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Another Review Of Sailor Souboku Pigment Ink


A Smug Dill
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Souboku (蒼墨) is Sailor's new addition this year to its line of pigment inks for fountain pens, after the old stalwarts kiwaguro (極黑) and seiboku (青墨). Since moving to the new, taller square bottles with the smaller footprint, Sailor has dropped the word ‘Nano’ and the hyphens from the names in this product line.

 

Souboku certainly has significantly more black in it than seiboku. I find that it dries to a very pleasant, if sombre, blue-grey colour, but only if it hasn't reached saturation point. It produces shading in distinct steps, almost as if there is a threshold beyond which the ink will dry to a blue-black, and that isn't a particularly good feature in my books.

 

This ink seems to really like to stay together in droplets or globs of itself. Maybe it has an unusually high surface tension? In the convertor, it does not cling to the walls at all, and if there is an air gap between two separated globs of this ink, it is quite difficult to get them to merge and drive out the air bubble. It flows slightly dry, although it has no problem lubricating the point of the nib against the paper surface. On the page, it takes a relatively long time to dry. There is no feathering, no bleed-through and no ghosting on any of the papers (Rhodia 80gsm notepad with perforated pages, Daiso word cards, and Daiso stone paper – all shown in the scan below) on which I've tried writing with the ink.

 

Impressively, some writing on the stone paper stayed wet after 30 minutes, and when I blotted it with a piece of blotting paper (that is coiled around the base of a bottle of Lamy ink), it somehow resisted being all sucked up into its fibres; when I rubbed my finger on the writing afterwards, more ink came off and smeared the tag.

 

That wasn't a matter of it getting wet from the moisture on my fingertips; the ink's water resistance is almost perfect. I put the page under a running tap for 30 seconds, and it did precisely nothing to the writing I wrote with this souboku ink – no discolouration or fading, and no running of colour whatsoever.

 

Someone has mentioned in another thread that the colour is close to Pilot Iroshizuku shin-kai. Well, close, but shin-kai is bluer. I'd say shin-kai is between seiboku and souboku in colour (and flows wetter than both of those Sailor pigment inks). Pelikan 4001 blue-black is blacker (and drier) than souboku.

 

I love the writing experience and the appearance of the output using Sailor souboku ink in my Pilot Metropolitan pen with an F nib. Sadly, I cannot say the same about using it in my Sailor 1911 Large with a Naginata Concord nib; this ink is a little dry for that. All the same, it will probably always have a place in one of my EDC pens.

 

fpn_1535642632__sailor_souboku_review_ma

 

p.s. I soaked the right-hand half of the sheet of Rhodia paper in a cup of water for an hour, and that did precisely nothing to the writing in Sailor souboku ink; it looks the same as it was in the scan above.

Edited by A Smug Dill

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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What a gorgeous review. Thank you!

Your verbal descriptions and comparisons to other inks are really helpful too. I now have a very good idea of what it will look like in real life.

 

Enjoy.

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Whoa, the Concord writing sample looks like a completely different color! I'll need to try the ink in my driest nibs to see if it acts like that. Otherwise your experience seems to more or less match my own. I also noticed the tendency for the ink to glob together, but while it doesn't adhere to the sides of converters or cartridges, it seemed to work well with dip nibs--a good amount of ink stayed on the nib when dipped, and it flowed off smoothly and consistently. Perhaps it's related to the pigmented formula, because I recall Kiwa-Guro also working well for dip nibs.

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Excellent review and important comparisons. I too find that this ink renders a nice contribution as an "extension" or well, "improvement" over Seiboku, which is/was for me and others too much a blue-black lite. For their properties (other than colour) I still find them all quite meritorious.

Life is too short to drink bad wine (Goethe)

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For the sheen-mad folk out there:

 

fpn_1535682552__sailor_souboku_sheen_on_

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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I have written words, I have scribbled and I have sketched with a sample of this (thank you :) ) . . . . I think I may have just found my desert island ink :wub: :wub: :wub:

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I have to say, I really wanted to like kiwaguro best out of the Sailor (né Nano) line of pigment inks, but then neither seiboku nor souboku sheds any colour when the page is soaked or washed, whereas kiwaguro will bleed black into the water big-time. Not so much a problem if the water is from a running stream, but if the page is soaked sedately, or a drop of water (or rain) falls onto writing in kiwaguro ink in your journal, the black bleed can stain the page after a short while making the original writing difficult to read (or downright illegible), even though the ink will resist fading or being washed out.

 

Seiboku is a little too brightly coloured for my tastes to be put to ‘serious’ use (e.g. completing application forms and ‘official’ documents on which there is an express instruction to ‘use black or blue ink only’, when dealing with government bodies), so souboku has now easily displaced seiboku as the must-have ink for at least one of my EDC pens.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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This is a great review, I like everything about it : the great nib selection, the comparison with similar shades, the handwriting, and the descriptive text : words are essential when we're trying to evaluate an ink behind a monitor screen. I hope to read more reviews from you soon.

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I have been using Souboku in a Sailor Pro Gear Realo with a fine nib for several weeks at work. It functions quite well on a variety of papers. I have had no problems with prolonged drying times. On the usual "office" type absorbent papers, it goes down almost dark grey, with very little blue. I'm not crazy about the color, but it is so well-behaved for a permanent ink that I plan to continue with it.

Rationalizing pen and ink purchases since 1967.

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Thanks for the informative review. I can't put my finger on it exactly, and I probably need to experience it for myself, but it seems to fall short. Perhaps it does not seem dark enough to me.

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Perhaps it does not seem dark enough to me.

So what would be examples of inks that are dark enough for you?

 

My observation is that Sailor souboku is darker than both Pelikan 4001 blue-black and Iroshizuku shin-kai, provided that I lay down a sufficiently saturated line (in a single pass); see here.

 

I can't think of any blue or blue-black inks I've tried that are darker in terms of sheer intensity. Maybe something from Noodler's might fit the bill, but I've stopped wanting to buy/try more Noodler's inks a long time ago.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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Here's how Sailor souboku looks on off-white paper:

 

fpn_1536939648__sailor_souboku_on_rhodia

 

Yes, there is some sheen on Rhodia paper, even when looking at it more or less front on (with the right lighting):

fpn_1536939744__sailor_souboku_on_rhodia

 

and of course when glancing at the page at an angle:

fpn_1536939871__sailor_souboku_on_rhodia

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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So what would be examples of inks that are dark enough for you?

 

My observation is that Sailor souboku is darker than both Pelikan 4001 blue-black and Iroshizuku shin-kai, provided that I lay down a sufficiently saturated line (in a single pass); see here.

 

I can't think of any blue or blue-black inks I've tried that are darker in terms of sheer intensity. Maybe something from Noodler's might fit the bill, but I've stopped wanting to buy/try more Noodler's inks a long time ago.

Regarding the darkness I was really referencing your main image, the one with SAILOR written in the upper lefthand corner. That image, on my color corrected monitor makes the ink look light and almost washed out. I was having trouble reconciling the image with the description. For dark blue-blacks my reference is Akkerman Iron Gall Blue/Black, which dries to a rich and deep nearly black blue. The second image, the one you referenced in your reply, is more helpful to me. I did not study it before but I have all of those other inks so that helped. I also broke out my bottle of Seiboku to give me a more of a frame of reference. In short, I reckon Souboku is quite dark. Seems worth a shot thanks.

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@jandrese,

 

I specifically called out in my review the characteristic that souboku dries to either a blue-grey or a blue-black, with almost no distinct in-between step, depending on the saturation in a particular line or patch of the ink on the page. If you want the writing with this ink to be dark, you need to use a ‘wet’ pen.

 

I'm personally only mildly interested in categorising whether an ink flows ‘wet‘ or ‘dry’, but far keener to know how an ink appears at different levels of saturation, so that I can then try to find a fountain pen (and buy one if necessary) to deliver the desired saturation – all provided that the ink has the potential of drying to the colour or intensity I want.

crahptacular, who was first to post a review (and what a great review it was!) of this ink on FPN, noted above that in my samples there are two distinct colours, and alluded that in his experience it comes out the darker of the two.

 

Anyway, I'm glad you found calibrating against other inks of similar colours useful.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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@jandrese,

 

I specifically called out in my review the characteristic that souboku dries to either a blue-grey or a blue-black, with almost no distinct in-between step, depending on the saturation in a particular line or patch of the ink on the page. If you want the writing with this ink to be dark, you need to use a ‘wet’ pen.

 

I'm personally only mildly interested in categorising whether an ink flows ‘wet‘ or ‘dry’, but far keener to know how an ink appears at different levels of saturation, so that I can then try to find a fountain pen (and buy one if necessary) to deliver the desired saturation – all provided that the ink has the potential of drying to the colour or intensity I want.

crahptacular, who was first to post a review (and what a great review it was!) of this ink on FPN, noted above that in my samples there are two distinct colours, and alluded that in his experience it comes out the darker of the two.

 

Anyway, I'm glad you found calibrating against other inks of similar colours useful.

I picked up a bottle of Souboku. The new bottle is nice. Compared to Seiboku it is a more subdued color in that Seikboku jumps off the page more. Seiboku also seems to sheen slightly more readily. Both shade so that's cool. Color density on paper seems a little greater with Seikboku but not by much. Otherwise, very similar in behavior. Water resistance is stellar. A nice addition to the pigment lineup.

29851706967_ac5917d8af_b.jpg

Edited by jandrese
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I picked up a bottle of Souboku. The new bottle is nice. Compared to Seiboku it is a more subdued color in that Seikboku jumps off the page more. Seiboku also seems to sheen slightly more readily. Both shade so that's cool. Color density on paper seems a little greater with Seikboku but not by much. Otherwise, very similar in behavior. Water resistance is stellar. A nice addition to the pigment lineup.

29851706967_ac5917d8af_b.jpg

 

Look at that shading for such a dark ink :wub:

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