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Sailor Ink Pen


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12 replies to this topic

#1 garyc

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 17:43

The pen in question is a bargain basement pen from Sailor, called just the 'INK PEN', which I kindly received from fellow FPNer, Jared, who purchased it in japan for the princely sum of 100 Yen, or about a dollar or 63 pence in the UK. This will buy you a bag of salted peanuts in a British pub – a pint of bitter is about 5x this amount. So it literally does cost peanuts! Anyway, enough of the pre-amble, on with the review.



1.First impressions: My first thought was that this looked like a slightly fatter version of the Muji gel ink rollerballs. It's light, plastic and functional – it makes no pretence of looking like a 'proper' fountain pen. In the case of the Muji rollerballs, they are disposable, but this one is a cartridge filler, so you might expect to be hanging on to it a bit longer.

2.Appearance and finish: It's a nice colour though, a dark purply blue with a short clear cap. Being all plastic, it's very light but it feels ok in the hand. It has the words “INK PEN” in capitals on the barrel and a slightly subliminal “Sailor F4” on the plain stainless steel nib (no tipping). It takes standard Sailor cartridges.

3.Design, size, weight: As mentioned its a plain straight barrel, with a slightly narrower short section and short transparent cap, which can be posted with no change to the balance. It weighs just 8 grams and is 135mm long and about 10mm diameter at the barrel.

4.Nib design and performance: The nib is a Japanese fine, and being untipped it has line variation between horizontal and vertical strokes, so it is slightly italic. Performance wise, I wrote a letter of 2 a4 sides straight off with no trouble, but then the flow started to dry up, giving very grey lines (using a Sailor black cartridge). However, having pressed hard while making short strokes a few times, the flow returned and apart from a couple of relapses, seems to be fine. It's certainly smooth enough for such a fine untipped nib, but not up to the standard of (admittedly more expensive) Pilots like the Birdie or Prera, but it's not scratchy or unpleasant. I think it helps if the paper is good quality – I was using Tesco's Finest Ink Jet paper, which is 120gsm (32 lb). On rougher paper it does tend to scratch a bit. The improved ink flow by stretching the tines has helped in this respect.

5.Filling System: standard Sailor cartridge fit. I'd imagine it might be possible to fit a converter as there is a good 70mm of inside length available in the barrel.

6.Cost/Value: Well you can't get much cheaper and I don't think you could find a better writing instrument for certainly 5, maybe 10, times the price.

7.Overall opinion: Once the flow problem got sorted, the pen really is a delight to use. The slight italic nib gives it an edge over, say, the fine nib of the find found on the Pilot Prera, but its not as silky smooth, so it may irritate some. If you can't get on with Japanese fine nibs anyway, then this pen would not appeal. Before I got back into fountain pens, I was using the Muji gel rollers quite a lot, and this has a lot in common in terms of the overall feel, but with the benefit of being refillable. All in all, an excellent pen for fine writing. In certainly recommend giving one a go if you ever see them for sale.

(Later): After using the pen quite a bit for a week, it seems that it has a slight problem with a leak somewhere around the nib or section. The clear top becomes smeared with ink around the base, so it 's unlikely to be coming direct from the end of the nib or feed underneath, but could be leaking from where it joins the section. This is a shame as it detracts from what it otherwise a smashing little pen.

Images of this review:
Side 1:

Side 2:




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#2 MYU

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 18:19

Thanks for this excellent review, Gary! Very thoughtful to provide the entire handwritten content in typed form. I have one of these and have been tempted to review it... but just kept getting distracted by other pens. I'm glad someone took the initiative to finally add a thorough review of it (there is one "mini review" that was posted back in 2007, no writing sample).

These are probably the BEST pen deal ever. I also obtained a few from Jared, when he had his "Soup and a Pen" deal going. His cost was so reasonable because he was able to leverage the cheap shipping via US APO (he was stationed in Japan). No doubt he must have brought back a bunch with him to sell in the USA after his tour was up. biggrin.gif

Anyway, I find the writing characteristics very much as you described. I've been thinking it would be a fun project to try converting this to an eye dropper, but the design may not accommodate it without some serious modification. As an eye dropper, it would hold a huge amount of ink, much like the Safari with the rollerball barrel.

Edited by MYU, 11 July 2009 - 18:21.

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#3 Jared

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 23:41

It's was kind of Gary to do a review. I love these little pens, especially for taking notes. I now use them exclusively with a Sailor converter, which fits wonderfullly (although it costs about 7x the cost of the pen). They do have their shortcomings--the italic nib is no good for signatures (digs into the paper) and the cap "leakage" as shown by Gary happens on every pen (I have up to 7 inked at one time). In my opinion, this pen is the best deal for the money.



#4 holgalee

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 04:56

Gary, thanks for the comprehensive review! It's refreshing to read about cheap pens. Nice handwriting by the way!

Daiso in Singapore sells this pen as well. It's good value for money, but I get some ink coming out from the bottom of the nib whenever I uncap the pen. So I try to uncap s-l-o-w-m-o.

MYU, I'm curious about why modifications might be needed to convert this to an eyedropper. My pen is in office now so I can't examine it.


*Edited becoz I always think of more to say once I've posted!

Edited by holgalee, 12 July 2009 - 04:59.


#5 Silvermink

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 21:24

I wouldn't say I like my Ink Pen, exactly - the el-cheapo-school-felt-markers plastic and unsubtle "INK PEN" inscription leave no doubt that this is a super-cheap pen, and the nib is on the scratchy side - but I have a grudging respect for its ability to write even when left for several months, and the subtle stubbiness of its nib.

Edited by Silvermink, 12 July 2009 - 21:25.

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#6 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 01:42

I have a couple of these, thanks to fellow FPN-ers. They're neat little pens.

Great review AND great handwriting! ^__^

#7 garyc

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 08:15

I wouldn't heap too much praise on my handwriting, though I have to say there is something about this pen that slows my handwriting down and makes it a bit more legible. Most likely this is because it is not so smooth, so that fast strokes are not possible (as Jared noted, not suitable for signatures for that reason).

I'd never heard of Daiso before, but this review tells me its modelled on the 100 Yen shops and is a cheaper version of Muji, hence perhaps the similarity with this pen and the Muji gel pens. Must be a generic design common across Asia.

I also read here that there is a mini Daiso of sorts in the Japan Centre in London. Unfortunately they don't seem to have (m)any stationery products for sale, at least from the web site. Next time I'm in London I'll try and pop in and see what's what.



#8 dcwaites

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 11:07

I haven't seen the Ink Pen around Sydney, but I have been able to get a Sailor Ink Bar from the local Kinokuniya. I could only get Orange, and I wasn't too impressed. It seemed a bit dry.

I left it for a couple of months, tried it again, and found that it had fully dried out. So I pulled the back of and extracted the ink reservoir. This is a tube filled with fibres, and this one was full of dried orange ink. I rinsed it out under the tap till all the ink was out, and it went from orange to white. I then was able to fill the reservoir with two mls of Tanzam Blue. It became a solid, medium wet writer and the blue is a nice vibrant blue which gives Baystate Blue a run for its money. It now sits on my desk at work, beside a Platinum Preppy ED conversion filled with ink made from vintage Thistle powdered ink.


fpn_1412827311__pg_d_104def64.gif

 

 

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#9 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 15:50

QUOTE (dcwaites @ Jul 14 2009, 07:07 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I haven't seen the Ink Pen around Sydney, but I have been able to get a Sailor Ink Bar from the local Kinokuniya. I could only get Orange, and I wasn't too impressed. It seemed a bit dry.

I left it for a couple of months, tried it again, and found that it had fully dried out. So I pulled the back of and extracted the ink reservoir. This is a tube filled with fibres, and this one was full of dried orange ink. I rinsed it out under the tap till all the ink was out, and it went from orange to white. I then was able to fill the reservoir with two mls of Tanzam Blue. It became a solid, medium wet writer and the blue is a nice vibrant blue which gives Baystate Blue a run for its money. It now sits on my desk at work, beside a Platinum Preppy ED conversion filled with ink made from vintage Thistle powdered ink.


Sailor Ink BAR? What sort of pen is that? Fountain, felt-tip, what?

Cool 'save,' by the way. I'll have to keep that in mind.


#10 Nellie

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 00:21

I converted mine to an eyedropper by putting silicone grease on the section threads and the transparent bit at the other end of the barrel. The pen did not leak, but like many eyedropper conversions it 'blobbed' ink on the paper when the ink level was low, so I'm now using it with a converter.
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#11 PatientType

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 00:52

This review underlines for me the pre eminance of Chinese fountain pens for the utterly cheap market. I just bought a Lanbitou 866. It cost $2.56 on Ebay with free shipping. It is a fairly slim pen but has a stainless steel barrel and writes cleanly and smoothly. It even boasts a converter. Much more impressive than Ink Pen.

Edited by PatientType, 15 July 2009 - 01:40.


#12 johnr55

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 00:53

You have a beautiful semicursive-I know a lot of people who wish they could match your penmanship. Thanks for the review-it mystifies me why Sailor insists on putting 'ink pen' on the barrel.

#13 dcwaites

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 01:37

QUOTE (Sailor Kenshin @ Jul 15 2009, 01:50 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (dcwaites @ Jul 14 2009, 07:07 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I haven't seen the Ink Pen around Sydney, but I have been able to get a Sailor Ink Bar from the local Kinokuniya. I could only get Orange, and I wasn't too impressed. It seemed a bit dry.

I left it for a couple of months, tried it again, and found that it had fully dried out. So I pulled the back of and extracted the ink reservoir. This is a tube filled with fibres, and this one was full of dried orange ink. I rinsed it out under the tap till all the ink was out, and it went from orange to white. I then was able to fill the reservoir with two mls of Tanzam Blue. It became a solid, medium wet writer and the blue is a nice vibrant blue which gives Baystate Blue a run for its money. It now sits on my desk at work, beside a Platinum Preppy ED conversion filled with ink made from vintage Thistle powdered ink.


Sailor Ink BAR? What sort of pen is that? Fountain, felt-tip, what?

It is a disposable fountain pen, not designed to be refilled, but obviously it can be, by following the above instructions.

From the Jetpens website.

QUOTE
Cool 'save,' by the way. I'll have to keep that in mind.

Thank you.


fpn_1412827311__pg_d_104def64.gif

 

 

“Them as can do has to do for them as can’t.

And someone has to speak up for them as has no voices.”

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