Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Hardwood Grip

Today’s fountain pen spotlight focuses on a pen produced in such limited numbers, it may be unfamiliar to many aficionados, even those who name Sailor among their favorites. Mine is a recent gift from a good friend, someone I often refer to as my fountain pen sensei, or teacher.

Three years ago, in March of 2007, Sailor released a limited edition fountain pen crafted especially for the annual Mitsukoshi fountain pen clinic. The clinic is held each year for three days in March at their main store in Ginza. Each year Nobuyoshi Nagahara, Sailor’s living treasure nib-meister, makes an appearance, at the clinic. The model released at the 2007 clinic is one called the “Tagayasan,” written using the three characters in the photo. The name comes from the wood that the pen is crafted from, which in English is ironwood. I understand from my friend that only between twenty and thirty of these pens were produced.

The Sailor Tagayasan is handmade from one of the extremely hard woods we call ironwood. There are many varieties of ironwood, and which of those hardwoods Sailor chose to use has not been noted anywhere, to my knowledge. Though the wood grain is clearly visible in the dark brown wood, I thought at first that it was acrylic resin because of the several coats of lacquer applied to the wood. The hardwood is quite heavy, so the Tagayasan weighs slightly over thirty grams, only a shade under what the larger Pelikan Souverän 1000 weighs. Adding to the weight is a heavier than usual gold band at the base of the cap, which includes an extra beveled band below the usual one. In length, it is 13.5 cm with cap, and 15.5 cm posted.

As with all Sailor fountain pens, the nib is what it’s all about. The Tagayasan comes with Nobuyoshi Nagahara’s long-proven Naginata Togi nib. Mine is a little unusual when compared to my other Naginata nibbed pens, this one surprisingly hard and inflexible. It is a medium, 21k iridium tipped nib, and at first I thought it odd, or out of whack because of the stiffness. It took several pages of writing to show me that it is simply an inflexible nib, and despite my preferences for more flex, there is nothing about it to detract from the elegant line of ink it lays down. I have a feeling that over the months of regular use, it will develop a measure of flexibility.

The writing sample in the photo here was done with Ajisai (hydrangea) ink, from the Iroshizuku series.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful pen. Thanks for introducing me to a Sailor that I'm not familiar with.


About Me

My photo
Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America