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Hakumin / Edison Mina



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My first urushi fountain pen came in the mail last week, and after using it for a couple of days, it's time for a review and some photos! Since I'm totally loving this pen, I won't try to rate it, but I will note some things that might not be everyone's cup of tea. I hope you enjoy it!

 

First Impressions:

 

My new Mina is a co-creation, really - Ernest Shin of Hakumin Urushi Kobo did the urushi work, and Brian Gray of The Edison Pen Company created the ebonite body and supplied the nib unit. It arrived in an Edison Pen box - nothing super fancy, but I have a nice cigar box for storage, so this doesn't matter to me. There's something about the Mina's shape that really appeals to me; it is narrower at the middle (near the section) than it is at the top of the cap and the bottom of the barrel. It looks very nice. The shiro tamenuri is beautiful, and reminds me of glaze on my favorite clay pots and bowls (the bowl in the pictures is one of my own - sadly, my technique with clay is nowhere near as good as Ernest's is with urushi!).

 

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8301/7966910232_418465e139_c.jpg

 

Appearance and Design:

This pen is beautiful! The Mina shape was co-designed by Brian Gray and Ernest Shin. The base material for the pen is ebonite; it uses a smaller #5 nib, which does not have the Edison logo on it (as the #6 nibs do). According to Brian, this pen is for people with medium-sized or smaller hands. It cannot be posted, which is a deal-breaker for some people, but has never bothered me. The urushi finish is very glossy; I think the final finish on this pen is hana-nuri, and not roiro-migaki, but I could be wrong. There is a beautiful translucence to the top layer that allows the undercoats (painted white) to show through - this is very evident on the section:

 

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8317/7966909418_c6ccba4f2d_c.jpg

 

Construction and Quality:

This pen feels well-constructed and solid, but I would not want to drop it. Of course, I would not want to drop any pen, so I guess I'm just paranoid. In the picture above, you can see the nib collar above the section. I have read reviews where people were not happy with this aspect of the pen, but I have been looking at a lot (and I mean A LOT) of pictures of the Mina, so I knew it was there, and it does not bother me.

 

Weight and Dimensions:

This pen is a great size for me. I think the urushi adds a bit to the weight, but this pen is still light and easy for me to use for long writing sessions. I like the shape of the section a lot! As I mentioned before, you definitely cannot post this pen, so it is a definite no-go for some.

 

Nib & Performance:

The Mina's 18K fine nib is wonderful! It writes with what I consider a typical Western/European fine line. I prefer my pens to have some feedback, and it just happens that Brian Gray's normal nib tuning setup gives a touch of feedback. If you prefer your nib smoother / or with more feedback, you can just let Brian (or Ernest) know, and Brian can adjust it to your preference. The pen's flow is set as a 7 on a scale of 10, and it is just how I like it. The Mina's nib comes in a screw-in assembly, meaning that it's super easy to change out nibs (18K gold or steel). I think Brian's #5 nibs are JoWo.

 

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8301/7967725958_8c79f39b22_c.jpg

 

Filling System & Maintenance:

This is one of the other deal-breakers for some people: this is a cartridge-converter pen. Brian also makes Minas as bulb-fillers, so that is an option to explore if C/Cs don't float your boat. This Mina comes with a Schmidt converter, which seems longer than some of the proprietary converters I have used, but I don't have them here in front of me so that might just be a trick of memory. It can use international standard cartridges if you prefer. Because it has no metal threads or parts which might be harmed by rogue ink, it can easily be converted into an eyedropper-filled pen.

 

Cost and Value:

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8170/7966907874_298423cddc_c.jpg

 

This pen cost me $525 - that is on the lower end of the urushi-pen price spectrum (As of when I type this, at least - Nakaya desk pens run around $400 and all of their other offerings start around $550, while Danitrio urushi pens start a little higher). The interesting thing to me is that it's pretty easy to break down the pricing of the Hakumin pens by comparing it to the equivalent pen by Edison. If you were to get a regular Mina with a steel nib, it would be $200. If you put a gold nib on it, it would be $300, so adding urushi to this cost me $225 - a fantastic deal, considering the effort put into it. I am looking forward to getting another pen from Ernest in the future! For all of those who don't necessarily like the urushi treatment, check out the regular or extended Mina at Brian's site - he has about a million materials you might like :)

Currently using:Too many pens inked to list, I must cut back! :) I can guarantee there are flighters, urushi, and/or Sheaffer Vac-fillers in the mix!!!

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I covet your pen. It is a masterpiece, and I hope I can dig deep enough someday to buy one of these combo ventures. Enjoy it, and thanks for sharing.

Sun%20Hemmi2.jpg

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I think the Mina shape and the urushi finish are perfect together. Lovely pen!

 

Thanks! Just so you know, the enthusiasm you have for your pens is one of the reasons I started looking at urushi pens (and specifically Nakayas - I am in the process of ordering a custom one) :thumbup:

Currently using:Too many pens inked to list, I must cut back! :) I can guarantee there are flighters, urushi, and/or Sheaffer Vac-fillers in the mix!!!

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I covet your pen. It is a masterpiece, and I hope I can dig deep enough someday to buy one of these combo ventures. Enjoy it, and thanks for sharing.

 

Wow, thanks! I hope you get to have one too :)

Currently using:Too many pens inked to list, I must cut back! :) I can guarantee there are flighters, urushi, and/or Sheaffer Vac-fillers in the mix!!!

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This really is a beautiful pen. Thank you for sharing it.

 

I have an acrylic Mina with a gold nib myself, and I just love it. Brian's gold nibs have a lovely writing feel. I've never tried a fine, but the medium and broad are wonderfully soft in use.

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I think the Mina shape and the urushi finish are perfect together. Lovely pen!

 

Thanks! Just so you know, the enthusiasm you have for your pens is one of the reasons I started looking at urushi pens (and specifically Nakayas - I am in the process of ordering a custom one) :thumbup:

 

 

Hooray! I'm glad it's worked out for you.

 

Ernest is doing some gorgeous work there, and I like his calligraphy very much. I was very, very tempted to purchase his Parker 51 at the LA Pen Show earlier this year, but the Nakaya Shield was up, and I just could not break through it. It's always at the back of my mind, though, that I could have him work on one of my pens. Maybe a Sheaffer Tuckaway, hmm? Hey! *Thinkin', thinkin', little wheels and gears turnin'*

 

That Mina is truly a thing of beauty.

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etherX in To Miasto

Fleekair <--French accent.

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I think the Mina shape and the urushi finish are perfect together. Lovely pen!

 

Thanks! Just so you know, the enthusiasm you have for your pens is one of the reasons I started looking at urushi pens (and specifically Nakayas - I am in the process of ordering a custom one) :thumbup:

 

 

Hooray! I'm glad it's worked out for you.

 

Ernest is doing some gorgeous work there, and I like his calligraphy very much. I was very, very tempted to purchase his Parker 51 at the LA Pen Show earlier this year, but the Nakaya Shield was up, and I just could not break through it. It's always at the back of my mind, though, that I could have him work on one of my pens. Maybe a Sheaffer Tuckaway, hmm? Hey! *Thinkin', thinkin', little wheels and gears turnin'*

 

That Mina is truly a thing of beauty.

 

He does a Parker 51? Oh, boy, I wish I hadn't read that.

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Thanks for your kind words, everyone!

 

Laura N, not only does he do Parker 51s, but he also has some really nice looking Sheaffer Snorkels, including an amazing raden piece. There is a good chance that I will get to go to the Philadelphia Pen Show, and I think he is listed as a vendor...it's going to be so hard to stick to any sort of a budget!

 

Ethernautrix, there will be at least a 3 month wait once I put in my Nakaya order - does the shield work when you don't actually have one in your possession? :)

Currently using:Too many pens inked to list, I must cut back! :) I can guarantee there are flighters, urushi, and/or Sheaffer Vac-fillers in the mix!!!

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He does a Parker 51? Oh, boy, I wish I hadn't read that.

 

Perhaps I shouldn't speak for Ernest, but I think he can transform any pen into an urushi work of art.

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etherX in To Miasto

Fleekair <--French accent.

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He does a Parker 51? Oh, boy, I wish I hadn't read that.

 

Perhaps I shouldn't speak for Ernest, but I think he can transform any pen into an urushi work of art.

 

Here's the list of vintage pens he usually works with (from his site): http://hakuminurushi.com/purchase/peninfo.html

 

It would be so cool to have one of those Touchdowns or Snorkels!

Currently using:Too many pens inked to list, I must cut back! :) I can guarantee there are flighters, urushi, and/or Sheaffer Vac-fillers in the mix!!!

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Ernest does beautiful Urushi work, and based on the information in the review his prices are lower than I expected. And of course Brian makes nice pens. The combined prices are very reasonable compared to anyone else offering similar quality.

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Ernest does beautiful Urushi work, and based on the information in the review his prices are lower than I expected. And of course Brian makes nice pens. The combined prices are very reasonable compared to anyone else offering similar quality.

 

Agreed! I think that if you get one of the larger Edison pens, the price will be slightly higher, but I think it's still worth every penny.

Currently using:Too many pens inked to list, I must cut back! :) I can guarantee there are flighters, urushi, and/or Sheaffer Vac-fillers in the mix!!!

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I was surprised by how dark your shiro tamenuri is. Looking at the Shiro Tamenuri Pearl from Ernest's webpage, the color looks to be a lighter brown while yours appear to be black. Maybe it's a lighting issue?

 

http://www.hakuminurushi.com/lacquerware/kyushitsu/pieces/shirotame/1.jpg

Please check out my blogshop for fountain pens and inks at http://inkoholicanonymous.blogspot.com/ Reviews of my pens can be found there too!

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http://hakuminurushi...ro/details.html

 

So pretty! (Urushi and maki-e techniques.)

 

 

Oh, that does look nice. Darn you. I can resist anything but temptation.

 

 

Part of me wants to apologize; part of me wants to say, "Mwahahahahaaaa!"

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etherX in To Miasto

Fleekair <--French accent.

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xuan87, I think it's a combination of my lighting (natural light, overcast) and the fact there is always some level of color variation with urushi (at least, that is the understanding I have from reading a couple of threads here) - I definitely agree that mine is darker than most that I have seen, but it's my understanding that it will gradually become lighter with age.

Currently using:Too many pens inked to list, I must cut back! :) I can guarantee there are flighters, urushi, and/or Sheaffer Vac-fillers in the mix!!!

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