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Namiki Bamboo


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26 replies to this topic

#1 Apollo

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Posted 24 September 2005 - 21:58

I picked up a new Namiki today and I thought I'd share my impressions of this unique pen. The Namiki Bamboo is a strikingly good looking, large sized fountain pen. Although it's made in Japan, it has a French connection in that it was designed by French designer Juliette Bonnamour who was inspired by the plant for which the pen is named. It's available in Rhodium finish or Black Resin and features a 14K gold nib with a matte & polished rhodium overlay. Nib choices are fine, medium or broad.

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The pen measures 150 mm (5.9") when capped and has a barrel diameter of 12 mm (0.5") around it's thickest point. It comes packaged in a large gift box about the size of a book complete with booklet, warranty & registration form, cartridge and pump converter. I chose the Black Resin version which is less expensive that the Rhodium version. The black resin makes it a lightweight pen, yet it feels solid and looks classy. In keeping with the theme, the barrel has distinctive knots which give it the look of a bamboo stalk. The ends of the cap and barrel are also beveled.

As I stated above, it's a large pen, but it's not heavy. I'm not sure how much of a weight defference exists between the rhodium finished version and the black resin version, but I would assume that the resin version would be the lighter of the two.
Here's a size comparison:
Left to Right: Pelikan M215, Namiki Bamboo, Pilot Vanishing Point.
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Unlike the very popular Namiki/Pilot Vanishing Point, the Bamboo comes with a pump converter. To fill the pen all you have to do is dip the nib in a bottle of ink and pump the converter 4 or 5 times to fill. I find that it holds a very good amount of ink compared to the Vanishing Point's piston converter or even the Aerometric converter supplied with the Pilot Knight.

Here's a pic of the Bamboo and it's converter (please excuse the fingerprint on the clip):
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The nib is attractively decorated and is quite smooth. It a nice wet line, though it's not as flexible as my Sailor 1911. Unfortunately, I couldn't get a good picture of the Bamboo's nib with my digital camera, but I found some juicy pics of the pen courtesy of YorkGifts.com. (By the way the nib on mine is marked "Namiki" instead of Pilot like the one below).
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As you can see in the pics, the Namiki Bamboo is not your average looking fountain pen and may not appeal to everyone's tastes, but I really like it's uncommon design and can't think of anything that I would change about it. Even with the resin cap and barrel, the pen doesn't look or feel cheap and it writes like a champion. Incidentally, if black bores you, the pen is also available in bordeaux and navy blue, except they're marked Pilot. Either way, it's the same pen and will prove to be a joy to use. After all, they come from a pen manufacturer with a solid pedigree.

Edited by Apollo, 24 September 2005 - 22:04.

Posted Image Bendita mi tierra guanche.

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#2 Blade Runner

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 00:20

Thanks Apollo.

What nib size did you get?
Do you use this one unposted? Looks long enough.
How does that filling system work? I've never had a pump convertor.
Where did you buy it may I ask?

Regards,
Jeen

#3 southpaw

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 00:22

Great first impression. Very interesting pen. Just curious - does the large step-down from the barrel to the section cause any grip issues? Given Namiki's designs, I doubt it would, but just curious as to your thoughts.
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#4 antoniosz

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 00:28

Well, I also happened to get a Namiki Bamboo few days ago (at a good price :)) exactly like Apollo's. I like very much the style of this pen. There are two technical problems however, which I do not mind but others may do.

1) the cap threads are on a metal insert which is prone to produce scratching damage on the section with time.
2) there is a substantial step above the barel threads and this may be a problem if someone is used to grip high.

Jeen, the pump convertor is very cool. It works almost like a Vacumatic:) You pump it and wait for a second while it sucks in ink.
You need to get used to it, but after you are used to it, it is very efficient and holds quite a lot of ink.
Also I believe this is a pen to be used unposted. First it is about 5" without the cap - so it is big enough. On the other hand the metal threads on the cap are going to damage the finish of the pen if you post.

#5 Blade Runner

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 00:43

Antoniosz,

What nib size did you get?
I know Japanese nibs generally run narrower, but the demo namiki vps I've tested run pretty close to US widths.

Thanks,
Jeen

#6 antoniosz

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 00:47

I got a medium. Under low pressure it gives a 0.40mm line which is clearly a F and if you press it a little can go up to 0.60mm which is a medium.

#7 Centurion

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 01:15

I was going to ask if it writes like a Falcon, but the nib design is very different.

#8 Apollo

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 03:25

The nib is different from that of the Falcon's which I would consider to have a little more flex than the Bamboo. The nib on my Bamboo is medium. Like Jeen pointed out, some Namiki nibs run pretty close to Western widths which happens to be the case with my Bamboo and VP. I'd say it really depends on how one writes, but to me they're sort of inbetween a Euro/Amer fine & medium. Now, I do have a Pilot Knight medium that definitely writes like a Euro/Amer fine, but I suppose it appears as such because of it's stiffer nib.

Like Antonoisz, I'm not bothered by the step above the barrel threads, but like he said, that may be of concern to some. It is long enough to use unposted and since I don't post anyway, marking the pen by posting isn't a concern. The pump converter is pretty slick and I have to say that it does hold quite a good amount of ink compared to piston converters.

Edited by Apollo, 25 September 2005 - 15:48.

Posted Image Bendita mi tierra guanche.

#9 Maja

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 16:52

Thanks for the review, Apollo. It's nice to see pen companies creating pens that are not the typical cigar shape, such as the Waterman Serenite and the Namiki Bamboo...and I like the idea of the pump convertor.
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#10 Apollo

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 17:43

Thanks Maja, it is a refreshing departure from the cigar shape common in fp's. The converter is neat. I wish more brands would use similar converters.
Posted Image Bendita mi tierra guanche.

#11 TheNobleSavage

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Posted 02 October 2005 - 06:30

Apollo, Bexley used that button converter on a few of its pens. I have the Bexley/Swisher Snowfall that uses that converter and I believe the Celebration line uses that converter too. If I have to use a converter, I would have to choose this one. It holds a lot of ink!!!
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#12 Apollo

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Posted 02 October 2005 - 21:58

Thanks TNS! I does hold alot of ink indeed. Would you happen to know if the Bexley Submariner has a similar pump converter or does it have a piston converter?
Posted Image Bendita mi tierra guanche.

#13 TheNobleSavage

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Posted 02 October 2005 - 22:49

I believe it is a regular converter

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#14 wimg

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Posted 02 October 2005 - 22:57

Hi Apollo,

Thanks for the nice review!

I have been ogling this pen for some time now, admiring it for its defiance for traditional shapes, while still puporting to be functional. It is very nice, therefore, to hear first hand how the pen performs and whether it really does work well. Thanks again!

Warm regards, Wim

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#15 emrecan

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Posted 24 November 2005 - 14:09

Hi Apollo,
Thanks for the great review.Somehow i missed this thred too :huh:
Again thanks a lot

Emrecan
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#16 Apollo

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 02:30

Thanks Wim, Emrecan. The Namiki Bamboo is certainly different, but it's ultra reliable. Starts every time, even if left for several days. The nib isn't as flexible as the Namiki Falcon, but it lays down a nice smooth line.
Posted Image Bendita mi tierra guanche.

#17 KendallJ

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 13:39

Got one. great pen. Don't post it. Namiki quality on the nib is superb.

The pump convertor does hold a lot of ink, but I've also had problems with it. Most notably some SITB formed in a nook of the convertor that was not visible, and because it pumps ink back into the bottle, I contaminated several bottles before I found the problem. The convertor is fully disseblable, but it does have some dead spots that might foster fungus growth. When I finally had enough SITB to see it inth convertor, it was quite a lot.

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#18 bluejay

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 03:55

I've tried out this pen at the show. I found it too light for my taste. The feel was too plastic-like. Although I did enjoy the look in the box. The nib was good. Great tank but just wasn't for me.

#19 wil

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Posted 24 November 2006 - 02:02

Quick question for Bamboo owners - I got one recently and I noticed that while capping or uncapping, there are certain areas in the threads that is stiffer to turn than other parts.

The weird part is that when I do the same without the section attached, it caps and uncaps perfectly.

Is this intentional to prevent accidental uncapping? Anyone else experience this?

Oh yea, it's writing flawlesslly out of the box. the pump converter is very neat and the unique shape, size to weight ratio is very refreshing.

Edited by wil, 24 November 2006 - 02:04.


#20 lecorbusier

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Posted 24 November 2006 - 08:01

Wil,

I have got one of these too and the threading is smooth all the way. It is tight when it is just about to be uncapped only.

I have the rhodium version and it is a tad heavier than the resin barrel version. I have a B nib and it writes very well-more for free flow writing on a clean white sheet than writing along the constraints of lines on a notepad. Capping the pen makes it too heavy and I normally write without posting. I also find that the cap is easily loosened while posting.

Anyhow, a very nice pen, a bit on the big side and is little too conspicuous for my liking. But too late to complain now.

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