Sakura craft_lab 008… meh (at last)?

I’ve been a fan of most of Sakura’s craft_lab releases since they launched with the 001 and 002 in 2017.

001 - Steampunk executive styling with knobby brass accents and a frosted plastic body that played nicely with metallic colors underneath. Bought a brass / green model that has aged beautifully. Also managed to get a limited run in black and gloss aluminum.

002 - basic gel pen with a design inspired by Sakura’s Coupy crayon. Liked its simplicity and got a green and an orange one that I still enjoy.

003 - stubby all aluminum or brass ‘scribble’ gel pen with a weighted interior to resist rolling. Admired its purity but didn’t want one.

004 - 2+1 multi-pen. My first ‘no’. Top heavy design felt tiring. Still the only model with a ‘pencil’ in it.

005 - All plastic extruded sakura blossom profile pen. Love it! Got an orange, green and blue. For some reason, online listings today approach scalper levels. These nominally 5,000 yen models can sometimes be priced at 9,000+

006 - The current ‘Unobtainium’ model. For this release Sakura made the design modular, which meant that you had to go to a specialty dealer in Japan (like Itoya), and pick out your preferred combination of metal and wood finished parts. There are supposedly 288 combinations and prices range from 28,050 to 39,600 yen.

007 - Back to sanity with a simple twist grip design. Still quite elegant, and the milled band in the middle feels like a callback to the 001’s brass knob.

008 - sigh. What do we get in 2023? A clicker design where the clip probably scrapes the body as you put it to work? Sad.

Anyone else collect these? I think Ray has the limited all metal 001S….


Great run-down on the Sakura Craft Lab series, Kelvin!

I’ve long admired these designs. I’ve been meaning to get the Lab 001 in all brass. I once won a great deal on it, but the proxy had to reject my win because of the brass cleaner tube included. It was utter nonsense (not volatile!). Anyway, I eventually picked up the 007 and I find it well made, nice to write with.

I had thought about the 004… 2+1 multipen. But it sounds like you’d discourage getting it. Zebra Sharbo is superior?


The 004 is both visually and physically top heavy. The upper portion is wider than the grip section. I have found such arrangements uncomfortable in general - e.g. I really don’t enjoy using the Graphgear 1000.

Sometimes I live with it because the physical design scores enough points on the vanity scale. e.g. Trystrams ‘Smoothstyle’ 2+1 hid everything in a one-piece metal body, using the clip-end as a selector. Definitely top heavy but it looked really cool to me.


I’m not really a pen dude, but I’m a huge fan of this design language and I will likely end up getting some of these at one point. I had no idea there were so many - thanks for the rundown, Kelvin!


008 clearly has the least interesting design and lacks craft lab coolness. Also I really don’t know why they don’t want to make mp versions of any of these.



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