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Sailor Sei boku Blue-Black Nano Ink


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59 replies to this topic

#1 PJohnP

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 20:58

I've used the Sailor Kiwaguro Nano Carbon Black ink for many months with great pleasure. It's been stable, non-staining, non-nib creeping, well lubricated, non-feathering and plainly ebon black on paper. In short, it became my "go to" black ink sometime past, and hasn't been displaced from that perch since.

So, when I read that Sailor was issuing a Blue-Black colour along the same lines of Kiwaguro ink, I'll admit that my appetite was keenly whetted to try the ink for myself. It was then a matter to order it from Taizo at Engeika by e-mail and then waiting. The wait was very short. I ordered it at the end the week ten days back, it was shipped on the Monday, and last Friday it arrived. Customer service still has high value in Japan !



What's the verdict on this ink ?



Well, right to the point, Sailor Sei boku Blue-Black Nano Ink (AKA Sailor Kiwaguro Nano Blue-Black Ink - see postscript notes below) is superb, simply superb.

Sei boku Blue-Black Nano ink is an exceptional complement to the excellent Kiwaguro Nano Carbon Black ink. It has a suitable amount of shading amongst all of the smooth lubricated flow on paper, doesn't feather noticeably without using a loope to look at the paper, and has zip (that's none at all) nib creep. As much as I like some ink manufacturers' products with respect to water resistance/proof characteristics, I very much dislike significant nib creep, to the point that I have several inks sitting unused despite the great colours that they exhibit.

Now, in fairness, the Sei boku Blue-Black ink is not quite as smoothly lubricated as the Nano Carbon Black ink, but the difference is small for me with my pens and nibs, perceptible, yes, but small. The feel of pen nib on paper isn't as extremely lubricated as some other inks, but it's nonetheless very much smooth, and the ink line goes down in an extremely controlled manner. I didn't at any point find that the ink was gushing onto the paper with my cursive italic nibs, so that the line variation was predictable and good (albeit my penmanship may not be working to the limits of the nibs... <wry smile>). Even the Pelikan 2.0 calligraphic nib, notorious in my experience for very dry starts, produced smooth clean lines.

Now, people who have extremely dry nibs and thus desire extremely lubricated, very "wet" inks may find this less of an exciting ink than I do. My nibs probably fall into the 6.0 - 7.5 range of wetness, giving always adequate liquid on demand, but by no means "wet noodle" status, or even close. Using a CI nib with relatively little flex, in my personal opinion, calls for a bit more controlled ink output. I haven't tested the ink yet in a flex nib to decide if this is an issue in that application.


Posted Image



There are a few limitations to my comments.

I didn't do smear or drying tests right now, because the relative humidity here was so darned low that I didn't think either test would yield repeatable results for folks at sea-level or in more humid conditions. Also, I'm not running exhaustive tests on the ink for just how "permanent" it is using solvents, light, boiling water or bleach. It's waterfast enough to address letters getting dropped in snow, as I've already discovered, and I'll leave the torture tests to some other folks. Unlike the Sailor Kiwaguro Nano Carbon Black ink, I haven't tested this extensively in six or seven different pens. It's been in three Pelikans, two modern, one vintage, with a medium CI, a broad CI, and a 2.0 calligraphic nib. Given that I've only had the ink for three days, it's difficult to predict long term staining issues at this point, although the pen I switched out of the ink today showed absolutely no staining or residue. I had absolutely no problems with the Kiwaguro Nano Carbon Black, but then, as the investment folks will tell us, past performance is no guarantee of future success.

The scans probably are yielding a bit more "bright" blue colour to the shading than I'm seeing in front of me, so look at the scans with that in mind. It's still a handsomely shaded ink with the 2.0 nib, but doesn't "pop" quite as much as the scan would indicate. For me, that's all to the good, as I want my blue-black inks to have a certain gravitas - I'll pull out one of my Herbin or Iroshizuku or Noodlers inks for that "pop".



Posted Image




What about the cost of the ink ?


Some people may cavil at the price of the ink. Fair and well enough for those people. I would expect to see JetPens or Swisher Pens (no affiliation with either, alas) eventually carry this ink here in the United States with lower shipping costs, but that's not the case as yet. That said, I consider my purchase from Japan to be very good value for the performance that I've so far achieved, and the incremental cost per fill of my pens is well tolerated through the pleasure of the pen on paper with this ink. I'd calculate that the difference in my net cost between this ink and another quality ink, even allowing for the shipping from Japan, could be anywhere from two to four fancy coffee drinks at Starbucks, which I don't buy in any event... In short, I think that this is a worthwhile ink investment for me.



The bottom line here is that I think I've discovered my new "go to" blue-black ink. It's stable in my pens, writes smoothly, lays down a scrumptious line. What's not to like about this ink ?



As a note per the Federal Trade Commission Guidelines related to blogging published in October 2009, I purchased this ink myself from Engeika, which came roughly seven days after web-based purchase from Japan to the United States. I am not paid in any fashion for my opinion or provided with free ink from the vendor or ink-maker.



John P.


P.S. This ink is referred to in some places as "Kiwa gura" or "Kiwa guro" Blue-Black Nano Ink, but I've been made aware that the usage is not strictly correct. See Neill's post below for an informed discussion on this point, and thanks very much for the correction, Neill ! Those people who want to purchase this ink from the same location can find it, with the "Kiwa gura" name at the Engeika eBay site. As a note, I am not, however, going to redo the review forms with the samples.

Edited by PJohnP, 14 December 2009 - 22:49.


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#2 RitaCarbon

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 21:14

John,

Thank you very much for posting your review of Kiwaguro Blue-Black. It wets my apetite and I will keep my eye on it. I have recently got interested in Japenese inks (Iroshizuku), and want to know more about them.

By the way, why are they so expensive? Is it because of the ingredients or the exchange rate?

Rita



#3 fuddmain

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 21:15

I've been using this ink for several weeks now and my experience matches yours. An excellent ink.

It has quickly become one of my favorites along with the black.

Now we just need more colors in this line :D

Edit: typo

Edited by fuddmain, 14 December 2009 - 21:15.

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#4 blopplop

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 21:22

I've been using this ink for several weeks now and my experience matches yours. An excellent ink.

It has quickly become one of my favorites along with the black.

Now we just need more colors in this line :D

Edit: typo


Ditto.

And I agree with the assessment that it's just a little less lubricating than the black.

Dave
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#5 Neill78

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 21:28

Great review and a great looking ink. I can't wait to get some of this in the spring when I'm in Japan.

Just one addition: the name of the ink is "Sei boku" (青墨) which means Blue-Black. The character for black indicates "black (drawing/calligraphy) ink" or "India Ink."

Kiwaguro means "extreme black" and is only used for the black ink. Both Kiwaguro and Seiboku are part of the Mannenhitsu You Biryuushi Ganryou Inku (万年筆用 微粒子 顔料 インク) or "Nanoーpigment Ink for Fountain Pens" line. They actually write "nano ink" in katakana after the Chinese characters, possibly because they are obscure technical words.

Neill

#6 Neill78

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 21:33

Mannenhitsu You Biryuushi Ganryou Inku (万年筆用 微粒子 顔料 インク)


Sorry, that should be Mannenhitsu you Choubiryuushi Ganryou Inku (万年筆用 超微粒子 顔料 インク) (=super fine particle pigment).

#7 PJohnP

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 22:36

Just one addition: the name of the ink is "Sei boku" (青墨) which means Blue-Black. The character for black indicates "black (drawing/calligraphy) ink" or "India Ink."

Kiwaguro means "extreme black" and is only used for the black ink. Both Kiwaguro and Seiboku are part of the Mannenhitsu You Biryuushi Ganryou Inku (万年筆用 微粒子 顔料 インク) or "Nanoーpigment Ink for Fountain Pens" line. They actually write "nano ink" in katakana after the Chinese characters, possibly because they are obscure technical words.


Neill :


I certainly don't have any great facility in Japanese, even having visited there a couple of times, and I respectfully acknowledge the correction. It's always good to get some more informed comments on a review, and I can well learn even at my (not too advanced) age...

Let's hope that we can get the moderators to update my title to substitute Sei boku for Kiwaguro in the first post, and I'll then edit the post as well as add a reference to your correction. DONE. I'll take a cue from the usage of "nano ink" and leave that alone. I'll try a reasonable mélange of Japanese and English for the name.

I did take the Engeika e-Bay advert as the basis for what I've referred to the ink as, although I did spell it more closely with the usage on the North American Swisher site.

Regardless of my error about the Sailor Sei boku Blue-Black Nano Ink (see, I can learn !), I'm still well pleased with the ink in my pens ! <warm smile>



John P.

Edited by PJohnP, 14 December 2009 - 22:50.


#8 scratchy

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 22:49

I must get this ink. I'm already a fan of the kiwaguro black and Sailor Jentle Blue inks. However I will need to wait until it's available more locally (UK)...
Sailor Professional Gear GT B Nib
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#9 PJohnP

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 23:27

By the way, why are they so expensive? Is it because of the ingredients or the exchange rate?


Rita :


It's a fun ink, and at this price, one of the rare indulgences that I grant myself.

I expect the higher prices are related to the cost of manufacture in Japan for a specialty ink combined with exchange rates and transport.



John P.

#10 Neill78

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 23:56

No worries! When everything's in Japanese it's impossible to know what to call it. I don't know why Engeika calls it "Kiwagura" as I always thought he (?) was a Japanese native speaker, but maybe he's got someone helping him with the ebay stuff. The reduced vowel (a = schwa) in "gura" is a typical American English pronunciation ( ie. accent) of the the Japanese guro (goo roe).

Sailor doesn't make it any easier since they throw in a ton of difficult kanji and then reduce it to "nano ink" in brackets. I guess they are trying to appeal to the romantic kanji-loving conservatives while attracting the attention of the young scientist generation at the same time.

Thanks again for your great review and wonderful scans. This is the blue-black I've been waiting for.

Neill

#11 RitaCarbon

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 00:07

By the way, why are they so expensive? Is it because of the ingredients or the exchange rate?


Rita :


It's a fun ink, and at this price, one of the rare indulgences that I grant myself.

I expect the higher prices are related to the cost of manufacture in Japan for a specialty ink combined with exchange rates and transport.



John P.


I understand you so much, John, about "the rare indulgences." They are indeed priceless. I'm glad they still exist in our turbulent world.


Wish you more of them. And please, share your experience. We will love to read.

Rita

#12 PJohnP

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 00:13

No worries! When everything's in Japanese it's impossible to know what to call it. I don't know why Engeika calls it "Kiwagura" as I always thought he (?) was a Japanese native speaker, but maybe he's got someone helping him with the ebay stuff. The reduced vowel (a = schwa) in "gura" is a typical American English pronunciation ( ie. accent) of the the Japanese guro (goo roe).


Neill :


My take on this is that the "kiwa guro" term is perceived or thought to be perceived as a sub-brand for Sailor, something like Pilot's Iroshizuku line, and so the name was left unchanged. Taizo's English in his correspondence with me has been quite good, so I kind of doubt he'd miss this, and I thus hypothesise that it's deliberate as a recognisable name for eBay purchasers.

But, yes, it's definitely a fun ink, and it's filled the gap in my permanent ink line rather nicely. I, too, had been waiting for an ink just like this...



John P.

#13 PJohnP

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 00:21

I understand you so much, John, about "the rare indulgences." They are indeed priceless. I'm glad they still exist in our turbulent world.


Wish you more of them. And please, share your experience. We will love to read.


Rita :


Thanks for the kind words.

Well, in the big scheme of things, these inks aren't as expensive as a (moderately) fancy meal out, or a fine bottle of wine, or similar purchases; and by golly, the ink experience lasts a lot longer ! I've been lucky enough in the last few months that people have either directly or indirectly (a gift of some cash with the strict admonition not to spend it on "necessities") gifted me with some nice inks. The Sei boku Blue-Black ink is my own indulgence, but I've been very lucky all around with inks of late.

I'll come back in a month or four and either add to this thread or start a new one with the longer term experiences with this ink.



John P.

#14 PJohnP

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 00:28

I must get this ink. I'm already a fan of the kiwaguro black and Sailor Jentle Blue inks. However I will need to wait until it's available more locally (UK)...



If I still lived in the UK (Loughborough), I'd offer you a fill ! Sadly, I left my local behind years back, and also the opportunities to share inks... Ah, well.



John P.

#15 blopplop

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 00:30

So far (in my own experience), this is the most desirable blue-black color I've used yet. In the past, my favorite has been a batch of vintage Sheaffer Skrip I picked up a couple years ago that I'm still working through. But this new Sailor eclipses that for me.

A great ink!!!!

Dave

Edited by blopplop, 15 December 2009 - 00:31.

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#16 RitaCarbon

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 00:37

I'll come back in a month or four and either add to this thread or start a new one with the longer term experiences with this ink.



John P.


John,

Have you done any reviews for Iroshizuku?

I ordered Tsuki-you Night Sky and can't wait to indulge myself in it. But there is a rumor in a posted topic that the price will be increased up to $35 per bottle next year. It makes me crave for other colors too. Not that I want to buy more, but would love to read about it. Like reading a murder mystery without actually murder anyone. Posted Image

#17 PJohnP

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 00:37

So far (in my own experience), this is the most desirable blue-black color I've used yet. ... A great ink!!!!


Dave :


Scan some materials and post a review ! I'm always intensely curious about other people's experiences with inks, especially inks that I like. I've occasionally seen some very useful comments about slight dilutions or such like things (not that I'm seeing a need for that here !) that have significantly enhanced my ink using experience.



John P.

#18 PJohnP

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 00:39

Have you done any reviews for Iroshizuku?


Rita :


Yup. Have a look under the Index of Ink Reviews (top of the forum topic list), and you'll find several Pilot Iroshizuku reviews by me. I actually have two more inks sitting here that I should write reviews on, but I'm a touch busy with work and home things this week...



John P.

Edited by PJohnP, 15 December 2009 - 00:40.


#19 blopplop

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 00:42

So far (in my own experience), this is the most desirable blue-black color I've used yet. ... A great ink!!!!


Dave :


Scan some materials and post a review ! I'm always intensely curious about other people's experiences with inks, especially inks that I like. I've occasionally seen some very useful comments about slight dilutions or such like things (not that I'm seeing a need for that here !) that have significantly enhanced my ink using experience.



John P.


John, I don't have any reviews yet (shame on me), but I have posted an extensive amount of scans which you can find here: SCANS

There are a few of blue-blacks in that.

Blessings,
Dave

Edited by blopplop, 15 December 2009 - 00:45.

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#20 misterh

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 01:03

Thanks for a great review. I have been searching for a blue black that I like and this looks to be just the job.






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