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Sailor Resin Maki-E Chrysanthemum


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3 replies to this topic

#1 elderberry

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 09:36

Hi all,

This review is about my very first maki-e pen, the Sailor Chrysanthemum.

chrysant1.jpg

It comes in a small wooden box, bedded in blue velvet, alongside a converter, a manual, a polishing cloth and 2 blue ink cartridges in a plastic bag (those are starting to accumulate in my household, for I never use cartridges and least of all royal blue ones). I like the packaging for its understatement, it's not shouting "I'm expensive!" as loudly as some others. My second thought was "ohh, the flowers are so small...!" which is probably due to pictures on the internet always being a lot larger than life.

chrysant2.jpg

Appearance & Design (8/10) – This pen is all black resin, yellow gold platings and gold colored lacquer work, til down to the nib which is 14 k yellow gold. All details fit nicely together except for the golden ring on the base of the cap which is quite a bit too fat. What I like is the lacquer work being embossed so you can feel the leaves and flowers with your fingers when touching the pen. I find maki-e work, depending strongly on the motive and choice of colors, extremely kitschy at times and unbelievable elegant at others. This pen is definitely on the elegant side.
It's part of Sailor's "beginner's maki-e" line which is not as pricey and refined as their maki-e pens on wood but supposed to carry hand-made art, and indeed I can see that there are subtle differences between my pen and the ones on the internet. I can also see that the artwork is rather basic, but I knew that beforehand and I still like those little golden flowers a lot.

chrysant4.jpg

Construction & Quality (6/10) – Except for the rather plasticky feel - and there are indeed no major metal parts in it - I haven't noticed any quality issues yet and I don't assume there will be any. The cap is screw-on, the filling system works with cartridges and converters. Still it doesn't "breathe" quality, it feels too lightweight and delicate.

Weight & Dimensions (5/10) – This is where, for me, the major drawbacks of this pen lie. The length is 141 mm capped which should be suitable for pretty much everyone, but the pen is so lightweight it feels cheapish for me. I'm aware not everyone has a soft spot for hefty pens and that lightweight pens also have their advantages, but it's still a disappointment. Like "oh - great pen! *picks up* ugh... plastic!" It seems obvious to me that this is an attempt to get as much maki-e done as possible for the given price (and get people hooked on it, which might have succeeded :embarrassed_smile:), so unfortunately all others parts except for the nib are of rather basic making. Posting the cap doesn't seem to be an option in order to keep the maki-e from harm.

chrysant3.jpg

Nib & Performance (10/10) – My deal with myself on this purchase was that I would only buy it if I could get it with a Sailor music nib. This combination isn't off-the-shelf, so I asked around and Andy from Andy's Pens made it possible for me. It's made of 14 k gold, rigid, with a rather weird looking tip and, unlike other music nibs, only 2 tines. Writing feels extremely soft, reasonably wet but still provides some nice feedback (using Sailor Jentle oku-yama ink). It doesn't seem to care too much about the writing angle either and I enjoy the look and feel of the writing immensely.
From what I've read about Sailor's music nib it's more like a stub (I wouldn't say so, it's not crisp enough) and that it provides little line variation of which, however, I see quite a lot. I will soon have an opportunity to compare it to the Platinum music nib.
As for nib swap I do not know how Sailor handles this but I guess it would have to be sent in.

chrysant5.jpg

Filling System & Maintenance (7/10) - "Chrysi" comes with cartridges and a piston converter which doesn't fill completely at the first shot but else makes a good impression and holds the usual amount of ink.

Conclusion (7) - A tremendously beautiful pen which has its flaws but is wonderful to write with and appreciated.
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#2 Pickwick

Pickwick

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 11:43

The "plasticky" feel is actually the layers of lacquer applied before the Makie work is done. Makie is the raised gold and silver design, applied using precious powdered metals along with copper and other metal powders. The lacquer is a resin secreted by an insect and deposited on a tree. It is gathered and stored for several years in order for it to cure. The application is unique to the Japanese and Chinese and takes a long apprenticeship to master. Applied properly the lacquer will last for centuries.

In my youth in the 1950s I spent a few years in the far east and encountered some unique pieces. Lacquer along with Makie work was originally intended for royalty. The labour involved is truly intensive. I can't imagine a reputable company such as Sailor would apply Makie work on a synthetic plastic base.

Your photos and review have been put together with thought and description. Thank you.

Kind regards,

Pickwick

Edited by Pickwick, 16 February 2011 - 11:48.

They came as a boon, and a blessing to men,
The Pickwick, the Owl and the Waverley pen

Sincerely yours,

Pickwick


#3 akrishna59

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 08:20

that is a beautiful pen and i love lightweight pens.

people who are aware of the intricate and complex task which has gone into its making will never consider it below its rightful place in the sun, though it may be true that there are models 100 times more expensive.

personally i have never liked maki e, i can only respect the people who produce and buy such pens.

rest assured that you are in great company.

rgds.

krishna.
ladies and gentlemen write with fountain pens only.

#4 Sidestreaker

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 10:51

Well, different pen has different strength and this surely is in the nib, sometimes that's all that really matters :)

Anyhow, great review and though I'm not really a fan of Maki-e, I do respect the art and effort in producing these fine pieces of instruments.

Thank you.
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