This weeks review is of the beautiful Nakaya Naka-ai Shu Unpolished (Shu-nurippanashi) Writer. This Nayaka was purchased through Classic Fountain Pens or Nibs.com as most know them as. One of the great things about getting pen from them, besides being the only US retailer for Nakaya, is that John Mottishaw checks every one out the door with his touch. He also will customize your nib anyway you can think of. This time around I went with a Fine/Soft nib and added flex. This nib is a fine that has some give to it. So you get a some line variation when pushed a little. I went a step further and had John add “flex” to it as well. He does this by thinning out the sides. I asked for the ink flow to be set at an 8/10 as I like a wet writer. Also, being a “Writer” it means it has a clip. “Cigar” signifies no clip. It comes with a standard gold clip but I changed that to a Matte gold clip to go with the unpolished look of the finish. There are so many options when ordering that the menu can seem endless even after you have decided what Nakaya you want.
On the site there is a long list of pens and they are marked what is in stock and what will have to be ordered. Since it takes anywhere from 3-9 months to order one you have to have patience. I was lucky that the one I was looking for was actually in stock, though they had just recently arrived. Bottom line is if you see what you want in stock hesitation is your worst enemy. Ill also say that if you have questions do not hesitate to call as they are very nice and know about the pens they sell. If they are unsure of something they have no problem telling you to hold on while they find out the correct answer. I ordered my pen on the Tuesday morning before Thanksgiving with my list of requests and what I wanted done to the pen. John did what he does best and got it out the door that day!
The pens shape is the Naka-ai and is an exclusive design to Classic Pens. In my eyes I see it as a combination of the Neo Standard and Piccolo. The pen being constructed of ebonite hard rubber and then coated with urushi lacquer. The pen is hand made from start to finish. Even the threads are hand cut.
The finish on the pen is called Shu Unpolished (Shu-nurippanashi). It does not go through the final phase of polishing which is what give it the unique look and slightly different feel. It has a more “organic” feel about it. When they add the final finish to the pens it leaves a super high gloss that almost leaves the pen looking wet all the time. The red color of this pen has been described by others as looking like an old red brick. I would agree with that and say its just about the perfect statement to describe the color.
The nib is 14k and again is a soft/fine with added flex. John is an amazing “artist” when it comes to nib modification and set-up. The nib was setup to my specifications which include, righty or lefty, pressure used when writing, angle of writing, how dry or wet it will write on a scale of 1-10. From there you decide the nib you want and then if you want it customized from a stub, italic, cursive italic, oblique, added flex, elastic, architect, Spencerian… etc. How good is the nib I got? It is amazing how good it is. A fine, soft & flexible nib that will write well even when flipped over. When flipped over it writes in what I would say is super extra fine. It uses a Platinum brand converter and a plastic feed. The converter can be taken apart with ease to clean it and re-lube when needed. The feed really feeds well and is able to keep up with the ink flow needed for a flex nib.
Inked up it still just weighs 26.5 grams. But don’t think for one minute it will feel light and cheap. The subtle texture of this pen and wonderful warmth of the ebonite body will immerse your senses. It will also lighten your checkbook.