[Guest Post] The Sailor 1911 Matte Black Full Size with a Naginata Togi MF Nib
Another awesome guest post by Susan Pigott! You may know her from her own blog, Scribalishess! Her photography, handwriting, and reviewing skills are top notch. If you like what you see here, make sure to go check out more on her site! Here’s Susan’s review of the The Sailor 1911 Large Matte Black Fountain Pen with an incredible Naginata Togi MF nib. Enjoy!
Review Ink: Diamine Ancient Copper
Appearance and Packaging:
My Sailor 1911 came in a blue, rectangular clamshell box with literature about the pen and Sailor’s specialty nibs. Included were one ink cartridge and a converter.
The matte black version with rhodium trim is subtle and beautiful. I usually like gold-trimmed pens, but the rhodium matches the matte black perfectly. I honestly have too many black, cigar-shaped pens in my collection, but the matte black makes this pen stand out from the crowd. It’s classy, like Bond, James Bond.
Nib Performance and Filling System:
The nib is what truly makes this pen something special.
The Naginata Togi nib allows for a great deal of line variation depending on the angle of the pen to the paper. It is an unusually-shaped nib (see photos), and it has a longer than usual tip. It’s a 21K nib and is pretty rigid. You’re not going to get any flex while writing with this nib. The line variation comes from how you hold the pen. In the written review, I held the nib in my normal writing position, which is about 45 degrees, and I found the nib wrote beautifully. You can see differences in line width when I held the pen at a 90 degree angle, a 45 degree angle, and a super low angle (as close to the paper as I could hold it).
Most of the Sailor specialty nibs are made for Japanese-styles of writing and calligraphy. But I wanted one for writing Hebrew since the horizontal strokes need to be thicker than the vertical strokes. (In real life I’m a professor of Old Testament and Hebrew). Even though I have a Hebrew nib from Richard Binder, it’s got a very narrow width and, unless I write tiny, I can’t see much variation between the horizontal and vertical strokes. The Naginata Togi does quite well, though I still need to practice making the Hebrew look good. I sure wish I could do Hebrew calligraphy.
I admit I was nervous about buying a Sailor specialty nib. When you go the page on Classic Pens, the specialty nibs are almost overwhelming. They are amazingly intricate, and I was afraid I would find the Naginata Togi to be ridiculously broad. I even called and asked about the nibs and was told they are not for everyone. But I am a believer in this nib. I’m amazed at how smoothly it writes. I love the versatility it has depending on the angle you’re writing.
One concern I had is that the Naginata Togi nib puts down lots of ink when you’re writing broad. I was afraid the feed and the converter wouldn’t be able to keep up. So far, everything has been perfect, though I expect to refill this pen more often than most.
The Sailor 1911 full size feels great in the hand. It’s not a heavy pen. It is smooth as silk but not slippery. I don’t post my pens, but I tried writing with it posted and, for me at least, posting ruins the balance. If you want line variation, you have to hold the pen at different angles. Some angles are quite uncomfortable (such as trying to write super fine at 90 degrees). Other angles are easier on the wrist, but the lower you go, the slower you have to write.
- The 1911 in Matte Black is a gorgeous pen. It is sleek and elegant and the rhodium trim complements it perfectly.
- The pen feels good in the hand and is neither too heavy nor too light.
- The Naginata Togi nib is a useful departure from a typical nib. I can see artists using this nib for sketching since you can get such wonderful line variation. For me, it works great as a general writer and it enhances my Hebrew printing.
- I prefer piston filler pens. The Sailor converter only holds .5ml of ink. You can get the Sailor Realo instead, but it only holds .9ml. Currently the Realo only comes in Black and Burgundy with gold trim. So, if you want the matte black, you have to go with the 1911 or Pro Gear.
- The pen looks rather ordinary and plain. I like colorful pens. But the matte black makes it stand out from other black, cigar-shaped pens and the rhodium trim is different from my other pens, all of which have gold accents.
- The Naginata Togi nib may not suit everyone’s tastes. If you can try one before you buy, that’s the best thing to do. I definitely wouldn’t go larger than the MF Togi. I’ve read that the medium and broad versions are like writing with Magic Markers.
All in all, I am very pleased with my Sailor 1911 Naginata Togi. My fears about the nib were unwarranted and, in fact, I am crazy about it. I love how it looks, how it writes, and that it is versatile enough that I can write in my journal or write Hebrew or both (because I totally write in Hebrew in my journal . . . not).