Brief Description of Products 

Maki-e

Maki-e is a Japanese lacquer art that utilizes urushi lacquer to decorate.
Stemming from the words “maku” meaning “to sprinkle” and “e” meaning “painting,” maki-e is a technique that a gold powder is sprinkled over after undercoating, painting and coloring so as to obtain a luxury and stereoscopic effect.
The quality of maki-e largely depends on the work process of shitaji (undercoating) and uwanuri (top coating) that affect the total outcome, and finally the togidashi (polishing of the surface to make it flat) after the top coating determines the quality of the final work.
The maki-e technique is distinguished from other decorating techniques such as hyomon technique in which haku and kirigane (gold foils thicker than haku) are used other than a gold powder, rankaku technique (decoration using fragments of quail and chicken egg shell to express the white color), and raden craft, which is a decoration made by inlaying shells like turbo marmoratus and abalone.
It is also distinguished from chinkin technique, in which the gold powder or haku are inlayed into the carved surface.


  

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Urushi (Japanese lacquer)
While porcelain is also called “China” worldwide, urushi is also known as “Japan,” which is considered a material that represents Japanese craft. The name urushi derives from the word “uruwashii (beautiful)” or “uruoshi (moisten).” It has been used for more than 7,000 years and was vital to the people’s life along with cattle from ancient times. Since the sap of urushi has strong adhesive properties, it was a very important material to provide protection and extra strength to the tableware such as bowls.
Urushi is the brown sap obtained from the Japanese lacquer tree. The mixture of this sap and the diatomaceous earth provides adhesion to the tableware and furniture by improving the durability of the products. The special method called nunokise, which urushi coating is applied for reinforcement after covering the tableware and other daily products with cloth, is regarded as proof of durability and remains in use today in such areas as Wajima (the current Ishikawa Prefecture) and Negoro (the current Wakayama Prefecture).
Japanese lacquer trees grow mainly in high humidity areas, therefore, they are cultivated not only in China and Japan, but also widely seen in Southeast Asian countries. The trees take eight to nine years after planting until sap can be extracted. For this reason, urushi imported from China is mainly used for undercoating to compensate for the lack of Japanese lacquer trees in Japan, and in recent years, it has become difficult to find an everyday product using higher quality Japanese urushi. (After urushi is refined and strained, it is called ki-urushi)
With the mixture of pigments into ki-urushi, colored urushi such as black or shu (red) are made, thus enabling them to use not just as adhesive, but also as coloring and decoration.。
The surface of urushi has a darker color right after application due to its brown color of urushiol element found in urushi. After being exposed to air and ultraviolet, it gradually increases the transparency and its original bright color comes back.
At the same time, urushi hardens into a stronger surface, which is believed to be the reason why all artifacts stored in Shosoin, a treasure house in Nara, still maintain their shapes and the brightness of the colors over a long period of time. (Urushi deteriorates by being exposed too much to the ultraviolet light))

When the area was under Hideyoshi Toyotomi’s control, he set up urushi industry to reconstruct the town. Ujisato Gamo gathered wooden craftsman called “kijishi” from Ohmi province (the current Shiga Prefecture), and established and promoted a production system of mainly everyday products such as dishes and Buddhist altar.



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Kaga Makie
Kaga Makie originated as part of the production promotion policy implemented by Toshiie Maeda who developed Kaga into the wealthiest province with a net worth of 1 million koku, which was called Kaga Maeda Hyakumangoku.
It started as an elegant and gorgeous art crafts for the feudal lords such as the production of wedding products and inro (a small lacquer box with compartments for medicines, cosmetics, etc.). It is recognized as popular Japanese crafts along with “kutani ware” and “Wajima nuri” in Hokuriku District. For this reason, many of them are one-of-a-kind products, mostly made using a luxury taka-makie technique. Platinum Pen selects Japanese popular maki-e and its excellent technique applying to our maki-e fountain pen. Designs of our Kaga makie pens have been determined together with Mr. Sohkoh Ooshita (pseudonym: Sohkoh), and we delegate him the production and finishing of the pen.




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Urokomon
As you can see, this pattern has been done by small triangles and is commonly used in a tea caddy called natsume since ancient time. Although Urokomon has different patterns, Platinum Pen uses this pattern to give a sparkling look by applying variety of materials such as maki-e and raden (blue sea shell).

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Carbon Fiber
A fountain pen made of carbon material consists of carbon fiber cloth made of carbon fibers that are five microns in diameter. After the layered carbon cloths are molded, clear coating finishing is applied. It provides a beauty of carbon matrix body and aluminum metal rhodium plating. This ultra light fountain pen that weighs only 25 grams is an innovation of art.
The pen mainly uses a high-performance carbon fiber produced by East Toray Industries, Inc. that weights only 1/4 of iron while being more than 10 times as strong as the iron. For this, the carbon fiber is also applied for the body structure of space stations and aircrafts. Micron-unit sized carbon fiber’s texture shines beautifully from the deep, changing according to the light’s direction.


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Briar
Briar is a deciduous shrub called Erica arborea of the heather family originating from the Mediterranean area. The wood is hard and heat-resistant, which is often used for making cane grips or pipes. Our fountain pen is made from 25 to 100-year-old briar burl stump. It is popular for its beautiful wood grain, which the more you use, the shinier it gets. It will surely be a treasured pen.
Platinum Pen uses briar for the whole barrel (except for the cover) after the burl being casted thinly. If you take a closer look, small parts like a crown’s surface is bent. Sometimes we receive inquiries about the making process from the engineers of the manufacturer.



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Celluloid
Before celluloid became used not only in pens but in a variety of industrial products, it had been widely used in several products for its beautiful color reproduction until plastic was invented. A pressed board of layered celluloid is sliced and rolled into a pipe shape mold one by one, and finally they all form a shape of a pen. Due to the nature of celluloid material, a drying process is applied at every manufacturing stage, which in total takes half year to finish the production.
Generally, in the case of a celluloid pen, a 2cm2 block is cut out with a lathe, however, we use the rolling method as mentioned above. Due to the standard lathe process, a seam is visible on the body (seam roll), which at the same time is a sign of our unique production method. Unlike the lathe manufacturing process, we can make a seamless beautiful surface by applying our method when choosing a pattern like a gold fish.。
In addition, we applied a bending process to the crown and the corner of the barrel, so that the whole body is wrapped with celluloid.
You can see some of the manufacturing process on the website of Nakaya Fountain Pen.



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Leather Rolling
Since 1966 when we first produced our leather rolling fountain pen “Platinum Sheep,” we have been nurturing our technology for rolling leather on a curved surface. Specifically, we have applied a special process on the barrel, which forms the base of leather, and made at a near seamless leather barrel to provide an outstanding product.
This multi-function pen uses a cowhide tanning on its barrel. Tanned leather is created by cowhide using tanning. Tanning, also known as vegetable tanning, is produced using natural vegetable extracts from the bark and leaves of the plants, and it is distinguished from a chrome tanning made by using mineral.。
It is a traditional method from the ancient time using natural materials of plant and animal origin. By using this method, a natural leather texture that comes from the animal skin or shading is reproduced faithfully, while such texture and color gradually change depending on how they are cared for and maintained. 。
Although Platinum Pen only uses the best part of the leather for the pen, each is a little different from the next due to the fact that leather is a natural material which would be the favorable part. On the other hand, for being all natural, the white powder that is the substance of the leather may be seen before using the pen or during the storage. This can be removed by wiping it off with a moist cotton cloth. Please take good care of the product to make it your treasured pen.





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Ultra Extra Fine
This is the nib that stands out among the lineup of Platinum Pen’s nibs. The size is ultrafine like a needle, thus it is referred to as a “needle point” in other countries. Due to the fine nib, there is a sense of scratchy writing, but it provides you a distinct writing.
While calligraphy is a popular hobby overseas, professional calligraphers use an ultra extra fine pen, rather than a music pen that has a split nib for writing double lines. In our factories, the manufacturing process of the ultra extra fine pens requires a lot of handwork along with the music pens, which naturally consumes more time and efforts. However, we are more than happy to provide them as long as there is a need.


Ink (Blue Black)
Blue Black ink stands out among other inks for its excellent characteristics. It does not cause discoloration by exposure to the sun or moisture while being highly water resistant and suitable for permanent preservation. In addition, once the ink is dried, it does not come off with water. The ink boasts a unique feature, which does not bleed much when you first start writing or does not bleed through the paper. In the past, the ink was sold mainly for the purpose to use for official documents since they needed to be well preserved, but large manufacturers do not sell them anymore.
The ink’s origin dates back to the 22nd century and its popularity grew in the 12th century. At that time, ink was made from tree sap and nuts, and the ink was put into the wine and beer to prevent mold during the 16th to 17th centuries. Current ink was introduced in the 19th century.
Blue black ink is not simply produced by mixing blue and black inks. The oxidation of the ion from ferrous to ferric causes deposition of black color, and by adding a dye and acid, it provides smooth writing.。
Blue black ink is not about the color such as “bluish black” or “blackish blue.” When you start writing, the color is blue, however as years go by, the blue colors will gradually fade away and only the black iron remains on the paper. The name “blue black” comes from this function, not the color itself. At first, the color is blue and changes to black with the years. Deep navy-blue color is the unique characteristic that may be produced with this ink.
Blue Black ink has different color fixation from other inks that utilize carbon or pigment ink. The component of the blue black ink is the reason for the long preserving letters. In case of dealing with the ink in bottle, the ink can oxidize and cause deposition of tannin iron complex when leaving the lid open, or when the ink gets old. The spare ink also does not come off with water when it is dried out, so it requires a cleaning (wash with water) once every three to four months.

The ink is water soluble, but at the same time, it does not come off with water when it is dried out. Therefore, the ink as well as the spare one require a cleaning (wash with water) once every three to four months.。
 



Parts

Despite of being a product priced under ¥1,000, MWB-1000C is made of a number of parts (a total of 32) as seen in the photograph below.



MWBP-3000 is a multi-function pen that comes with an extendable mechanical pencil. The mechanical pencil comes out by extending and twisting, then, the lead is pushed out. A total of 35 small parts are assembled to support such a mechanism.