Saturday, November 3, 2012

The most curvy - Danitrio Mae West II

Mae is here!

You could see Kevin's picture of this beauty here a little while ago when it hadn't arrived with me yet. Now I've had it for about two weeks - and also had one week off work, thus plenty of time to take pictures - but I wasn't satisfied enough with the pictures to show them. I'm still not, not really, but still I want to show this pen now.

Danitrio Mae West in kawari-nuri "rose gold" - Even the top of the section is decorated.

Kevin encouraged me to look at the finish in different lightings because it would make the pen's colours vary pretty much. The difference can already be seen by comparing the photos above and below this paragraph, and it is a lot more pronounced when comparing artificial light to daylight where it will look more red-and-yellow.

According to Danitrio, kawari-nuri is a really elastic term which covers all sorts of free-style lacquer work. If anyone happens to know the specific term for this kind of finish I'd be happy to be informed!

 Danitrio Mae West in kawari-nuri "rose gold" - On the ends of cap and barrel, the pencil strokes form small spirals. 

When I unpacked "Mae" it was evening, the light was dim and warm and  I was - as expected - absolutely smitten by it: The pen's surface dark gold, seemingly three dimensional, the fine golden brush strokes catching the light. Look at the cap in the picture above and you'll see how some of the golden areas reflect the light more than others. As I take the pen up in my hand the reflections will wander, highlight here and there.

Danitrio Mae West in kawari-nuri "rose gold"

In addition to the amazing lacquer finish "Mae" also has a rather unique silhouette. No straight lines here, every surface curved, tapered. The pen is the classic oversize length which it shares with a Montblanc 149, Pelikan M1000 or Visconti Homo Sapiens OS, but it's breaking those boundaries in width. Especially the cap is quite a lot fatter.
The surface, besides being gorgeous, is not as mirror-y glossy as in my other Urushi pens. There are spots where small irregularities can be seen and felt, betraying what's going on under the surface, that those vivid brush strokes indeed have formed a relief before being covered by transparent lacquer.

 Danitrio Mae West in kawari-nuri "rose gold" - red or golden? I couldn't say. 

The nib is the usual smaller Danitrio nib which my Takumi and Octagon share. It comes in a variety of sizes, both stiff and flexible. It's the least spectacular thing about the pen, in fact it needs some tweaking, but that lead to me taking the leap and exchanging the nib on my own (I'm still kind of holding my breath). The nibs pulled quite easily, resetting took a few tries, not because it was hard to get nib and feed back in but because fractions of millimeters mean a lot to how the ink flow will behave. I'm satisfied with the results. Mae still has a flexible stub nib, but one tweaked by John Sorowka.
(There's only one occasion I got more ink on my fingers: When I wanted to eyedropper fill a pen and overestimated its ink capacity. Of course if you were sensible and patient you would flush the pen with water first.)

 Danitrio Mae West in kawari-nuri "rose gold" - Writing sample with flexible stub nib and  Diamine "Ancient Copper" 

I like to match pen and ink colour wise and Ancient Copper seems like the perfect choice here.

Danitrio's flexible nibs are, unlike some other so-called modern day nibs, truly very flexible, so much so that sometimes the feed will just give up on providing the necessary ink flow. On these occasion capillary action between the tines will break, leading to "railroading" clearly visible in the lower part of writing sample (which I made happen for you for totally scientific purposes of course).

Like most other aspects of fountain pen writing this is highly dependent on the nib/paper/ink combination. With this ink railroading happens on Rhodia paper more frequently than on the Clairfontaine Triomphe. With another ink it might be quite different, still I doubt the nib could provide flex for pages on end like a vintage flex pen. Still those Danitrio nibs have a wonderfully soft feel to them and also, due to the yielding tines, seem to me more forgiving in terms of writing angles than other stubs and italics.


  1. I have ordered the same!! Kevin is such a nice seller. Is a CC or a eyedropper?

  2. MissElderberry: Gorgeous! And the pens aren't bad looking either!

  3. I am about to sell a similar pen. How much should I ask for it?