26 November 2022

Chinese Naginata

After speaking about a naginata-like nib made in Germany, it might be worth to mention the Chinese versions of such a nib.

After all, it is only natural that Chinese companies created their own nibs specialized in writing Chinese ideograms. And that is the declared purpose of the Naginata Togi nib by nibmeister Nobuyoshi Nagahara.

One such example is the "Long Knife" (長刀) nib made by Hongdian, and implemented, among other pens, on the N6 model. But the N6 is such an interesting pen that the variable stroke nib is almost a secondary detail.

The "Long Knife" (長刀) nib by Hongdian. Note the similarities with the Naginata Togi (長刀研ぎ): the first two ideograms are the same.
The Hongdian nib is engraved with 刀F.

The N6 has the rare virtue of clicking the boxes of the requirements of many a pen aficionado:

A self-filling mechanism--a piston. An ebonite feed with a generous yet controlled ink flow. And ink window. A decent ink capacity (about 1.4 ml). An attractive matte-black look (one of the versions). And a variable nib.

The Hongdian N6 in matte black, with a ¨Long Knife" variable nib.

It could have been a gold nib, but then the price of the pen --about EUR 35-- would have been a lot higher. And the performance of this unit is very nice--smooth and very resistant to drying up when not in use. It indeed writes on contact.

However, there are two weak points in this unit. First is the lack of options--only EF, F, and variable F. Therefore this might not be your pen should you be looking for a broad point.

The second is the very limited line variation offered by this nib point. There is some, as can be seen on the picture, but is not much. Of course it is a variable F, but given this performance some might consider purchasing the lower-priced EF or F points.

Written sample of the "Long Knife" nib. There is some line variation by changing the angle between pen and paper, but not an extreme one. The paper square is 5x5 mm^2.

The pen as whole is a bit heavy --32 grams-- but it is well balanced if unposted: center of gravity at 66 mm from the nib end; at 90 mm when posted.

These are the dimensions of the pen:

Length closed: 137 mm
Length open: 123 mm
Length posted: 152 mm
Diameter: 15.0
Weight: 32 g (without cap, 20 g); inked
Ink deposit: ca. 1.4 ml

All in all, this pen is an excellent alternative to almost any other pen unless you wanted the ease of use and the cleanliness of a cartridge-converter or a broad nib. But this one costs only about EUR 35.

The main obstacle for the popularization of this and other Chinese pens is the distribution, limited to online channels. However, this also is changing as there are several of those mechanisms competing with each other. And Western and Japanese brands should pay a closer look to what is coming from China.

My thanks to "el abuelo Tobías".

Hongdian N6 – Montblanc Black

Bruno Taut
November 25th, 2022
etiquetas: China, mercado, Hongdian, plumín


jaguarish said...

I stumbled across this and snapped it up immediately! I'm finding it writes like an architect nib but with some rounded edges, like a stub vs italic.

Bruno Taut said...

Jaguarish, that is a smart observation. Thanks! Did you buy it?


Anonymous said...

looks like a mb pirelli clone

Anonymous said...

A copy maybe but not a clone, as there are several outstanding elements to avoid taking this pen for the Pirelli Montblanc. Size is rather smaller, no rubber finishes, no star on top, different cap ring, no variable/Naginata nibs of MB available and, over all, a different brand engraved on the pen.

Bruno Taut said...

And I would add an ebonite feed --MB long forgot about this detail-- and different decorative motifs.

I agree with the second Anonymous--copied but not cloned. Inspired but with obvious differences.

Now, where´s the limit between inspiration and copy? I do not know, but I am afraid the answer depends on which side of the border you are located, as I said looong ago: https://estilofilos.blogspot.com/2011/07/matching-x.html



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