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Sailor Ink Bar

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6 replies to this topic

#1 Kessel


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Posted 19 May 2010 - 02:09

As an experiment, I recently bought a whole bunch of disposable fountain-pen-alikes. It's not common to find such reviews here, so I'm going to see about reviewing some of them.

First on the list is the Sailor Ink Bar. I will spare you my poor photography and point you here for some pictures: (no affil. etc.)
There are photos of the nib and pen there. I got mine from JetPens.

Down to brass tacks.

Absolutely no-nonsense white plastic, the Ink Bar looks like it comes straight off an assembly line. The look is minimalist and pragmatic and there isn't a single part of the pen wasted on accoutrements. The cap is a clear plastic with a tighter inner cap, which will pick up some ink over the course of use. This is a disposable pen, of course, so long-term staining isn't an issue.

Hand feel:
Plasticky. It's made of plastic and it feels like plastic. The body is long and skinny, and its thickness is uniform throughout. The plastic surface is smooth but not all that slippery. I didn't really care for the overall hand feel, but there's nothing majorly wrong with it.

This was the disappointment of the review. I did not care for the nib's feel and performance. The nib is dry and scratchy, with a great deal of tooth. When it writes, it writes capably, but it sometimes has trouble starting out of the cap. If you leave the pen uncapped for anything longer than thirty seconds to a minute, starting the pen is a pain in the arse - the nib simply dries out. I sometimes had to cap the pen again and wait a little while before pulling it out to write. Looking at the reviews available on JetPens, I see I am not alone in making these observations.

Rich, deep black. The ink looks very satisfying on paper and dries very quickly - three seconds at the most. I experienced bleedthrough on cheap paper, but not on thicker paper. There is some very slight feathering which should not be an issue for most writers. I think the ink is the best part of this pen - readable, rich and satisfying, it is both a writer's and a reader's ink.

I still haven't run out of ink. Fifteen or twenty pages in and counting.
PS. I have heard tales of some people refilling this pen. Apparently there is a foam core inside the pen body which you can pull out and soak in ink.

I'm not impressed by the Ink Bar. The ink is wonderful, but the nib - oh! what a shame! It is simply too toothy and it stops and starts way too often to be a practical, dependable writer. It's a shame, because I've used some pretty good disposable pens. I can't consider the Ink Bar to be one of them.

I hope to progress to some of the others on the list. Perhaps when this pen runs out of ink. I hate wasting ink!

Edited by Kessel, 19 May 2010 - 02:09.

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#2 HDoug


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Posted 19 May 2010 - 02:33

A friend of mine just returned from Japan and gave me one of these. The fine nib on mine is quite wet and smooth, and its ink a nice, deep blue. I better write her a thank you letter. Anyway, I'm not contradicting your review, just adding a data point.


Edited by HDoug, 19 May 2010 - 02:33.

#3 Kessel


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Posted 19 May 2010 - 02:37

I think the main issue I have with the pen is its manufacturing consistency.

The JetPens reviews seem to suggest that if you get a good one, it writes a marvellous line, and if you get a bum one, well... My guess is perhaps that if the pen is left sitting on the shelf unsold too long that the nib dries up a little and performance degrades. It's probably down to luck which sort you get if you order online, sight unseen!

If anyone gets the chance to try this in a store and picks up one that writes well, it's really quite a fascinating pen.

Edited by Kessel, 19 May 2010 - 02:38.

#4 bluemagister


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Posted 19 May 2010 - 02:46

I ordered several of these and I pick the best ones for refilling with Bad Belted Kingfisher. They perform admirably and write better than more expensive pens I've used. I think the key is to get 5 or 6 and pick the best one or two.

I love my Ink Bars!

#5 churl



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Posted 19 May 2010 - 04:31

I have bought around 10-12 Ink Bars now, and I'd say that 2 out of 4 are perfect pens, 1 is acceptable, and 1 is trash. The QC on the Ink Bar seems spotty. That being said, those 2 good ones are amazing.

With a diamond file, I've fixed a lot of my troublesome Ink Bar nibs with a little home nib grinding. Ink feed issues can be due to the ink drying out, as it's a fiber cartridge, not free flowing liquid.

EDIT - they are my primary giveaway pen, as they are cheap, the good ones are a lot of fun to write with. I've given away 5 or 6 now. I like it better than Preppies for giveaways, as the Preppy is prone to breaking plastic.

EDIT2 - there have been a bunch of threads about reloading Ink Bars. Here's the most recent one I can recall. http://www.fountainp...ted-kingfisher/

Edited by churl, 19 May 2010 - 04:38.

#6 piper10


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Posted 03 June 2010 - 09:39

I've had my Ink Bar for over a year -- the ink hasn't dried out and its performance hasn't degraded. It writes amazingly smoothly. The only thing I don't like about it is that I can't tell how much ink it has left in it. Bugs me.

#7 OMASmaniac



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Posted 03 June 2010 - 11:52

I like the design of this pen!

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