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Danitrio Mae West


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#1 Doug C

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 23:21

The focus of my collection has always been Italian pens, and I love them dearly, but in the last year, I have been drawn to Japanese pens.

In fact, I have been on a feeding frenzy during that time, acquiring most of the models that I have been lusting after.

One of my grail pens (I keep a list of the pens I really want, just to stay focused) is the Danitrio Mae West. The second I saw this pen I fell in love with the shape. Unfortunately, there have been very few of these on the market........until this week.



One of our fellow FPN'ers posted a beautiful purple urushi Hana-nuri at a great price, and I snapped it up (one of the few times I actually had the money at the same time one of my prizes went up for sale).

Design

It is an incredibly seductive pen, and it is aptly named. The cap screws on precisely, and there is a ridge at the bottom of the section that fits perfectly into the cap. The section itself seems to be just slightly narrower than it is on my Mikado, but there is a completely different feel when writing.

The pen is shorter than the Mikado, but alternately fatter and slimmer at different spots due to those curves.


Finish

The urushi laquer is perfect, and although it is impossible to capture with my poor photography, is not at all garish. The section has a Kanji with (I assume) the name of the artist (I've included a close up, just in case there is anyone out there that can tell me his or her name), and embossed on the other side is 'Grandtrio Hana-Nuri'. I would also like to know what kind of finish Hana-Nuri is.


Filling System

Cartridge/converter, which is okay since I already have an eye dropper in the Mikado.



Nib
I believe this is basically the same nib used on the Densho. Both the Mae West and the Mikado have regular fine nibs, but they feel considerably differnt. The Mae West writes a slightly finer line, while the Mikado is wetter (due no doubt to the filling system) and has a little more flex. I would guess this is because of the sheer size and length of the Mikado's enormous nib!

I had hoped for an extra fine flexible, but you can't have everything.

It is a great writer.


Value/Conclusion

There is no point in my even putting numerical ratings on this review (they would all be 5 out of 5). It is a great feeling to look for a pen for so long and then find that it is everything you thought it would be. I've been on a lucky streak having acquired 2 Nakayas, the Mikado, a Sailor 1911 demo (with Rhodium trim-my personal choice), a Pilot Custom 74, a Namiki Vanishing Point Raden, and now the Mae West.

I'm a lucky guy.

Edited by Doug C, 12 December 2008 - 23:26.

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#2 FrankB

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 23:30

Thanks for a good review. I think your photos are quite good.

I am still lusting after a Mae West myself. I have not found one yet, and I truely resent that Danitrio discontinued that design. I love my Mikado, and it is good to see some comparisons between the two models. My interest in a Mae West has been renewed. Thank you.

#3 Doug C

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 23:44

'Photos quite good'................thanks for a good laugh Frank.


I have never gotten into photography, and our camera is just a standard digital Olympus, but even if I had the skills and equipment, I don't think there is an easy way to capture the look of this pen. The only way to get a picture that is not completely illegible is to do it in my back yard.


Frank, I know you're one of the Dani champions here, so if you get a chance to play with one of these, please do.

I'm with you. I don't know why they discontinued these (at least at the regular urushi level). I do know that Winedoc has published pictures of high end Wests in the last day or two.

Thanks.

Edited by Doug C, 13 December 2008 - 01:26.

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#4 Renzhe

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 00:02

Purple lacquer is quite new, isn't it?

On the section is 清峰, and if it's a name, it's impossible to predict the pronunciation. (Also, it looks like the calligrapher needs to study more seal script.)
Renzhe

#5 QM2

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 00:03

The Mae West is a very eye-catching pen to say the least, I like it! And that shade of purple is nice as well.
Congratulations, this is certainly a unique acquisition!



#6 Doug C

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 00:12

QUOTE (Renzhe @ Dec 12 2008, 05:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Purple lacquer is quite new, isn't it?

On the section is 清峰, and if it's a name, it's impossible to predict the pronunciation. (Also, it looks like the calligrapher needs to study more seal script.)



So you're saying that this is illegible?

Too bad. I like to document things like this for me (and my kids, grandkids, greatgrandkids,etc) ....

This is a pen I will probably not sell.


(and QM2, the purple is much less obvious indoors. I took this picture outdoors in the bright New Mexico sunlight, otherwise it would have appeared to be a bluish-gray).

Edited by Doug C, 13 December 2008 - 00:15.

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#7 Renzhe

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 01:05

QUOTE (Doug C @ Dec 12 2008, 05:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
So you're saying that this is illegible?


Not illegible at all. Only a mix-up of styles (like a cell phone in a Shakespeare play). Improper, one might say.
About the pronunciation, it is the nature of Japanese names that makes it difficult to predict.
Renzhe

#8 Doug C

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 01:19

Okay.

I was just hoping to be able to document the artist that created this wonderful pen.


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#9 Brian

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 06:45

Nice review. I like it when a pen just hits the spot for its new owner. Congratulations.

#10 gary

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 13:37

Doug,
What a nice review. Regarding Hana Nuri:

"Basically, Tame-nuri (Ta as tag, me as met ) uses Suki Urushi, transparent (actually rather translucent) Urushi painted over the colored Urushi, which was already painted as the interim layer. If the Shu (red) Urushi was painted as the base color, and then, the transparent Urushi is painted, it is called Shu Tame-nuri or Shu-dame. And if Kuro (black) Urushi was painted first, and then, the transparent Urushi was painted over it, it is called Kuro-dame. After the trasparnet Urushi was painted, it will be finished by Togidashi or Hana-nuri.

Togidahi uses different materials for polishing and burnishing repeatedly until the luster is brought out to the result they want. It is very time consuming, painstaking work. Hana-nuri means painted without those repeated working by polishing and burnishing in order to bring the luster out. Instead, Hana-nuri uses oiled Urushi in the beginning which helps the Urushi naturally shine after it is dried. Hana-nuri is a much simpler method of Urushi painting, though it won't be as shiny as the Urushi finished with Togidashi. This natural shiny look is more popular than Togidashi especially among the tea ceremony society in Japan.

We must decide in the beginning whether this Tame-nuri should be finished with Togidashi or Hana-nuri, because if we want to finish with Togidashi, oil free Urushi must be used, while oiled Urushi should be used for Hana-nuri. The reason for this is because oiled Urushi will help Urushi naturally shine, but it should not be used when it needs to be polished or burnished. And oil free Urushi is good for polishing and burnishing."

This is from the Danitrio website.

You might want to pick up the book "Maki-e, an art for the soul", by Bernard Lyn of Danitrio. It describes the process of applying the layers of urushi, polishing and maki-e.

Glad to see you enjoy the pen. How would you compare the Danitrios to the Nakayas?

gary

Edited by gary, 13 December 2008 - 13:38.


#11 Breck

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 13:46

Great review, and great pen. I only have one question: In the spirit of the pen's namesake, was the line

"...it is aptly named. The cap screws on precisely..."

meant as innuendo?


wink.gif

#12 Doug C

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 15:04

QUOTE (gary @ Dec 13 2008, 06:37 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Doug,
What a nice review. Regarding Hana Nuri:

"Basically, Tame-nuri (Ta as tag, me as met ) uses Suki Urushi, transparent (actually rather translucent) Urushi painted over the colored Urushi, which was already painted as the interim layer. If the Shu (red) Urushi was painted as the base color, and then, the transparent Urushi is painted, it is called Shu Tame-nuri or Shu-dame. And if Kuro (black) Urushi was painted first, and then, the transparent Urushi was painted over it, it is called Kuro-dame. After the trasparnet Urushi was painted, it will be finished by Togidashi or Hana-nuri.

Togidahi uses different materials for polishing and burnishing repeatedly until the luster is brought out to the result they want. It is very time consuming, painstaking work. Hana-nuri means painted without those repeated working by polishing and burnishing in order to bring the luster out. Instead, Hana-nuri uses oiled Urushi in the beginning which helps the Urushi naturally shine after it is dried. Hana-nuri is a much simpler method of Urushi painting, though it won't be as shiny as the Urushi finished with Togidashi. This natural shiny look is more popular than Togidashi especially among the tea ceremony society in Japan.

We must decide in the beginning whether this Tame-nuri should be finished with Togidashi or Hana-nuri, because if we want to finish with Togidashi, oil free Urushi must be used, while oiled Urushi should be used for Hana-nuri. The reason for this is because oiled Urushi will help Urushi naturally shine, but it should not be used when it needs to be polished or burnished. And oil free Urushi is good for polishing and burnishing."

This is from the Danitrio website.

You might want to pick up the book "Maki-e, an art for the soul", by Bernard Lyn of Danitrio. It describes the process of applying the layers of urushi, polishing and maki-e.

Glad to see you enjoy the pen. How would you compare the Danitrios to the Nakayas?

gary


Thanks Gary. I guess you would know.

The two brands feel completely different. Some of this is just due to the size factor, but oddly enough, the 'sound' of each is different as well. When you screw the caps on the Mikado, and the Decapod, there is a dull sound when the two pieces touch. With the Mae West and the Piccolo, they clink, almost like glass.
I would say the Urushi is comparable on the two brands, but I do have some imperfections on my Decapod. There are a couple of tiny bubbles in the finish, and one of facets in the top portion of the cap is cut incorrectly. These actually don't bother me at all. It gives a little more of a handcrafted look, and as I stated they are very minor.
I told you a few days ago that I had a Densho with an extra fine flexible nib, and it was just a great nib. Very easy to use. While the Nakayas are both flexible nibs, they offer less flex than the Densho had but take more time for me to acclimate to. My Piccolo is also very scratchy, compared to other Japanese fine nibs I own.
I know it sounds as though I am carping about the Nakayas. I am not. It's just that they have a completely different writing experience. And in the case of the Piccolo, it might have just been one that slipped out the door. I am going to have it worked on and possibly made more flexible (the Decapod came from Mottishaw, and it is a medium nib so it is a nicer writing nib). On the plus side, I think the Piccolo body is probably the most comfortable to hold and use of any of my pens. It is just right sized.

I love them all.

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#13 Doug C

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 15:07

QUOTE (Murderface @ Dec 13 2008, 06:46 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Great review, and great pen. I only have one question: In the spirit of the pen's namesake, was the line

"...it is aptly named. The cap screws on precisely..."

meant as innuendo?


wink.gif



That is just an example of my sloppy thought process. No, the reference to the name is referencing the previous comments on the design.

Connecting that to the following sentence about the cap is probably more just an example of your dirty mind at work........

Edited by Doug C, 13 December 2008 - 15:14.

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#14 winedoc

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 16:18

Hi Doug,

Glad you are enjoying your Mae West. It is funny that few years back, this shape of pen stir up quite of discussion, and it's either you love the shape or you hate it. There were complains that the pen has no clip, too fat, too weird looking. To compliments like sexy shape, ergonomic etc. But that's what is so great about our hobby. A pen does not has to satisfy everyone, it only needs to satisfy "you".

Personally I have a few Mae West in my rotation and am too bumed when they decided to only make them in maki-e. BTW, if you prefer flexy EF nib, I would be more than happy to do the exchange for you. All you pay is shipping charges.

Anyways, here are some pics of the Mae West in variety of colors, all of these are completely sold out:

Beige, unusual color and hard to find now:


Purple, also limited numbers were made:


Nanako-nuri, seeds were used for this one:


Tamenuri, yup the popular tamenuri too:


Teal color, this is extremely rare:


Thanks for the review.

Kevin

Edited by winedoc, 13 December 2008 - 16:19.

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#15 QM2

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 16:29

QUOTE (winedoc @ Dec 13 2008, 05:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Nanako-nuri, seeds were used for this one:


Wow. Can you explain about the seeds?
Is this finish available on other models?

#16 winedoc

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 16:40

QUOTE (QM2 @ Dec 13 2008, 08:29 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (winedoc @ Dec 13 2008, 05:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Nanako-nuri, seeds were used for this one:


Wow. Can you explain about the seeds?
Is this finish available on other models?



After the urushi is applied they set the rapesdeeds on the pen. After a different layer of urushi is applied and somewhat harden, the artist would then take out each rapeseeds before they apply more layers of urushi. So the round circles you see are where the rapesddes used to be. pretty neat eh? I know they made one in red and one in other color which I'll need to dig out my photos.
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#17 Doug C

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 17:17

QUOTE (winedoc @ Dec 13 2008, 09:18 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi Doug,

Glad you are enjoying your Mae West. It is funny that few years back, this shape of pen stir up quite of discussion, and it's either you love the shape or you hate it. There were complains that the pen has no clip, too fat, too weird looking. To compliments like sexy shape, ergonomic etc. But that's what is so great about our hobby. A pen does not has to satisfy everyone, it only needs to satisfy "you".

Personally I have a few Mae West in my rotation and am too bumed when they decided to only make them in maki-e. BTW, if you prefer flexy EF nib, I would be more than happy to do the exchange for you. All you pay is shipping charges.

Anyways, here are some pics of the Mae West in variety of colors, all of these are completely sold out:

Beige, unusual color and hard to find now:


Purple, also limited numbers were made:




Nanako-nuri, seeds were used for this one:


Tamenuri, yup the popular tamenuri too:


Teal color, this is extremely rare:


Thanks for the review.

Kevin


As usual Kevin, thank you for the generous offer (but no surprise to others that frequent this site). I might take you up on it after the holidays. This nib is pretty wonderful as well so I'll need a few days to think it over.

Wonderful pen.

By the way, any idea who the artist was?

Doug.


Edited by Doug C, 13 December 2008 - 17:21.

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#18 QM2

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 17:21

QUOTE (winedoc @ Dec 13 2008, 05:40 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
After the urushi is applied they set the rapesdeeds on the pen. After a different layer of urushi is applied and somewhat harden, the artist would then take out each rapeseeds before they apply more layers of urushi. So the round circles you see are where the rapesddes used to be. pretty neat eh?


VERY neat. Could it be available as a custom finish on, say, a clipless Takumi flat-top body?

#19 winedoc

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 18:29

QUOTE (Doug C @ Dec 13 2008, 09:17 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
As usual Kevin, thank you for the generous offer (but no surprise to others that frequent this site). I might take you up on it after the holidays. This nib is pretty wonderful as well so I'll need a few days to think it over.

Wonderful pen.

By the way, any idea who the artist was?

Doug.


Hi Doug,

Just let me know when you decided. Yes, after all the Holidays are over is best for me also :-) These pens were made before I became their authorized dealer (2004), so I'll ask for you. I know it was done in Wajima city.

Best,

Kevin
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#20 winedoc

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 18:32

QUOTE (QM2 @ Dec 13 2008, 09:21 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (winedoc @ Dec 13 2008, 05:40 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
After the urushi is applied they set the rapesdeeds on the pen. After a different layer of urushi is applied and somewhat harden, the artist would then take out each rapeseeds before they apply more layers of urushi. So the round circles you see are where the rapesddes used to be. pretty neat eh?


VERY neat. Could it be available as a custom finish on, say, a clipless Takumi flat-top body?


Maki-e yes, but not sure about urushi yet. Currently I was told all artists are working extra hard in preparation for the LA pen show and also trying to keep up demand on certain popular models. They will not be able to consider any custom pens until after Feb at this time. This does not impact current custom orders already placed.

Best,

kevin
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