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Review: Platinum Izumo Bamboo Weaving Yokoajiro Torafudake


fcarbon
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Hello all,

 

This is my first and rather brief fountain pen review. I have greatly enjoyed fountain pen reviews here over the years. I didn't find any reviews of this perhaps under-appreciated pen, so I thought it might be useful.

 

The Bamboo Weaving line is part of the Platinum Izumo series (since 2017). As the name suggests, cap and barrel are covered in bamboo weaving: two models in the gozame weaving technique, coated with respectively sabi-urushi in Ankokushoku (dark black) and Benikabairo (red); the third model in the yokoajiro weaving technique with torafudake: bamboo parazited by bacteria called torafukin creating black spots resulting in "tiger-spotted" bamboo. This is the model I purchased and will be reviewing here.

More technical details can be found here: https://www.platinum-pen.co.jp/e_press_290328.html - and a video of the manufacturing process here:

 

takeami.m4v

 

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The pen comes in a pen pouch in a beautiful paulownia wooden Izumo box - apologies for photographing the lid upside down … (30 cc ink bottle and converter incl.) The pouch is not as refined as we are used to from Nakaya but I’m happy to have it.

 

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I find the bamboo weaving beautiful and very comfortable to use. Yes, grime will accumulate, but like Tanizaki says in his In Praise of Shadows the “sheen of antiquity of which we hear so much is in fact the glow of grime.” And “Westerners attempt to expose every speck of grime and eradicate it, while we Orientals carefully preserve and even idealize it.” This fountain pen to me is quintessentially Japanese.

“Weaving” fountain pens are unusual but not new. Pilot created a rattan mesh pen at the end of the 1920s (see A. Lambrou’s Fountain Pens of the World p. 366); Platinum created an apparently fragile rattan mesh pen in the twenties/thirties (A.L.’s Fountain Pens of Japan p. 295), a bamboo weaving President #3776 in 2010 (FPOJ p. 312); Nakaya still offers the Kago-amime (basket mesh), inspired by the aforementioned Platinum from the twenties but woven in bamboo instead of the fragile rattan.

 

It seems like a bamboo woven “sleeve” is slid over a (metal?) barrel and cap (I assume it is metal because of the weight of the pen) - perhaps the bamboo in itself accounts for the weight. (At the end of the aforementioned video you can see what looks like a Nakaya bamboo mesh sleeve lying around.)

 

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The 18k gold nib 出雲 (“Izumo”) engraving is (to my knowledge) unique to the Bamboo Weaving models. I also believe the Bamboo Weaving pens are only available in Medium. A rather stiff but not-too-dry and not-too-wet writer with a good amount of characteristic Platinum feedback. A great writer.

 

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At 137 mm capped and 118 mm uncapped (barrel incl. nib), I would call this pen rather short unposted - although still very comfortable for my big hands (I’m 1m95). Its weight (approx. 32 grams) and barrel diameter (14,7 mm) make the pen feel substantial and when posted (171 mm) the pens becomes quite tall. Like most of my pens, I use it mostly unposted.
Generally I’m not a big fan of “screw posting” but here the barrel-end thread is less than half a turn: screw-posting the cap becomes very easy and convenient even for short note taking.
The step between barrel and section doesn’t bother me at all.

 

A great writer, a very elegant finish, it became an instant favorite.
If a (semi) flexible nib were available Nakaya-wise (their “elastics”!) and perhaps a clip, I would never need another fountain pen … I think.

 

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Thank you Kazoolaw.

Uncommon texture indeed and I should add, not as un-smooth as one would expect. The bamboo weaving is finished with a layer of translucent urushi. There is texture but the pen feels smooth enough to be very comfortable.

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Fascinating! Thank you for the photos and video!

"If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live."

– Lin Yu-T'ang

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Thank you for reviewing this beautiful pen model on which I've long had my eye!

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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