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Sailor Professional Gear with saibi togi nib


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35 replies to this topic

#1 troglokev

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 06:04

I study Japanese, and found myself in need of a pen for writing furigana, which are the small characters written beside difficult kanji to provide a pronunciation guide. These need to be both tiny and legible to be of any use: so I was looking for something finer than the 0.3mm mechanical pencil I had been using. The Sailor saibi togi nib looked like being exactly what I wanted.

A bit of background reading about Nagahara-san and his inventive approach to nib design raised my expectations of the pen. I therefore asked a colleague who was visiting Tokyo to bring one back for me. For 31,500円 and the cost of a couple of beers, I had my pen.

Others have provided glowing reviews of the fit and finish of the Professional Gear. In particular, J-san's review provides some great photographs of the Professional Gear, with a different nib. I also was impressed with the quality. Easily a match for my MB149, at about a third of the cost.

The saibi togi nib is an interesting shape: it has been ground to an inverted pyramid with the tip in contact with the paper, and the base of the pyramid on the tines. This allows the tines of the nib to be stronger and stiffer than a more conventional super fine.

saibitogi_0002.JPG

A handwriting sample (a bit rough and ready, it's not a second language so much as a second writing system!):
IMG_0051.JPG

The diagram (hopefully) explains what I'm on about with the inverted pyramid shape.
IMG_0054.JPG
(After the second or third photograph, that period was getting pretty large, so I moved the pen a bit)

So how does it work? For my particular purpose, brilliantly! The ink flow is continuous and consistent, without being over wet. The extra stiffness afforded by the design keeps the line thickness nice and uniform. The line variation favoured by the flex nib crowd is not present in this nib. I also tried it upside down. With a wetter ink than the Sailor Jentle black that came with the pen, you might be able to write with the back of the nib: it's a western fine, but a bit dry on that side.

I find myself really enjoying this pen: it's very much a specialist nib, but it encourages me to write with it at every opportunity. It is surprisingly smooth for a pen as fine as this. There is a bit of tooth, as you'd expect, and I wouldn't even try to use it on handmade paper, but it is very nice to write with. I bought it for a particular purpose, but I'm looking for other ways to use it: it would be terrific for cross-hatching a line drawing, I would think.

Edited by MYU, 21 April 2009 - 22:00.


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#2 hari317

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 08:16

Interesting nib! thanks for sharing.

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#3 inkyfingr

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 20:43

Nice review. The writing sample is really helpful for evaluating all of the Sailor specialty nibs.

#4 hamiltgr

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 20:26


Any observations on traditional cursive writing? Is it too scratchy for this purpose?

I'm a scientist who writes extremely small, particularly when attempting to fit large amounts of data into the margins of research papers. When I'm revising a 100 page research document, I also like to write very quickly for obvious reasons, hence my question regarding its performance with cursive writing.

The problem I've experienced, after trying a few fine/very fine western style nibs, is that I simply cannot write small enough with them. I'm looking at Sailor XF and Saibi nibs as a possible replacement. I appreciate any input.

Thanks!

#5 troglokev

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 22:14

QUOTE (hamiltgr @ Aug 7 2008, 06:26 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Any observations on traditional cursive writing? Is it too scratchy for this purpose?

I'm a scientist who writes extremely small, particularly when attempting to fit large amounts of data into the margins of research papers. When I'm revising a 100 page research document, I also like to write very quickly for obvious reasons, hence my question regarding its performance with cursive writing.

The problem I've experienced, after trying a few fine/very fine western style nibs, is that I simply cannot write small enough with them. I'm looking at Sailor XF and Saibi nibs as a possible replacement. I appreciate any input.

Thanks!


My own hand is pretty light, and that's definitely a factor, but I find that I can easily write at normal speed. It will leave a good line with just the weight of the pen, and will certainly let you write extremely small.

I don't find it too scratchy, but someone with a heavier hand might. Here's a comparison with a couple of other pens, to illustrate the difference in linewidth.

IMG_0056.JPG

I definitely don't recommend the Falcon for margin notes. It's another great pen,but the nib is too flexible for that.



#6 hamiltgr

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 00:33

Thank you for the wonderful reply and excellent review!

I'm glad you mentioned the Falcon, until now I considered purchasing one, instead of a togi saibi. I think I'm pretty well sold on the Sailor now.


#7 inkyfingr

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 01:16

QUOTE (hamiltgr @ Aug 6 2008, 09:26 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Any observations on traditional cursive writing? Is it too scratchy for this purpose?

I'm a scientist who writes extremely small, particularly when attempting to fit large amounts of data into the margins of research papers. When I'm revising a 100 page research document, I also like to write very quickly for obvious reasons, hence my question regarding its performance with cursive writing.

The problem I've experienced, after trying a few fine/very fine western style nibs, is that I simply cannot write small enough with them. I'm looking at Sailor XF and Saibi nibs as a possible replacement. I appreciate any input.

Thanks!


I would recommend a Sailor with a standard fine nib. This is much finer than a Western fine and very smooth. I wouldn't go much smaller if you want to write quickly on paper that is generally poor quality (such as the typical stuff that research papers are printed out on). I'm a scientist too, and I love my Sailor 1911 or 1911 midsize with a fine nib.

#8 hamiltgr

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 02:01

Hmm, very interesting. I took a very small sample of 33 characters of some moderately size text I wrote with my preferred, mechanical, pencil. I then took and measured each with a digital caliper, accuracy to hundredths place. I found the following results:

Largest character: 6.69mm (an "f" with a big tail)
Smallest character: 0.40mm (an "o")
Average character size: 2.07mm
Median: 1.26mm (suggesting skewing, with more small characters and fewer, significantly larger in size)

In cases where I write for my own use, It's possible that I might write somewhat smaller, but likely never representing a decrease in size of more than ~10-20%.

I'm concerned that a fine Sailor nib might not prove fine enough and, of course, I'd hate to overdo it and get something too fine. Unfortunately, I know of no way to test any quality pens, particularly Sailor's, in person. It's so remote out here we drive until we see two cousins fornicating on the front lawn and call that "civilization".

I've been waffling somewhere between a very fine and the xx fine (saibi), do you think a fine is actually plausible?

<edit>
Forgot to mention, you're absolutely right about the poor quality paper. I tried to make some notes on a printout of a piece of my research, when I sat back and tried to read it, it looked like a rorschach test! I was thinking a very fine nib with a drier flow would help with that also, but maybe the Saibi or very fine is more overkill than I thought.
</edit>

Thanks for the input, it's much appreciated.

Edited by hamiltgr, 07 August 2008 - 02:12.


#9 troglokev

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 08:08

It very much depends on both paper and the ink as to how well this goes. My initial samples were on cheap standard notepaper you'd get from any office stationery cupboard.

I also know what you mean about journals, but I only have Science at home, so I did a test on that, and on a newspaper. I also tried the Falcon for comparison. It's actually okay if you're careful not to press too hard on its flexy nib hmm1.gif Samples below.

Science:

Test_0000.JPG

The paper used by Science is way better than your average journal, so this was never going to be a problem.

Newspaper:

Test_0003.JPG

It's not a fair test until I try the Sailor Ink in the Falcon, and the MB ink in the Sailor, but both seem able to do the job. The Sydney Morning Herald is a tougher challenge than any journal that I know of. I also tried on photocopy paper and neither had a problem writing at less than 10pt (no picture, sorry sad.gif ).

Edited by troglokev, 07 August 2008 - 08:19.


#10 Lloyd

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 12:48

Have you considered a cusom nib? For instance, Richard Binder sells smooooooth Pelikan & Vanishing Point nibs (no wait) that are of whatever tip size you desire. Also, have you tried Noodlers Black ink? I find that it almost always aids in reducing the width of the line a pen lays down without being stodgy.
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#11 inkyfingr

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 13:16



I've been waffling somewhere between a very fine and the xx fine (saibi), do you think a fine is actually plausible?

<edit>
Forgot to mention, you're absolutely right about the poor quality paper. I tried to make some notes on a printout of a piece of my research, when I sat back and tried to read it, it looked like a rorschach test! I was thinking a very fine nib with a drier flow would help with that also, but maybe the Saibi or very fine is more overkill than I thought.
</edit>

Thanks for the input, it's much appreciated.
[/quote]

I'll send you a writing sample with a Japanese fine and extra fine on laser printer paper later today for comparison.

#12 hamiltgr

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 18:19


Great test troglokev, especially with the newspaper, I'm surprised how well the falcon looked. I also found a very competitive price for the Professional Gear Saibi, thanks to FPN.

Lloyd, I've been through Richard's site a few times and considered a custom nib. I'll start reading up on the Pelikan's, I don't know very much about them right now. From what little I remember, they do tend to employ wider nibs and would (as mentioned) require customization.

I've also priced the Namiki VP in the past, but I didn't really scrutinize them enough. I didn't "fall in love" with the design, but it just might do the job. I'll need to read up on them.

Great point, regarding the Noodler's ink.


Sounds like I might need to acquire a couple of pens. I think this is how alcoholics get started.

Thank you all for the help. What a wonderful community!

#13 inkyfingr

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 21:54

Here's the promised follow-up of a writing sample for writing in the margin of a research paper.
I assume you print out downloaded versions mostly, so I wrote a few lines on some run of the mill laser paper. I used a Sailor 1911 mid with fine nib and a Platinum with an X-fine nib. I used the same ink, Private Reserve Ebony Green. This ink actually writes broader than some inks, so you could get a finer line with a different ink.

journal_writing_sample.jpg



#14 hamiltgr

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 00:53


Thanks inkyfingr!

You're right, I do end up printing quite a few articles on crappy paper, some of worst types act just like a sponge.

The fine nib is actually quite a bit better than I thought.

I've got to admit, I'm even more torn now, but all of the information really helps. It sounds like I couldn't go wrong with any of the pens mentioned here.

#15 Lloyd

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 05:07

QUOTE (hamiltgr @ Aug 7 2008, 02:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Great point, regarding the Noodler's ink.

Not all Noodlers. Only a few perform their line-slimming miracle. The Black doesn't feather on even horrible paper. I'd highly recommend it for your application.
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#16 hamiltgr

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 05:54

QUOTE (Lloyd @ Aug 8 2008, 01:07 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (hamiltgr @ Aug 7 2008, 02:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Great point, regarding the Noodler's ink.

Not all Noodlers. Only a few perform their line-slimming miracle. The Black doesn't feather on even horrible paper. I'd highly recommend it for your application.


Already ordered. Can't wait to see it in action. =D

I'm not looking at a custom Binder Pelikan(only one I find interesting is the Northern Lights). the Saibi, and the fine/xfine sailor. AGGGGH!!!!

#17 troglokev

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 08:40

QUOTE (Lloyd @ Aug 8 2008, 03:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Not all Noodlers. Only a few perform their line-slimming miracle. The Black doesn't feather on even horrible paper. I'd highly recommend it for your application.


Hmm. I may have to get some for myself, and start making marginal notes in the Herald's TV Guide thumbup.gif

#18 hamiltgr

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 21:15



Well, I got a price I couldn't refuse for the Saibi. It's on order today. I'll probably send for a 1911 fine or x-fine next. Then we'll have to work on a custom Binder. =P

Thanks for all of the great information and help!

#19 troglokev

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 21:38

I'm happy to have been able to help. Enjoy your new pens, and let us know how you go. I'm finding that the Sailor improves with time and use. I'm sure part of that is me learning not to press so hard. smile.gif It really will write if you barely touch the paper...

#20 hamiltgr

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 17:09



I received my Sailor Professional Gear Saibi Togi last night. It's the start of a beautiful friendship...

I've found writing with it an absolute pleasure. It takes virtually no pressure and writes more smoothly than I could have hoped, with excellent balance.

I purchased my pen through Pam Braun, it proved the easiest and most pleasant transaction I've ever completed online. With fantastic service and great price I'll look to do business with her again whenever possible.

I'll add additional comments/observations as I get time. Now I need to start working on a custom Binder....or a 1911....or.... headsmack.gif

Thanks to everyone for their input.

-Gary






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