I recently got a chance to trade two pens I once loved, but have fallen out of passion with, for a Nakaya Decapod. It came from a fellow Pen Geek who bought it used, so I’m a little fuzzy on which finish it might be. My best guess is kuro-tamenuri that has had time for the red to grow stronger. But it is possible this pen is aka-tamenuri, I invite your guesses and arguments in the comments.
The trade went smoothly and delightfully as all things should between pen friends and I found myself holding in my hands a pen I never expected to own. First because it is my second Nakaya, a brand I only ever expected to own one of. And it’s a decapod, with a clip, both things that have never attracted my attention. But it had an elastic nib which is something I’ve been wanting to get my hands on ever seen I saw the excellent video by Leigh Reyes. For a full explanation of what an elastic nib is, or is not, please follow that link and watch her video.
Because this is not a flex nib. I wonder if it has been re-homed a number of times partly because flex was the expectation? It was not mine, and I love the nib, if its purpose is to feel like writing with a brush it succeeds; but without all the mess that comes from using a real brush. Like all Nakaya I have held, the decapod is extremely comfortable to use. It is quite a bit longer than my fat little piccolo, giving it a feel closer to Renee Meeks creation, my custom Scriptorium Pen. Even those with large hands should find no need to try to post this pen, which is good as doing so is never recommended with a Nakaya.
(As always, click to enlarge)
The clip is functional and simple, and I won’t use it. I don’t clip pens into shirt pockets, not having any, and my pens live in silk pen wraps snuggled all down inside, with no clips hanging out to bang against one another. But it does keep the cap from rolling off the desk and that’s important in a pen that does not post. And now we come to the drawback of a decapod, those 10 sides never, ever line up after capping the pen. If you catch the threads right it will screw down tight and line up perfectly but I’ve yet to manage it. It bothers me, more than a little I’ll admit. I like things to line up neatly. It is rather something I consider a spiritual growing edge, to become able to let go of perfection, to not worry about such a silly thing in such a beautiful instrument. The Divine Writer chuckles a little ever time I cap the pen and sigh that, yet again, I missed the sweet spot. (I suspect she thinks it is good for me.)
The section is, as always, comfortable. And the nib is divine, when it doesn’t run dry. Here is where Nakaya (and Platinum) really need to redesign something. The converter has the same issue as every other Plantinum/Nakaya converter I’ve ever used. Ink sticks to the walls of the converter and starves the feed. Fortunately, the solution is simple: cut open a Platinum cartridge and take out the little agitating ball, insert it into the converter, problem solved. (Did you hear that Platinum?)
Once ink is flowing properly? Well the elastic nib gives one of the feeling of writing on a cushion of air. It bounces delightfully through the up and down strokes, making me want to write on and on. Line variation can be achieved with a bit of pressure but be careful and cautious. This is no flex nib and too much pressure will lead to tragedy sooner or later, enjoy the bounce and leave the flex for another pen.
The fine nib is smooth and very wet, and as expected even long writing sessions are comfortable.
The pen itself shows off the beauty of the urushi finish, even more than Gin Nami, here the multiple layers of lacquer are obvious, at an angle what appears to be solid black reveals depths of color as the finish fades and the red beneath shows through more and more. The decapod will continue to change color as she ages and reacts to both the oils of my hands and the sunlight that reaches her when in use.
Today, in this finish, with an elastic nib modification this decapod would cost about $890 direct from Nakaya (before shipping or customs charges.) Pre-loved Nakaya can be had for less if you are watchful and patient, they do not come up for sale frequently as these pens tend to stay where they land, but every now and then one gets lucky, as I did.