The Nakaya/Platinum Pen Clinic.

Mr. Yoshida sat behind a table of treasures: nib testers from super fine to music, trays filled with new wonders of chinkin and maki-e. He was gracious about my fangirlness. When I took three Nakayas out of my pen kimono, his eyes widened and he smiled. He asked me, through his interpreter (whom I later learned was a freelancer), what my problems were with the pens. I said, flow. He asked me what I used the pens for, because the level of flow would depend on that. I showed him how I wrote and he nodded.

He then proceeded to knock out all the feeds and replace them with new ones, which he took from a tiny plastic box.

Nakaya fangirl action!

Nakaya fangirl action! I asked the interpreter to take this picture for me. In front of me are nib samples to show finishes, and the nib tester stand.

Heating the feed

Mr. Yoshida heats the new feed so it conforms in the best possible way to the nib.

This contraption had water inside. He plugged it in and waited for the water to boil before pressing the feed against a tiny slit on top. Beside that contraption is an ultrasonic cleaner. The water is dark from ink. On top of it is a rubber bulb attached to a Nakaya/Platinum cartridge with (I assume) the bottom taken out. He used this to flush the pens.

Beautiful tools

The tools are few and simple: pliers, two kinds of tine separators, polishing stones, a loupe. His working cloth is a classic Japanese indigo pattern.

He encouraged me to ask questions while he was working on my pens. He liked drawing diagrams. Here are two of them. The one on the left explains why people who bear down really hard on their nibs eventually complain about no ink flow. The one on the right explains why the angle of the nib versus the paper is one of the determining factors behind ink flow.

Mr. Yoshida's nib sketches.

Mr. Yoshida's nib sketches.

Fine-tuning a nib

Fine-tuning a nib

He used figure 8s and small sweeps to adjust my nibs to the angle of my handwriting, looking at the nibs through his loupe every few strokes. He also moved from one polishing stone to another. He would hand the pen to me to try, and I would describe if I felt any roughness or too much resistance by writing in the air. He would mirror my gesture and then return the nib to the polishing stone.

A guarantee of craftsmanship

A guarantee of craftsmanship

His personal pen is a weighted Piccolo with a music nib. He brought it out of its Cohiba cigar case to write my name and the date on a document guaranteeing his craftsmanship. I asked about his ink – a black with a strong hint of brown. He said he’d asked the Sailor guys to make it especially for him. (Talk about job perks.)

I am delighted to report that the Nakayas are now well-behaved and flowy. Even the new one. Yes, a new Nakaya has joined the three in the kimono.

Writing, before and after

Writing, before and after

The “Aes” on the upper part of the sheet was how the ishi-me kan-shitsu wrote before the adjustment. Everything else is after. Mr. Yoshida’s first question about this pen was actually about the ink – he believes that not all ink is the same, and every ink flows differently depending on its composition.

A sneak peek at the new Nakaya

A sneak peek at my new Nakaya

I drooled all over the new Nakayas Mr. Yoshida displayed on his table. The hairline finish is in my sights, as are the new chinkin styles. But I really wanted a heki tame, and found the Neo Standard shape very comfortable in the hand. That will be in the next blog entry. In the meantime, enjoy the Nakaya eye candy.

Nakaya hairline finish

Nakaya hairline finish

New chinkin patterns on Nakaya clipless cigars

From left to right: Sumi Ascending dragon, maki-e, new chinkin patterns on Nakaya clipless cigars

Piccolo, regular Decapod, Piccolo Decapod

Piccolo, regular Decapod, Piccolo Decapod. The light turquoise Piccolo is the same as the undertone in heki tame.

An assortment

Nakayas in the Aesthetic Bay display case. There's the Aesthetic Bay Long Piccolo, Cigars with clips, the Neo Standard. On the upright pens you can see stoppers: a Piccolo, a tiger, and the one that came home with me, a dragon.

  • Okami

    I LOVE that Sumi Ascending dragon – unfortunately, unless I win the lottery I don’t think I can even add it to my wishlist.

  • TAO

    What an experience! Another fangirl fantasy realized. 🙂

  • TAO

    I wish someone like Mr. Yoshida would be at the D.C. pen show this year. Sigh. Oh well, I’ll just have to be happy with all the other stuff. 🙂

  • Inkophile

    Now that’s a dream fulfilled, getting your pens adjusted perfectly. Did you pick up some new tricks you can use at home?

    Love the turquoise Piccolo and the new chinkin patterns. Thanks for the opportunity to drool. 🙂

  • Thomas

    I live 15mins away from ION and still haven’t been :/ .

    Will definitely go this week- looks like you have a fantastic experience!

  • Malc

    Fantastic and fascinating. What a shame I live in England, I would have loved to have had this opportunity – but a great report, thank you.

  • Alberto

    Cool experience and well documented posted covering it.

  • ethernautrix

    I love this post, Leigh! Thank you for sharing your experience.

    *Grapples with want*

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  • Ingrid Hansen

    Wow. I like the illustration about nib angle. Your pen is so much more expressive after adjustment. Now I have something to ask about when I go to a pen show and I’ll bring my favorite pens.

  • leighpod

    Hi Ingrid! Glad you like the blog. No pen shows in my part of the world – you’re lucky to be able to get to one! 🙂

  • togotooner

    Leigh…I’d like to ask you a question about your experience with nibs. Being a cartoonist and illustrator,….I’ve always wondered what would be more expressive when it comes to trying to achieve a variable width line in my art using a fountain pen. Do you find it easier (based on smoothness and control) to get a nice expressive line stroke with a music nib, stub nib or a super flexy fine nib? For someone with a fast hand, I have always wondered if maybe a Music nib might offer the expressive line easier and smoother than what I have always thought perceived to be only available in a fine flex nib.

    Lately as I have seen some Cursive Italics and Music Nibs being used, I often wonder if maybe they could offer an alternative to a straight Fine nib with extra flex added.

  • FPD

    WOW thats awesome! Thanks so much for sharing your experience and photos with us.

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