Saturday, October 6, 2012

The most gorgeous red - Nakaya Dorsal Fin

Personal Best of, Part 3

from left to right: Nakaya Portable, Danitrio Mikado, Nakaya Dorsal Fin, Danitrio Genkai. All red Urushi.

Sometimes when I look at this pen I need to suppress a giggle because I think that this would be the ultimate vampire's pen (yes, I admit, I've read those novels about vampires and stuff and found them entertaining) - and of course I'm not talking about it glittering in the sunlight. I have accumulated a modest collection of red Urushi pens by now - and you will probably get to see some of them over time -, but none is as radiant, as deep and clear in colour as this one. It's just in-your-face: I am a red pen, indeed! I can't help but love it.

2 slits: A Nakaya music nib.
Doesn't the lacquer look as if it's still wet, as if you might leave a smear when you touch it? But the finish is one of the most durable ever. It's hard to achieve and potentially bad for your health as well because the raw lacquer contains a substance called Urushiol which has effects similar to poison ivy. In the cured and dried lacquer, Urushiol is no longer present and the surface is remarkably robust against oils, acids and mechanical stress. One of the few things it doesn't like is excessive sunlight, which brings us back to the vampire thing.

If you order a custom made Nakaya, as I did with this one, the maki-e artists will offer you to personalize the pen with Kanji painted on the barrel. The kanji on this pen are in gold. They say "Writer" in an artistic sense. This should refer to me as well as the pen.

The golden insert in the grip section is called a "Zogan". It's made of a little gold plate then covered with clear Urushi.

Seen enough red pen? Well then. One last close-up of the nib.

Music nibs are very wet and broad writers with stubbish character. I'm going to add a writing sample when I feel like it (PS: Added it. Ha!). At the moment it's inked with Diamine Sargasso Sea, a deep blue with a red sheen - for the little vampire factor from within. 

Which of these reds is your personal favourite?


  1. Hi Miss Elderberry,
    Can you recommend the Dorsal for a lady, or is this pen too big to write with comfort?

    1. Hi there,
      I don't really have huge hands myself and I find it very comfortable. Size and girth are comparable to a Montblanc 149. Like most Nakayas it's not overly heavy too. It depends on your personal preference, you should like larger pens. If you find anything north of a Pelikan M600 uncomfortable I wouldn't recommend it.
      What I would do if I were to order a Dorsal Fin again: Take the version 2 which also has a fin on the barrel, though it is somewhat more expensive it looks even nicer.

  2. Hi, thanks for your reply. If the Dorsal is comparable to the MB 149, then i will be fine:-) I have contact with for a Version 2:-)
    Any thoughts on the nib? My wife has a small handwriting. How about a medium nib with cursive italic modification? She has experience with Caligraphy.
    I hope i am not bothering you with my questions. I don't know much about fountain pens but do want to give her a perfect gift. I already spent hours and hours online to learn all about FP's.

    1. What a thoughtful gift! I'm pretty sure your wife will be delighted. I'll gladly help as much as I can.
      As for the nib size I have noticed that the cursive italics from are pretty "sharp". They require a light hand or they can feel scratchy with narrower nibs. My narrowest CI from John Mottishaw is 0.6 mm and I really have to keep an eye on my writing pressure with that one. For me on a nib as narrow as a medium a stub (with somewhat more rounded edges) would be preferable, but your mileage may vary. Maybe you could also work something out with in case the nib you've picked turns out not to be perfect for your wife's writing style? They're always very helpful.

  3. Hi, just placed the order at Nibs. It will be a Nakaya Broad nib with cursive italic cut. They will pay extra attention to the smoothness of the writing. Thanks for the help!