Does this man really need an introduction? I wouldn’t even know where to begin to write one. If you don’t know, John Mottishaw is the man behind the website Classic Fountain Pens, Inc. located at nibs.com. As far as I know, they’re the only authorized US retailer for Nakaya and he’s been doing nib repairs and customizations for more than 15 years. Oh, he’s also the man who Greg Minuskin apprenticed under. So what pens does a master of the nib use and more importantly, what kind of work has he done to his own nibs?
John Mottishaw: I rarely take more than two pens with me when I am away from the desk – usually just one. So these are the ones that seem to linger because I love them for various reasons. The dog desk base is Waterman’s with a Patrician pen in the holder and a German Shepherd on the Onyx slab ca 1930. From left to right is my long time favorite, the OMAS Bronze Arco, a custom Brad Torelli Bamboo and moon design featuring a hand-carved overlay, an unusual OMAS Scarlet with mixed band colors, Nakaya Decapod Aka Tame-nuri, OMAS T-1 and our prototype Nakaya Naka-ai, a middle length pen between the Nakaya Piccolo and the very long Desk pen. I have messed with most of the nibs.
Dan: Oh, really? You’ve messed with most of the nibs? Can you tell us what you’ve done and what ink you have them?
- The Arco has a 14K fine cut to a very fine cursive italic with just a smidgen of flex added. I have a bottle of Sailor red brown that I am hoarding for this pen as the color is just right for this one.
- Torelli’s beauty has a stock broad Parker Duofold Banner imprint nib. I confess that it is empty of ink at the moment. It is a better pen to look at than to write with at this moment.
- The special Scarlet OMAS has a LVMH rhodium plated fine nib that I have re-tipped to a 1.1mm broad cursive italic. The ink is Sheaffer blue, which regularly resides on my workbench and which I use when I am lazy or don’t want to stain my fingers as it washes out easily.
- The well worn Decapod has a double broad nib cut to a sharp cursive italic and a bit of flex. It is a racehorse of a nib with big ink delivery. It takes up lots of paper and is nice when I am in a mood to take some time with my letters.
- The T-1 has a stock 75th anniversary 18K medium and is currently empty of ink. I just love the way they cut the titanium to make the cap and barrel.
- The Naka-ai is my go-to pen at the moment. I have a smooth 14K firm fine in it at the moment – nice and practical, but am thinking of what it wants. The ink, again is that washable Sheaffers Blue.
- Last is the Waterman’s has a Brown keyhole fine nib, moderately soft with blue-black Pelikan ink.
JM: Dan, are you there? Hello?