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Danitrio Mikado Raw Ebonite ED Pen


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#1 AndyHayes

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 13:23

First Impressions
I knew the moment that I bought a Danitrio Densho I had to own a bigger Danitrio. There were only two choices larger than the Densho, the Mikado (Emperor) or the Genkai (Limit). Being a man of modest means it had to be the right decision. Should it be a Danitrio or should I look towards my ultimate dream in the form of a Nakaya? The news about Nakaya after sales was not always great, whereas I have only read good things of Kevin’s (Winedoc) service. In the end I decided that the Genkai might be a step too far. A pen that you could attach a mop head to and it wouldn’t look out of place! I have to say that there is little difference in the price between Genkai and Mikado, whereas the jump from Densho to Mikado in price terms is a heady one. The thought of a Tame-nuri Mikado was quickly put on the back burner when I realised the price. I started to worry about the possibility of damage if I was ever clumsy with it. I haven’t entirely ruled one out, but spending that sort of money is not something that I do easily. So the order went in for a raw ebonite Mikado ED with a medium nib and a clip. I can’t imagine having pockets deep enough to accommodate this pen, but it has the dual purpose of stopping the pen rolling off the desk and as a clip. I am not sure if I am ready for a pen pillow yet! It took just over two weeks from placing the order, after endless questions (sorry Kevin!) to it arriving in a USPS box in Shetland. Inside the USPS box was some packaging material, instructions and a matte black cardboard bo with DANITRIO written in the corner in gold. I opened the box and inside, carefully wrapped in packaging material was a beautiful glossy box, black with DANITRIO written in gold again. Opening the box you are presented with the Danitrio Mikado, an eye dropper and a cleaning cloth. The box itself is a work of art with a magnetic catch and brass hinges. Pelikan, amongst others, could learn a lot from Danitrio when it comes to the presentation of their higher range pens. This really is how it should be.


Beautiful box

Appearance
My raw ebonite Densho had been polished so I was keen to have a matte black Mikado as a contrast. Although the polished versions are more likely to show up damage, they are not a fragile pen by any stretch of the imagination. The Mikado is not a great deal longer than the Densho but there is a huge difference in girth, the Mikado being so much larger. You can see light machining marks on the matte Mikado, which are obviously not there on the polished Densho. I think that the polished pen is marginally more attractive in my opinion. The clip is silver coloured and requires a tug to pull it out. I can't see it being clipped onto anything too often.


Quality presentation

Design/Size/Weight
The Mikado lies between the Genkai and the Densho in terms of size. I have a preference for large pens with a reasonable amount of heft, but there is no way that the Densho could be described as heavy so I felt safe ordering the Mikado. Other than the girth, the design is much the same as the Densho. The Mikado is a large thick pen, almost as thick as many marker pens, but to me it isn’t heavy. If you are happy with pens like the Pelikan 200 then this would be much heavier and may not suit. The pen weighs 43.8 grammes with some ink in it. I know that I should have weighed it empty, but I got carried away in my excitement to try it out.


A Densho and Mikado compared - Densho in the foreground


Two Pelikan 20x pens in comparison to a Mikado

Nib
I ordered the soft medium nib. I wanted a stub, but the only one available was a broad and I wanted to try out a medium stub. I didn’t want to spend any more on the pen so I stuck with the plain medium rather than getting the nib modified. I already knew from my experience with the Densho that the valve positioning, paper and type of ink made all the difference. I had found that one and a half turns was fine for Mont Blanc black, but with Pelikan 4001 black the valve needed to be opened another quarter turn. I filled the Mikado with Mont Blanc black after washing the residue of blue ink that Kevin had tested the pen for me with. The nib is broad for a medium, and I would say that it is a broad in reality. The nib is a huge size, the biggest nib that I have so far, but it fits in perfectly with the scale of the pen. It has a wonderful and “unique” design.


Sailor 1911 (Large), Pelikan 200 and Mikado nibs compared

Filling System
ED (eye dropper) filling system. In the case of this pen it should be ear dropper, it holds so much. The Densho had impressed me with its capacious ink chamber and this pen is even bigger. A real writer’s pen. The flow is controlled by a valve in the pen using a knob at the back of the pen much like the knob on a Pelikan. It takes a while to get used to it as the nib is very juicy once it gets going. This is one of the reasons that I chose a medium nib after the broad on the Densho.


Sailor Sapporo Mini uses cartridges. Danitrio Mikado uses eye dropper. Who will be refilling more often!?

Cost and Value
At close to $300 shipped I couldn’t call this a cheap pen, but looking back on the prices that were being banded about on FPN in 2005 it would seem to be a good investment! I have already mentioned the jump in price from Densho to Mikado. If you can get your hands on the pens you could better judge which represents the best value.

Conclusion
I really didn’t NEED to buy this pen. If you have a Densho it should be enough, but I can’t help myself at times. There is something about whipping out a pen this size at a meeting when those around you are using pens that are supposed to impress because of their names. Not one other person in the room is likely to have heard of Danitrio. The only person in the room who has a pen this big with be the person at the front with the flip chart pens. The acid test for me is whether I would buy another if I lost the pen under review. It’s a hard one to answer because I already have the Densho. The Densho is a perfectly adequate pen and if you have one then another raw ebonite pen might be unnecessary for those of us who buy pens to write with rather than to collect. The Mikado is a stunning pen, but if it had not have been for the fact that my contract at work was ending with no replacement employment on the horizon I would have bought the tame-nuri version. What owning the Mikado has made me realise is that the pen that I yearned for, the Nakaya long writer model, may be narrower than I enjoy using and my sights may turn back to Danitrio for an urushi pen.

Edited by AndyHayes, 14 October 2007 - 16:21.

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#2 CharlieB

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 15:41

Nicely written review of a nice pen. Danitrio pens are fantastic. Looking forward to seeing your photos.... and to hearing in a few months that you've purchased an urushi pen!
CharlieB

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#3 AndyHayes

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 16:22

Pics added
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#4 sam

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 16:40

nice!
it really is a huge pen.
a lot bigger than i thought...almost 8" long(?)

#5 winedoc

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 16:52

QUOTE(sam @ Oct 14 2007, 09:40 AM) View Post
nice!
it really is a huge pen.
a lot bigger than i thought...almost 8" long(?)


It is about 6.25" closed. Genkai is at 6.75" long, closed. Only pen bigger than these two is the CS Great exhibition which is close to 8" long.

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#6 andyk

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 16:55

Great review and another great pen,thanks for sharing, I think it would be much too large (fat) for me, the Densho is probably a more manageable size. Given the amount of pen you are getting and the obvious quality, the price really isn't that bad.

As I said another nice pen, you seem to have avoided the main pitfall that many of us have encountered and bought everything that you like rather than concentrate on a few really good pens. I'd never really thought about these, but am strangely attracted to owning one.

Not sure a pen like this will impress the people I work with (but then they are Philistines when it come to FPs), as they seem to be impressed by Mont Blanc and anything glitzy rather than understated like this (not sure if anything this big can be described as understated, but you know what I mean).

Congratulations on the new pen, hope you enjoy it and I give you 6 months probably less before you start a review 'Well I wasn't going to buy this, but!!!'

Andy

#7 AndyHayes

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 17:17

Thanks Andy. It is a thick pen and I must admit that I may have gone past the limit of comfortable this time! Unconsciously you expect your fingers to be a certain distance from the page and I find my fingers moving down the feed forgetting to compensate for the nib size. I just wrote a four page letter with it and I think that I will have to train myself that this is a longer nib.

I am not sure about getting "everything that you (I) like rather than concentrate on a few good pens". You are probably right as I own over 20 pens, but some of them are very good pens, Pelikan 805, Sailor 1911, Lamy 2000 and the Densho stand out from the rest. I must admit that some of the others are just ink receptacles though! I don't want expensive pens. I couldn't get over it if I lost one!

There's no intention to impress people with this pen. Most wouldn't have a clue what it is! That's the way that I prefer things!!
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#8 Keng

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 17:45

Oh wow Andy, that's a big one..wonder how it sits in the shirt pocket laugh.gif
Informative writeup on the Mikado, thanks.

Mike

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#9 KROWN

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 19:31

A real eye opener about this pen. Please tell, what is it like to write with as I don't think you really touched on this? Also, I know your other Danitrio is an eyedropper(?) I think, what was it like for you getting used to writing and using an eyedropper? huh.gif
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#10 Shelley

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 22:02

Wow, that is a monster-just how much ink does it actually hold?
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#11 Nibble

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 09:25

I have both these pens with a stub nib and I find I use them all the time. They are fantastic.

On the Mikado I have a semiflex stub. This nib has a lovely soft feel to it and is pretty broad (but gives a nice line variation). When I was trying to decide which nib to order for the Densho I asked Kevin for advice. The flex stub is sometimes too broad especially when writing on narrow feint paper. Kevin suggested the ordinary stub and I have found that very satisfactory and it gets a lot of use.

I try to work out why I like these pens so much. I think it is because of their simplicity. Filling with an eye dropper is really easy and you know exactly how much ink you have put in on any occasion. There is nothing unnecessary about these pens: they feel as if they exemplify 'form through function'.

The Mikado does indeed arrive in a spectacular box, but I am afraid I put it away safely. The Densho, on the other hand has a small wooden box which sits on my desk and is really useful for keeping the pen out of harms way.

Raw Ebonite does seem pretty tough. I haven't actually thrown them on to the floor in a rush of creative frustration, but they knock around in my pockets and never seem to show any scratches.

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#12 Excoriar

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 09:51

May I ask where you obtained this pen of beauty?

#13 Tojusi

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 10:43

QUOTE(Excoriar @ Oct 15 2007, 12:51 PM) View Post
May I ask where you obtained this pen of beauty?


You will need to send a PM to Kevin also known as Winedoc (see above in this thread). He is the only source of new pens. If you are looking for a pre-owned pen - then you can try the Marketplace here but Danitrio Raw Ebonite pens submitted there tend to get snatched up in couple of minutes...

/Tojusi, a happy Danitrion Raw Ebonite Densho owner and user

#14 AndyHayes

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 16:43

QUOTE(KROWN @ Oct 14 2007, 08:31 PM) View Post
A real eye opener about this pen. Please tell, what is it like to write with as I don't think you really touched on this? Also, I know your other Danitrio is an eyedropper(?) I think, what was it like for you getting used to writing and using an eyedropper? huh.gif


I didn't mention the writing as I had a few problems at first with the feed drying up despite the valve being open 2 1/4 turns, that's much more than the Densho needs to be open. Anyway I tipped out the ink gave the insides a quick rinse with some mild soapy liquid then rinsed and refilled it with Waterman Havana. It seems to be running much better now. The nib is smooth, not as good as a Sailor, but as good as the nib on the Pelikan 805 which I have, which is very good. The Mikado writes broad and very wet, but no more so than the Densho.
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#15 TheNobleSavage

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 17:32

What a great review, thanks for contributing!!!

I too own a Mikado, in fact 2 of them. I own a prototype raw ebonite mikado. What makes this a prototype is that Kevin was given only one of these pens and it is a flat top and bottom along with being clipless. It is really cool looking. I believe that the only flat top and bottoms that they make today in the Mikado size have clips. For a pen this size, I find clips to be useless for me and it seems to take away from the over all streamline view of the pen IMHO. The other Mikado I own is a Wakasa-nuri, this too is a clipless but unfortunately not a flat top/bottom. Both have a soft medium nib and the eyedropper holds a ton of ink. I picked it up at the 2007 LA penshow from Kevin, he had a few of them a a super discounted price, I couldnt pass it up!!!

I was really thinking of buying a Genkai raw ebonite at the 2006 LA pen show. At the time, they were only prototypes and were raw ebonite. He must have had about 6 of them and I was really floored by how large they were. I already paid for the Mikado and it was with the nib that I wanted. He brought it especially for me to the show, So I didnt want to go back on my word and make more work for Kevin. About a year later, after much thought and him having the Genkai that I wanted, I eventually bought the Genkai in the Tamenuri finish and that by far is my favorite fountain pen. That pen also has a soft medium nib, which is my favorite type of nib on these pens. The Tamenuri finish is so cool looking and after having it close to a year, the color is changing ever so nicely. The Tamenuri is a very dark red wine color when I first bought it. It seems to have lighten up a bit giving it a cool looking multi shade dark red/black starburst color. It is very hard to describe how it looks and even pictures dont do it justice. It is a pen you have to see in person to really appreciate. Wine color Tamenuri is among my favorite looking urushi style pens. It looks like something a samurai would be carring, like right next to his Katana. The size of the Genkai looks very intimidating and too large to use for someone with small hands. It really is not the case!! For its size, it really is rather light due to the ebonite material that it is made from. Also the section is not so large that it is too big for small hands. It actually feels very comfortable and does not cause my hands to be sore after extended use. The same goes for the Mikado!!! Looks can be very deceiving!!!

I own a raw ebonite Densho, a Nishikinuri Takumi and the whole Ban-ei collection and a few other models of Danitrio pens. By far Danitrio pens are among my favorite fountain pens. As for the problem with the initial ink feed, this is a common problem that a majority of the time is easily fixed. These nibs have huge ebonite feeds that need to be saturated with ink before they write correctly. For me, I find that if I completely open the valve, have the nib/feed soak in an ink bottle for 10 to 20 minutes and also store the pen upside down with the valve completely open and the nib pointing downwards for a day, this seems to get the ink flowing and pen writing correctly. Once you "seasoned" or "primed" the nib/feed and flow system, you can store the pen flat with the shutoff valve in the closed position and be able to write with it with no problems. You just have to remember the extra step of opening the shutoff valve before you write. The really cool thing with the shutoff valve is that you can adjust the inkflow from light, medium, heavy and niagara falls. It takes a little bit of time to know how many turns to get the flow that you want. I only had a problem once with one of these pens and that was because I had a defective nib. It was fixed the same day I bought it because I was at the penshow. Other than that, all of my Danitrios are perfect writers that flow generously!!!

Enjoy your Pen, I know I enjoy mine!!!

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#16 AndyHayes

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 17:53

QUOTE(Shelley @ Oct 14 2007, 11:02 PM) View Post
Wow, that is a monster-just how much ink does it actually hold?


I don't have a sufficiently accurate measure to try out, but at a guess I would say about 8 ml unsure.gif
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#17 winedoc

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 18:26

I have used a 5ml syringe to fill mine, and has no problem with more room to go.

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#18 sam

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 19:01

8ml?
5ml with room to go?
whoa...i think i'm gonna have to look more seriously into getting a danitrio mikado then.
lately, i easily finish a cross cartridge each day (which i figure has ~.6 ml capacity).
so i've taken to refilling the cartridge with a syringe...
but it gets tedious when you have to do that once, sometimes twice, every day...

#19 AndyHayes

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 21:32

QUOTE(sam @ Oct 15 2007, 08:01 PM) View Post
8ml?
5ml with room to go?
whoa...i think i'm gonna have to look more seriously into getting a danitrio mikado then.
lately, i easily finish a cross cartridge each day (which i figure has ~.6 ml capacity).
so i've taken to refilling the cartridge with a syringe...
but it gets tedious when you have to do that once, sometimes twice, every day...


Yes, but you don't use 10 carts a day! Look at the Densho. It's a more comfortable pen for long writing sessions. A nice big pen, but with a friendlier grip. Unless you have hands like shovels of course!!
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