Kakimori – the Nibs

Update and Tips #1 (08/08/22): I was able to hang out at the River City Pen Company’s table during the 2022 DC Pen Show. I enjoyed my time sharing what I knew about using dip nibs and Rich’s nib holders. One show attendee mentioned that she disliked the Kakimori nib she had. She could not write with it. I gave her a few suggestions to try her nib again. One was to use a different fountain pen ink brand and color or use her favorite ink. Another was to lighten her grip on the nib holder. The other suggestion and probably the most important one is to write in the same position and angle as if you had a fountain pen in your hand.

Update #2 (08/08/22): I forgot to mention that I hosted an “after hours” pen & ink workshop for the exhibitors. Just for fun, I handed out my Kakimori nibs with my resin nib holders to try out. One had the brass nib and the other had the steel nib. I gave no instructions on how to use. They immediately took to this nib and nib holder immediately and spent some time writing with it. A few minutes later, they quickly exchanged nib and nib holder to see how the other nib felt in their hand. This was a great experiment for me to observe and I received positive feedback on both. It was interesting to see one attendee preferred the steel nib with the finer writing feel and the other attendee preferred the brass nib and the wetter lines that it could create.

(Original post begins here)

I found another nib that works great with my inky swatchings. They are round nibs and appears to have eight sides with long cut outs along the sides.

The cutouts allow for ink to settle into the nib when dipped into a bottle of ink. This allows for longer writing sessions before having to the dip the nib back into ink. You know what? It really does work.

I saw there were two offerings available. One in stainless steel and one in brass. I went with the stainless steel version as I know I would not have to worry about rust or much discoloration after use.

I took a picture for those who are curious as to what the backside of the nib looks like. The nib is hollow until the start of the cutouts. This allows the nib to sit into the nib holder.

The stainless still nib feels a bit stiff when I write with the nib. In my normal writing angle of around 45 degrees I can get a nice line width. I can also feel some feedback while writing. When I hold the nib slightly below my normal writing angle, I can get a broad stroke of color on my paper.

I enjoyed my stainless steel nib so much, that I went ahead and ordered a brass nib. I read about the differences between these two nibs. The brass nib tends to be softer and can produce broader lines. It’s also good for artists to use in their sketches.

I can definitely feel a difference between the two nibs. The brass feels a bit softer and produces a smoother experience while writing. I can also get broader strokes of color across my paper.

Do I prefer one over the other? It depends. When I’m creating my writing samples, I automatically reach for my stainless steel nib. I need a bit more time to work with both nibs.

While cleaning the nib, I did encounter some stubborn inks that wanted to cling to the nib’s cutouts. I have a child’s extra soft toothbrush that I dip in water and give a gentle scrub.

I can’t wait to use up all my inky sample vials using these lovely nibs.

Note: I enjoy this combination of nib and nib holder. I mentioned in my previous review of the River City Pen Company nib holders that for fountain pen users, there is a “familiar feel” while holding this nib holder. Once you have this combination in your hand, you just need to focus on getting used to this unusual & lovely Kakimori nib.

Nibs: Kakimori Stainless Steel and Brass nibs available at Yoseka Stationery

Nib holders: River City Pen Company – Pink, Green, & White DiamondCast (McKenzie Penworks) and Barrier Reef (Turnt Pen Company)

Inks: Diamine Party Time and Storm (Red Inkvent)

Paper: Rhodia Dot Pad

Another Favorite Nib Holder

While I’m at it, I thought I would add another nib holder I have from River City Pen Company. This one is called Pink, Green, and White DiamondCast. This is a gorgeous resin with light pastel colors and subtle sparkles. I have a few DiamondCast resin fountain pens that sparkles in any kind of light. It can sometimes be a lovely bit of distraction while writing.

I’m thankful my nib holder has just enough sparkles and does not overpower the pink, green, and white colors in this resin.

My plan is use my stainless steel Kakimori nib in this DiamondCast holder. My brass Kakimori will go in my Barrier Reef nib holder. A review is in the works for these two nibs showing the different writing experiences, what I am using them for, and how well they write.

The nib holder fits well in my hands. The holder looks a bit long in my hand and that is the result of the angle I had to take the picture with my left hand.

I’m happy to say my nib holders (with Kakimori nibs) have replaced my glass dip pens. I disliked the sharp and scratchy glass tips and a bit annoyed how fragile they were.

Now, I’m off to create some inky swatches and try out some new inks.

Nib Holder: Pink, Green, & White DiamondCast by River City Pen Company

Nib: Kakimori Stainless Steel nib

My Favorite Dip Nib Holder

I first came upon River City Pen Company during last year’s DC Pen Show. Richard had several trays of fountain pens and I zeroed-in on one fountain pen that had a silver turtle roll stop on the cap. It was tempting, but I had to pass as my budget was small and I had already purchased two pens from another pen maker. I kept glancing over at Richard’s table and made a mental note to visit his website.

One day, I was perusing my social media feed and stumbled upon a few unique and interesting dip nib holders made from a lovely resin. Lovely swirls of colors with bits of chatoyancy and shimmer.

The shimmering stars were starting to align when I saw River City Pen Company was selling the special dip nib holders. I was clicking through Richard’s pictures on IG and one resin immediately grabbed my attention.

I went to his website and saw all the lovely resin offerings. I saw Barrier Reef was still available and I immediately knew that was meant for me. Yes, all the shimmering stars were now perfectly aligned.

I could not wait to receive my nib holder. I had put my remaining Anderillium inky reviews on hold (writing sample and sketches). My Kakimori stainless steel nib was patiently waiting to be used in my new nib holder. I know I could have used my old beat up Tachikawa nib holder, but why use plain wood when I can use something really colorful.

Look at this lovely combination!

I was not surprised to find Richard’s nib holder fit beautifully in my hand. The grip area is roughly 10.75mm which is in my favorite grip size range. The length is around 140mm or 5.5 inches in length. My nib holder weighs about 16 grams without the nib. With the Kakimori nib installed the total weight is around 19.5 grams.

Enough of the specs, let’s move on to the writing experience.

Just as I suspected, the nib holder feels as though I have a fountain pen in my hand. There is something familiar about it and it just feels like I’m at home with it.

Some of you are probably wondering what is that strange nib I’m using. It’s a stainless steel nib that has groves in it. I was able to write the small paragraph in the previous picture with half a dip. Meaning, I only dipped the nib in ink half way up the nib. That is quite a bit of writing for a dip nib. I will provide a review of this nib (and the brass one) a bit later.

I was wondering what other nibs I could use and I decided to place my Tachikawa G-nib in my nib holder. The G-nib fits perfectly.

I am so happy to be able to use this with my G-nibs. I have other nibs I need to try and I will update this blog post to include the nibs that fit.

For now, I’m using fountain pen inks with my Kakimori nib and this nib holder for writing and sketching. I’m also using this combo for testing ink colors. I can actually get this nib and holder into the bottom of my sample ink vials without any issues. I am one happy camper!

I do want to mention any inky residuals on the nib holder is easily wiped away with a towel. Just like a fountain pen.

Take a look at the available dip nib holders at River City Pen Company.

Pen: Dip Nib Holder by River City Pen Company in Barrier Reef

Nibs: Kakimori Stainless Steel Nib. Tachikawa G nib.

Inks: Van Dieman’s Ink Devil’s Kitchen. Robert Oster Australian Blue Opal.

Papers: Rhodia Dot Grid and Graph

Day #23: Wonderland

Inkvent Day #23: Diamine Wonderland

Wonderland is a bright orange standard ink color. Look at how clear this bottle is.

This bright ink shows some lovely shading on my Tomoe River Paper.

On my swatch card there is a beautiful underlying yellow color showing through.

Another gorgeous ink wash. All of the Diamine inks from this calendar has performed well as an ink wash.

So far, Wonderland is the brightest orange ink I have in my collection. It’s a standard ink with subtle shading and a bright yellow underlying color.

In the short amount of time I’ve been using this color, it has grown on me. To me this is a happy color and I can see using this ink in my artwork. It would be a lovely color to use in my writing journal as well. It would definitely stand out among my teal, blue, and purple ink paragraphs.

Ink: Diamine Wonderland (standard)

Pens: Glass dip pen. Automatic pen.

Journal: GLP Creations with Tomoe River Paper (68gsm)

Paper: Grumbacher Mixed Media

Day #21: Brandy Snap

Inkvent Day #21: Diamine Brandy Snap

Brandy Snap is a good name for this standard ink.

This ink has a bit of shading and a tiny, tiny bit of sheen.

This ink reminds me of a color somewhere between Burnt Sienna and raw Sienna from my watercolor paints.

For a standard ink, it responds well with water and creates a lovely ink wash.

When I first saw this color on my swatch card, it reminded me of Robert Oster Antelope Canyon. Antelope Canyon leans more towards orange. I checked a few more swatches and realized my other ink colors leaned towards orange or brown. Brandy Snap sits somewhere in the middle.

(Note: I will be back to add a swatch comparison picture)

This is a lovely and bright brandy or Sienna color. The yellow underlying color reminds me of Diamine Candle Light from this same Inkvent calendar. This is on my wish list for it’s unique color and for use in my artwork.

Ink: Diamine Brandy Snap (standard)

Pens: Glass dip pen. Automatic pen.

Journal: GLP Creations with TRP (68gsm)

Paper: Grumbacher Mixed Media

Day #17: Thunderbolt

Inkvent Day #17: Diamine Thunderbolt

Thunderbolt is a bold blue standard ink.

It’s a bright blue ink color with a bit of shading.

My swatch card shows a lovely coppery sheen.

Depending on the lighting, it could also be a rose gold sheen.

Here’s my Conklin fountain pen with rose gold trim. It could be my pen picks up some of the rose gold sheen. Still, quite an amazing color for a standard ink.

For use in my artwork, I would lessen this intense blue color by adding water.

At first, Thunderbolt looks like a regular blue ink color and I thought I would do a quick blog post for this morning. I am apparently wrong about this. This is a bold blue ink that leans a bit towards purple. The color reminds me of Robert Oster’s Dragon’s Night (purple leaning blue). It also reminds me of Diamine Kensington Blue. Thunderbolt sits somewhere in between these two colors.

The sheen is stunning in this blue ink. Upon further inspection, I can see a combination of copper and rose gold. I believe it’s the sheen that is making this standard blue color appear more interesting and lively.

Ink: Diamine Thunderbolt (standard)

Pens: Glass dip pen. Automatic pen. Conklin Duragraph Exclusive Brushed Titanium with rose gold trim.

Journal: GLP Creations with TRP (68gsm)

Paper: Grumbacher Mixed Media

Day #15: Night Shade

Ink: Diamine Night Shade

Another standard and beautiful purple ink that leans towards blue.

For some of the standard inks in this calendar, I’ve been using my glass dip pen for my writing samples.

Like the other standard inks this also has a bit of shading. There’s a tiny bit of black sheen. My swatch card shows some pink and mostly bright blue undertones.

Another beautiful ink wash. A mysterious looking ink with some personality.

This is an interesting ink color. At first, I thought I was seeing a blue ink leaning towards purple. The I put my swatch card against a few other swatch colors and I see purple leaning towards blue. It’s a beautiful and unusual color.

Ink: Diamine Night Shade (standard)

Pens: Glass dip pen. Automatic pen.

Journal: GLP Creations with TRP (68gsm)

Paper: Grumbacher Mixed Media

Day #14: Red Robin

Ink: Diamine Red Robin

Red Robin is a standard reddish ink color.

I like this red ink with the bits of shading. It’s more of a dark red and not too bright. It has some personality.

There is a bit of dark bronze-like sheen.

The underlying color reminds me of coral.

After going through my swatches, I found a color that is similar to Red Robin.

Oh and I found these as well. I added Charred Hickory to this mix as another person mentioned seeing the color brown.

Another ink that produces another beautiful ink wash.

This is a beautiful red ink that leans a bit towards coral. The only brown I can see on my samples is from the sheen. I’m on the fence as to adding this ink to my wish list. I already have too many bottles of red inks in my collection. I would add a larger bottle just to use in my artwork because of the coral undertones. I’m glad I have my 12ml bottle to play with.

Ink: Diamine Red Robin (standard)

Pens: Glass dip pen. Automatic pen.

Journal: GLP Creations with TRP (68gsm).

Paper: Grumbacher Mixed Media

Day #5: Harmony

I’m glad there’s a break from all that shimmy and sheen from yesterday. Let me take a minute to recompose myself. Breathe in. Breathe out. Okay, onto the next ink color. ūüėÉ

Inkvent Day #5: Diamine Harmony

Diamine Harmony is a lovely purple and standard ink.

Since this ink has no shimmer nor sheen, I decided to use my glass dip pen to write with. Harmony has some lovely shading.

From my swatch, I can see a tiny bit of blue along with the pinky undertone color. Also I can see a tiny bit of dark sheen.

I was going through my swatch cards and most of the purple ink colors I have leans into the blue color range. Here are three colors I have that come close to Harmony.

Here’s my pen & ink sketch.

I like this purple ink color. It produces a gorgeous ink wash on my art paper. This color is not too bright and not too dark. Could be a “just right for me” purple color.

Ink: Diamine Harmony (standard)

Pen: Glass dip pen. Automatic pen.

Journal: GLP Creations TRP (68gsm)

Paper: Grumbacher Mixed Media

An Automatic Pen, a Pilot Parallel Pen, and My Opus 88 Pen Hack

I’ve changed up how I do my fountain pen ink swatching by using a way cool tool called the automatic pen. I’ve mostly used it to swatch ink colors in my ink journal which I have posted a few pictures from my previous blog posts.

My automatic pen used to create my ink swatches in my Stalogy 365 ink journal

I saw someone use an automatic pen to create their swatches on their Col-o-ring cards and also in their fountain pen ink journal. I thought that was the neatest thing to use and had to try one out. The automatic pen puts down enough ink to see any sheening properties the ink might have (depending on paper). It has improved my swatching process as well as saved me from using q-tips to smear the ink on paper.

I like how the automatic pen holds the ink in it’s “nib” area (sandwiched between two metal plates) and how easily the nib can be cleaned. I dip the nib in some water, swish the water around, and dry off the nib. I know many folks use this type of pen for calligraphy and have to re-dip the nib when the ink runs out. That is a similar process for pointed pen calligraphy.

Side of the nib

The automatic pen reminds me of my Pilot Parallel pens. The only difference between the two, my Pilot pen can use a cartridge, converter, or be used as an eyedropper pen.

I use my Pilot Parallel for decorative writing (cards, small signage, etc) and for sketching. The nib on this pen uses a lot of ink. I could easily go through an ink cartridge within a few short hours of writing and sketching.

Close up of my Pilot Parallel pen with 1.5mm nib

Then I came across a “hack” for my Parallel pen. I could put my Pilot Parallel nib into my Opus 88 Omar fountain pen. What?! I immediately saw how beneficial this hack could be with using a larger ink capacity pen with a decorative writing nib. This combination would allow me to write and sketch longer than a few hours or even a day or two.

Pilot nib unit with a tiny o-ring

The Pilot nib and feed can be removed easily by pulling out the nib from the grip/section. On the Opus 88 Demonstrator, just unscrew the nib unit (nib/feed/collar) from the grip/section. There’s a tiny o-ring that also needs to be removed and saved with the Opus nib unit. Take the Pilot nib and feed unit and push it into the Opus grip/section until you can feel it click into place. That’s it!

My Opus hack!

I put my Opus nib unit along with it’s o-ring and store it in a zip lock bag for safe keeping

Here’s a writing sample from my hack:

Oooops! Correction “to”= “too”

Why do this hack?

  • Personally, my hand prefers a girthy pen and my fingers relax more while I write
  • The Pilot Parallel nibs lay down a lot of ink
  • Opus 88 pens have a huge ink capacity that allow for longer writing sessions

The Pilot Parallel nib and feed fits into the Opus 88 Omar demonstrator and the Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator pen as long as they use the JoWo #6 nib unit.

Pens: Automatic Pen, Pilot Parallel 1.5 mm, and Opus 88 Omar Tainan

Ink: Pilot Iroshizuku Ku Jaku

Paper: Ayush Paper pad (fountain pen friendly)