Japanese Urushi art is one of Japan's traditional decorative art forms. The Urushi lacquer process is performed using the sap harvested from the Urushi lacquer tree and has been historically used for its preservational and protective properties because the material becomes extremely durable once hardened. Ancient artifacts such as arrowheads, bowls, combs and jewelry have been preserved only in the parts that have been coated with Urushi. Objects that have been lacquered with Urushi are valuable due to the labor intensive process of Urushi as well as the value of Urushi itself. Urushi trees take about 12 years to reach maturity for harvest and harvest time occurs over the span of several months and seasons, the purity and quality of the sap differing depending on harvest season. Each tree yields just 250 ml to 300 ml of sap and after harvesting, the tree needs to be chopped down and takes another 10-12 years till the next harvest.
The Pilot Custom Urushi fountain pen is made of Urushi lacquered ebonite and is an oversize fountain pen with the largest size of any Pilot fountain pen. It comes with a large #30 size two-tone 18k gold nib. Made with Maki-e technique using Urushi lacquer, the body of the Pilot Custom Urushi glistens beautifully due to the use of the Ro-iro finishing technique, which requires repeated application of layers of Urushi followed by polishing and a final polish performed with the bare hand to ensure a mirror-like finish. While its Urushi lacquer gives this pen everlasting durability, its ebonite material allows it to remain light and comfortable to hold even while being an oversize fountain pen.