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  1. I do not know if SYAHI pens is still operating but they make beautiful wooden pens. There is also Lotus Shikhar in Sandalwood and I know Lotus also makes sandalwood pens in other models. It will be great if there is someone like Ryan Krusac in India, who makes pens in different types of woods.
  2. From the album: Chinese pens

    I came across this on Instagram just now while looking for reviews of Fine Writing International's Fenestro pen. This looks pretty nice, although unlike the resin-bodied Fenestro models which are fitted with steel JoWo #6 nibs, this version has a gold JoWo #5 nib. I'm not sure if this can be used as an eyedropper-filled pen with the barrel serving as the ink reservoir. I have an FWI Planet series ‘Mercury’ pen, and am pretty impressed with the build quality and writing performance. Its biggest ‘flaw’, to me, is taking more than three whole turns to uncap, so I wanted to find out whether the Fenestro offers any improvement in that regard. Irrespective of that, I guess I'm not inclined to spend US$260 (plus shipping) on a pen made in either China or Taiwan.

    © Fine Writing International

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  3. I finally took the plunge finally and bought an Izumo (Tagayasan) after going through some lovely reviews from my fellow fpners. I could not find a review of the matte version at fpn before buying this. Here is also a link to my blog with some more pics: Platinum Izumo Tagayasan - Matte Review The Izumo series was launched in 2010 to celebrate the birthplace of Platinum’s founder Shunichi Nakata. The Nakata surname of course reflects in all Nakaya nibs. Coming to Izumo, the Izumo province is located in the eastern coast of Japan and is famous for its political history as well as making traditional Japanese paper out of vegetable fibres (a sample of which is also included in a paper roll). The two variants of Izumo pens are Urushi-on-ebonite and Wooden versions. I am reviewing one of the wooden versions here. Some of the other versions have been rather marvellously reviewed by Hari1(had got mine on his recommendation), Hari2, & atomic_doug at FPN. This Izumo is called Tagayasan which literally translates into Iron Sword Wood (鉄:Iron 刀:Sword 木: Wood). More on this later. PRESENTATION The pen comes in a wooden box (IZU4000061) made of up Paulownia wood encased inside a handmade paper box. The box will itself feel very light which is characteristic of this wood along with high resistance to deformation, and it’s also used to make chests and boxes in Japan. This box also used for Nakayas and a few other premium pens of Platinum (Urushi Maki-e) with an RRP of JPY 50000 or greater. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-B7KYVFMlZuk/VdGlYG3u0fI/AAAAAAAAFIw/bfiUzb6WrBk/s1600/aPack.jpg Once you open the satin lined top cover, you will find a green kimono encasing your Izumo, resting along with a standard platinum converter, a cartridge (though a complementary box was included by the seller), a paper roll made of traditional Japanese paper (Kiku) and a few other cards for maintenance & use. The one important out of them warns you against posting the cap. You will see later that there is a metallic insert for threading the cap and it might chip off the barrel wood, if posted. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-8y7BZXL4Goc/VdGlbpicYvI/AAAAAAAAFI4/ZSBvDhdR7zk/s1600/apack2.jpg DESIGN - THE WOODEN CIGAR (6/6) The Izumo Tagayasan comes in two finishes : Matte (PIZ-50000T #20) and Gloss (PIZ-50000T #21). The word Tagayasan in Japanese refers to a wood which is as hard as iron, and to my delight, I found that it was produced in India. The scientific name is Dalbergia latifolia and it’s more commonly known in India is Shisham or Bombay Black Wood. As the wood is hard, durable and resistant to termites, it’s used in India to make premium furniture. The build is remarkably sturdy and for a wooden pen it’s heavy and quite comfortably so. You will find this to be a large pen and initially I was concerned about its dimensions. The wood has a dark brown appearance with still deeper streaks running horizontally across the length of the pen. The golden gleam coming solely from the clip supplies the pen with a simply amazing contrast. Doesn’t the pen look like a marvellous piece of art? I salute the Japanese craftsmanship behind this handmade pen. http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-CbnpPdS3trg/VdGlCk3-zwI/AAAAAAAAFHQ/8qv7eCnqUPQ/s1600/DSC_5213.jpg The cap feels substantial and unscrews with one and a half turns, revealing a stunning two-tone nib. The threads of golden glitter mark start of the grip section. The tapering of the section in someway ensures that your grip remains least affected by the metallic threads. Towards the nib a golden trim ensures the aesthetics remain singularly complete from top to bottom. http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-iay_4sCJZyk/VdGlIEzHmRI/AAAAAAAAFHg/YIbcLvU1wTs/s1600/DSC_5237.jpg The finial is in the shape of an elliptical dome and quite deftly conceals the clip-joint. The dazzling tension-fit clip is plated with gold and has some resemblance with a traditional Japanese double edged sword called Tsurgi or Ken. It sports the brand name of PLATINUM within a dome of etched squares. There is a smaller sculpted impression below mirroring the sword in the green kimono. The metallic thread insert inside the cap render the pen unsuitable for posting. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-wUo-EoodEso/VdGk-oEKD9I/AAAAAAAAFHA/AUqTHBzvq78/s1600/Cap.jpg FILLING SYSTEM (5/6) As a cartridge converter filler, the supplied convertor is limited by a volume of 0.6 mL although platinum cartridges have an advantage with capacity of 1 mL or more. The Izumo also takes in proprietary converters and like other Platinum pens and there is an adapter available for international cartridges/converters, whose production is currently stopped. The proprietary converter does look good with its golden trims, but again you can see it only when you are filling up ink. The barrel unscrews from the grip section with four turns revealing the gold accented metallic thread section. The wooden barrel carries the opposite threads with a similar metallic insert, eliminating any chance of internal chipping of wood. The feed does draw ink even when the nib is not fully immersed inside ink. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-dcHnwGYCYs0/VdGlIK5ZYBI/AAAAAAAAFHk/h9ApMJDh1gc/s1600/DSC_5286.jpg NIB - ALL THAT MATTERS (5/6) The nib/feed section is friction-fit and comes in a 18k two-tone design across three stock widths of F, M & B. I like the design of these nibs. Above the tail lies the brand imprint of PLATINUM specified with nib type i.e PRESIDENT (or 3776) along with nib-composition (18 K) and width (B). A hearty breather hole lies above the imprint. Three bands of rhodium decor run amidst the body and shoulders as an enhancement. These bands are limited to the tines. The nib lays a moderately wet and smooth line with a characteristic stiffness. I would have personally preferred a bigger nib given the price point of this pen. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-mgtpCTtzEdU/VdGlLj4bZcI/AAAAAAAAFHw/5vZCFh5ytsc/s1600/DSC_5297.jpg The black plastic feed for the President nib has closely spaced fins and even with the cap open for a while, it does not take any effort to lay a nice and wet line. http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-UIHq32QBusE/VdGlNmM-P8I/AAAAAAAAFIA/O461HSTuDOc/s1600/DSC_5304.jpg PHYSICS OF IT (6/6) – RELATIVELY SPEAKING A comfortable length and weight ensures that the cap doesn't need to be posted while writing. With a cosy girth of around 1 cm, it poses absolutely no problems with extended writing times. Capped Length ~ 16.5 Uncapped Length ~ 14 cm Nib Leverage ~ 2.4 cm Overall Weight ~ 38 g Capped and uncapped comparisons with a pelikan m805 run below for your reference. You might be already noticing the giant cap with an elliptical dome finial, which contributes rather lavishly to the length of the pen. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-jAKoO_FBARE/VdGlSWvVgyI/AAAAAAAAFII/_pPe2OhEaYE/s1600/DSC_5317.jpg Uncapped the Tagayasan is about 1 cm longer than a m8xx, making it a comfortable wooden companion. The threads at the section are located necessarily at an upper region of the section, which does not interfere with my grip, given the section taper. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-9Ig9nj0XF1M/VdGlXHtQicI/AAAAAAAAFIg/r0pKXytek58/s1600/DSC_5338.jpg ECONOMIC VALUE (3/6) The Izumo wooden versions - Tagayasan retail around US$ 600, though they are available at much lower prices around US$ 400 with known Japanese shops like Engeika or Rakuten. I expected a bigger nib at this price point and I do have a sinking feeling that the usual President nib does not do complete justice either to this pen or its price point. OVERALL (5/6) This stunning 18k nib is smooth but not buttery, with kind of a controlled glide. It’s blessed with a moderately wet ink flow. There is a subtle bit of line variation, the horizontals being a tad thinner than the verticals. The nib is as stiff as a nail. Though, there is a hint of softness with this nib. Even being a wet writer out of the box, this Broad nib puts a line which takes around 30 seconds to dry on MD Paper. Ink used was Platinum Blue Black cartridge. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-AK8OBMu_L9E/VdGlWmqbz3I/AAAAAAAAFIc/fZWtb49MDOk/s1600/DSC_5343.jpg REFERENCES Platinum Izumos Hari’s Review of the Gloss Version Bombay Black Wood Thank you for going through the review. You can find some more pen and paraphernalia reviews here.
  4. Hi All! Here comes a new "ruthless review". My ruthless reviews have a few peculiar features: Concise;Very strict. If a pen costs hundred of euros, no faults are allowed. - A good pen gets a 60/100, - A great pen an 80/100, - An almost perfect one a 90/100. - Only a divine pen can have above 90.Don't care about the box,Add a few peculiar criteria:Nib appearance;Usability in shirt pockets;Out-of-the-boxness, meaning to what extent a nib was perfect right after leaving the seller. Faber Castell Ondoro Smoked Oak with M nib Thanks to user dragon666, I can recycle his great review here and I don't need to upload pictures Mine is exactly the same. 1. Appearance and design: 10/10 I don't know who designed it, but this pen deserves a spot in the hall of fame of contemporary design. Here, for example. It's awesome. 2. Construction: 4/10 Ouch... a proof that "German quality" is often a stereotype: the cap doesn't perfectly fits the body, and moves in its place, leaving space for air to sneak through and dry the ink if unused for a couple of days. The clip is 1/5 of a millimeter off-centred, and the feeder doesn't always keep the ink inside the pen. The result: a big blue ink stain on a wooden pen. Impossible to clean Also, the pressure lock is not very secure: it wears out quickly and I already had to strengthen it a couple of times adding a thin layer of cyanoacrylate to make the plastic thicker. 3. Quality of materials: 10/10 The oak is tactile, beautiful, perfectly cut, in one word: amazing. The rhodium-plated metal is shiny and perfect. 4. Weight and dimensions: 8/10 Very good as well. It's 100% perfect for me, but the section might be too thin for some (-1) and it's perhaps a bit short for others (-1) 5. Nib performance: 8/10 Reliable, a bit on the dry side with some inks. No flex. A hard starter after a couple of days due to the poor design of the cap lock. 6. Nib appearance: 7/10 Minimalistic, indeed. Not bad, but they could have made it a bit larger! 7. "Out-of-the-boxness": 10/10 100% perfect in this field! 8. Filling system and maintenance: 5/10 The converter looks a bit cheap and sometimes there are minor leaks; the pen doesn't take all types of converters! 9. Clip and usability with shirts: 6/10 The length is great for any shirt, but the clip doesn't lock very tightly and can drop out. Too short for safe carrying in suit pockets. 10. Cost and value: 9/10 The pen is so breathtakingly beautiful that I'd gladly pay EUR 1.000 have one, Instead, it's around EUR 130. Too bad for the steel nib... Final mark: 77/100 This is a really great pen. Too bad it's not perfectly built, otherwise it would jump very close to my Visconti Van Gogh Maxi, so far the best pen I've reviewed, at 90/100.
  5. A few days ago, I was visiting my local B&M pen store (Stylo.ca in downtown Montreal - highly recommended, BTW) when I spotted a wooden Pilot Custom Grandee in their selection of Pilot pens. I was excited because the Maple body of my Custom Grandee was breaking and I've been looking for an alternative and/or a replacement. Unfortunately, my hopes were dashed when I saw the $250 price tag. One of the owners (who I know and trust) explained that the price was because this pen was made from Rosewood, whereas my existing pen was made from maplewood. However, I've not found any support for this from searching on the Internet. Does anyone know if the Custom Grandee was made from Rosewood? Thanks in advance, Justin

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