A Shinobi creeps in

One of my best writers is a gray striped 1939 Vacumatic Long Major. It was Enabler’s birthday gift to me some three years ago, and sports a rare factory stub. Trouble was that it busted its diaphragm annually, often at the worst possible time. I really didn’t want to deal with sacs and such anymore, and decided a custom pen built around the Parker’s nib might cure my pains.

This was the donor pen, a birthday present from 2013.

Many pen friends loved and owned Shawn Newton’s work, so he was the only craftsman I looked up. Going through Newton’s site, I saw that he makes anything a reasonable customer could want. After measuring dimensions of the pens I tended to use most often, I had a clear idea of what I wanted him to build.

I asked for an eyedroppered Shinobi in slim size, long length, with a subtly pinched grip section. For the acrylics, I chose a translucent amber tortoise for cap and body, paired with an opaque wine red swirl for the section. As we finalized details, I decided to have a second section made for a Platinum Century EF nib and feed. The nibs were mailed to Arkansas, and the wait began.

Four months later, Shawn sent me pics of the pen taking shape. Within a day, it was completed and not long after, began its trans-Pacific voyage home. 

I don’t have a balcony so the training wheels option will have to do.
Regular vs Slim. Choose what fits your mitts.

Shawn warned me that my stub had a minor tine alignment issue, so the first order of business after unboxing was to pull the nib and balance the tines. Fifteen minutes with a loupe and a gentle touch proved adequate. I inked the pen with Sailor Rikyu-Cha and let the rubber meet the road.

The stub that started this whole project. You don’t find too many of these in the wild.
Proper factory ebonite feed is marked “W” for “WET!!!”

I had forgotten how wet this nib is! Rikyu-Cha usually dries to a bronzed tone of brown but in this pen, it went down like dark chocolate and stayed that way. Califolio’s blues are typically subdued so I tried Botany Bay next. Again, the ink dried darker than usual. I decided to go with my current fave, KWZ Gummiberry, and was met with lines as dark as Diamine Eclipse. More my speed.

This might be the beginning of an amber demonstrator kick.

Handling is excellent. I worried that the step in the barrel might prove discomforting in use. It does not meet the web of my hand so I don’t feel it while writing. The section welcomed my grip like an old pair of loafers and overall balance (with a full tank of gas) was just perfect for me.

That step in the barrel is never felt. Like a true Shinobi.

Enabler has a different grip and found the pen just a bit too slim. She loved the material choices though, and thought it similar to the translucent copper Shinobi that peaceablewriter holds and favors. With no small dose of chutzpah, I disagreed and said this was better. As that old Marine Corps mantra goes, “This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this is mine.”


6 thoughts on “A Shinobi creeps in

  1. JD

    Yes, mine is more on the orange side. Mine turns amber once it’s filled with Sailor Doyou. šŸ™‚

    You have the best color. No question about that!

    • Karlo Tatad

      LOL. I initially chose your color (copper), until I saw another pen he did in this material. To be fair, I asked leighpod for an opinion and she seems to know a thing or two about designing a pretty pen. šŸ˜

  2. JD

    Indeed she does! My initial thought was to use that material for my Shinobi. BUT I already had a pen using that material and thought it would be overkill. The irony is that other pen was rehomed. hahahaha! But I do love my Shinobi in cooper. Esp. looking at the section and seeing the nib shine through the ink. An affect you miss with the beautiful section on yours? *wicked grin* Okay, enough talking! Back to writing!

  3. John

    Maybe one day I’ll spring for a Shinobi but for now, thinking back to December 2012 ( ! ) I’ve always liked the look of the leather pen pouch. Do you find it gets much use or are your pens traveling in something else these days ?

    I very much enjoy your writing and the superb visual quality of the pictures.

    • Karlo Tatad

      I still have my leather pouches, but I only use them when I need to lug four pens with me. Rare occurrence these days since I discovered eyedroppers.

      Thank you for the kind words. The people who encouraged me to blog set a high bar as far as content and visuals are concerned. I am as grateful to them as I am to my readers.

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