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Danitrio Takumi kara-nuri


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23 replies to this topic

#1 soloworx

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 00:52

Overview
I bought this pen from Kevin Cheng (winedoc) and received it ten days after shipping from LA to the Philippines. The shipping time (via EMS) was par for the course. I am posting photos of unboxing and macro details for your appreciation.

Unboxing_Takumi__068___Version_2.jpg
Unboxing_Takumi__075___Version_2.jpg

Appearance / Finish – 4 out of 5

Danitrio_Takumi_Kara_nuri_15.jpg
Danitrio_Takumi_Kara_nuri_2.jpg

I had an email discussion with Bernard Lyn of Danitrio wherein I discovered that the cap and barrel are made of ebonite and laid with urushi lacquer several times over. The kara-nuri is a random design pattern applied by the artisans in the Aomori Prefecture in Japan. The final burnishing is done with charcoal (Roiro-migaki process) until the brilliant sheen is achieved. The fit of the cap and barrel, and section and barrel are excellent, albeit with a little tightness between the section and the barrel. I understand that this was intentional for people who may want to convert the pen into an ED.

Danitrio_Takumi_Kara_nuri_7.jpg

The single most important question I posed to Bernard Lyn focused on the uneven application of the urushi that is quite evident on the inner lip of the cap – as the photo attests, there are tiny uncovered spots. Bernard assured me that that is typical of handmade pens and is an acceptable fact among Japanese artisans. He assured me though that if I found it undesirable, to contact Kevin Cheng (winedoc) to arrange for a refund. My decision is to keep this pen. This minute flaw (if I may call it that) did not detract from the overall beauty of the Takumi, and is in fact an obvious reminder that the finish was indeed completed by human hands and not by a machine. In retrospect, I got reminded of my wife’s raku-fired pottery pieces where she deliberately introduces ‘character flaws’ to achieve a certain artistic effect.

Design/Size/Weight – 4.5 out of 5

The Takumi is the second smallest size of the ebonite Danitrios (the Hanryo is the smallest) but ‘small’ is hardly the description one would ascribe for this pen. It is as large as an MB 149; the Takumi is a hair taller than the Pelikan Souverån M1000 when capped, and is wider in girth as well. Despite its size, the Takumi’s light weight makes it easy to hold when writing and though I haven’t written with it for long periods of time, I don’t believe one’s hands will experience fatigue with the pen. The balance was neutral – meaning where I hold the pen while writing (in the section), did not feel biased towards either end.

Nib Design and Performance – 4 out of 5

Danitrio_Takumi_Kara_nuri_5.jpg

The nib that I ordered is a 14k fine flexible. The line varies from a Western fine to a broad on the downstroke. Like any other modern flexible nib, it doesn’t flex as much as a vintage nib (like a pink or brown Watermans) but is acceptable. Again, a comparison with the M1000 nib is called for. The Takumi’s nib is a third shorter than the M1000’s but the former does not look too disproportionate to the overall size of the pen. Uncapped, the Takumi is the same length as the M1000. Perhaps a future redesign will entail increasing the size of the Takumi nib to enhance its beauty.

When pressed onto paper, the Takumi nib is flexible but not springy (like the M1000) but I believe that the springiness of the M1000 nib makes it write wider than the typical Western fine. The Takumi appears to hew much closer to a Western fine with just the right amount of writing pressure. My Sailor 1911 21k fine nib writes like the Takumi (and that’s a complement either way) – both are not too narrow when compared to another Japanese fine nib - the Pilot Namiki VP.

The Filling System – 4 out of 5

What can I say, it’s a cartridge converter – but that doesn’t detract from the overall design and performance of the pen. I like the c/c for its un-fussy system and overall reliability. I do not begrudge this Dani for its lesser ink capacity compared to piston fillers since I am never too far from my ink pots and the fine nib assures me that I will never run out of ink for at least a week with the amount of writing that I do. The c/c is stenciled with ‘Trio’ and ‘Germany’. It draws ink quite respectably and leaves a 1 cm empty space at the top of its stroke. I am happy with c/c fillers but I believe Danitrio can supply a better-looking c/c (my reference standard is the Visconti Van Gogh Maxi c/c)

Cost – 5 out of 5

Kevin has probably the best combination of price, customer service, quality of communication and reliability when one intends to purchase a Danitrio (NAYY). This pen is the most expensive pen I have right now, and is a few hundred dollars beyond my self-imposed threshold for FP acquisitions. However, as in many other things, ‘want’ trumps ‘need’ rationalizations. The Danitrio Takumi is worth every cent (hundreds of it in fact).

Conclusion

Perhaps I can conclude with a terse statement – this will not be my last Danitrio.

Chito Limson

Edited by soloworx, 23 March 2009 - 01:02.


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#2 jlepens

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 00:54

Great review. Welcome to the club!
Joi - The Way of the Japanese Pen
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#3 liapuyat

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 01:19

Hi Chito,

May we see some writing samples?

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#4 Joehek

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 01:20

Beautiful pen, congrats! Thank you for the review.

#5 sumgaikid

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 01:22

Nice post about a great pen. I confess,however,that I would be as upset as you were about the
unfinished portion on the rim of the cap. I understand that that may be a way of showing it was
made by human hands(and not machine-made coating),but it still is a small annoyance. Just MHO.

John
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#6 jpr

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 01:28

Great review Chito. Can't wait to see it on the 4th.
Congratulations on a beautiful pen.
Ah, that fresh ink on paper look!

#7 soloworx

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 03:05

For those who requested a sample of the way it writes:

Unboxing_Takumi__083___Version_2.jpg

#8 DRP

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 03:12

Thank you for the review and for posting an illustration of how the pen writes. Most interesting.

#9 globetrotterjon

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 03:20

Great review and wonderful pics. Thanks very much!
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#10 ianmedium

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 04:54

A lovely pen though I am not sure about the comment made to you about the finish of the cap. I have a Nakaya and just checked it with my magnifying glass and the finish is perfect. I know my Nakaya is made completely by hand as well so to my thinking if one artisan can do a perefect finish another should be able to manage it!
All the best.
Ian



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#11 rhk

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 07:44

I just checked my Danitrio's under a magnifying glass, and only on the Mikado in tamenuri finish I can see some small uneven finish on the cap. The finish on the cap of Hellier and Sakura-Kawa seem even, and it is next to impossible to see the difference between the lacquer and inner side of the cap of my black takumi. Finishes on the inner side of the cap of my Nakaya pens seem even. Ruud

#12 Frits B

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 09:30

My three urushi Danis have evenly finished smooth cap rims so your pen may have caught QC on an off day. Dani usually does better. But as Mr Lyn says, these small imperfections show your pen to be handmade.

#13 sumgaikid

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 10:00

I should explain: There wasn't any harmful intent in my comment. I own an Aurora LE
Tsugaru-nuri(#12/150)pattern in Urushi and there isn't any uneven finish anywhere on
the pen. Knowing how many coats of urushi lacquer it takes(on mine,40-50)and the time
and talent expended on the finish,I would expect something smoother than what's shown
in the picture.

I also wish that my Tsugaru-nuri had an excellent lacquered box like in this pen,BTW.

John

Edited by sumgaikid, 23 March 2009 - 10:08.

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#14 soloworx

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 10:27

Thank you for all the wise words about better QC for pricey pens like this one, truly appreciated. Mr. Bernard Lyn did say that some Danis sell for a lower price owing to flaws like what I showed him via email. However, all the kara-nuri pens sold by winedoc in his post were priced the same. Am I to assume that all the pens in this batch have the same defect? Or should this particular one have been offered at a discount?

I am inclined to keep the pen for the following reasons:
1. It will cost me more to ship it back from the Philippines;
2. The flaw doesn't show when the pen is capped…

I'd like to grind off the excess urushi flashing but I'm afraid to make matters worse.

Under Appearance, I scored this pen 4 out of 5. Perhaps I'm just a generous appraiser, but sans this flashing, I would have gladly given it a 5.

Edited by soloworx, 23 March 2009 - 10:28.


#15 Bearcat

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 12:19



Great reveiw and photos. Thanks for taking the time to post them.

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#16 Frits B

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 12:24

This slip in QC can happen in the best brands. I have an Aurora Verdi with a vermeil cap which had very sharp burrs on the cap lip. Rather than sending the pen back I took a piece of very fine sanding paper and polished the cap lip. Very carefully, of course.

#17 MYU

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 21:11

It's a beautiful pen and you've done it justice with some great photography, Soloworx. It's encouraging to see yet another person with such high enthusiasm for Danitrio maki-e pens. smile.gif

Regarding the uneven finish, this probably looks worse in the photos than it does with the naked eye due to the extreme magnification. However, given the purchase price of the pen, I could see requesting for an adjustment... perhaps the lip could be smoothed out so the uneven nature isn't so noticeable. Otherwise, it's really a gorgeous pen and it looks like the nib is working out quite well. My flexible fine Danitrio is a bit toothy, but expect that this will be smoothed out with use.

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#18 sumgaikid

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 22:37

QUOTE (soloworx @ Mar 23 2009, 06:27 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thank you for all the wise words about better QC for pricey pens like this one, truly appreciated. Mr. Bernard Lyn did say that some Danis sell for a lower price owing to flaws like what I showed him via email. However, all the kara-nuri pens sold by winedoc in his post were priced the same. Am I to assume that all the pens in this batch have the same defect? Or should this particular one have been offered at a discount?

I am inclined to keep the pen for the following reasons:
1. It will cost me more to ship it back from the Philippines;
2. The flaw doesn't show when the pen is capped…

I'd like to grind off the excess urushi flashing but I'm afraid to make matters worse.

Under Appearance, I scored this pen 4 out of 5. Perhaps I'm just a generous appraiser, but sans this flashing, I would have gladly given it a 5.


You would be better off leaving it alone. In researching information on my Tsugaru-nuri, I found out that
should any mistakes be made in carefully laying down the various coats of urushi,if one makes any mistakes
in brush strokes and brushes too much or too little or doesn't apply the correct pressure in the brush stroke,he
cannot go back and fix it--it is just thrown away and a whole new pen is started again. This is not to say that that
is what happened to your pen;rather the information shows the diffuculty one is under in applying a coat or coats
of urushi to any object. This is one of the reasons these pens are so expensive.

John

Irony is not lost on INFJ's--in fact,they revel in it.

#19 soloworx

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 00:17

Thanks again for the encouraging words. I'd like to add that Bernard Lyn of Danitrio explained that the urushi for the Kara-nuri is applied with hera ( a kind of spatula), but not finished with fine brushes. When I googled hera, I discovered that it is a common utensil used in Japanese kitchens. From his explanation, I'm made to understand that this particular finish is made by Aomori craftsmen who do not have the same skill level as maki-e artists. My interpretation is that Danitrio probably outsources some of the basic or initial urushi painting for their pens and given over to the maki-e artists for the more elaborate (read expensive) designs.

MYU is right in saying that the 'extreme magnification' in the photo amplifies the flaw disproportionately. With regard requesting for a price adjustment, I am hesitant to bother Kevin (winedoc) about this. I shall leave the matter to his discretion. After all, this thread is my honest appreciation of the pen's quality, and I tend to look at the entire forest rather than individual trees.

Sumgaikid, I understand where you're coming from, so please don't worry about any loss in translation.

#20 MYU

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 04:05

Soloworx, the adjustment I mentioned would be a physical adjustment to the cap, to smooth out the roughness. Not a price adjustment. Hopefully they'd be willing to smooth it out for you, free of charge. If you really wanted to bother. Heck, you could probably do it yourself with a little micromesh.

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