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Danitrio Mikado Review
Posted 01 May 2008 - 22:29
Now, on to the good stuff!
First Impression - Wow, the Mikado is BIG. Having a Densho already, I didn't realize how much bigger it is. It is not so much the length of the pen, but the diameter/width of it. I got both of my Danitrios from Winedoc, with his usual impeccable service. In fact, when I had just gotten my Densho, I found it had a little problem, and Kevin was quick to recommend sending it back to him for a check-up.
R to L: Mikado, Densho, MB146, M805, Aurora
Appearance and Finish - My Densho is a matte finish raw ebonite, and the Mikado is the glossy raw ebonite, and it also without a clip. I have seen that Kevin prefers no clip on his larger Danitrios, and I can understand why (he says it is a zen thing). I've never had a clipless pen, but it really does suit the style of the Mikado, IMHO. I can really tell the difference as well between the matte finish and glossy as well, but I can't decide which is a better looking finish.
Design - This is a raw ebonite version without clip, as previously noted. The area where you hold the pen is definitely bigger then any of my other pens, which is a plus. I have average sized hands I believe, and it is comfortable for me to hold and write without difficulty. I was worried that it might be too big, but it is most certainly not too big for me. Weight is pretty light for a pen this big, and seems to be about the same weight as my Pelikan, but I don't have a scale to measure. Certainly it isn't too heavy. Balance is good as well, but I tried (just once) to write with the cap posted, and that is a definite no-go for me. (I didn't expect it too, but just tried it once to see what it was like). I don't post my Densho, but I do post all my other pens. I really like the ebonite, it has a bit more soft or sticky feel when gripping it to write that my other pens don't have.
For ease of writing (how easy it is to hold and write for a while, not how well it writes), I would rate my pens as follows:
1. Mikado/Densho - can't really tell yet which I prefer more, but the ebonite is much more tactile and easier to hold, then say the resin MB146
2. Pelikan M805 - I like the curved grip area
3. MB146 - The grip area is a bit slick, and doesn't have the same curve that the other pens do.
4. Aurora - Like the grip shape, but it's a bit too small for long writing. Using this pen is what really made me realize that a larger pen is better, at least for me.
Nib - It's BIG! It's a Fine, which Windoc says is pretty close to a Densho EF (which I have). There is no EF (so far) for the Mikado. The nib is a bit flexy, but not as flexy as my Densho. Overall, from most to least flex, my pens go: Densho > Mikado > Aurora > MB146 > M805. While my M805 is not flexy at all, it is super smooth (Thanks Richard Binder!). The MB146 has just a hint of flex, but doesn't feel crisp, it feels kind of mushy when writing. I never noticed until I had other pens to compare it to. The Aurora is a bit flexy, but very lively/springy, for lack of a better term. The Mikado is big with just a little more flex then the Aurora, and the Densho has the most flex. This is the one thing that I don't like about my Pelikan M805, I wish it had just a bit of flex/springy-ness to it.
Anyway, back to the Mikado....like I said, it has a bit less flex then the Densho, but is just as smooth as the Densho and the M805. I've included two pictures of how my pens write, one on regular 24lb printer paper, and one on a cheap, thin, legal pad (yellow paper). To me, The Mikado puts down a bit wider line then the Densho. It's hard to tell by my pictures, but overall by line thickness, my pens go (from wide to thin): Aurora > Mikado (just barely less then the Aurora) > MB146/M805 > Densho. Still not that much difference between all of them. I do notice a bit more feathering in the Mikado over the Densho, similar to what I get with the Aurora.
Ink flow is good, as you would expect from an ED pen where you can adjust the stopper valve. It really writes a nice wet line, which I like (despite being a lefty!). I find I have to open it less then the Densho, perhaps because it is a F instead of an EF? In fact, when I first inked it, I opened it the usual (for my Densho) amount, and soon had a drop of ink on the tip of my nib. Whoops! But a 1/2 turn less open fixed that problem, and now have no problems with ink flow. I tried closing the valve, to see how long I could write, and it was a good while. When I opened the valve up, it did take a few seconds to get ink flowing again, but that was only after I wrote it dry with the valve closed, just as an experiment. When I normally stop writing, and close the valve, and then open it up again the next day, it writes right away without difficulty.
I also don't have any leaking problems, while I am at my desk, I open the flow valve in the morning, and use my pen off and on all day without closing the valve. I just cap the pen and it lies horizontal on my desk between uses. I've not had any problems with ink leaking out while leaving it like this. When I have to go to meetings, that is the only time when I close the valve, since it gets carried in my pants pocket or my folder I carry.
Line width of my pens:
Cheap, thin, legal pad paper (yellow)
Filling - Love the ED system. Don't like converters. Piston is OK, but after getting an ED, it is just so easy to fill it up and screw the nib back on without getting ink anywhere, or having to wipe off the nib of extra ink, like I do with my piston fillers. And the Mikado holds a ton of ink. I filled it up, I think it took over 3 eyedroppers full. I filled up my Densho and Mikado with the same ink for this, and between filling up both of them, my noodlers bottle went down a good 1/4".
Cost/Value - I guess this differs from person to person, since what one person calls cheap, another might call expensive. But too me, I think this was a great value. The Mikado holds a lot of ink, the nib is great, it's nice and big to hold, and looks great. It isn't flashy (at least to me), and I can use it (and my Densho) without having anyone think I am trying to impress people with a fancy pen (like a Mont Blanc). Getting these pens in raw ebonite is a steal, since the urushi version of these pens are much more expensive. And since I use all my pens, I wouldn't want a fancy urushi pen anyway, because I would probably scratch it or somehow chip it. I think it's a great "everyday writer" pen that isn't flashy.
So I guess I am saying that the value is very high, and the cost is worth it
Conclusion - Short Version? 5 stars! I definitely don't regret getting this pen, I think this and my Densho will be my primary work pens now, due to the ease of writing with them, and how much ink they hold. My long term goal is to get a Tamenuri Danitrio (love the rich color or that finish), but I couldn't (and still can't) decide to get a Mikado or Densho. But that is a long term, so I have plenty of time to decide which I like better. I think I prefer the size of the Mikado a bit more (at least now), but I like the EF nib on the Densho a bit more, since I write small sometimes, and it has a finer line. I do my Sudoku puzzles with my Densho currently. But I definitely think that bigger pens like this are easier to hold for extending writing sessions, especially when they are pretty light, like the Mikado. I also really like the ED filling over pistons.
Overall pen rankings are as follows: Mikado/Densho > M805 > Aurora > MB146. It's funny, I got my 146 as my first fountain pen, and really liked it. But know that I have tried other models, I just don't like it as much as my newer pens. Not to say that it is bad by any means. The slick resin just isn't as nice as the ebonite Danitrios in my hand. And the Pelikan is a great writer, but I wish it had just a little flex to it. And the Aurora is a bit on the small side for long writing, but I like the springy nib it has. So overall, I have 5 good pens, and I like all of them for different reasons, which is good, right?
Posted 02 May 2008 - 04:44
I am a fan of today's O/S pens. When I got my Densho, I was amazed and thought writing with it would be a little like hunting groundhogs with a light antitank weapon. I inked it and started to write. I found the pen to be very well balanced, moderate to light in weight, easy to hold and just plain fun to use. I understand that true O/S pens are not for everyone, nor I suppose should they be. But I have the Dolce Vita O/S, several Pel M-1000's and MB 149's, and a number of lesser espensive large pens. The Densho is right in there with the big boys, and, in the raw ebonite version, lesser expensive than any of them.
The Mikado is even larger, and it is on my want list for 2008. I hope Danitrio is able to restart the production of the raw ebonite series sometime soon. I really want to get one, and your review has whetted my appetite even more.
Note: I keep wanting to spell "Mikado" with two k's. It the double "k" an alternative spelling?
Edited by FrankB, 02 May 2008 - 04:45.
Posted 02 May 2008 - 10:14
Posted 02 May 2008 - 11:04
Edited by AndyHayes, 02 May 2008 - 11:05.
Posted 03 May 2008 - 13:54
Better sell me the Mikado then!
Posted 03 May 2008 - 15:33
"The moment he opened the refrigerator, he saw it. Caponata! Fragrant, colorful, abundant, it filled an entire soup dish, enough for at least four people.... The notes of the triumphal march of Aida came spontaneously, naturally, to his lips." -- Andrea Camilleri, Excursion to Tindari, p. 212
Posted 04 May 2008 - 00:32
I just tested out all my inks on my two danitrios, including the new Noodlers Baystate Blue and concord Grape that I just got. I'll try to get a good picture or two tomorrow and post it in the ink forum.
I think I am going to ink up my Densho with BSB to see how it goes...it's flat black, so any staining shouldn't be noticeable anyway
Posted 05 May 2008 - 10:36
A brave move! I'd be very interested to know how it goes, I am not using contentious inks in certain pens at the moment after PR Ultra Black turned a Danitrio Hanryo into an Ultra-dry (non-starter) and BSB seems to fill up the cap of a Carene Stub...