I had been lusting after a raw ebonite pen for some time, but there were two things holding me back:
1) Finding one on sale, and 2) Deciding on the pen size.
Danitrio offers a number of different pen sizes. Here is a small chart to give you an idea of how they compare:
SizeCap Len.Cap Dia.Barrel Len.Barrel Dia.Cap Closed
Genkai75 mm20 mm152 mm18 mm173 mm
Mikado73 mm20 mm140 mm19 mm163 mm
Densho68 mm17 mm133 mm15 mm150 mm
Takumi68 mm18 mm130 mm16 mm147 mm
Hanryo65 mm15 mm125 mm13.5 mm142 mm
Judging from other pens I have that are on the large side, I wasn't sure if I'd be happy with a Mikado... perhaps it might be too big. The Densho seemed to be a little more my speed, but still--I wasn't totally sure about it. The Takumi would be slightly larger than my Delta Maasai, both in length and width, so I felt that this would be the best size for me. Winedoc offered up another sale and THIS time I was lucky enough to spot it before all the pens were gone (a typical winedoc Danitrio sale problem!) and get a Takumi. I wanted to get a polished ebonite version, but all he had left were raw ones. Yet, I'm VERY glad I got a raw one.
- First Impressions (08/10) – The pen comes in an unbranded plain wooden box, one I've seen commonly used with other pens. It wasn't made for this pen, as it didn't quite fit in the cutouts. But hey--I do not plan to leave this pen in a box, so this was not something I was concerned about. Winedoc included his usual business card, personally addressed. Incidentally, his service is impeccable. Never hesitate buying from him. So, I open the box and there's this deep rich black pen with the DANITRIO embossed chrome clip (I love this combination, much more than black and gold). It's all very understated, until...
(Note: this is the same pen, just taken at different distances. I probably should have included another pen for comparison.)
- Appearance & Design (09/10) – This pen is formidable in the hand. It's not the biggest size around, but it feels substantial. The raw ebonite does have a smooth matte finish, and if you rub it with the oils in your skin, it takes on a nice luster. Not polished, yet not flat matte black. Maybe satin? Whatever the case, I love this look. It also has that classic ebonite smell to it, while not being overbearing. The clip is cut directly into the ebonite cap and is rather stiff. My clip was slightly out of alignment, but I was able to bend it to a near perfect position. The threading is very smooth and feels solid. It does take a full 4 turns to remove the cap, and 6 turns to remove the section from the barrel, which is quite a bit more than I'm used to. But in a way, I like it... it adds to the solid feel of the pen. The good thing is that the threads are very tight, so it is unlikely you'll touch them while writing. NOTE: The design of the cap does not permit it to be posted to the barrel. However, the barrel is long enough that posting is not required--the pen feels fine without the cap.
- Weight & Dimensions (10/10) – It looks heavy, but thankfully due to the ebonite construction it is lighter than it looks. It's probably one of the better weighted pens for the size that I now own. The ebonite is quite thick, too. Talk about a sturdy feel! Dimensions are shown in the table above, although my pen is actually closer to 148mm in length.
- Nib & Performance (08/10) – The nib is the classic Danitrio two-tone 18kt flame stamped type. Mine is a smooth flexible fine... I'd say it's more of a semi-flex nib, though. If you write with light pressure, you get a nice fine line. However, with a little more pressure, the ink flow increases and a denser line is achieved (perhaps more pressure would result in a thicker line). I believe the feed is also made of ebonite. It is nicely designed, with an interesting beveled cut to it. I do enjoy the nib... it's not the best I've had but certainly better than IPG. I think as I used it more, I'll become more accustomed to its characteristics.
(I should probably have said "nice contrast", as the semi-flex allows line density change more than line width variations.)
- Filling System (09/10) – I've always wanted an eye dropper, but unfortunately the Takumi size only comes with a cartridge converter filling mechanism. Thankfully, it works very well. The included "Trio" converter holds as much ink as a Parker or Waterman piston converter. The design of the pen can accommodate conversion to an ED style filling system (remove the converter and install an O-ring). Some people have reported good success doing this, despite the lack of a shutoff valve.
- Cost & Value (09/10) – I don't recall the original MSRP on these... but I suspect it's somewhere in the mid 200's. I got mine on sale and consider it a very good value. These Danitrio ebonite pens are extremely well made.
- Conclusion (Final score : 9) – I'm very impressed with Danitrio. I wasn't all that enamored with the Cum Laude that I purchased a couple of years ago, as the threading was very rough and usage nor lubrication made it any better. But on these raw ebonite pens, the threading is excellent. I tend to post my pens and at first I was dismayed I couldn't do it with this Takumi, but in actuality the length would be too unwieldy. I've now become accustomed to using unposted and it's great. If the Maki-e pens use the same ebonite and thickness, I'm definitely going to get one at some point. I really don't like large pens that are super light... but the Takumi raw ebonite is beautifully weighted. And last but not least, Winedoc is a real pleasure to deal with.
Edited by MYU, 06 March 2009 - 17:09.