Eat your heart out Chubby Checker!
A few years back I was lucky enough to get my hands on a Dodge Viper for a little while. When I was handed the keys I was so busy drooling over the glossy red paint job that I almost missed being told that with all that horsepower I needed to treat it with respect or things could get ugly real quickly. So when I opened the box from John Mottishaw with my new Nakaya Decapod Twist, I couldn’t help but feel that same level of apprehension – the only difference being that the Nakaya had an even better paint job.
Like some of the mainstream Platinum pens this one comes wrapped in a really slick mulberry paper box. Inside is a beautiful Kanji covered paulownia wood box lined in velvet. Secured under a strap is the Decapod tucked in a blue and gold “kimono” pen wrap. Drawing the Decapod from the kimono for the first time was amazing – like drawing a beautiful sword from it’s sheath (no the pen does not make you a Samurai). The overall presentation is well done and shows a level of detail you expect to see at this price point.
The first thing you notice is the almost wet looking Kuro-Tamenuri urushi lacquer. The deep glossy black is offset along the twisting edges by bright red urushi. This is done by layering many coats of one color over the other and then carefully sanding back the top layers to reveal the color below. The base of the pen is ebonite and there is something fantastic about this material – it warms quickly in your hand and feels very natural while writing with it – not cold or slick like other resin and metal pens. What is interesting about these urushi pens is that over time the lacquer continues to cure and the red will become more prominent. To test this I am taking a photo every few weeks – should be interesting to see how it ages. The section is very comfortable and has a small flare at the end. It has also been sanded to reveal red around the edges and even a hint is visible on the threads.
I opted for the 14k soft-fine nib and it is really fantastic – allowing for great flex with very little pressure, but springing right back when you let up on the nib. While I was thinking of getting John to add his signature “flex” to the nib I decided to try it out in stock form for a few weeks first to see if I liked it – and so far I am loving it. The writing experience is flawless with no hard starts or railroading even during quick passes with the pen. It does have that hint of feedback that I love in Japanese pens but it’s just enough so the pen feels like it has tension on the paper and isn’t running away from you. The design on the nib features the Nakaya logo in the center surrounded by scroll work with 14k and fine-flexible below in kanji (細軟).
I went with the cigar model – mostly because I thought the clip visually got in the way of the beautiful twist of the pen. Overall the cigar measures 5.88″ (149mm) from top of the cap to bottom of the barrel. Posted (which I can’t see doing for fear of hurting the finish) is 6.97″ (172mm). Uncapped it’s 5″ (128mm) from tip of the nib to the bottom of the barrel. The diameter of the pen is .4″ ( 10.4mm) at the section, rising to .6″(16mm) at the threads then tapering down in each direction towards the ends of the cap and barrel.
The Nakaya comes with a Platinum converter and a box of Platinum cartridges to get you started. I inked it up for it’s first run with some Iroshizuku Kon-Peki and have already refilled it twice in two weeks – such a great writer.
While the pen is certainly expensive ($750) there is a lot of time and craftsmanship that goes into its production and that is very evident in the fit and finish. If you are looking for a very unique pen, but find the complexity of the maki-e pens a bit much, then the Decapod Twist may just fit the bill.
Check out nibs.com for more info on the full Nakaya lineup.