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#1 Sandy1

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 09:14

Please take a moment to adjust your gear to accurately depict the Gray Scale below.
As the patches are neutral gray, that is what you should see.

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Gray Scale.
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Notes
  • This Ink Review is for Pilot Blue-Black. The word 'Namiki' does not appear on the packaging.
  • For convenient viewing of the images, you may wish to scroll to the menu at the very bottom of this window, then change the FPN Theme to 'IP.Board Mobile'.

~|~I~|~


Figure 1.
Swabs
Paper: HPJ1124 24 lb. Laser Copy.
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Figure 2.
NIB-ism ✑
Paper: HPJ1124.

Depicts nibs' line-width and pens' relative wetness.
Link:
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Pens: L → R: 78G, M200, Slimfold, ATX, Targa, Sailer.


WRITTEN SAMPLES - Moby Dick

Row height is 8mm.

Figure 3.
Paper: HPJ1124.
Posted ImageFigure 4.
Paper: Rhodia.
Posted ImageFigure 5.
Paper: G Lalo, Verge de France, white.
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Figure 6.
Paper: Royal - 25% rag.
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Figure 7.
Staples 20lb multi use.
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Figure 8.
Grocery List
Paper: Pulp.
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OTHER STUFF

Figure 9.
Smear/Dry Times.
Wet Tests.
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GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Type:
  • Dye-based fountain pen ink.
Daily writer?
  • Very possible.
A go-to ink?
  • Yes - when a high performance pale Blue-Black ink is desired.

USE

Business:
(From the office of Ms Blue-Black.)
  • A solid robust work horse ink.
  • Suitable for all types of correspondence, notes, personal work product, etc.
  • Of the Blue-Black inks that I have seen, this is likely the most pale, so is a bit more convivial than other BlBk inks.
  • Not likely to distract the reader, but they are likely to notice it is an FP ink.
  • Not enough zip for editing / mark-up.
  • Not enough zap for error correction or grading of assignments.
Illustrations / Graphics:
  • The neutral character seems to relegate PBlBk to acting as a ground, not a figure.
  • Has the stability to hold space, but not the energy to command that space.
  • The relatively short dry times enable rapid reworking.
  • Line quality is very crisp and tonality is most often quite even, so narrow tight lines and labels can be generated.
Students:
  • Will handle tasks requiring a robust Blue to Blue-Black with aplomb.
  • It is a bit calm for hand-written assignments deserving a high mark, so perhaps something a bit more animated and eye-catching for such events when/if they occur.
Personal:
  • This is rather too close to my daily writer ink, (Quink BlBk with SOLV-X), for me to use for 'personal' personal writing.
  • Really fits the bill as an off-duty utility / pro forma ink.
  • When a robust ink is required, this is a nice side-step away from Pelikan BlBk, and the higher maintenance i-g, np & bp inks.

PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE & CHARACTERISTICS

Flow Rate:
  • A bit higher than average.
Nib Dry-out:
  • Not seen.
Start-up:
  • Immediate.
Lubrication:
  • Very nice feel in all pens used. :thumbup:
  • Narrow nibs ran smoothly even on the coarse & textured papers; wide nibs were sure-footed - very welcome with the 'slippery when wet' MS nib.
Nib Creepers:
  • Banished.
Staining:
  • Not seen after three days.
Clogging:
  • Not seen.
  • Seems unlikely.
Bleed- Show-Through:
  • Staples 20lb : barely enough to remark upon.
Feathering / Woolly Line:
  • Not seen.
Smear/Dry Time:
  • HPJ1124: 5 - 10 seconds
  • Rhodia: 15 - 20
  • Staples 20lb: <5
Water Resistance: ☂

④ on the 4S Scale:
"All legible, can be easily read and/or have light staining from re-deposit of soluble ink.
Use as-is for work papers & internal use.
Adjustments to a scanner may drop-out the stain."

Smell:
  • Very faint; sharp nose.
Hand oil sensitivity:
  • Not seen.
Clean Up:
  • Prompt and thorough with plain water.
Mixing:
  • No stated prohibitions.
  • I see no reason to mix into PBB.
Archival:
  • Not claimed.

☞ Now that, dear friends, is a very impressive performance profile. :clap1:

THE LOOK

Presence:
  • Almost too subtle; veiled.
  • A bit too stable to be an action figure.

Saturation:
  • Moderate.
Shading:
  • Elusive.
  • Pleasant when it appears.
  • Seems to favour narrow nibs. (!?!)
Variability:
  • Pen+nib combos used:
    • Given the extreme range of writers used, I must say far less than expected: it looks very much itself throughout.
  • Papers used:
    • Less than expected.
  • Malleability:
    • Not so much.
    • That characteristic makes PBB an excellent choice as a daily writer ink, especially when combined with its good manners and excellent water resistance.

Hi-Res Scans:

As I do not wish to be dubbed 'Queen of The Bandwidth Bandits', these are links.

78G on HPJ1124
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Slimfold on Rhodia
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ATX on G Lalo
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Sailor on Royal
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FIDELITY

Is the name appropriate?
  • Tricky one, this.
  • The way I see the colour is just inside Blue-Black, on the imaginary boundary with Blue and Royal Blue.
  • I would not bother to debate the point: You say 'to-mah-toe'; I say 'po-tay-toe'.
Are swatches accurate?
  • Colour, yes; density, no.

SIMILAR COLOURS

Ad hoc Comparisons:

These may be made by having two concurrent FPN browser windows open with the desired images displayed, then reorganising the desktop to support side-by-side viewing at the same reproduction ratio.
  • The image below is included to support side-by-side comparison to the M200+EF Written Samples in the One Of The Ten Ink Reviews.

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  • The image below is included to support side-by-side comparison to the Platinum Presidential Purist Written Samples in my Reviews of Blue-Black inks.

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High Resolution Link:

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PAPERS

Lovely papers:
  • White.
  • Crisp bright white.
  • Ran well on all papers used.
Trip-wire Papers: ☠
  • None encountered.
  • I would try to stay clear of dirty white papers, and warm tints.
Tinted Papers:
  • Only when at middle to high density; on pale blue / grey tints.
Pre-Printed Papers:
  • Forms, etc.
    • Of course.
    • Brings a bit of weighty authority.
    • The dark tone goes well with forms printed in Black - close to the same visual plane, so are easily read.
  • For charts & graphs:
    • Certainly.
Is high-end paper 'worth it'?
  • Not for daily use.
  • If one tries to find a pen+paper combo that consistently generates shading, then high-end paper may be in the mix.

OTHER THAN INK
Presentation:
  • 70ml glass bottle in a box.
  • No HazMat warnings.
Origin:
  • Japan.
Container:
  • An attractive oval-esque clear glass bottle with a wee pedestal, 80mm tall when capped.
  • The centred round opening seems narrow at 18mm ∅.
  • Includes a 'widget' filling aid, similar to those found in Penman and Jentle inks, which can be removed.

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  • While I like this type of filling aid, there is risk of rousing any sediment - akin to shaking/stirring/whisking.
  • The hard blue plastic screw cap has OK grippy bits.
  • The cap seal is plastic. Should be sufficiently secure for inversion, but do not do so over animal companions or other loved ones. (Trust me on this OK?)
  • The cap is not child-proof.
Box:
  • 80x70x55mm
  • Nicely coated.
  • Labelled on front, back & top of box.

**
* Now how hard was that? Other Co.s take note!

Availability:
  • Not too wide.
  • Well stocked pen shops, some online retailers.

ETC.

Majik:
  • Not possible - too busy working.
Personal Pen & Paper Pick:
  • Targa on the HPJ1124.
Yickity Yackity:
  • Another Journeyman ink that runs on rails.
  • A fair look with an impressive performance profile - Bob's your uncle!
  • Ah kushbaby, another one for only when on-the-job?

==============

NUTS & BOLTS

Materiel:


To be relevant to most members, I make an effort to use papers, pens & nibs that are readily available. Pens are factory stock - not customised.
Pens:

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  • Written Samples:
    • Pilot 78G + g-p steel F
    • Pelikan M200 + g-p steel EF
    • Parker Slimfold + hint of flex 14K
    • Cross ATX + steel M
    • Sheaffer Targa + steel M-B (Sticker=M)
    • Sailor 1911 + 14K MS
  • For lines & labels: Pilot 'Lady' + F with Noodler's Burgundy.

On these papers:
  • HPJ1124 24 lb. Laser Copy.
  • Rhodia.
  • G Lalo, Verge de France, white.
  • Royal, 25% cotton rag.
  • Staples 20lb. multi use.
  • Pulp. One-a-Day Calendar page.
_________________________

Images:
  • Scans were made on an Epson V600 scanner; factory defaults were accepted.
  • Figures shown were scanned at 200 dpi & 24 bit colour.
  • HiRes Images linked were scanned at 300 dpi & 24 bit colour.
  • Scans were not adjusted, so went straight to Photobouquet.
_________________________

Densitometer Readings (FWIW):
  • Red 103
  • Grn 127
  • Blu 194
  • Lum 135
__________________________

Fine Print:
The accuracy and relevance of this Review depends in great part upon consistency and reliability of materiel used. Ink does not require labelling/notice to indicate (changes in) formulation, non-hazardous ingredients, batch ID, date of manufacture, etc. As always, YMMV, not only from materials, methods, environment, etc., but also due to differences between the stuff in the bottle I used, and that in bottle/s you may have.
Also, I entrust readers to separate opinion from fact; to evaluate inferences and conclusions as to their merit; and to be amused by whatever tickles your fancy.

-30-

Tags: FPN Fountain Pen Ink Review Pilot Blue Black Blue-Black BlBk Sandy1

Edited by Sandy1, 19 April 2011 - 16:31.

The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.


#2 Lloyd

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 15:07

This is one of my go-to inks for XF flexy nibs.
"Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination."
Oscar Wilde

#3 Sandy1

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 16:36

This is one of my go-to inks for XF flexy nibs.

Hi,

What, if anything, makes this ink so attractive for use with flexy nibs?

OK, it has a better than average performance profile - according to the usual criteria. But is there something special about this ink that those criteria do not take into account?

Bye,
S1

The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.


#4 Lloyd

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 16:54

Let me think: very non-clogging even in the finest of nibs, great shading and virtually no feathering/ bleeding upon heavy flexing, water-resistant, very easy to wash out of a pen, great bottle, acceptable color for all settings, and pretty (to me) for a BlueBlack (no green component :sick:).
"Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination."
Oscar Wilde

#5 Sandy1

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 10:32

Let me think: very non-clogging even in the finest of nibs, great shading and virtually no feathering/ bleeding upon heavy flexing, water-resistant, very easy to wash out of a pen, great bottle, acceptable color for all settings, and pretty (to me) for a BlueBlack (no green component :sick:).

Hi,

So nice to hear!

For a moment I thought it necessary to expand the template. And for me to do samples from a flex nib would be an unsafe proposition. :wacko:

Bye,
S1

The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.


#6 ehemem

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 07:50

Thanks for the very comprehensive review!

I bought a bottle of this ink several months ago and it worked so well in any pen I filled with it that it has become my standard ink with which to test new pens or nibs. I do find that it has some bleed through on cheep paper with wet nibs or M or broader flex nibs.

All in all, a very good, inexpensive everyday ink.

#7 professionaldilettante

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 04:34

My favorite. I just love the smell of this ink, oddly enough. It's not strong, and quickly dissipates, but yeah it's there. Can anyone confirm the chemical? Smells strongly of phenol I think, but that's just what embalmed cadavers smell like. >.<
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Tell me about any of your new pens and help with fountain pen quality control research!

#8 Sandy1

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 09:34

Thanks for the very comprehensive review!

I bought a bottle of this ink several months ago and it worked so well in any pen I filled with it that it has become my standard ink with which to test new pens or nibs. I do find that it has some bleed through on cheep paper with wet nibs or M or broader flex nibs.

All in all, a very good, inexpensive everyday ink.

Hi,

You're welcome!

I could easily see this ink being used as a standard for generating samples & comparisons. However, I don't have a lengthy relationship with this ink to have an opinion as to its consistency from bottle to bottle over a number of years. I do not recall any reports of bad batches or persistent recurrence of 'rogue' bottles; or significant reformulation under the same name, so maybe ... Certainly one could do a lot worse!

Bye,
S1

Edited by Sandy1, 22 April 2011 - 09:59.

The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.


#9 Sandy1

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 09:54

My favorite. I just love the smell of this ink, oddly enough. It's not strong, and quickly dissipates, but yeah it's there. Can anyone confirm the chemical? Smells strongly of phenol I think, but that's just what embalmed cadavers smell like. >.<

Hi,

I believe the smell is that of the biocide/s. To my nose it is not bothersome, and I agree that it dissipates quickly.

Bye,
S1

The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.


#10 Alohamora

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 01:47

Sandy1, I bought some Pilot Blue-Black cartridges because of your review and I've been using one for several days now. I think your review is a dead-on accurate description. The bottled version is going on my list for eventual purchase. Thanks!

#11 Drone

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 03:01

If you like this, try the Pilot Blue - a surprisingly deep blue with nice shading. The blue has all the good characteristics covered in this review. These inks also come in 30ml bottles; black, blue, blue-black, & red AFAIK. The 70ml bottle is really well done. This blue-black is a little too bluish for me. I would probably mix some black in; or better yet make a custom mix of blue and black.

One poster commented on the smell of this ink. If there was ever an ink that smelled like you think ink would smell, this is it.

Edited by Drone, 08 June 2011 - 03:02.


#12 Pjtr Tamali

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 19:33

Sandy1, Congratulations on a well done review. I could not agree more with your findings. Pilot Blue-Black is my favorite ink for daily use - taking notes, fillig out forms, writing instructions, making comments,.. I use Pilot Blue-Black cartridges in my Pilot Custom Heritage 91 with EF nib and Pilot Prera with EF nib (swapped from Pilot Penmanship FP) and I confirm that it works with those very fine nibs nicely (right amount of flow and lubrication). I like the fact that the ink is quite water / smear resistant, a property highly sought after in a chemical / material testing laboratory. The ink works very well (no feathering, bleed ) on almost all papers except on those awful notebooks given to us by the employer (that is by the way the most FP unfriendly paper I saw in my life). May I asked you where you bought the bottled ink? I am looking for an online retailer in Europe but I was not able to find one so far.

Have a nice weekend,

Peter

P.S.
I followed Sandy1's advice regarding MB Royal Blue ink. I use it as my signature and "higher management memos" ink. It's highly suitable ink for such purposes (I like the color and the image it projects - very serious) but it's almost useless in the lab - it has no water / smear resistance especially if you try to take notes in a hurry.

#13 Sandy1

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 17:31

Sandy1, I bought some Pilot Blue-Black cartridges because of your review and I've been using one for several days now. I think your review is a dead-on accurate description. The bottled version is going on my list for eventual purchase. Thanks!

Hi,

You're welcome. I hope the cartridges are the same stuff as the bottled! (Please let us know.)

Bye,
S1

The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.


#14 Sandy1

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 17:37

snip

May I asked you where you bought the bottled ink? I am looking for an online retailer in Europe but I was not able to find one so far.

Have a nice weekend,

Peter

snip


Hi Peter,

I have not found a European source for this ink. However, the nice people at Jet Pens have this one, and the Blue (a bit pale, but performance profile similar to this one.)

Bye,
S1

P.S. Let us know if MBRBl is instrumental in securing a promotion, pay rise, etc. :rolleyes:

The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.


#15 Pjtr Tamali

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 20:44

Hi Peter,

I have not found a European source for this ink. However, the nice people at Jet Pens have this one, and the Blue (a bit pale, but performance profile similar to this one.)

Bye,
S1

P.S. Let us know if MBRBl is instrumental in securing a promotion, pay rise, etc. :rolleyes:

[/quote]


Dear Sandy,

I wish the MBRBl ink would do what you said above, but unfortunately it does not :( I've been using it since December last year so something positive should happen by now, quarterly bonus if nothing else :-)).
What I noticed (and this is just my personal observation) is that hand written memos (using cursive) with MBRBl on nice Claire Fontaine 240 gms paper are taken more seriously than e-mails or notes jotted on a cheap photocopy paper with a "no name" ballpoint pen (having "smearing" medium size ballpoint). Lab reports signed with MBRBl ink and a juicy Euro size medium nib look more... well presentable (MBRBl having enough gravitas as you put it). It seems that some people still prefer an image often associated with fountain pens - seriousness and dedication.

Regarding Pilot Blue Black - I will try Jet Pens. Thanks for sharing the information.

Have a nice day,

Peter Kernel

#16 Jared

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 20:25

I've tried this in cartridges and have really been impressed. I wish that Goulet Pens carried this color...they've got blue & black, but not blue-black!

#17 MrsGouletPens

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 02:44

I've tried this in cartridges and have really been impressed. I wish that Goulet Pens carried this color...they've got blue & black, but not blue-black!

Me too! Unfortunately it's not imported into the US (by Pilot USA) in bottled form, just ink cartridge. I should see about special ordering some! I think JetPens must be getting theirs directly from Japan.

Great review BTW, as usual. :thumbup:

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#18 amateriat

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 00:23

I'm a latecomer here, but must thank you for this tremendous (and exhaustive) review.

Pilot's standard-issue inks (i.e. not Iroshizuku, which I can find in nearly any decent pen shop or stationers' here) are pretty damned hard to track down: Kinokuniya in Manhattan is the only B&M shop I've found it in (30ml size only), and up until a week ago they seemed to be perpetually out of Pilot Blue. I agree that the difference between Pilot Blue and Blue-Black isn't as great as one would expect, but enough so for me not to regret having both, along with Pilot Black (which I use alongside Noodler's Old Manhattan/Blackest Black). All the Pilot inks are super well-behaved in two of the three pens I've used them in (Pilot Custom 74/B and VP/M; my Custom 823 has only known Noodler's OM since purchase). For me, these inks are keepers.


- Barrett

Edited by amateriat, 02 May 2012 - 17:05.


#19 Vshin

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 13:11

This blue-black as well as the regular blue Namiki ink are some of the best "practical" inks for professional use. I haven't seen another blue ink that encapsulates the same all-around features of:

-good flow
-low bleed
-low feather
-quick dry
-water-resistant
-low maintenance

What's really bizzare is that many of these qualities are usually considered mutually exclusive, so I'm not sure how Pilot does it. Even their Iroshizuku line doesn't perform this well.
Experience is a hard teacher. She gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.

#20 Sandy1

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 18:35

I'm a latecomer here, but must thank you for this tremendous (and exhaustive) review.

Pilot's standard-issue inks (i.e. not Iroshizuku, which I can find in nearly any decent pen shop or stationers' here) are pretty damned hard to track down: Kinokuniya in Manhattan is the only B&M shop I've found it in (30ml size only), and up until a week ago they seemed to be perpetually out of Pilot Blue. I agree that the difference between Pilot Blue and Blue-Black isn't as great as one would expect, but enough so for me not to regret having both, along with Pilot Black (which I use alongside Noodler's Old Manhattan/Blackest Black). All the Pilot inks are super well-behaved in two of the three pens I've used them in (Pilot Custom 74/B and VP/M; my Custom 823 has only known Noodler's OM since purchase). For me, these inks are keepers.


- Barrett


Hi Barrett,

You're welcome! Some readers find my Reviews to be exhausting as well as exhaustive.

Thanks for letting us know of your experience sourcing the non-iroshizuku Pilot FP inks stateside, and identifying a [possible] source in NYC.
(According to Google, Kinokuniya also has a presence in Los Angeles CA.)

I'm glad to read that your experience with this ink in a variety of pens is consistent with my findings: definitely a keeper. Perhaps a 'must have' for those who somehow manage to keep their array of inks down to a select few.

Bye,
S1

The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.


#21 Sandy1

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 18:59

This blue-black as well as the regular blue Namiki ink are some of the best "practical" inks for professional use. I haven't seen another blue ink that encapsulates the same all-around features of:

-good flow
-low bleed
-low feather
-quick dry
-water-resistant
-low maintenance

What's really bizzare is that many of these qualities are usually considered mutually exclusive, so I'm not sure how Pilot does it. Even their Iroshizuku line doesn't perform this well.


Hi,

Thanks for sharing your experience and opinion of PBlBk.

Without a doubt it is a strong contender as a daily work horse ink for just about anyone using this colour, (or the Black or Blue iterations). Though, as mentioned, it is not widely available at this time. Perhaps requesting this ink from local B&M stockists and online Vendors might drive the demand, consequently increasing availability.

I too find it a bit baffling why other Co.s cannot do not market ink in 'core' colours with a comparable performance profile. Not that it would be likely to reduce sales of their other inks. (?)

Bye,
S1

The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.


#22 tnmike1

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 20:25

I'm a latecomer here, but must thank you for this tremendous (and exhaustive) review.

Pilot's standard-issue inks (i.e. not Iroshizuku, which I can find in nearly any decent pen shop or stationers' here) are pretty damned hard to track down: Kinokuniya in Manhattan is the only B&M shop I've found it in (30ml size only), and up until a week ago they seemed to be perpetually out of Pilot Blue. I agree that the difference between Pilot Blue and Blue-Black isn't as great as one would expect, but enough so for me not to regret having both, along with Pilot Black (which I use alongside Noodler's Old Manhattan/Blackest Black). All the Pilot inks are super well-behaved in two of the three pens I've used them in (Pilot Custom 74/B and VP/M; my Custom 823 has only known Noodler's OM since purchase). For me, these inks are keepers.


- Barrett



Can you provide a link to the store?? All I get are customer reviews, not actual bookstore information
Knoxville TN & Palm Coast FL

#23 mik86

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 01:00

If you like this, try the Pilot Blue - a surprisingly deep blue with nice shading. The blue has all the good characteristics covered in this review. These inks also come in 30ml bottles; black, blue, blue-black, & red AFAIK. The 70ml bottle is really well done. This blue-black is a little too bluish for me. I would probably mix some black in; or better yet make a custom mix of blue and black.

One poster commented on the smell of this ink. If there was ever an ink that smelled like you think ink would smell, this is it.


The smell to me (Namiki (Pilot) Blue) is very strong paraffin (wax). I think this is what makes is very hydrophobic- or at least water-resistant. It does however run with alcohol, like hand sanitizer.

#24 amateriat

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 02:55

tnmike1: Other than Kinokuniya's main website (http://www.kinokuniya.com), here's the best I can do regarding their NYC store:

Kinokuniya Bookstores
1073 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10018
212-869-1700
nyinfo@kinokuniya.com

Hope this helps.


- Barrett