Iron gall tips from ink maker Gary
Gary is a fountain pen enthusiast from southern Japan with a knack for chemistry. A few years ago, he started experimenting with iron gall inks. This eventually led to a collaboration with Platinum, resulting in the Classic Ink series. He has also made inks for Pen Saloon and Wagner. A few months ago, Gary published a few observations and lessons using iron gall inks in fountain pens, on his Japanese blog.
Legendary nibmeister Nagahara reground my nibs
The nib is fine! Don’t worry. In fact, it’s more than fine: It’s a Concord, by none less than grandmaster Yukio Nagahara (“Nagahara Junior"), who recently started his own business, The Nib Shaper. But let’s start from the beginning. It was a busy weekend at Bungubox in Omotesando: Nagahara did nib grinding, Eboya had a small pop-up shop around the corner, and Ken Takeda (who recently appeared on The World Unknown To Matsuko to talk about ink) did “ink fortune-telling”.
PenBBS 352 Galaxy with EF nib
Sailor has its Pro Gears, Pilot has Custom 91 and 912, and now PenBBS has model 352: Flat-top cartridge-converter pens with stylish clips. Modern-looking complements to classic, cigar-shaped models in their respective product lineups. Model 352 is one of PenBBS’s two new releases in June (the other one being vac filler 268), and comes in a number of different acrylics and with several nib options. The one I got is called Galaxy, and has PenBBS’s new extra-fine or REF nib.
Yoseka's minimalist notebook makes ink pop
Yoseka Stationery is a stationery store in NY, founded in 2017 by a Taiwanese couple. Earlier this week, they sent one of their products, the Yoseka Notebook, for me to test. For the last few days, I’ve been carrying and writing in this notebook. That also included bringing it to a pen meet where it encountered some of the wettest nibs around, such as music flex nibs by nib maniac @tokyostationpens.
Golden Armour: Fine Writing International's 6th Generation Brass Pen
Fine Writing International (FWI) is a Taiwanese pen maker and stationery store. In addition to their own production line pens, FWI produces exotic, one-off urushi creations, and imports and sells foreign brands (see Inkantadora’s video tour). Until recently, FWI was relatively unheard of internationally. As late as May last year, when I got my first FWI pen, I had to order it directly from Taiwan, via email. Things have changed since then.
Pen Trading in Tokyo 2019
Pen Trading in Tokyo (ペントレ) is an annual pen show organized by “Pen Collectors of Japan”. It is arguably the place to find rare Japanese pens, and thus attended by some of the most dedicated collectors around. It is not just about vintage pens though. This year’s show was the 19th. It was a three-day event, with the first day focused on presentations, paraphernalia, and Kakuno hacking, and the two remaining days on gold-nibbed pens, new and old.
A Sailor KOP with urushi decoration by Bokumondoh
Japan has a long tradition of urushi lacquerware, going all the way back to the Jomon period. Over the years, multiple regional forms such as Wajima-nuri and Kyo Shikki, and decorative techniques like maki-e and chinkin, have evolved. Urushi is a time-consuming craft. Sap is extracted from the lacquer tree, filtered, often mixed with pigment such as vermilion, and painstakingly coated in many layers, on everything from rice bowls and trays to cars.
Eboya Houga, an ebonite pen handmade in Tokyo
Eboya is a Tokyo-based pen maker that has been around since 2009. Their specialty is pens made of ebonite, polished on traditional rokuro lathes. Eboya’s parent company is Nikko Ebonite, the only producer of ebonite in Japan. Eboya has seven pen fountain pen models, including the Onoto-inspired Kyouka, the bamboo-like Ricchiku, and the torpedo-shaped Houga. Each model is available in several types of marbled ebonite, in small, medium, and large sizes, with an appropriately-sized 14K Bock nib in F, FM, M, or B.
Maruzen's 150th anniversary Athena pen
Storied stationery retailer and bookstore Maruzen is celebrating their 150th anniversary this year. To commemorate this occasion, Maruzen produced three limited edition pens: A Sailor KOP in micarta (Voyage), a yellow Pilot based on Custom 912 (Lemon), and the subject of this post: Athena the Pen. The name, Athena, may be familiar to fountain pen enthusiasts. Maruzen has a popular series of inks carrying this label, including the sought-after Eternal Blue, and even more exotic ones sold only once a year, at their annual pen fair.
First Impressions: PenBBS 380 Silver Velvet with M nib
Long37, the mastermind behind Chinese pen maker PenBBS and owner of its namesake discussion forum, has been on a roll lately. Last autumn, PenBBS released the double-ended 469 and 456 vacuum filler in rapid succession, followed by the somewhat controversial 355 “bulkfiller” just before year-end. This year has already seen two new models: The 471 pocket pen, and the subject of this post: Model 380. In late December, PenBBS member Beini posted a teaser image on Instagram.