I happened to already have one mule with Woodworking and Alchemy at 60, so I made some Shihei and Sairui-ran myself. When the market price of Shihei was around 100k for a stack of toolbags, synthing the Shihei myself was a worthwhile way to save gil, even though I can only HQ it 25% of the time. Technically, I'm probably coming out ahead when I HQ Black Ink and buy Elm Logs cheap. I could probably sell the Black Ink and Bast Parchment at market price and simply buy the Shihei and still be just as well off.
I noticed that a stack of Shihei toolbags were down to 70k on my server now. It's probably still somewhat worthwhile making my own. But I'll have to re-analyze the market when I start running low on shihei again.
It's been awhile that I crafted shihei honestly. I recently paid 80k for a stack of toolbags and I'm not sure that's worth it. However, I remember that getting the fish to make ink isn't always feasible either. I hate to say it, but the RMT were the main supplier of the fish used to make ink. Upon coming back to the game, I'm not sure where the ink is coming from now. The bast parch has a set value from the npc so I'm not really worried about that. However on my server, I seen wind crystals jacked up to 4k a stack which is mostly due to no more bird parties in ToAU. My mule just sold 20 stacks of wind for 4.5k each.
For reference to anyone reading this, here is the cost analysis of shihei.
wind crystal= 1-4k average per stack depending on quantity in AH.
Ink depends on the fish. Ahtapot's are cheap, but they only produce 2 compared to a Gigant's 6 NQ yield. Gigant on my server sells for 6k per fish. So that's about 1k per ink if you don't HQ.
You can buy bast parch as low as 810G if you get there before the crafters jack it up. You need 2 per synth so that's at least 1620G if you buy them from a npc. If you choose to synth the logs, each one from the npc vendor costs at least 1378G if you're lucky. That's also not counting the water/tea leaves plus the lightning crystals too. It's probably easier and cheaper to stock up on bast parch from a npc unless you get extremely lucky.
If my math is correct:
1k for crystals for a NQ stack of shihie.
3k per stack of fish for NQ ink
4860G for a stack of NPC NQed parch shihei
So if you don't HQ, that's 8860G for crafting a NQ stack of shihei. On my server, a single non-tool bag version of shihei is 11k. A pack of 12 bags on my server ranges from 75-80k. By the way, it's 106,320(12 pack) if you don't HQ any at the standard rate of 8860G.
Levi and Phoenix seem to be the only severs that shihei isn't that expensive. Levi was selling for 51-55k. Phoenix was around 60k. Almost every other server is 70+k.
I should note that the ink is the easiest to HQ and earn some savings that way. Without being a master woodcrafter, the HQ rate is too low to HQ shihei well enough to save any real money. That is true unless shihei jumps over 100k on the AH.