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200% Pilot Blue-Black Ink Review (Instead Of The Dull 100%)

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63 replies to this topic

#1 aurore

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 13:46

Here is a brief review of a double concentrated Pilot Blue-Black ink.

A prelude. Or a kind of
I have always been fascinated with this ink. For a bunch of reasons except one: it is rather lifeless. Then I used it in my modern Duofold (with the damn hole in the cap causing evaporation) and found out this ink can be gorgeous with a lot of gravitas, beautiful shading and some sheen... if evaporates a bit.

Pilot Blue-Black standard concentration properties summary
A couple of positives of this ink (in the normal 100% concentration):

1) VERY cheap if you get a 350ml bottle from Japan, it costs there roughly $12,
2) VERY water resistant,
3) (unlike most Blue-Black inks) when exposed to water it stays purely blue instead of black/grey,
4) flows well in any pen,
5) safe,
6) no strong smell,
7) while it stains, the stains disappear fully if well soaked/filled with a soapy (dish detergent) water with no other treatment required at all; it is also very easy to wash from clothes, leaving no stains.

Aren't these 7 wonders of the ink?
Well, yes, but despite all the positives this ink normally isn't what one would expect of a solid blue black. Honestly, it is quite dull.

 

Say no to the dullness - let it evaporate
So what did I do? I bought a 350ml bottle, filled my empty Edelstein Sapphire bottle (actually not the most lively ink either), folded a kitchen paper towel in 8 layers and fixed it with a rubber band to the bottle. Then put it in my desk (the place that is dark and dry - just like my soul). I had been checking it regularly, but cannot remember how long did it take to evaporate a half of the bottle, but roughly 2 weeks.  And... see the result below. A lovely navy ink, very water resistant, with a sheen and shading. With no misbehaviour. And still very cheap.
For this process the wider the open surface of the bottle is the faster is the evaporation. Sailor old style 50ml round bottle (reminding jar) would fit the best. On the contrary heating or exposing to sunlight would not be the best idea.

Testing
The paper used is Oxford 90g A4 optikpaper notepad (a coated paper like Rhodia etc.).
The pen used is MB 146 from early 90s (1st gen. plastic feed) with M(edium) feed - a bit broadish but not the wettest.
The photos were taken in a natural light (direct sunlight/2 sorts of a shadow).
You can see the comparison of the ink in 100% and 200% concentrations, written with the same pen.

The writing sample was kept in the notebook for 24 hours before performing the water test.
It was left for 30 second under a tap.
I went quite hard with cotton swabs, it even damaged the paper surface.
UV resistance results (notebook vs. summer window) will be updated in 2 weeks.

The inks does not bleed (except the cheapest paper in almost a toilet paper quality), does not feather.

Conclusion
While the standard Pilot Blue-Black is a very good ink it is not the best choice if you need a serious business ink. The double concentration will do the job.
What a lovely colour, isn't it?! What a performance! And very, very cheap.
As for the price, while the ink is cheap the shipping is tricky but for instance Mercari now and then offers discounts on shipping or even a free international shipping, like recently.

 

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Edited by aurore, 06 July 2020 - 08:38.


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#2 txomsy

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 14:13

Mmmmteresting. Thanks.



#3 TSherbs

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 16:51

Nice indeed.

#4 Newton Pens

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 18:41

Here is some more love for P BB.

https://www.penucopi...my-favorite-ink

 

and his video of it dripping out of a pen-

 

And the hole in the cap of your Duofold doesn't, or rather if the pen is put together right, shouldn't leave the nib exposed to air.

Think about the air when capping a pen when the inner cap seals to the section. As you are threading the cap on, the air compresses and needs somewhere to go. If your threads are nice and snug, it may not be able to escape around the threads so it could be forced through the nib to the ink supply. When uncapping a pen, you can have vacuum and it can suck the air (and ink) back out.



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#5 taimdala

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 19:08

THIS is COOL!!!

Thank you for the review.

(slinks away cackling at the imminent fate of some of her not-so-favorite inks ....)



#6 aurore

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 19:28

Mmmmteresting. Thanks.

Thank you!

 

Nice indeed.

Thank you!

 

THIS is COOL!!!

Thank you for the review.

(slinks away cackling at the imminent fate of some of her not-so-favorite inks ....)

Thank you!



And the hole in the cap of your Duofold doesn't, or rather if the pen is put together right, shouldn't leave the nib exposed to air.

Thank you!

As or the Duofold though, out of many Duofolds I have had (or actually used to have) - Centennial and International, MK1/MK2/MK3, - every single pen did the very same thing. Not quickly of course, but leaving it capped for a couple of days without any use always causes some evaporation and hence the difference in ink colour for a a couple of strokes.
I understand the physical principle the hole should serve, but 1) it always causes some evaporation in case of this pen, 2) I have used quite a few pens without a hole (such as Sailor 1911L) and there have never been any troubles with the vacuum related effect. I honestly believe Parker should forget about these holes, just my 2c of course.


Edited by aurore, 05 July 2020 - 19:40.


#7 cellmatrix

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 20:10

Here is a brief review of a double concentrated Pilot Blue-Black ink.

A prelude. Or a kind of
I have always been fascinated with this ink. For a bunch of reasons except one: it is rather lifeless. Then I used it in my modern Duofold (with the damn hole in the cap causing evaporation) and found out this ink can be gorgeous with a lot of gravitas, beautiful shading and some sheen... if evaporates a bit.

Pilot Blue-Black standard concentration properties summary
A couple of positives of this ink (in the normal 100% concentration):

1) VERY cheap if you get a 350ml bottle from Japan, it costs there roughly $12,
2) VERY water resistant,
3) (unlike most Blue-Black inks) when exposed to water it stays purely blue instead of black/grey,
4) flows well in any pen,
5) safe,
6) no strong smell,
7) while it stains, the stains disappear fully if well soaked/filled with a soapy (dish detergent) water with no other treatment required at all.

Aren't these 7 wonders of the ink?
Well, yes, but despite all the positives this ink normally isn't what one would expect of a solid blue black. Honestly, it is quite dull.
 

Say no to the dullness - let it evaporate
So what did I do? I bought a 350ml bottle, filled my empty Edelstein Sapphire bottle (actually not the most lively ink either), folded a kitchen paper towel in 8 layers and fixed it with a rubber band to the bottle. Then put it in my desk (the place that is dark and dry - just like my soul). I had been checking it regularly, but cannot remember how long did it take to evaporate a half of the bottle, but roughly 2 weeks.  And... see the result below. A lovely navy ink, very water resistant, with a sheen and shading. With no misbehaviour. And still very cheap.

Testing
The paper used is Oxford 90g A4 optikpaper notepad (a coated paper like Rhodia etc.).
The pen used is MB 146 from early 90s (1st gen. plastic feed) with M(edium) feed - a bit broadish but not the wettest.
The photos were taken in a natural light (direct sunlight/2 sorts of a shadow).
You can see the comparison of the ink in 100% and 200% concentrations, written with the same pen.

The writing sample was kept in the notebook for 24 hours before performing the water test.
It was left for 30 second under a tap.
I went quite hard with cotton swabs, it even damaged the paper surface.
UV resistance results (notebook vs. summer window) will be updated in 2 weeks.

The inks does not bleed (except the cheapest paper in almost a toilet paper quality), does not feather.

Conclusion
While the standard Pilot Blue-Black is a very good ink it is not the best choice if you need a serious business ink. The double concentration will do the job.
What a lovely colour, isn't it?! What a performance! And very, very cheap.
As for the price, while the ink is cheap the shipping is tricky but for instance Mercari now and then offers discounts on shipping or even a free international shipping, like recently.

 

d6ilXJf.jpg
I4pLujr.jpg
1fXK6pq.jpg
yy78LfS.jpg
8FOYXk7.jpg
XxDkBnb.jpg
RykKtOU.jpg
ejURa0B.jpg
KYA2HpA.jpg
2PmNqjZ.jpg

Great discussion, however I would like to add a contrasting opinion....

 

One of the things I like best about pilot blue black is its subtle shading. Its beautiful and shows to the world that you wrote your words with a fountain pen. When it evaporates, you can lose much of this shading, and it looks more like you wrote with a gel or ballpoint pen.

 

So I always add a bit of water to the cartridge if I am finding that my ink is undergoing evaporation, or I will just use at 75% ink, 25% water concentration.

 

Also, whether to dilute or concentrate, in part depends on what brand of pen you are using. I've found pilot pens work really well with pilot ink (duh!) and they usually give you a level of dry/wetness to bring out the best in pilot blue black. Wet pens with heavy flow are going to give you no shading whatsoever and everything is just going to be too saturated (at least for me).

 

Dry pens, or pens which are partially clogged or in need of a good cleaning are going to give you a lighter line and more shading with full strength pilot blue black, and it makes sense that overcorrecting at 200% concentration might make this look better (especially if deep cleaning your pen does not help improve ink flow.

 

Anyway, thanks to the OP for posting this information about pilot blue black. Its one of my favorite inks, and I use it all the time from my own 350 ml bottle.



#8 aurore

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 20:40

A very thoughtful argument, cellmatrix! Thank you!

From my experience though this 200% ink luckily provides even more shading than the standard concentration does. It is very distinctive and runs from a dark and sheeny navy to plain blue. I definitely must upload better photos :) Shall try and do tomorrow.
If it was more than 200% - like 300 or 400% it would be indeed just plainly dark and sheeny.
 


Edited by aurore, 05 July 2020 - 20:40.


#9 khalameet

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 20:52

Maybe my bottle of this ink is too old, but I think even when it was new it came out of my Custom 823 like your evaporated version. But as cellmatrix said, this ink works really well in any Pilot pen. I can not remember that I have used this ink in any other pens than Pilot's. But I am crazy, because I like to pair inks and pens of one brand :)



#10 aurore

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Posted 06 July 2020 - 08:41

Maybe my bottle of this ink is too old, but I think even when it was new it came out of my Custom 823 like your evaporated version. But as cellmatrix said, this ink works really well in any Pilot pen. I can not remember that I have used this ink in any other pens than Pilot's. But I am crazy, because I like to pair inks and pens of one brand :)

It can be because of the evaporation but even more probably because of the pen's wetness (this MB 146 definitely is not wet at all) or eventually both.
Pairing is great :) And indeed Pilot inks always work perfectly in Pilot pens :)



#11 Tasmith

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Posted 06 July 2020 - 13:15

Very cool!



#12 LizEF

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Posted 06 July 2020 - 15:19

Very interesting, Aurore!  Thanks for sharing the results with us.  It makes me wonder what Pilot Blue Black would look like mixed with Pilot Black. :D  It might be more cost effective that cutting your volume in half - though the color would be completely different (I assume).  Maybe one day I'll get samples.



#13 khalameet

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Posted 06 July 2020 - 19:27

Very interesting, Aurore!  Thanks for sharing the results with us.  It makes me wonder what Pilot Blue Black would look like mixed with Pilot Black. :D  It might be more cost effective that cutting your volume in half - though the color would be completely different (I assume).  Maybe one day I'll get samples.

I tried that two years or so ago. It just makes the ink more grey. But it gets sort of dirty, not a grey blue black like Pelikan 4001 or similar. I didn't like it.



#14 LizEF

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Posted 06 July 2020 - 19:38

I tried that two years or so ago. It just makes the ink more grey. But it gets sort of dirty, not a grey blue black like Pelikan 4001 or similar. I didn't like it.

Thank you for saving me the time! :)  I've noticed that blacks are frequently poor candidates for mixing - they have hidden "mud" colors in them that just ruin everything.



#15 sansenri

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Posted 06 July 2020 - 21:38

Thank you for the detailed explanation of how to achieve this and showing us results.

Much less scientifically I have been doing this since long time with Pelikan Royal blue; when left uncapped to concentrate it becomes much darker and interesting.

Your accurate method is however inspiring for a further, better controlled, attempt on one of those spare bottles that tend to build up (when they come with SE pens...).



#16 aurore

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Posted 06 July 2020 - 22:00

Very interesting, Aurore!  Thanks for sharing the results with us.  It makes me wonder what Pilot Blue Black would look like mixed with Pilot Black. :D  It might be more cost effective that cutting your volume in half - though the color would be completely different (I assume).  Maybe one day I'll get samples.

The economical aspect is a very good point. However if one gets this Blue-Black very cheap (which is possible with some international shipping promotions on Mercari/Rakuten/Yahoo, I got one myself a month ago) the price is not an issue (honestly, paying 13 dollars incl. postage per 350ml bottle is almost a gift).
 
Technically, while Blue-Black is expected to be what the name suggests, in practice not always it is. For instance some of my favourite Blue-Black inks GvFC Midnight is mostly (according to the chromatography) a sort of blue + purple. The black itself differs very much depending on the brand - it is always a mixture of different colours and the chromatography of two blacks can be way more different than it seems. 

There are some general rules though. A blue black as a mixture of blue and black always means a lot more blue than black as for the volume (ratio). So if one wants to mix Asa Gao and Take Sumi (which shows good results) for a dark blue ink, a single 15ml bottle of Take Sumi will need a couple of 50ml bottles of Asa Gao. Unless the blue is very saturated the result is usually a weird kind of grey, as khalameet said, especially if one adds more black than he/she should have. But the whole story is mainly about the ratio and the particular black ink composition, via try and fail sooner or later you would achieve something reasonable. However it would still be a blue black, not a saturated dark blue. For a saturated blue you need a solid amount of the blue dye, it cannot be replaced via darkening using a black ink.



#17 LizEF

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Posted 06 July 2020 - 22:10

The economical aspect is a very good point. However if one gets this Blue-Black very cheap (which is possible with some international shipping promotions on Mercari/Rakuten/Yahoo, I got one myself a month ago) the price is not an issue (honestly, paying 13 dollars incl. postage per 350ml bottle is almost a gift).
 
Technically, while Blue-Black is expected to be what the name suggests, in practice not always it is. For instance some of my favourite Blue-Black inks GvFC Midnight is mostly (according to the chromatography) a sort of blue + purple. The black itself differs very much depending on the brand - it is always a mixture of different colours and the chromatography of two blacks can be way more different than it seems. 

There are some general rules though. A blue black as a mixture of blue and black always means a lot more blue than black as for the volume (ratio). So if one wants to mix Asa Gao and Take Sumi (which shows good results) for a dark blue ink, a single 15ml bottle of Take Sumi will need a couple of 50ml bottles of Asa Gao. Unless the blue is very saturated the result is usually a weird kind of grey, as khalameet said, especially if one adds more black than he/she should have. But the whole story is mainly about the ratio and the particular black ink composition, via try and fail sooner or later you would achieve something reasonable. However it would still be a blue black, not a saturated dark blue. For a saturated blue you need a solid amount of the blue dye, it cannot be replaced via darkening using a black ink.

:thumbup:  Thanks for the details and example.

 

I can tell you one thing for sure - don't rely on Waterman Intense Black to darken or blacken anything - it makes stuff go green! :)



#18 taimdala

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 03:46

Quite by accident I discovered that Lamy Violet (cartridge) evaps to a darker color of violet and it sheens metallic green so much easier/more frequently even when using an Asian-made Extra Fine nib. I just wish there was a way to get Lamy Violet in bulk (say, in the 50ml T-52 bottle) so I can make some concentrated Violet.

Alas, I *just* missed the window for purchasing Lamy Violet in that 50ml bottle. By the time I realized it was available in that volume, it got discontinued.

Story of my life ... A day late and an ink bottle short.

 

Rats.


Edited by taimdala, 07 July 2020 - 03:46.


#19 IThinkIHaveAProblem

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 05:03

neat! looks really good at 200%

 

Thanks for posting.


Just give me the Parker 51s and nobody needs to get hurt.

#20 dennis_f

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 21:33

I really like/prefer the shade of the 200%.  Thanks for conducting the expirement... you've inspired me to give it a try with a few inks I've sampled recently but decided were too pale.


Edited by dennis_f, 07 July 2020 - 21:34.






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: pilot, namiki, blue-black, iroshizuku, business ink, water resistant ink, dark blue ink, navy blue ink, work appropriate ink



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