Ink Notes: Namiki Blue

Namiki Blue Bottle

First off, I have to give a big thanks to David, who suggested the ink back in January. I’m not a fan of blue inks, despite that, I really like Namiki Blue. My only regret is I had the bottle 4 months before cracking it open.

The whole Pilot/Namiki branding thing is confusing, My ink was in a box labeled “Namiki” and the word “Pilot” doesn’t appear on the box or the bottle. But it does seem that the ink is the same as the Pilot ink sold elsewhere. Only the bottle (and price) is different.

The ink goes down on the paper as a bright blue but it fades a bit as it dries. It doesn’t appear washed out, just a bit lighter. Since I’m not a fan of blue there’s not much I can compare with Namiki Blue, but I like the color (for blue). There’s no real shading or line variation, especially with my thin nibs. There’s no noticeable feathering either.

Namiki Blue is one of the fastest drying inks I’ve used on Doane Paper. Drying was nearly instant with my thin nibs on Doane Paper. I does take longer on Rhodia Paper, putting it more in line with other inks. This is the first ink I’ve encountered where drying time was dramatically quicker on one type of paper than most others. It’s not quit as fast on cheap copier paper but I still have a second or two to smudge it. On Doane there’s no time at all to smudge it.

My only complaint is with the bottle. It’s curved, wide and shallow. There is an insert in the bottle to collect the ink around the nib. I still had issues filling my TWSBI Vac 700 and other longer nibs. The ink level in the insert would drop while filling and air would be let in. About the best I could do with my Vac 700 was about a 50% fill. Part of the problem was probably my reluctance to just let the nib press against the bottom of the bottle as I pushed the plunger down.

Cleaning was quick and easy. A couple flushes with the bulb syringe and a couple wrist flicks (like an old mercury thermometer)) and all traces of the ink were gone from the nib, It was also easily flushed from my pens, including my clear Vac 700. Some inks leave a few hard to get drops above the plunger which can be hard to flush out. Not so with the Namiki Blue. The water test showed a high level of water resistance.

I’ve seen others comment about staining. I didn’t have any issues with staining but the ink hasn’t been in my pens very long. I didn’t have any staining on the parts of the pen that were in the ink.

Pens Used

The TWSBI Vac 700 with nib extra fine to 1.1 mm stub was used. There wasn’t any extended writing, just testing. There wasn’t any skipping and the flow was consistent.

My Edison Collier, with an extra fine nib, has had Namiki Blue for a couple weeks of occasional use. I’m not a fan of blue so I have to force myself for any extended writing. I like the color and since most of my use is on Doane paper I love the fast drying. There weren’t any problems such as skipping or hard starts, even after sitting for a few days.

Additional Reading

Inkophile Review

Ink Nouveau Review (Goulet Pens)

Peaceable Writer compares Namiki Blue to other blue inks

4 thoughts on “Ink Notes: Namiki Blue

  1. If you’re getting a 50% fill on a vac 700 without either using the two step approach or using the special bottle, you’re doing good. That pen just won’t fill full with any bottle of regular ink.

  2. Thank you for the review….

    This is one of my favorite inks for everyday use in standard (non-flex or non-stub nib) fountain pens. You did not mention how this ink “Smells”. To me this ink smells lovely, a paraffin-like musky hint of exactly what you might imagine fountain pen ink should smell like.

    Pilot/Namiki blue is quite water resistant, but I have yet to see it stain in a pen (YMMV). Note however, If you get some on your clothes, it’s going to be tough to get out (if it ever comes out). Pen clean-up has never been a problem for me with this ink either.

    This ink is branded under both Pilot and Namiki names in different bottles, but the ink is identical in my experience. The squat Namiki bottle is 60ml. The Pilot bottle is 70ml and is taller; more ovate than the Namiki-branded bottle. Both bottles have a fill reservoir insert which I have found to work very well. Pilot also makes a blue-black that is similar to this blue ink, as well as black and red (can’t remember if there is a green). Unlike the Namiki bottle, which rounded on all sides, the Pilot bottle has flattened faces on the front and back. The front face bears a Pilot brand label, the back bears a label showing diagrams and Japanese wording on how to use the filling reservoir. I have seen 35ml Pilot branded squarish shaped bottles of this ink pop-up from time to time.

    Finally, the Pilot branded ink is available in Japan in 350ml bottles. I contacted Pilot’s Singapore office and they confirmed it is the same ink, but as far as they knew it is not available outside Japan in the 350ml bottles.

    The Rakuten Web site (sometimes) has the 350ml bottles of Pilot ink available for around 1,500 Yen (approximately $14.91 USD at post-time) – plus shipping. That puts this ink at around $0.04/ml – yes, four cents per milliliter. By comparison Pilot Iroshizuku ink sells for $28.00/50ml plus shipping or $0.56/ml; that’s 13X (or 1314%) more than Pilot blue in the 350ml bottle! The 60ml bottle of Namiki Blue goes for around $12 in the U.S. (Goulet). The 70ml Pilot bottles are hard to find in the U.S., (try Jetpens). I have seen 35ml Pilot branded bottles of this ink pop-up from time to time.

  3. Pingback: Link Love: Write It, Erase It, Stick It | The Well-Appointed Desk

Comments are closed.