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Sailor Shikiori Yonaga Dried = Cement?

A Smug Dill

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For the first time of some six years of ownership of Pilot fountain pens, a (CON-50) converter needed replacing... because I broke it.

I love Sailor Shikiori yonaga, which is a luxurious dark blue ink, with green sheen instead of pink/red/magenta sheen that is so passé on blue inks in the market these days. I left it in one of my Pilot Capless Vanishing Point pens in which I installed a Stub nib, but since there is little call for me to write with lines broader than 0.6mm, I don't use that pen very often.

I tried writing with it today, and it wouldn't write. That's not altogether unexpected since, in my experience, Pilot Capless pens aren't that good at sealing the nibs and feeds and preventing ink from drying out when unused for a few weeks. I checked, and there appears to still be some liquid ink in the converter, and eventually I got it to write, although it was apparent that most of the ink in the converter has evaporated.

Time for a flush and refill, I thought.

Nope, the converter would not be detached from the nib-and-feed assembly. I flushed it as a whole repeatedly under the tap with lukewarm water. No, it wouldn't budge. I ran hot water from the tap continuously over the metal cylinder of the Pilot Capless nib assembly, hoping it would expand independently from (or at least at a higher rate than) the converter's clear plastic tube. No, it wouldn't budge. I tried using my rough scrap leather "grippers" I sometimes use to help me pull nibs and feeds from sections. No, it wouldn't budge.

After ten or fifteen minutes of trying, I finally managed to remove the converter. Phew. Flush both the nib assembly and the converter separately. Again. More flushing. Rinse and repeat... for five minutes or so.

Next thing I knew, the converter started acting "funny" when I turned the piston knob. Something is wrong.

The plug end of the piston stayed near the mouth of the converter, detached from the stem that gets retracted when I rotated the end of the long "knob" on the converter. Not completely flush with the walls of the converter, either; the detached rubber plug was sitting at an angle.

Now, unlike Sailor and Platinum converters, the metal collar on Pilot CON-50 converters don't unscrew readily. Screw it (no pun intended); out came the pliers. No, it wouldn't budge. Eventually, the plastic tube cracked, but the converter was wrecked before that anyway.

I tore the plastic tube into pieces with the pliers, and retrieved the detached rubber r plug end of the piston as well as the metal agitator with the hollow cylinder on the narrower end. Imagine my surprise that the lumen of the agitator was still clogged with blue ink, after all those rounds of flushing and sitting in more-than-warm water.

I still love the appearance of Sailor Shikiori yonaga, but I guess the only ink reservoir it's going into from here on is an old cartridge refilled with a syringe.

Edited by A Smug Dill

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  • bemon


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I love Sailor Shikiori yonaga, which is a luxurious dark blue ink, with green sheen instead of pink/red/magenta sheen that is so passé on blue inks in the market these days. ... I still love the appearance of Sailor Shikiori yonaga, but I guess the only ink reservoir it's going into from here on is an old cartridge refilled with a syringe.

I have a love/hate relationship with that ink...

+ great flow

+ great lubrication

+ eminently readable, crisp lines

+ if a pen doesn’t write with this ink, then either return it, get it fixed, fix it yourself, or toss it in a bin

/ basically I only see blue in this ink when I make a smear or when I hold the bottle against the light

/ written text looks to me like some extremely dark concoction of 70% black, 10% blue and 20% green

/ I’ve never seen it shade enough to make it look interesting; a page of text looks like a book: you have the white of the paper and the almost-black of the ink and that’s it. Rather boring.

/ use it with an EF and suddenly you’ve got an F on your hands


I use this ink to break in new pens, to make too-dry pens wetter, to get pens going again that have been left clogged with dried ink for a decade or two (it dissolved remnants that flushing and soaking won’t remove). It’s a most useful ink, but I’d never call it beautiful, or even fun.


But I digress (oops...). Regarding your issue: I’ve used this ink in countless pens, including piston fillers, and have never observed anything untoward. Having said that, it seems to be a very concentrated, saturated ink (I’ve toyed with the idea of diluting it) so perhaps that explains why it turned into muck after it dried out.

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I remember well reading many people's experiences who've let ink dry in a pen themselves or bought a vintage pen or were given one with ink dried in. Esp old school pens and vintage which had dried ink often had blue, blue black or black in them (i.e. not always very saturated ink). They still had this very same problem, carts and converters which were unremovable because I guess the dried ink glued the removable bits together. What seems to have always helped was letting the section with c/c soak for quite a long time, a day or if necessary even longer. They'd always come apart eventually.

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+1 what Olya said, with emphasis on let it soak longer.

It took time for the ink to dry and harden. Expect it to take time for the ink to rehydrate and loosen. With the capless it's possible to pull the entire nib/feed/converter unit and let that soak for 3-10 days.

I'm rehydrating a pen for a friend, and since there's not rush, he has other pens, I'm using water alone. The pen has sat for 6 months. A sailor pen with sailor jentle ink.
I filled the converter with water and have let the pen set for 3 days so far. Today some water will flush through the breather hole, but ink is not yet getting to the nib tip. It needs a few more days to rehydrate, then it can be effectively flushed.

(I could soak the entire nib/feed/section, but wanted to see how long it would take for the ink to rehydrate from one end.)

Edited by cattar
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I had this happen with Sailor Tokiwa-matsu in a Staedtler piston-fill school pen - dried into a solid block in the chamber, piston wouldn't turn. Stuck it nib down in a glass of water for several days, the water leeched up and eventually liquified the ink enough to let me turn the piston and flush the pen.

It's hard work to tell which is Old Harry when everybody's got boots on.

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Disappointing to read! This is my favourite ink. I guess I've never run into this situation because it gets used at least every week day. I use it in my Pilot Vanishing Point and I do notice on Mondays that the mechanism inside the pen seems to stick just the tiniest bit on that first click. If I didn't own the pen and know how it behaved then I probably wouldn't even notice it. I don't have a problem with hard starting after a regular weekend, but after a 3 day long weekend it'll sometimes hard start.


I guess everyone wants their favorite ink to get all A's. I'm glad it still works for me but I'll make sure I don't leave it in an unused pen. Maybe I'll give the whole pen a flush before I refill next time.

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