The Nib Section

7 - QC Controversies: Nakaya, Visconti, TWSBI

October 24, 2017

This Episode on The Nib Section, our panel travel down a darker path of fountain pen ownership: Quality Control. Hosts Chuck and Diana speak to a wide range of guests to discuss the relationship between creator and customer. Brian Saputro comes in to speak about the art of Japanese Laquer that has made manufacturer Nakaya so popular, coupled with Sharyn Zha, a well loved and respected member of the FPO, known for her various collections. After, the panel is joined by Aidan O’Brien, a FPO leader and collector of Visconti and TWSBI, ready to answer repeated claims that both Visconti and TWSBI are lacking in the QC department. Flanked on all sides with knowledge is returning guest Taveet, ready to explain all terms further.


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The hosts were Chuck Montano, Diana Dai, Brian Saputro, Sharyn Zha, Aidan O'Brien and Taveet Sinanian.





00:19—Panel intro

What We Are Writing With: 
– Chuck: Pro Gear Realo

– Diana: Pilot VP: Raden Minamo

– Sharyn: Montblanc Boheme Paso Doble Rouge

– Aidan: Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze Age


02:40—Tragedy Of Nakaya’s Success

The panel recollect the rise of Nakaya, a formerly very small team of Japanese artisan fountain pen makers, now much larger and more streamlined due to popular demand, and what that can mean for the loss of close attention to detail. Brian explains the artistry behind their processes, including his own endeavours into the world of Japanese Laquer.

There are at least three famous types of maki-e: Hira maki-e, which is a flat maki-e; Taka maki-e, where the design is firstly raised using sumiko, charcoal powder, followed by gold powder application; and Kaga maki-e which uses gold flakes or foils instead of powder.

Next, is the Raden, which involves the application of abalone shell or mother of pearl onto wet lacquer, whether it’s in the form of strips, flakes, or shapes.

Tamenuri, well, this is a bit less known i think. It literally translates to “pooling”. In lacquer-sense, this effect can be achieved by applying layers and layers of clear urushi, which is actually brown, on top of a coloured undercoat. However, this technique can be cheated by applying only a few layers of black urushi and sanding the corners down. Results won’t be the same, but from a distance it does.

Chinkin, is a peculiar one. It’s relatively new compared to the ones i mentioned before. This involves making incisions on cured urushi, applying maki-e to the incisions. This technique gives depth and perspective, depending on the artist’s design.


28:02—QC Woes of Visconti and TWSBI

Visconti is known as the pinnacle of Fountain Pen collection for many people. However, especially in Australia, it seems that it’s hard to come across a pen that doesn’t have a problem in some way. Aidan answers some questions about what’s happening, why it’s happening, and what you can do about it. Furthermore, TWSBI also is examined for potential QC issues.

– Visconti Service Address:



– Sharyn: Planet Earth 2

– Diana: Wild Alaska, and an additional 40 hours of Planet Earth 2 footage

– Aidan: The Expanse

– Taveet: Penny Dreadful

– Chuck: Mister Lui


Producers: Diana Dai, Chuck Montano, Sharyn Zha, Patrick Antolovich, Denise Tang.
Recording and editing: Patrick Antolovich, Denise Tang.
Music: Michael Pearce. 
Logo: Will H. Smith. 
Logo artwork: Melissa Graf.

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