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Sailor Specialty Nibs Saibi-Togi: What Is It Exactly?


Arctic_Wolf
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I have an opportunity to purchase a Sailor 1911L with a Saibi-Togi nib. I'm not familiar with this, but is it really much different from a regular 'extra-fine' nib? Does anyone know where I can go to find a writing sample comparison?

 

Thanks!

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"Sailor's finest nib...". Sounds microscopic!

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

 

B. Russell

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The Saibi-togi and the Platinum UEF are indeed very similar. The main thing to know about both these nibs is that they are so fine that an extremely light touch is needed to get ink to flow through them. Any pressure at all and they become very scratchy and shut down. I had one of each and found them to take quite a bit of practice and care to bring out their best qualities.

Rationalizing pen and ink purchases since 1967.

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May I second everything jmmccarty3 wrote above? Though I have not owned a Saibi-togi, I have had the opportunity to test drive one for a fair amount of time. It is extremely fine. Although I have a very light touch, having used

fountain pens since I began writing, I found it awkward and too fine. I am a genuine fan of extra fine nibs, and use those from Sailor, Platinum, OMAS, Montblanc, Parker, and many, many early 20th century hard rubber fountain pens

with EF nibs. It sounds as if I am being critical of the Saibi-togi. That is not my intent at all. It is a remarkable piece of engineering & manufacturing, but it is one of those rare specialty nibs which truly requires the writer to serve it instead of the other way around. It comes with a special metal strip for flossing paper fibers which become lodged between the tines. It is such an interesting nib that I often wish I had the patience to learn to use it properly. Good luck with your decision.

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jmccarty3:

 

What does it mean when you say the Saibi-Togi is similar to the UEF? I hear your description of the UEF and I think "Wow, that's not at all how mine works." (Ours could be different from one another's. My UEF is perfectly usable as a normal notetaking pen with a line width similar to a Pilot EF. Likewise, my Platinum EF is slightly wider than a Pilot EF.)

 

I looked at Goulet's Nib Nook and the UEF's line width is similar to mine (about like a Pilot EF.)

 

My UEF does have a TRULY fine line when used upside down, however. See the attached image. Upper left is my UEF upside down. Lower center us the UEF used normally... and my Sailor 1911 EF is on the upper right. (Sorry for the bad photo.)

 

http://i.imgur.com/plIhnZZ.jpg

 

In my case -- my Sailor is actually finer than my UEF... however it doesn't offer the truly needlepoint line of the UEF upside down.

 

 

With that in mind - considering just how fine the Sailor EF is -- I always imagined a Saibi-Togi would be something like my UEF upside down.

 

Would you say that assessment is correct based on my "UEF upside down" sample in the photo? Is your UEF finer than mine, and Goulets, used normally? (not upside down.)

 

To add more UEF confusion -- Mattias Adolfsson was in a live drawing with his 3776 UEF today and tested it upside down and reported it to be not-very-different from used normally. So I think these nibs have quite a bit of variation from one to another.

Edited by JunkyardSam
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To add more UEF confusion -- Mattias Adolfsson was in a live drawing with his 3776 UEF today and tested it upside down and reported it to be not-very-different from used normally. So I think these nibs have quite a bit of variation from one to another.

 

They must, because my recollection is that my Platinum UEF was quite similar to my Sailor Saibi-togi. I look at these pens as useful for artists or others who are willing to take the time to learn to use them to create very fine lines. Both of mine have long since been sold.

Rationalizing pen and ink purchases since 1967.

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Interesting, jmccarty3 --

 

With that in mind, my UEF actually arrived with its tines so incredibly tight that it wouldn't write at all. This is a common issue with Japanese pens as I've experienced it with Pilot, Sailor, and Platinum...

 

But this UEF was so tight that while working on the nib I gently raised a tine and the nib crossed each other like you would cross your fingers. It was terrifying and I've never seen another nib do that. I was able to resolve the issue and reduce the tightness at the tip. I believe the tines are still slightly touching but nothing like when I got it.

 

The problem was so bad that after some minutes ink would accumulate behind the nib, unable to move through the tines.

 

I sad a similar issue with my 3776 SF, though nowhere nearly as bad. My 3776 EF and F worked fine on arrival, although due to one nib being tighter at the tip than the other (out of the box) the lines were nearly identical in width.

 

My point though is --- there's a huge variation in the quality of nibs. I have four Custom Heritage 91s, for example... Two were perfect out of the box, one was a little dry, and then one wouldn't write at all. It was the same issue of overly tight tines, touching at the tip.

 

It's shocking to me that pens ship in this condition, and I've since learned that it's common for others too. One person contacted me and reported that out of 10 Pilot pen purchases they had to return 8! Over this same issue.

 

The good news is for most pens the problem is minimal and very easy to correct if you know how... but I hear of people on Reddit all the time "smoothing" their nibs because they feel "scratchy" when in reality I'm pretty sure they are actually damaging their nibs because what they really have is a simple flow issue.

 

I'm rather obsessed with this because I've encountered it a lot. I've had maybe 18 or so gold nibbed Japanese pens and the issue has occurred in half or more of them, more to some than others.

 

 

Again, forgive my lengthy response but I suspect your UEF may have been writing a dry line, and that may have contributed to how fine the line was. Arguably that could be "as intended" but in my case they made the nib so dry it wouldn't write.

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I'll echo jmccarty3 and Barry Gabay - the UEF and Saibi-togi are pens that require the user to learn them, and not the other way around. Using such nibs need require a delicate touch, I use Japanese EFs all the time and the UEF and Saibi-togi are on another level in terms of fineness, at the cost of having more feedback if my hand is not light enough on that that.

 

@Junkyard Sam

 

getting accurate online samples of the UEF and Saibi tends to be difficult. Think about it. The specified tipping widths are supposed to be 0.1 mm, while Japanese EFs are rated at 0.2mm. At fractions of a millimeter, there are many factors (quality of paper, ink used, wetness setting of tines, user's writing pressure), of which, a single factor among those can easily cause that 0.1 mm to become 0.2mm.

 

This is where 'learning' the pen comes into play. To get the truly fine lines, the pen cannot be set too wet, otherwise it writes no finer than a regular EF set dry. Wet inks are fine, but if they tend to spread and feather, then no. Any pressure used is a no - in fact, the pens have to be supported from below to counteract the pen's natural weight. Lastly, paper. Using just 'good quality' paper doesn't always do the trick. Remember how small a margin we're dealing with. I've measured my saibi with a digital caliper under magnification to draw a line at ~0.08mm on Kokuyo, and that same pen to do about ~0.12mm on Tomoe River.

 

Adjusting such pens are very tricky, even if you have the know how to do it wrt regular pens, as what can be a minor adjustment on others pens tends to affect the superfine points significantly, to the point where the UEF ends up writing a line similar to a regular EF, but with more significantly more feedback. In other words, all of the problems of a superfine point, but none of the benefits.

 

A good online example of how the UEF should write can be found here: https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/281709-platinum-uef-nib/?p=3246874

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