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Pilot iro-utsushi dip pen

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Pilot iro-utsushi Dip Pen


For quick testing of fountain pen inks, I typically use a J. Herbin glass dip pen. I like the convenience it provides: dip it in the ink bottle, write a quick line. Then rinse under the water faucet and you're done. The biggest problem I have with the glass dip pen is that it's fiendishly difficult to control the ink flow. More often than not, I get a big blob of ink on the paper.  Recently I bumped into this simple Pilot iro-utsushi dip pen (at stiloestile.it) . It looked like a better alternative, so I decided to give it a try.




The Pilot iro-utsushi dip pen is basically a nib (F or M) attached to a holder - nothing fancy, no feed, just a nib with a handle to grip it. These dip pens come in two varieties: a cheap 8.50 EUR version in plastic, and a more luxurious 21.90 EUR version with a wood handle. I got me the maple wood version with M-nib because it's more elegant and just looks better than the plastic stuff. The nib is non-removable, so if you want multiple widths, you need to buy separate dip pens. I don't consider this a problem: the purpose of this dip pen is quick ink testing and comparison, not doing a long writing session.




This dip pen looks great, and serves its purpose well. Doing a short writing sample is quick and easy, and cleaning the nib literally takes only a few seconds (rinse and dry). One thing I don't like is that the nib is protected with a cheap plastic slip-on cylinder - the kind you also use with paintbrushes. It works and is functional, but just doesn't look great. I wish Pilot had come up with a better solution for protecting the nib - a click-on cap perhaps?




The above jars me a bit, because Pilot usually has more eye for detail. Take e.g. the built-in roll-stop. Part of the handle at the underside of the nib has been levelled, creating a flat surface that functions as a roll-stop. An ingenious idea, and one that does the job really well - nicely executed.




As a dip pen, this Pilot iro-utsushi works as advertised. There is no feed to contain and regulate ink flow, so writing is still not perfect, but it's exponentially better than the uncontrolled behaviour I get with a glass dip pen. Writing a short sample to test an ink is much more akin to what you will get with an actual fountain pen. So if you currenly use a glass dip pen for ink testing, this might be a valuable alternative. Check it out...




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Thanks for posting this. 


Nice looking nib and pen shaft. 

This would be a great pen use with India inks or other inks which would damage a fountain pen. I may have to try one. 


Agree with you that Pilot should have created a nicer-appearing cap for the pen. 

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Kind words do not cost much, yet they accomplish much - Pascal

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I tend to use a Tachikawa holder (about $6 from Jetpens).  It can take most dip nibs, or Jowo nibs if you remove the feed.  Another alternative, if you can find them, is in the vintage world, the Carter's pen tester I think it's called.  Or if you want something a little more fancy for Jowo nibs with feeds there are a few makers out there who will trun something for you. :)

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