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Nakaya Double Review


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57 replies to this topic

#1 Doug C

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 18:00

I have been waiting for 3 months, 1 week, and 2 days for my second Nakaya to arrive. Now that it is here, I will give you my impressions of the one I just received, a Decapod, and its little brother, the Piccolo.



Ordering process: 4/5

I ordered the Decapod from John Mottishaw in February, and a few weeks later, I ordered the Piccolo directly from Nakaya. The primary motivation for the second order was that the price for the plain black Piccolo was going to undergo a dramatic price jump April 1st (from $250 to $385).

The ordering process for both pens was relatively straightforward, but I think I enjoyed the Nakaya process a little more. Their order form contains a few different questions regarding writing style from the ones I was asked by NIBS.com (Mottishaw’s company), but I suspect this is because NIBS.COM will test write with the pen and make adjustments based on your comments.

With the Piccolo, I received paperwork that was specific to my order, and it had information on the people that had done the work (i.e. Mr Maruyama did the nib work, another man did the lathe work, etc), along with inked stamps below their names. I don’t know if this is the same information for all of the pens that they produce, or if it varies, but it is a charming touch.

One of the things I did get from NIBS.com is a Nakaya catalog, something I didn’t know existed.

Both companies did a great job. In the case of the order from Nakaya, I placed the order in March, and had mentioned that I was hoping it would be here in time for my 55th birthday (yep, I’m an old codger). She replied back, asking what the date was. I told her it was May 3rd. The day after my birthday-a Sunday, my wife called me to tell me a old woman in a beat up old truck came to the door with a package. It was the Piccolo. I don’t have a clue who it was that delivered it, but Nakaya missed my birthday by one day. Coincidence?



Appearance: 5/5


When I got the Piccolo, my expectations had been set so high by some of the comments on FPN, I have to admit that I was a little nonplused by seeing the pen in the flesh. It was so perfect that it really just looked like a little black plastic pen. I have other ebonite pens, and I actually had to stick my finger in cap, and rub it around a little to be sure I got a whiff of the rubber smell.

My slight disappointment turned to admiration after I really started to look at the pen under a magnifying glass. It is so perfectly made that it really doesn’t look hand made at all. The one extra I got on the Piccolo was a hand painted Kanji name in red, and it looks like it was molded into the body. Sheer perfection.

I also got 2 of the Maki-e converters which have hand painted goldfish and seaweed on the surface. I can barely tell what they are without a magnifier, but again, they are remarkable in their flawlessness.

My Decapod (which interestingly enough, is called the Decagon in the Nakaya catalog) shows a little more variation. With all of the sharp angles, it really shows off the Ake-Tamenuri finish. You can also see some tiny bubbles in the Urushi finish. I have a thing about not liking gold trim, so I chose the rhodium finish clip, which I think is a good contrast to the reddish red finish (even with the monotone gold nib).

One thing to note for anyone that might be considering a Decapod: they use a four start thread, so only one of the four threads will align the facets. There is an easy solution for this. If you have the top of the nib lined up with the clip, it will sync up every time. You’re on your own if you choose the clipless version.

I’ve included pictures of both pens posted, but in use I have found that it makes me nervous doing this, and I like the feel of them without posting. This is especially true of the Decapod since it is very long, and a little top heavy with the clip.



Nibs/Performance: 5/5

Both pens are remarkable in that they started up with the very first touch to paper, and have never skipped. I ordered a flexible fine for the Piccolo, and a flexible medium on the Decapod. Good thing I know which is which, since there doesn’t appear to be any size indication on the nib, at least not in English.

The fine is actually just a little too fine for me. It is somewhat scratchy, but it is also the finest nib I have in my collection by far. I’ve gotten to where I like it, using it for the second layer of notes I take during long meetings.
The medium is closer to what I would normally use. John Mottishaw recommended it after I said that I liked Bexley fines. Smooth, with just a bit of tooth, and a little on the dry side. This concerned me a little bit when I first started to use it in that normally when I have a dry nib, it is sign of flow problems, and it will start to skip. This nib is perfectly regulated, and it flows in an absolutely even fashion.


Value: 5/5

These pens are not inexpensive, but even so, I think they are great values. They are unique, and can be past down to future generations. In fact since the family name is on the Piccolo, one of my daughters has already laid claim to them.



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#2 Taki

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 21:03

Congratulations on your beautiful Nakaya pair! Piccolo is my dream pen smile.gif

Edited by Taki, 07 June 2008 - 21:04.


#3 Doug C

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 16:59

QUOTE(Taki @ Jun 7 2008, 03:03 PM)  
Congratulations on your beautiful Nakaya pair! Piccolo is my dream pen smile.gif



Thanks Taki. Up until now, the only good quality Japanese pens I have owned are two Vanishing Points (A old style Namiki and a newer style Pilot).

The feel of the nibs is similar.
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#4 Doug C

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 21:41

I forgot to include the crummy pictures of the converter. They really are spectacular, but you'd never know it from my photographs. There is a lot of detail in there that you can't see.

Maybe I should change hobbies from fountain pens to photography.............







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#5 ojars

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 02:16

Gorgeous! Time for me to purchase another.
Nakaya Writer Wajima-Urushi nuri Kikyo long pen fp - Grayson Tighe Twist Damascus fp - Mont Blanc Ramses mp - Pelikan M800 (2) - Restored 1936 Conklin Nozac fp - 1935 Waterman #3 mp - Namiki Falcon fp - Lamy Al-Star fp (2) - Parker 51 (8) - Swan/Mabie Todd fp - Wality 69L (3) - et alii

#6 ethernautrix

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 16:52

I just got mine, too!

With an XXF nib:



I'm going to have to send it back for a nib change, cos I just don't write THAT small (heh). But the pen itself is GORGEOUS!



P.S. Your kanji is upside down.

Edited by ethernautrix, 10 June 2008 - 16:53.

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#7 Doug C

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 16:57

QUOTE(ethernautrix @ Jun 10 2008, 10:52 AM)  
I just got mine, too!

With an XXF nib:



I'm going to have to send it back for a nib change, cos I just don't write THAT small (heh). But the pen itself is GORGEOUS!



P.S. Your kanji is upside down.



WHAT? Can you translate it for me, Ethernautrix? There is no way that I would have known that-thanks for that (not that I could or would do anything about it, unless they just screwed it up completely).

I do like the pen though, but I would be interested to know if your observations dove tail with mine. Your pictures also do justice to the pen.

In retrospect, I probably would have gotten the medium on both, since it is still a finer nib that my fine Bexleys, but much smoother.

Edited by Doug C, 10 June 2008 - 16:58.

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#8 Taki

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 17:04

Doug, is Piccolo in the pot barrel up? If it is, that's OK. I thought Lisa was talking about the lid of the box at first, but the name on the Piccolo is upside down as photographed. I just assumed you put the pen in the pot upside down to show off kanji.

Oh, the kanji says "Okeya," someone who makes/sells wooden basin.

Edited by Taki, 10 June 2008 - 17:07.


#9 Keng

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 17:11

An enjoyable and informative review. Thanks.

Mike
Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money.
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#10 Doug C

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 17:15

QUOTE(Taki @ Jun 10 2008, 11:04 AM)  
Doug, is Piccolo in the pot barrel up? If it is, that's OK. I thought Lisa was talking about the lid of the box at first, but the name on the Piccolo is upside down as photographed. I just assumed you put the pen in the pot upside down to show off kanji.

Oh, the kanji says "Okeya," someone who makes/sells wooden basin.



Thanks Taki, and you are right. It is up side down to show the kanji............whew.



My last name is Cooper. I had wanted them to do it phonetically, but I said the meaning would be okay too. The meaning is barrel maker, so that would make sense.

Edited by Doug C, 10 June 2008 - 17:16.

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#11 ethernautrix

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 20:27

D'oh! Sorry for inducing the panic, Doug! I meant that the lid and the pen were upside down in the photos.

I didn't have the same reaction to the Piccolo as you did. I ordered one and sortv forgot about it (not really, but I didn't think about it much), and when it came... I hadn't built up any expectation. It is an unequivocally gorgeous pen! That was my first impression, and it holds.

I sent an e-mail to Nakaya about how to do a nib tweak/exchange -- cos that'll be cheaper than my first plan: Buy another Piccolo Cigar (hee!).

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#12 Doug C

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 20:45

That's okay. The panic attack has subsided.

I think you'll find that this won't be your only one so you might end up moving forward with that 'other' plan eventually, if only to try out another color or shape.

If you notice, I have a 3 pen pillow. Gotta fill it with something at some point.........
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#13 gary

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 17:13

Continuation of a long series of dumb questions:

I'm horrible at visualizing from written information (Mottishaw's pen specs). I thought that the Decapod was significantly longer than the Piccolo, capped, posted and from nib tip to barrel end. I love the Piccolo shape, but was pondering the Decapod for what I thought was its significantly greater length.

From the photos it looks to me as though the two are roughly the same length, and the Piccolo is much thicker. Could you 'splain this for me?

Thanks,
gary

#14 Doug C

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 18:49

QUOTE(gary @ Jun 11 2008, 11:13 AM)  
Continuation of a long series of dumb questions:

I'm horrible at visualizing from written information (Mottishaw's pen specs). I thought that the Decapod was significantly longer than the Piccolo, capped, posted and from nib tip to barrel end. I love the Piccolo shape, but was pondering the Decapod for what I thought was its significantly greater length.

From the photos it looks to me as though the two are roughly the same length, and the Piccolo is much thicker. Could you 'splain this for me?

Thanks,
gary



Not dumb at all. I had the same problem, and I guess I've got some 'splainin to do:

Both pens are pretty much the same thickness at the middle (where the cap makes contact with the body when capped), but the Piccolo stays a little chunkier throughout the body whereas the Decapod starts to slim down at the ends. The section on the Decapod also appears to be just a tad bit longer and slimmer (just a tiny bit), even though if you look at the pics on the websites, they appear to be identical.

The Decapod is longer by maybe an inch capped, but actually is probably not that much different from the Piccolo when the two are posted.

Both are pretty long when posted, and as I said in the review, even though there are people here that say it is okay to post, I don't since I am afraid that after a period of time there will be wear marks. The pens really do feel different, and at this point, discounting the fact that I like the medium nib better, I dont know if I have a favorite body style.

When I first saw the Decapod, I HATED the look of it. It did start to grow on me, and I thought the sharp angles would show off the Tamenuri finish better. Now that I have one in my hands, I love it, especially in normal light. The variation between the red and the brown is less dramatic in normal room light, and it looks richer.

You might want to go directly to the Nakaya site and go to products, then Urushi, and then look at the links. There are two photos that show all of the bodies with and without the caps side by side so you can compare them.

If I can, I'll try and take a photo tonight to show the differences a little better.

Edited by Doug C, 11 June 2008 - 18:53.

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#15 Doug C

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 21:02

Here you go, Gary. These might help. I've included an M400 for comparison. You can see what I'm talking about in the last picture. There seems to be a bigger difference with them capped than posted.









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#16 Martius

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 22:09

This review has made me decide to go out and buy a Decapod. Thanks for ruining my wallet. thumbup.gif

Best,
Summer
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#17 Doug C

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 23:04

QUOTE(Martius @ Jun 11 2008, 04:09 PM)  
This review has made me decide to go out and buy a Decapod. Thanks for ruining my wallet. thumbup.gif

Best,
Summer



Good for you. Unless you want an 'off the shelf' one from Mottishaw, you'll have a 3 or 4 month wait.

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#18 Phthalo

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 23:10

Lovely pens! Always happy to see Nakaya beauties being enjoyed! smile.gif

My third is in the works...! wub.gif
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#19 whitemountain

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 11:39

I have never seen one of those 3-pen "pillows" before. What a great concept! Could anybody tell me where to buy one? Thanks.

#20 Doug C

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 12:02

QUOTE(whitemountain @ Jun 12 2008, 05:39 AM)  
I have never seen one of those 3-pen "pillows" before. What a great concept! Could anybody tell me where to buy one? Thanks.



Normally, they are only available from Nakaya when you buy a pen, but now that John Mottishaw (NIBS.com) has started carrying their products, I think you can buy it separately. It is made out of wood and Urushi laquer- $25.
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