like my old ’69 Impala went through cans of oil. To solve this problem, I thought I’d use the halfway drilled-out barrel to my advantage – I got into my head to use this pen as an eyedropper. Since there was no metal in the barrel and no joints with other parts of the pen, I simply silconed the threads of the nib section, and (after a three-day test with water with no leaks), I had myself a short and fat eye-dropper pen with a wonderful stub nib.

Since the nib tweeking and the eyedropper conversion, this pen has, without a doubt, become my favorite to write with. It fits all my criteria of a great pen. It holds an enormous amount of ink – the barrel is stout. It is also very fat at the nib section but with a slight hint of taper. It has a wonderful nib that is firm but with a slight bit of give to it and wonderful line variation. And although it is a stub, it’s got a fairly large sweet spot. That is, it writes at many angles, which is good as I often find stubs to be uncomfortable for longer writing sessions. It is light weight and well balanced, posted or not.

All around I am now delighted with this pen and have become a fan of Delta pens again, understanding that almost any pen manufacturer today can turn out a dud nib that needs some nib adjusting. Moreover, I would still be willing to believe that there is a special converter for this model pen that would fit it, but if I found one, I would not use it anyway since I prefer it as an eye-dropper.

A few particulars of the pen: This was a numbered edition. Mine has 1501 engraved in it. I’m not sure if it was a limited edition. Capped it’s about 5.25 inches, uncapped a smidge under 5 inches. It is extremely light since there is almost no metal on the pen except for the clip and accent ring, and it’s a stout pen. You can see all this in the comparison with the Aurora Optima below.

There is no band around the cap, which gives it a very sleek and clean look, but the cap here is very thin. It will not surprise me when the cap cracks. Hopefully, that will be a long time from now, but in the mean time, I am very careful about not tightening it too much when screwing the cap back on. Speaking of the cap, it unscrews with about three quarters of a turn, which makes it a good pen for everyday writing.

After a disappointing start, this pen has become my favorite go-to pen. A happy ending, I guess.

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#2 Deirdre

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 01:23

Very pretty pen, it's great that you got it to finally work for you.
deirdre.net
"Heck we fed a thousand dollar pen to a chicken because we could." -- FarmBoy, about Pen Posse

#3 handlebar

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 02:27

Stunning pen! Love that blue. Though i only have one blue pen in my collection (Omas Roma)i still hunger for more.

Thanks for the review.

Jim

#4 greencobra

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 16:26

I'm happy you sent it out and it finally works for you. How often have any of us had the same thing happen when we've bought a sought after pen and writing with it is a disappointment. And it is a beautiful pen. I don't remember seeing that before, very nice.
JELL-O, IT'S WHATS FOR DINNER!

#5 Sazerac

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 04:24

Thanks for the comments. I've made it a habit to send poor-performing nibs out the nibmeisters. I have found that it is worth the time and money to spent the extra few bucks to get the nib of a special pen up to its optimal performance.

#6 JDFlood

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 15:45

Good story. I really like my Deltas as well, although quite a few have been back to Italy to be fixed prior to optimal use. Fortunately, never for the nib.

JD






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