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Hakase Buffalo Horn Fp #37185


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45 replies to this topic

#1 mongrelnomad

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 14:12

I've waited a few weeks to write this review. As all of us here know, that first flush of emotion on receiving a new pen can, after familiarity grows, prove disingenuous. Love can soon putrefy into hate, apathy can solidify into a deep affection, and disappointment can soften into something approaching appreciation. Expectation can play a large part in the process, and when the expectant period is nearly a year, it would be unfair to the pen and the public to saddle any opinions with such a dead weight.

So. To the pen.

I first heard of Hakase through this place. No surprises there. The idea of an idiosyncratic shop in the middle of nowhere Japan pumping out pens for nearly a century appealed not only to my sensibilities, but it also seemed to best embody what I most love about Japan. For those who have not visited the land of the rising sun, this country best known for its precision-engineered mega-products is uniquely populated by the 'mom-and-pop', a veritable treasure-trove of artisans dotted throughout the country in relative (and often courted) obscurity.

Thanks to Google Translate, the website didn't prove too much of a hindrance, and it seems a large® proportion of their customers nowadays are international, for the order form sent to me was in English. The process was relatively trouble-free - choose your material and model (Buffalo horn, torpedo), the details (micro-clip, round roll-stopper), and the nib (0.6mm stub), fill out a few questions about how you hold and write with your pen, and then peruse the returned doodle and begin your long, long wait.

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to

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Nearly a year later (though earlier than scheduled), news came that my credit card was being charged and that the pen would be with me shortly. And there, enclosed in a little wooden box nearly identical to those provided by Sailor, Nakaya and Platinum, but perfectly wrapped in pretty steel-grey wrapping paper, was the pen.

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As noted in the Japanese forum, this was not the pen I thought I was ordering. Yes, the details were correct, but the scale of it just seemed so wrong. Where I expected something demure and delicate, with the rough texture of the buffalo, what I got was a pen somewhere between a 146 and 149 in size, polished to a smooth sheen and with the general impression of indestructibility. At 33g posted, this is a true porker by Japanse standards. No etherial Japanese fragility here: this pen feels tough as nails. Everything is very rustic, but intricately so. The cap makes a noise when it's being screwed on - it's not oily smooth, but it's not not smooth either. It feels like something made by hand and minutely flawed. The roll-stopper, though perfectly inlaid and exquisitely beaten (these are solid 14k gold), is just minutely offset to the right when the pen is closed. It all screams: I AM HANDMADE BY A PERSON, and though I was initially disappointed, the more I use the pen, the more I believe this is at the root of its beauty and appeal.

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To the nubbins: All the bits that work are Pilot. That means a #15 nib from some of Pilot's own Custom series though here printed with Hakase's own logo. I asked for a stub and boy did they deliver. It is soft and oh-so effortlessly smooth and wet without any tooth or feedback, yet it manages to rank surprisingly high on the personality scale.

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I initially filled it with Hakase's own real sepia squid ink, but though this wrote well while writing, it dried quickly when left unused and seems inappropriate for a pen not being constantly written with. As I rotate 3-4 pens at a time, the days it was left did not a happy pen make. I moved over to Kobe Ink #40 (a Sailor Jentle special) and it's been working flawless ever since. The Pilot CON-70 converter is a bucket, and all the Pilot bits are as well fitted as in Pilot's own pens.

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So, was I happy when it arrived? Yes and no. Am I happy now? Absolutely. I own too many pens, but I am besotted with this one. It was expensive (over $2,000), but strangely I think it is very good value, especially when compared to the only other such expensive pen I own - a 4810 MB Francois I special edition. If anything, that pen demonstrates what makes this so unique: there's a cynicism there that this Hakase completely lacks. This is rustic personality, and you're paying through the nose to feel the humanity in it, the worker's fingerprints all over it. Not least in the date of production, discreetly carved towards the rear.

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I bloody love it.

Edited by mongrelnomad, 16 January 2013 - 10:24.

Too many pens; too little writing.

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#2 hari317

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 14:39

Nice! the finish looks exceptional. From the videos, it appears they have a nice showroom as well.
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#3 mongrelnomad

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 14:46

Nice! the finish looks exceptional. From the videos, it appears they have a nice showroom as well.


Thanks Hari. Always nice to hear your opinon! :thumbup:

Indeed, the finish is exceptional, and I hope one day to make it to Totori to see the showroom in person... (I gather it's a showroom-'factory')...
Too many pens; too little writing.

#4 terminal

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 15:25

THis is a very nice review. Thanks for posting it!

For some reason it just bothers me all the werks are from Pilot. I mean, nothing against Pilot at all, but the mass-produced 'bits' seem jarring to me when compared with the handmade nature of the pen.
"One always looking for flaws leaves too little time for construction" ...

#5 mongrelnomad

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 15:36

THis is a very nice review. Thanks for posting it!

For some reason it just bothers me all the werks are from Pilot. I mean, nothing against Pilot at all, but the mass-produced 'bits' seem jarring to me when compared with the handmade nature of the pen.


Thanks for reading!

I don't have a problem with mass-produced bits at all, considering they are of such high quality. The nib, feed and converter are all at the top of the premier-league. The converter especially is probably the best of its kind anywhere, by any manufacturer.

There are very few companies who still make their own nibs (I think they can be counted on one hand), and from experience, small producers who try and go their own way with any or all of the parts often find themselves promising more than they can deliver...

Edited by mongrelnomad, 15 January 2013 - 15:48.

Too many pens; too little writing.

#6 terminal

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 15:48

So you don't find, in person, that there's a lack of continuity between the Pilot bits and the handmade rest-of-the-bits? ;)
"One always looking for flaws leaves too little time for construction" ...

#7 mongrelnomad

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 15:50

So you don't find, in person, that there's a lack of continuity between the Pilot bits and the handmade rest-of-the-bits? ;)


If I concentrate really really really hard, then....

no

:P

In all seriousness, though, they are exceptionally well integrated.

Edited by mongrelnomad, 15 January 2013 - 17:02.

Too many pens; too little writing.

#8 ethernautrix

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 18:37

Lovely review. Makes me want a Hakase, more so cos of the date inscribed on the barrel. Or the micro clip and the everso slightly offset roll stopper. And the noise the cap makes while screwing off and on. One of the reasons I love my Danitrio Fellowship is for the tactility and sound of unscrewing and screwing the cap -- the cap feels fragile yet durable and the sound is... can't quite describe it but it's commensurate with the tactility.

Especially after watching one of the videos of Hakase at work, I really would like to have one of these pens.

If not for priorities... alas....

Enjoy your Hakase in good health, MN. It's a beauty.

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#9 watch_art

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 19:01

Oh freakin DROOL! That's so great. Thanks for posting the review. :)

fpn_1432247667__cropped-20150427_0641231 sigpic14481_1.gif vanness.jpg?t=1321916122


#10 dcpritch

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 19:07

THAT is a great pen, and a nicely done review by someone who knows his stuff. Thanks for sharing with us.

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#11 ArchiMark

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 19:13

Absolutely gorgeous pen....

Love the look of it, design, large size, color, horn texture/variation, etc....

Think the rollstop clip is cool, it does make me think that someone shrunk the pocket clip....

Enjoy!

:thumbup:

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#12 da vinci

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 20:53

Thanks for posting the review - a great pen.

I am very pleased the journey has had a happy ending :D

#13 WillSW

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 21:08

Lovely pen. Those two features-the roll-stopper and micro-clip-are not at all strange looking, they have the vocabulary of everyday pen accoutrements but also manage to be unique in an understated way. Enjoyed the review, especially this line: "you're paying through the nose to feel the humanity in it." If ever my nose is able to accommodate it, I'll definitely be interested in some of Hakase's humanity.

#14 Inguz

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 22:19

What a beautiful pen. I think all those little imperfections that you describe are best explained by reading this:

Wabi-Sabi

#15 Joe in Seattle

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 23:59

Very nice review. I love the way it writes, too. You have a real winner there!
"how do I know what I think until I write it down?"

#16 jandrese

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 01:09

Like wow! Thanks for sharing. Buffalo horn is a traditional material for several parts of the Japanese sword mount. Congrats on combining so many elements of traditional Japanese craftsmenship. Enjoy.

#17 chris burton

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 01:56

I can almost feel the cap screwing onto the barrel. Love it. Nice review.

#18 markiv

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 04:38

I thoroughly enjoyed your review which was quite articulate and managed to convey the intangible bits about the pen - thank you.
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#19 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 05:18

very nice pen :thumbup:
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

#20 WOBentley

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 06:25

Just fantastic!
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