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Old 13 January 2018, 09:11 AM   #1
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Every pen collection should have a...

Hello all. While on my quest to build up my pen collection, I wanted to get some opinions of the members here as to which pens/brands should be in a good collection. I currently use a MB 146 FP daily but I would like to add some more. I have an MB LeGrand Ballpoint on the way. Would love to hear from you folks.


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Old 13 January 2018, 10:28 AM   #2
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Go East Young Man.

Step up to the jewels of the Orient.

The training wheels are the Pilot 743, 823 and 845.

Then the Sailor King of Pen and KoP ProGear.

Post Grad level are the Platinum Izumos.

Masters the Nakayas.

Then the Danitrios.

But then there are the Paths less Taken like Eboya.



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Old 13 January 2018, 10:39 AM   #3
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Go East Young Man.

Step up to the jewels of the Orient.

The training wheels are the Pilot 743, 823 and 845.

Then the Sailor King of Pen and KoP ProGear.

Post Grad level are the Platinum Izumos.

Masters the Nakayas.

Then the Danitrios.

But then there are the Paths less Taken like Eboya.





I was hoping to hear from you Jim. Thanks for the advice. Been away for a while. Hope you are well.


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Old 13 January 2018, 10:49 AM   #4
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I was hoping to hear from you Jim. Thanks for the advice. Been away for a while. Hope you are well.


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About as well as an Old Fart can be.

And don't forget the truly great European pens like ST Dupont, Graf von Faber Castell, Caran d'Ache, Yard-o-Led and Dunhill.
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Old 13 January 2018, 11:46 AM   #5
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About as well as an Old Fart can be.



And don't forget the truly great European pens like ST Dupont, Graf von Faber Castell, Caran d'Ache, Yard-o-Led and Dunhill.


Haha. Hope you enjoyed the holidays. I think with you list I have a lot to go off of.


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Old 13 January 2018, 04:46 PM   #6
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Youíre also going to need at least one Italian so you can feel my pain


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Old 13 January 2018, 05:22 PM   #7
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I also want to thank Jim as his advice is always spot on!

I wish I had caught the Asian "Flu" many years ago. I only have 3 in my collection where as I am sure Jim has 20 times that many if not more, but I have to concur that they are astute works of genuine art and all the more so when you begin to realize how much work (urushi) and how much pain staking micro-painting goes into some of the Maki-e pens.

I read the other day that on occasions that the Maki-e artists will use a single hair paintbrush to effect their designs and at other times even a brush handle with a cactus needle driven into it for other designs and art work.

It sometimes takes up to a year and I have read even more time to create these masterpieces in miniature.

I really love just looking at the few I have and taking a loop to see their work even more closely. It is then that I have realized just how intricate and near perfection this art really is. When you appreciate these fountain pens for what they are you realize that the $1000.00 to $2000.00 price tags (for the 2 Maki-e pens in my collection) are actually very reasonable prices. I know their are other pens that bring much higher prices. Even saw one not long ago with a price tag of $38000.00 and I am sure there are others more expensive than that.

These are definitely not your father's ebonite, celluloid, resin, or plastic pens. They are stunning. Even just the Urushi pens are incredibly lovely in the depth of their simplicity.

Hey Jim,

Could you take like 5 or 6 of your very favorite Japanese pens and maybe show them to us with an explanation of why they are your favorites. IOW... teach us.

Look forward to sitting at your feet! :)
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Old 13 January 2018, 11:04 PM   #8
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Hey Jim,

Could you take like 5 or 6 of your very favorite Japanese pens and maybe show them to us with an explanation of why they are your favorites. IOW... teach us.

Look forward to sitting at your feet! :)
Hey Jude...

I'll give it a try but remember I really have a very limited accumulation compared to many.

Some background. When I was just a kid sometimes Dad would take me with him to work. In his case work was the family's insurance agency meaning a day with GPop, GMom and my Great Aunt doing really exciting stuff like changing out desk blotters and replacing the pads on rocker blotters and filling dip pen inkwells and ...

Yeah, for a ten year old that really was not exactly "EXCITING".

But this was in downtown Baltimore in the early 1950s and right outside was Mount Vernon Place, statues and fountains and the first monument built to honor George Washington in the US and the Peabody Conservatory and the Maryland Historical Society and hotels with barbershops and flower shops and the Enoch Pratt Free Library and my very favorite haunt (well maybe McCormick & Sons was my favorite too since the let me see how tea was tasted and graded and even taught me how to Taste Tea but that I couldn't slurp my tea at dinner) the Walter's Art Gallery.

The Walter's had one of the finest collections of stuff from Egypt and Syria but also lots of stuff from the ORIENT, armor from Japan and swords and scabbards and paintings and masks and dragons and devils and ... yeah, for a ten year old that really was "EXCITING".

There were also grownups there who took the time to explain things to me; who taught me the folktales and stories and traditions that the stuff represented.

So let's start there.

One of the tales I learned was about Momotaro.

There was an old couple that were childless. Once when the old lady was at the stream washing her clothes a big ripe peach came floating by. She caught it and since they were very poor took it home as a treat for dinner. When her husband cut it open they found a baby inside and they raised the baby as their son. They named him "Momotaro" from Momo (Peach) Taro (Eldest son) or Peach Boy.

This fountain pen is based on the story of Momotaro and was created by the Dento Kogei-shi Kosetsu (real name Tatsuya Todo) for the Danitrio Fountain Pen Company.




The pen itself begins as hand turned ebonite with is first covered in urushi then layers of thin sheets of hammered gold, then more urushi and the final Maki-e artwork. You can see an example of fine line work in the texture of the red strings that tie up his topknot.

Urushi is a common coating that originated in China and was used in China, Korea, Japan and other Asian countries for many centuries. and this next example is based not on a legend but rather a Buddhist, Taoist and Shinto symbol I image many of you are familiar with from the common Yin-Yang symbol.

The Yin-Yang symbol is made from two "comma" shapes (each called a Megatame) and is the simplest of the Tomoe (multiple Megatame arranged in a circle). On this pen the three Megatame Tomoe called Mitsudomoe.

This is another Danitrio pen but this time the artist is from Formosa and named "Zhi-Hao". This pen illustrates yet another type of Urushi work, a process called Rorio-shiage in KuroTame (Black) that then is decorated with Maki-e painting, raden and silver leaf.

Rorio-shiage begins with base coatings of oil urushi that naturally shines when it cures. After each layer cures it is sanded and the next layers added. It generally takes a full day for each layer to cure.

Then the middle layers are added.

The final layer is an oil free urushi that cures to a matte finish and is then burnished with several grades of charcoal to bring out the luster. The final process can take several days and yet the work is still not done.

The final steps are adding a clear urushi layer and while still tacky placing the raden (natural objects like egg shell, abalone shell slivers) and silver leaf made by repeatedly hammering pure silver until it is unbelievably thin and finally the maki-e painting.








If you good folk aren't bored to death yet I'll continue.
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Old 14 January 2018, 06:58 PM   #9
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Iím an absolutely mind blown. Jim you are a great resource. Please continue. Iíll just sit here here taking notes.


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Old 14 January 2018, 10:45 PM   #10
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Little steps:

Let's go simple to start.

Eboya is the last company still making ebonite (hard rubber) blanks in Japan. Ebonite was one of the first materials used for fountain pens but just as now, the color selections were pretty limited.

In addition to supplying rod stock to other fountain pen makers, Eboya also makes a few pens that are sold under their own name. Those pens are mostly the work of one man and so the numbers and styles are limited. The common trait to them is their clean simplicity and connections to Japanese culture.

The first Eboya pen I bought was called a Natsume. A Natsume is the vessel that powdered green tea is stored in for a Tea Ceremony.


As you can see, it is a simple pen, unassuming, made from two toned dark blue ebonite with lighter blue veins running through it. It is the smallest size fountain pen Eboya makes; about the same size as the Pelikan 200/400, Pilot Custom Heritage 91 or Sailor Pro Gear Slim.


My next Eboya was one of their largest pens, a Yatate. A yatate was the Japanese container that held a carbon ink block and brush and originally made from bamboo but later brass or bronze, often in the shape of bamboo. It was an early equivalent of a fountain pen.


Later I ordered a medium sized Eboya Houju (Gem) (and more recently a medium sized Natsume as well) that has the simple lines of the Natsume but with rounded ends instead of flat ones.


The Eboya fountain pens use simple generic Bock nibs and feeds, without even custom engraving or masking but are then tuned by the master to work flawlessly.


Everything about Eboya pens is classic Japanese/Buddhist/Taoist/Shinto minimalism but carried out to perfection.

From the top: small Natume, Sailor King of Pen Pro Gear, medium Houju, Sailor King of Pen, large Yatate
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Old 15 January 2018, 03:55 AM   #11
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Wow amazing pens guys. I would say think about adding something classic and vintage like a Parker 51.

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Old 15 January 2018, 05:56 AM   #12
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Wow amazing pens guys. I would say think about adding something classic and vintage like a Parker 51.

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Like my Mom's engagement gift, a 1941 "51" with Sterling Silver cap, aluminum jewels and plunger?

1941 was the first year for the "51" and this is a First Quarter 1941 "51". I remember Mom putting the cap on her finger so my little brother could chew on it when he was teething. The Silver feels cold and comforting on a child's sore gums. They say I teethed on it as well but since the Eldest Son is perfect I'm sure they simply got that story wrong.


When I was born Mom sent Dad a first quarter 1943 Parker Vac. He was in North Africa at the time. Both of the watches also belonged to my father.

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Old 15 January 2018, 06:16 AM   #13
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Like my Mom's engagement gift, a 1941 "51" with Sterling Silver cap, aluminum jewels and plunger?

1941 was the first year for the "51" and this is a First Quarter 1941 "51". I remember Mom putting the cap on her finger so my little brother could chew on it when he was teething. The Silver feels cold and comforting on a child's sore gums. They say I teethed on it as well but since the Eldest Son is perfect I'm sure they simply got that story wrong.


When I was born Mom sent Dad a first quarter 1943 Parker Vac. He was in North Africa at the time. Both of the watches also belonged to my father.

Beautiful pens. I have a 51 my wife gave me a few years back. I would love to know if it had a similar story

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Old 15 January 2018, 08:15 AM   #14
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Returning to the Far East; The Tongue Cut Sparrow

Once there was a kindly old farmer who lived at the edge of the bamboo forest. One day while he was working his field he found an injured sparrow. It was cold and wet and pitiful and the old man picked it up and rushed home. He held the little bird against his chest to warm it and fed it some rice on his finger and soon it was hopping around and chirping. It flew up onto the rafters and settled down.

The old man laughed and smiled. "Look after the little thing.", he told has wife as he went back to the fields.

Now his wife was not as kindly as him and she did not want him wasting food on some bird. When it flew back down begging to be fed she hit it with her broom, cut out its tongue and threw it out the window.

When the old man returned that evening and found the little bird missing she said that the bird had bitten her and then she had chased it away. Worried, the old man went out looking for the little sparrow to make sure it was not hurt. He heard some sparrows in the bamboo forest and followed the sounds until he found a patch near an Ume tree where lots of sparrows gathered. They all greeted him and thanked him for taking care of the little bird. To reward him they offered him his choice of two baskets, one large, one small. Being old and tired from his long day of work, he chose the smaller and carried it back to his house.

He told his wife all about the sparrow's inn and the two baskets and how happy the sparrows seemed. When they opened the basket they found it filled with some fine silk and jewels. His wife was furious; "Why didn't you get the big basket?" she shouted. She stormed out of the house and went to search for the sparrows in. When she found it she grabbed the big basket even though the sparrows begged her not to take it.

On the way home she simply could not wait to see all the jewels and treasure it must hold and so opened the box to find it filled with snakes and scorpions. She was so frightened that she ran away and was never seen again.

The old man missed his wife, even though she was a nag, but the sparrows stopped by every day and cheered him up and when he needed money (which was very seldom) he sold some of the silks or jewels and lived a long and happy life.


Long ago, when I was exploring the Walters Art Gallery I was taught the tale of the Tongue Cut Sparrow and sparrows in Ume Trees (flowering apricots) are a common theme in many Japanese prints. This next pen is a Danitrio with maki-e artwork by the Dento Kogei-shi Masanori (Masanori Omote) and based on the Tale of the Tongue Cut Sparrow. It depicts the sparrows on bamboo and in a Ume tree.


Unlike earlier examples this is all created using very fine precious metals carefully places using fine bamboo tubes. As with the others the first step is to create the urushi base, this time simply Kuro (black) but many, many individual layers each cured and then sanded before the next layer is applied.

The final layer serves as the base for the art work, finely ground gold allows carefully placed using the black background to form the lines outlining forms.

Let's begin moving in to see the details. The most prominent feature is the bamboo stalk that runs almost the full length of the pen. Notice that the joint between bamboo sections is set right at the cap to tie together the cap and body.


If we look closely we can see that different sizes and colors of powder were used to create texture and voids where no powder is applied to visually add details.




The Sparrows and the Ume Blossoms were created the same way.







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Old 16 January 2018, 08:38 PM   #15
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Hey Jude...

I'll give it a try but remember I really have a very limited accumulation compared to many.

Some background. When I was just a kid sometimes Dad would take me with him to work. In his case work was the family's insurance agency meaning a day with GPop, GMom and my Great Aunt doing really exciting stuff like changing out desk blotters and replacing the pads on rocker blotters and filling dip pen inkwells and ...

Yeah, for a ten year old that really was not exactly "EXCITING".

But this was in downtown Baltimore in the early 1950s and right outside was Mount Vernon Place, statues and fountains and the first monument built to honor George Washington in the US and the Peabody Conservatory and the Maryland Historical Society and hotels with barbershops and flower shops and the Enoch Pratt Free Library and my very favorite haunt (well maybe McCormick & Sons was my favorite too since the let me see how tea was tasted and graded and even taught me how to Taste Tea but that I couldn't slurp my tea at dinner) the Walter's Art Gallery.

The Walter's had one of the finest collections of stuff from Egypt and Syria but also lots of stuff from the ORIENT, armor from Japan and swords and scabbards and paintings and masks and dragons and devils and ... yeah, for a ten year old that really was "EXCITING".

There were also grownups there who took the time to explain things to me; who taught me the folktales and stories and traditions that the stuff represented.

So let's start there.

One of the tales I learned was about Momotaro.

There was an old couple that were childless. Once when the old lady was at the stream washing her clothes a big ripe peach came floating by. She caught it and since they were very poor took it home as a treat for dinner. When her husband cut it open they found a baby inside and they raised the baby as their son. They named him "Momotaro" from Momo (Peach) Taro (Eldest son) or Peach Boy.

This fountain pen is based on the story of Momotaro and was created by the Dento Kogei-shi Kosetsu (real name Tatsuya Todo) for the Danitrio Fountain Pen Company.




The pen itself begins as hand turned ebonite with is first covered in urushi then layers of thin sheets of hammered gold, then more urushi and the final Maki-e artwork. You can see an example of fine line work in the texture of the red strings that tie up his topknot.

Urushi is a common coating that originated in China and was used in China, Korea, Japan and other Asian countries for many centuries. and this next example is based not on a legend but rather a Buddhist, Taoist and Shinto symbol I image many of you are familiar with from the common Yin-Yang symbol.

The Yin-Yang symbol is made from two "comma" shapes (each called a Megatame) and is the simplest of the Tomoe (multiple Megatame arranged in a circle). On this pen the three Megatame Tomoe called Mitsudomoe.

This is another Danitrio pen but this time the artist is from Formosa and named "Zhi-Hao". This pen illustrates yet another type of Urushi work, a process called Rorio-shiage in KuroTame (Black) that then is decorated with Maki-e painting, raden and silver leaf.

Rorio-shiage begins with base coatings of oil urushi that naturally shines when it cures. After each layer cures it is sanded and the next layers added. It generally takes a full day for each layer to cure.

Then the middle layers are added.

The final layer is an oil free urushi that cures to a matte finish and is then burnished with several grades of charcoal to bring out the luster. The final process can take several days and yet the work is still not done.

The final steps are adding a clear urushi layer and while still tacky placing the raden (natural objects like egg shell, abalone shell slivers) and silver leaf made by repeatedly hammering pure silver until it is unbelievably thin and finally the maki-e painting.








If you good folk aren't bored to death yet I'll continue.

And this is why Jim is the greatest resource on the TRF pen forum! I mean that sincerely!

I have been collecting since 1988 or so, but do not have 1/10th the knowledge that he does. Which I really don't understand as he is OLD and his brain should be all shriveled up! Seems to me his brain is working just fine! Sheesh!!!
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Old 16 January 2018, 10:55 PM   #16
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Moving beyond just ebonite.

To celebrate the entrance to the 21st. century the Platinum Pen Company issued a Limited Edition of just 300 unique ebonite and urushi pens. The pens were made in Aizu Provence, a region famous for hand made carved wood & urushi work. The Aizu Provence urushi work includes oil free urushi that gets it luster from extended burnishing with carbon powder; each session with a finer grade of powder until a deep luster is achieved.

The pen started as a cylinder of ebonite that was then planned into a ten sided tapered shape. Next each face was carved in a chevron pattern and the edges radiused. Finally heavily 24K plated furniture was added and the 18K nibs tuned.

Here is #115 of 300.







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Old 18 January 2018, 11:13 AM   #17
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I have to admit that yesterday I spent almost an hour just re-reading this thread and admiring the pens posted. I know we don't have a large group of pen guys and gals on here but you all are awesome. Jim, these pens are beautiful the history behind them has opened my mind up to the orient side. If you have more to share please continue my friend.
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Old 18 January 2018, 12:22 PM   #18
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I hope folk enjoy them; Next a more common example of Urushi.

Platinum also has a line of individually hand made ebonite based urushi coated pens under their Izumo family of pens.

And so some history.

Back in 1919 Shunichi Nakata founded the company Nakaya seisakusho to make fountain pens and in 1928 changed the company name to Platinum Fountain Pen Company. Shunichi Nakata had been born in Izumo in the Prefecture of Shimane. Izumo is also the home of one of the most significant Shinto shrines, the Izumo taisha. While Izumo is not famous for its urushi and maki-e products it is famous for making some of the finest paper in Japan.

Maybe you can see the pattern developing. Here are some hints:






So the Nakata family started (and still run) a fountain pen manufacturing company that was originally called Nakaya but later Platinum and the founder was from Izumo that is known for its Shinto Shrine and the manufacture of fine paper. Later, the Nakaya name was returned as a new operations making had made ebonite and urushi pens by traditional techniques and staffed by retired Platinum Pen Company masters.

While Nakaya and Platinum are still two entirely separate organizations they share both a history and a tradition. Today, the total staff of Nakaya is still just a handful of people.

Next, a closer look at the Platinum Pen Company Izumo fountain pens.
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Old 19 January 2018, 12:51 AM   #19
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The Platinum Izumo fountain pens are available made from exotic hardwoods or ebonite and it is the ebonite versions with which I am most familiar.

The Izumo is a fairly large fountain pen, cartridge/converter filler but with an unusual and really sensuous shape. It's a fun pen meant to get the user giggling, particularly when I use one of the Urushi painted converters.


I just really enjoy knowing those little goldfishies are swimming around inside and nobody knows why I have the silly grin on my face.

There are almost no straight lines anywhere on the pen. Since each pen is individually hand turned they also vary in weights and dimensions. There is also a family of cylindrical versions made by weaving bamboo as the base for the urushi overcoat but since it is a clipless version I have never bought one.

Some Boring Details that show size variations among my Izumo pens.

The simplest of my Izumos is a Kurotame, all black. The depth of the urushi work is amazing; it is like looking into a bottomless well of pure water.

For the Izumo lime of pens Platinum uses their President nib and feed and each Izumo is shipped in a wood box with a converter, a couple cartridges, a silk fountain pen sheath and a roll of Izumo made paper.



For size reference here is the Kuro Izumo between a Platinum President and one of my Montblanc 149s.

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Old 19 January 2018, 03:38 AM   #20
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Wahl Eversharp Gold Seal with deco band.

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Old 19 January 2018, 06:45 AM   #21
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More Jim! Please!
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Old 19 January 2018, 07:35 AM   #22
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Wahl Eversharp Gold Seal with deco band.

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Nice. How do you like the new ones?
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Old 19 January 2018, 11:02 AM   #23
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Moving on into details there are many types of urushi and maki-e techniques and often they are subtle and easily over looked. One of the most basic is tamenuri; the practice of building up layers of contrasting colors that are gradually exposed as the upper layers age and become increasingly transparent. Here are two examples of tamenuri work on Izumo fountain pens; the first Akatamenuri (red) and the second Soratamenuri (a Sea Green). On the first pen the base is a bright red with a much darker almost black red overcoat. You can see the base at edges initially and as the pen ages it will gradually show through all over.




And the Soratamenuri.






Nakaya also does pens with both the single color and multiple color techniques.

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Old 19 January 2018, 09:17 PM   #24
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Moving on into details there are many types of urushi and maki-e techniques and often they are subtle and easily over looked. One of the most basic is tamenuri; the practice of building up layers of contrasting colors that are gradually exposed as the upper layers age and become increasingly transparent. Here are two examples of tamenuri work on Izumo fountain pens; the first Akatamenuri (red) and the second Soratamenuri (a Sea Green). On the first pen the base is a bright red with a much darker almost black red overcoat. You can see the base at edges initially and as the pen ages it will gradually show through all over.




And the Soratamenuri.






Nakaya also does pens with both the single color and multiple color techniques.

Wow!!! Amazing!

All I need is about $21,000.00 and I to can have a collection to mirror Jim's! Incredible!

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Old 27 January 2018, 02:17 AM   #25
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So much great information


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Old 27 January 2018, 12:24 PM   #26
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some other forms of urushi.

We've looked at some of the basic forms of urushi; burnished and glossy finishes, single and two color, decorated or plain; but their are many different variations of styles. There are raised designs as well as incised designs; multiple layers of contrasting colors that are then sanded smooth to reveal each layer.

Here are a couple examples of the latter.

This is a Danitrio done with the Kara nuri form of Tsugaru nuri. Kara nuri begins like all the other forms by first creating a base that is built up layer by layer that is the stamped with additional urushi, usually in different colors and by imprinting using a custom made paddle or series of paddles.

Once cured the final step is sanding down until everything is smooth.






And here we can see the same reduction technique used with maki-e. This is a Platinum Izumo from the Sea of Clouds series based on urushi/makie ceiling paintings at the Izumo Shrine.

Here are two of the four Izumo Sea of Clouds pens:

The top one uses additive paintings while the lower used reduction.



And here are all four of the Sea of Clouds fountain pens:


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Old 31 January 2018, 12:50 AM   #27
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going beyond ebonite.

While the urushi pens we've looked at so far have been based on ebonite bodies almost anything can serve as the base. Next let's look at a few examples of pens with urushi over metal or resin bodies.

The first pen is an older Pilot with the #5 nib. The pattern is Sakura (Cherry Blossom) and the body is brass. It was one of the first urushi-maki-e pens I acquired.






Next is a Pilot Custom (interestingly not called a Custom Heritage like the other flat top Pilot pens) 845. It is a resin based pen and I've had several. It's a great size, somewhat on the large range.

The vermilion urushi version with some other better known large pens for size comparison:

Note that the black parts seen are NOT urushi coated.

And here is the black urushi version below a Sailor King of Pen Pro Gear:

The third fountain I'll talk about in this session is from Sailor and is based on the smaller 1911 resin body. It is based on the Siamese Fighting fish motif with each fish circling in it's own space but in full display. The technique in this example is urushi with maki-e and radan. The artist in this instance is Katsunobu Nishihara and the particular fountain pen is #1 of 10.





The Maki-e work shows amazing contrast to highlight sharp edges yet also show the delicate transparency of the fins:





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Old 31 January 2018, 11:09 AM   #28
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Holy Cow Jim!

Adopt me please!

Just more than superb than I can say. Thank you for posting these photos and explanations!
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Old 2 February 2018, 11:05 PM   #29
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The Mountain Bird by KATSUHIRO (KATAUHIRO NISHI)

Chinkin is another example of carved art. It begins like most urushi work with building layers upon layers until a clear base is established. Once the base is established a design is painted on the surface which is then carved away using a variety of chisels and knives. Next the carvings are filled with finely ground powders of different colors and a final clear urushi coating applied.

The artist is from Wajima City, an area famous for its durable and functional lacquerware. The brand is Danitrio and the size is currently the smallest fountain pen Danitrio offers but still slightly larger than a Montblanc 149. It is cartridge/converter filled and uses the standard international format.


We can move closer to get a look at the detail work.


The main hiragana on the cap is the title, "山の鳥Ē or "Yama no Tori" - which means mountain bird, or bird of the mountain.

On both the body and the cap we can see sparrows in flight over flowers.




As we look even closer we can see the individual strokes carved into the surface as well as the different colored powders used.






Finally, on this page you can see some of the other Chinkin work by the artist.
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Old 3 February 2018, 09:55 AM   #30
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The full explanation of the writing on the pen thanks to some far smarter folk.

It is a haiku by Yamguchi Seison and says: "山の鳥 来てさわぎゐる 桜かな" translated as:

A bird in the mountain
It is a cherry blossom
that flies (or crawls).

Since many of the symbols can have more than one meaning I'm not sure which is the best translation.




It is written from right to left and each line written top to bottom.
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