The Bamboo is a beautiful fountain pen. Gentile curves, crisp angles, and rhodium fixtures, it has it all. And like most things Japanese, subtle yet functional. On an interesting note, I read in a prior review of this pen, nicely done by Apollo, the designer of this pen was French, Juliette Bonnamour. She captured the feel of Japan, I think, extremely well. Other pens give you the Asian experience by using maki-e applications; this one does it by design.
This pen is well made and as I said, a beautiful piece. It uses cartridges or a converter. The converter Iíve yet to use. Its finish is done in shiny black resin with rhodium accents. My pen looks like its lacquer, which, I would imagine, is the effect they were going for. I feel the weight is lighter than it looks for its size although the rhodium threads in the cap put a little weight down on the business end.
The pen resembles a piece of bamboo, hence the name. The two ends are cut on a bias to suggest the bamboo stalk was slashed with a blade when cut. All the angles align with each other when the pen has its cap screwed on. Both ends meet perfectly and the clip, where itís joined to the cap, has another cut at the same angle as the cap top. Hard to describe in writing but the photo Iíve included should show this detail pretty well. Even the nib is centered on the highest point of the bias cut found on the barrel end. The threads on the pen are rhodium also. The cap seats flush with the barrel so when itís on, you get the feel of a single piece. The threaded rhodium insert inside the cap forms a thin lip around the cap opening as does its mate on the body, making a small decorative barrel band while protecting both pen and body when they are screwed together. The rhodium is a nice accent, but I feel the pen could be damaged if ones not careful and the resin keeps hitting the metal of the threads when putting the cap on or if someone wished to use the pen posted. This pen is also thick about the middle and there is a step down at the threads to accommodate the flush seating of the cap on the barrel. Some people will find this awkward depending on how they hold the pen. Others, like myself, like the way it feels. The above mentioned review by Apollo has some nice photographs of this pen with the cap off that you can view to see what Iím talking about. Now that everyone is confused by my description, letís move on.
This is another pen that feels natural to me. Knowing a small bit about Japanese design, it probably wouldnít have come on the market if it didnít become one with user in all aspects of functionality. I use the pen unposted, as I do all my pens, and the balance is right. It is my opinion, posting makes the Bamboo top heavy.
The nib is 14 Kt coated with rhodium. Mine is marked Namiki and is a medium. Since this pen has been discontinued, I understand some nibs are marked Pilot from when they released the final batch of Bambooís. It mattered to me so anyone interested in this detail should ask first if buying online sight unseen. This is the first Japanese fountain pen Iíve used. I found the Japanese medium differs a good deal from the European medium. I think itís closer to a fine. If I bear down slightly, the line will open a bit. My example has a lot of tooth and using a Namiki/Pilot cartridge, it puts down a wonderful, fairly dry line. Writing on cotton paper with this pen, not only can I feel the pen, but it talks to me as well.
Iíve had my Bamboo for a few weeks only. I do most of my writing with it not because itís new, but because it makes me want to write. Honestly, this pen will not be for everyone. If you are thinking about it now, get one. If not, look seriously at the Bamboo. This pen is still selling for $230 to as high as $275, but one can be found for well under 200 if one looks. One of the great FP bargains out there and the closest you can get to legally stealing.
Edited by greencobra, 26 September 2006 - 01:19.