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Review Custom Nakaya Chinkin Palmet


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47 replies to this topic

#1 Strang

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 09:33

About a year ago I received a pen I had ordered from Nakaya in Japan. This was not the first time I had dealt directly with Nakaya so I was confident I could get across my ideas to them with regard to a customized pen. I made the order and specified my wishes, they emailed me a diagram outlining my modifications and I ordered the pen. It was promised in two months. Having dealt with them previously, I knew this was optimistic. The completed pen took four months.

I ordered a variation of their Chinkin Palmet on a base colour of "Shu" (red) but, at the center of each flower instead of the painted circle I wanted a circle of raden. Much of the delay was chaulked up to the artist who applied the raden as it seems the pen was with him over long.

I expected to get a brightly coloured pen on a red background with flashy raden accents. I was disappointed.

Firstly, the pen is brown. "Shu" meaning "red" is apparently a euphamism. The pen is brown. The painting of the randomly coloured flowers is very bright and executed well enough I suppose. Under magnification the filling of the petals is not very complete. And the raden centers are another disappointment. Instead of being flush with the surface of the pen, the pieces of raden are raised and appear to have simply been glued on. I suspect they will be easily sheared off in time with normal use. The pieces of raden chosen are with perhaps two exceptions dull, grey, and refuse to show any flash of colour except at the most oblique angle of viewing. Not what I was hoping for. I paid only a few hundred dollars extra for my modifications but I wish I hadn't bothered.

As for the nib, I ordered a custom Broad stub. The nib is neither broad, nor much of a stub. It reluctantly shows some line variation but it, too, was a disappointment.

Following are my photos with apologies for the bad quality:

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#2 Ondina

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 09:39

Thank you for a thorough and sincere review, Strang. I find your picture skills very good. I'm sorry you're not finding joy in the pen.

#3 hari317

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 09:44

Sorry to hear that the pen was not as you expected. I have not seen their stock design of this pen, but your pen looks very beautiful to my eyes. Are you going to explore the possibility of returning the pen to Nakaya? I believe you can do that, at least for the nib.

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#4 JustinJ

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 11:55

I would contact Nakaya and tell them that you are not happy with the pen. Explain to them about how the Raden is not attached well and the poor quality of the pieces.

I do not think you should settle for something you are unhappy about. Let them know that you are not pleased with the quality of the pen.

#5 777

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 12:09

Most interesting review I've ever read of a Nakaya. Thanks Strang, for your honesty. Though honesty is tough sometimes, it helps us all in the long-run.

From your pictures, it looks like the raden-centers of the flowers do not fit the "cut-out" created for them. Is that so in real life? Or are the photos just making it look that way?

I too would be a bit disappointed at the job. The raden doesn't look much like it should. Take the VP raden for example - amazingly vibrant colors, and all set perfectly flush in the pen.

Ah well, we all have to live with disappointments sometimes. I am sorry about that though. I know if it were me I would be working something out with Nakaya! I am very picky about this kind of thing.

Need a pen repaired or a nib re-ground? I'd love to help you out.


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#6 opus7600

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 12:20

For what you must have paid to get this done, there's no excuse for shoddy worksmanship or poor support. They ought to be ashamed they even let this leave their workshop. I second those who recommend you return it, or, at the very least, ask them to try again to make the pen you wanted.

#7 jandrese

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 13:21

Thanks so much for the review. Obviously, Nakaya fell down on this one. If you return it please update us on how things go, I think many of us Nakaya lovers are very concerned with what is going on over there.

#8 schadowrider

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 14:11

Sorry for your disappointment -- I too would like to hear how things go. Maybe I read your OP incorrectly, or do I properly understand that you have had the pen for a year now? If so, hopefully that won't be a problem with a return.

I think many of us Nakaya lovers are very concerned with what is going on over there.

I've been following all the recent Nakaya posts very closely, or so I thought (have a custom one on order myself), and these are the first references I've seen to potential issues/concerns with Nakaya (the OP's problems and then the reference quoted above). That is, the first thing beyond pricing increases due to the strengthening Yen (which is not a "Nakaya" issue, but rather a problem for Japan exports across the board). Could you/someone shed any light on what is going on that is causing this concern? Thanks!
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#9 plc123

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 15:00

Hi, Strang,

Like others, I appreciate your candid review. I clicked on this thread thinking, "It's another one singing the praises of Nakaya again." I am sorry that you are disappointed in the pen and hope that you can possibly work something out with the Nakaya folks.

I wish you the best!
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#10 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 19:15

hope your problem will be solved soon
Pens are like watches , once you start a collection, you can hardly go back. And pens like all fine luxury items do improve with time

#11 ethernautrix

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 20:58

Eek.

On the one hand, from your photos, it looks like a beautiful pen.

On the other hand, it isn't what you wanted. Or expected.

I hope there's a happy ending to this story. Good luck!


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#12 Strang

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 20:58

Well, I'd like to thank all who posted for their kind words. As far as returning the pen/nib or registering my dissatisfaction with the folks at Nakaya, I have several problems with that. I have had the pen for nearly a year so it seems ridiculous to complain now. The pen was commissioned for a specific reason and, despite its shortcomings, it has sentimental value which transcends any complaints I have about the pen. And, lastly, I'm not sure I can expect my vision of the pen I wanted to be made reality by Nakaya. Strictly speaking, they made what I asked for. That it didn't live up to my ideal is hardly their fault. I suppose my "bad" review of this pen might have been better kept to myself but I did want to make the point that, when it comes to custom work, sometimes one has to hold one's breath and hope for the best. I have also reviewed a commissioned pen made for me by Edison/Hakumin (sorry I don't know how to link to that thread) titled "Review Edison Hakumin" where my hopes and visions were absolutely exceeded by the craftsmen. I feel lucky to have finished one for two.
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#13 Ghost Plane

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 21:08

Appreciate the honest review. Perhaps it would be useful to describe to the company what you have to us, explain that you've had it that length of time and aren't sending it back, but want to improve the process. I suspect they would learn much from your honest criticism and it would help them ask meaningful questions in future. There might also be someway to retrofit the raised bits [I'm not familiar with the process].

This certainly helps me, as I know now to ask for a music nib to get sufficient stub if I ever go this route. Thank you for the pictures and the explanation. :thumbup:

#14 alvarez57

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 02:20

I would contact Nakaya and tell them that you are not happy with the pen. Explain to them about how the Raden is not attached well and the poor quality of the pieces.

I do not think you should settle for something you are unhappy about. Let them know that you are not pleased with the quality of the pen.


Big ooops! I can see the imperfections and the hurried (?) job. That's why I am very careful to put anyone or anything high up a pedestal... a place reserved for Divinity.

Appreciate the honest review. Perhaps it would be useful to describe to the company what you have to us, explain that you've had it that length of time and aren't sending it back, but want to improve the process. I suspect they would learn much from your honest criticism and it would help them ask meaningful questions in future. There might also be someway to retrofit the raised bits [I'm not familiar with the process].

This certainly helps me, as I know now to ask for a music nib to get sufficient stub if I ever go this route. Thank you for the pictures and the explanation. :thumbup:



Thank you, this is a correct and diplomatic way to go.

sonia alvarez

 

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#15 fuchsiaprincess

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 08:13

Well, I'd like to thank all who posted for their kind words. As far as returning the pen/nib or registering my dissatisfaction with the folks at Nakaya, I have several problems with that. I have had the pen for nearly a year so it seems ridiculous to complain now. The pen was commissioned for a specific reason and, despite its shortcomings, it has sentimental value which transcends any complaints I have about the pen. And, lastly, I'm not sure I can expect my vision of the pen I wanted to be made reality by Nakaya. Strictly speaking, they made what I asked for. That it didn't live up to my ideal is hardly their fault. I suppose my "bad" review of this pen might have been better kept to myself but I did want to make the point that, when it comes to custom work, sometimes one has to hold one's breath and hope for the best. I have also reviewed a commissioned pen made for me by Edison/Hakumin(sorry I don't know how to link to that thread) titled "Review Edison Hakumin" where my hopes and visions were absolutely exceeded by the craftsmen. I feel lucky to have finished one for two.


http://www.fountainp..._1#entry2089574

Here you go, Richard :thumbup:

Edited by fuchsiaprincess, 09 September 2011 - 08:20.

Posted Image Posted Image


#16 jde

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 13:51

I'm with others: no apologies necessary for sharing your thoughts/feelings about your customized Nakaya.
It looks like a beautiful pen to me, but I can see a couple of places on the pen where I know I would be disappointed
in the result if it were my own pen. The human element, eh? Both good and sometimes not. It's a reminder your pen is indeed
handmade!

To moi, this is the scary part about customization. It takes weeks to get an urushi pen through it's phases. And then
will the result be happy or acceptable or worse? Oh dear.

As Ghost Plane said, it's good to give a company feedback. However long it's been.

For most of us the experience is positive but that does not rule out that some folks have something else to say.

kind regards...

Edited by jde, 09 September 2011 - 13:52.

 
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#17 bushido

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 16:04

You'd never get this shoddy work from Namiki.

#18 Lady Spencerian

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 17:30

Very sad. The raden is indeed disappointing in the context of this design. As regards the 'untidy' filling of the flowers, I suspect that getting the glittery powders (the correct term is eluding me just now) placed just so within the boundaries of each petal is devilishly difficult. My only experience of this is in the context of flamework (applying metallic powders to the surface of glass) but I do recall that static electricity between the particles made them prone to moving around just when you didn't want them to. Granted, I'm no master craftsman. An expert should be able to get it right. How does this compare to the 'standard' chinkin palmet flowers?

ETA: I've pondered this a bit in the hours since I made this post and it has occurred to me that there are bound to be some disappointments with custom orders. The entire Nakaya website seems to scream: "Challenge us! We're up for it!" Not surprising, given the many years of experience of the retired Platinum artisans. Custom orders have added some delightful new options to the product line (e.g. Enjoying the Moon Cat). There are also a few less beautiful creations, for which I will not give examples because, after all, it is entirely a matter of personal taste. Perhaps those who ordered the pens in question are perfectly happy with them.

All that to say that, the moment one steps outside the boundaries of the tried and true in any given medium, there is a risk that the outcome will not be as wonderful as hoped. In this instance, things are further complicated by distance; protracted fabrication time; more than one artisan working on each piece; and the different aesthetic sensibilities of different cultures.

If an artisan makes something that he or she feels is not up to his/her usual standard, there is the possibility of starting over or, if the idea really cannot be executed as planned, refunding the customer's deposit. The third or fourth artisan to work on a given piece may be very reluctant to criticize the work that has already been done. Does anyone know how this works at Nakaya? Is there a final quality controller who has the authority to reject a piece prior to shipment? Or do the artisans work as equals: in charge of their own quality control?

Edited by Lady Spencerian, 10 September 2011 - 23:09.


#19 bushido

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 00:12

To take his money is unethical in my opinion

#20 ExcaliburZ

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 09:57

To take his money is unethical in my opinion

That is going a bit far. He says they made the pen he asked for but it did not come out to his expectations. This is an issue in getting custom work done when you are not there to check the work yourself. The raden is a a disappointment and I am wondering if there was an issue of not being able to get things right and finally saying we need to send this to the guy (four instead of two months).
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