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Pilot Parallel Fountain Pens


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26 replies to this topic

#1 Nonsensical

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 05:49

I recently purchased a set of 4 Pilot Parallel Fountain pens, after reading a few reviews online. I thought that it was a nice and cheap way to obtain nibs that could be used for headings or even highlighting. I decided to write a full review, as I noticed that none of the other reviews that I had read had scans/samples of all 4 nib sizes, and comparisons.

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Appearance & Design: 7/10
These pens are very simple, look cheap, and are cheap. That doesn't really bother me, since I bought them with this in mind, and they're not used for note-taking either. Simply put, the serve their purpose. What I do like, is that despite the fact that they're cheap, the caps screw on quite nicely. What may or may not bother some people, is that the cap cannot be posted. No matter what. It just doesn't fit. I don't post my pens anyway, so there's no issue for me.

The top of the caps have the nib size printed clearly, and the cap colours are also different, making it easy to grab the right size quickly.

Another thing to note, is that these pens can be taken apart (the two plates that make up the nib, as well as the feed), making it easy to clean. It can also be used as an ED, another plus, given the ink consumption of the 6.0mm and 3.8mm nibs.

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Construction & Quality: 7/10
The grey plastic barrel looks like it's made of cheap plastic, whereas the cap looks like it was made of better quality plastic. I would feel scared to drop it, but my friends came over and were throwing them around yesterday, and they survived, so I assume that it's tougher than it looks.

Weight & Dimensions: 9/10
The Pilot Parallel pens are quite lightweight, and tapered towards the end (quite slim), however the weight is centered towards the nib, and the section where my fingers naturally rest is also quite nice and thick, so I actually find the pens quite comfortable to write with.

Nib & Performance: 9/10
This is no doubt the most important part of these pens. The unconventional nibs look very strange, and it may take quite some time to get used to writing with these nibs, as the entire nib must be on the page, and even pressure along the entire bottom plate for a nice even line to be produced.

It's a plain steel nib made of two horizontal plates, with no flex at all, but it really performs once you get the hang of it. The nibs put down a nice wet line, which I personally love, since I like my pens to write wetter, rather than drier. Keep in mind that on poor quality paper, feathering and bleed-through is terrible. On the Rhodia paper that I used, there was a little bit of bleed-through when using all but the 1.5mm nibs, and no feathering at all.

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Filling system & Maintenance: 10/10
The filling system is C/C. Love or hate it, it really comes down to personal choice. You can also use the pens as an ED with a little bit of silicone grease on the threads, but I just refill empty cartridges.

Cost & Value: 10/10
I purchased all 4 nib sizes along with 2 packs of 12 colour cartridges from Stationaryart for $36 including shipping. That's a pretty good price, if you ask me.

Conclusion & Final score: 52/60
These are great pens for what they do, they can be used in a variety of ways (including creating colour gradients, something that I have not really explored enough to comment on), and for the price, I'd recommend anyone who was looking to buy cheap calligraphy pens to have a look at them.

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Edited by Nonsensical, 08 April 2012 - 05:56.


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#2 Uncle Red

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 13:47

Cool, thanks for the review. Nice handwriting.

#3 watch_art

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 14:50

I saw a few of these at the Arkansas Pen Show, and was VERY tempted to get them (especially since he kept dropping the price!), but I didn't. Kind of wish I had now. :)

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#4 comfortableshoes

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 15:50

I have the 6mm and love the way it lays down a swath of ink. I use it primarily for filling in background areas verses writing. It gulps ink, but that's to be expected when it's creating a 6mm line. I use the "cleaning" converter as a converter instead of for cleaning and it works quite well for that purpose. I've been considering getting the other sizes since I picked up the 6mm, and I think this review convinced me that I should.
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#5 ObserveClosely

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 16:01

++1 on the Pilot Parallel. I love these pens and have scads of them. The ratio of fun per $ is very high with these pens.

Here is another review, with excellent photos.

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#6 write to me often

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 17:15

I had 1.5 and I use it for envelopes and greeting cards and I am very happy with it. It is cheap yet solid. I also prefer cartridge system which I found easy to fill with a syringe.
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#7 Drone

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 06:55

While on the subject of the Parallel Pen - please allow me to comment on the parallel pen ink cartridges...

I stick the Parallel colored ink cartridges in the Pilot 78G - they work perfectly. Pilot says to not use the Parallel ink in any other pen for some reason. I can say after long term use, the parallel pen ink has no negative affect on any of my 78G's. I can't say that for any other pen though. The turquoise parallel pen ink is one of my favorites as is the sepia color. When the parallel pen ink cartridges are empty I syringe fill them with regular ink for use with other Pilot pens. The parallel ink cartridges have steel balls in them that work quite well to mix the ink and break surface tension. I just chucked the crappy converters that came with the 78G's and were causing flow problems and now refill the parallel pen ink cartridges.

#8 Spector

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 17:49

ooh very interesting looking, but they kind of seem like more of novelties than actual every day use pens
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#9 Nonsensical

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 21:59

I saw a few of these at the Arkansas Pen Show, and was VERY tempted to get them (especially since he kept dropping the price!), but I didn't. Kind of wish I had now. :)

I thought that the entire review section was made in order to tempt us all into :puddle: , then losing all self-control and caving into our desires to buy MORE MORE MORE pens :ph34r: . It's a conspiracy, I tell you :yikes: !

I have the 6mm and love the way it lays down a swath of ink. I use it primarily for filling in background areas verses writing. It gulps ink, but that's to be expected when it's creating a 6mm line. I use the "cleaning" converter as a converter instead of for cleaning and it works quite well for that purpose. I've been considering getting the other sizes since I picked up the 6mm, and I think this review convinced me that I should.

Being the bunch of enablers that we are, I'm glad to be of service :ltcapd: .


ooh very interesting looking, but they kind of seem like more of novelties than actual every day use pens

They're good for calligraphy. I use them to write headings (mainly the 3.8, 2.4 and 1.5) for when I'm making revision notes, or I write down headings prior to class, when I have time. This usually leaves me in a relatively good mood when class starts, since the first thing I think when I open up my notepad is OOOOOOO.

I also use them for highlighting (occasionally). Not quite what you would use to take copious amounts of notes, but they have a special use of their own.

#10 brunico

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 22:12

ooh very interesting looking, but they kind of seem like more of novelties than actual every day use pens


I use them every day to write big notes like "report deadline 4pm" or "don't forget dad's birthday."

#11 noodlerama

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 08:35

I love the Parallels, too. I'm wondering: Has anyone tried using them as dip pens? Might be useful when you want to use multiple colors with one pen...



#12 Scribble Monboddo

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 21:41

I've had fun with the big Parallel so far, although I had to give up on the convertor as it kept falling out - but filling cartridges seems to work fine.  Here's a writing sample: http://scribbledemonboddo.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/pilot-parallel.html 



#13 brunico

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 21:51

I had to give up on the convertor as it kept falling out - but filling cartridges seems to work fine

 

I had a couple where the supplied converter was loose and a couple where it fitted perfectly, so maybe Pilot decided at some point it was churlish to supply a wonky fit - meant only for flushing the pen - in the hope of encouraging people to buy the cartridges. But the CON-20 and CON-50 converters fit all of them perfectly.



#14 Scribble Monboddo

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 19:33

 

I had a couple where the supplied converter was loose and a couple where it fitted perfectly, so maybe Pilot decided at some point it was churlish to supply a wonky fit - meant only for flushing the pen - in the hope of encouraging people to buy the cartridges. But the CON-20 and CON-50 converters fit all of them perfectly.

Ah, thanks for the tip!  Given the enormous quantities of ink this thing gets through though, I don't mind injecting a cartridge - it's not like this is going to the office with me : )



#15 Ted A

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 21:33

I use my 3.8mm with yellow ink as a highlighter. It works very well and I finally have a use for the yellows that show up in the Ink Drop every now and then.

 

I wonder if the deal with the converter is that Pilot figured out they needed something to be able to flush the nibs and they have lots of converters around. But at the same time, for a pen so cheap they didn't want to be burdened with having to perform much quality control to make sure the converters fit. So they just say its for cleaning the pen and the QC issue goes away.


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#16 mknoblauch

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 09:55

Seeing how others have ressurected this thread earlier this year, I wanted to ask whether these pens are actually for the beginning calligrapher or not.... While attracted by the price, I want something EASY to use first, as I have never used an italic nib yet. The end result I am looking for is the highly contrasted line variation shown in the sample of this review, but I am wondering if I should buy the 1.5mm Parallel, get a #6 1.5 nib from You let to fit a Jinhao, or even buy a cheap Sheaffer calligraphy pen in the blister pack like I have found at office supply chains.

My idea is to use this pen for personal correspondence. What are your thoughts?

#17 mknoblauch

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 09:57

Sorry,my spelling check turned Goulet into "You" above. One of the options I am weighing is whether to get a Jinhao X750 and a Goulet 1.5mm italic.

#18 fiberdrunk

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 00:13

Seeing how others have ressurected this thread earlier this year, I wanted to ask whether these pens are actually for the beginning calligrapher or not.... While attracted by the price, I want something EASY to use first, as I have never used an italic nib yet. The end result I am looking for is the highly contrasted line variation shown in the sample of this review, but I am wondering if I should buy the 1.5mm Parallel, get a #6 1.5 nib from You let to fit a Jinhao, or even buy a cheap Sheaffer calligraphy pen in the blister pack like I have found at office supply chains.

My idea is to use this pen for personal correspondence. What are your thoughts?

 

Yes, I'd consider these pens beginner-friendly, because their flow is so reliable and consistent.  At least that has been my experience.  The smallest nib (1.5 mm) may be too broad for everyday correspondence.  There are two places that custom-cut the nibs down to 1.0 mm in-house:  John Neal Bookseller and Paper & Ink Arts.  That size would better suit for correspondence.  I recommend getting the booklet Parallel Pen Wizardry to get the most out of these pens.


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#19 Jamerelbe

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 01:25

Seeing how others have ressurected this thread earlier this year, I wanted to ask whether these pens are actually for the beginning calligrapher or not.... While attracted by the price, I want something EASY to use first, as I have never used an italic nib yet. The end result I am looking for is the highly contrasted line variation shown in the sample of this review, but I am wondering if I should buy the 1.5mm Parallel, get a #6 1.5 nib from You let to fit a Jinhao, or even buy a cheap Sheaffer calligraphy pen in the blister pack like I have found at office supply chains.

My idea is to use this pen for personal correspondence. What are your thoughts?

 

I have a 6mm Pilot Parallel I haven't cracked out of the box yet - though I'm pretty sure I won't be using it for correspondence, unless writing to someone with VERY poor eyesight! - but from what I've seen of these pens, I'm not sure they're the best for everyday writing.  Someone please correct me on this, but I think they need to be held in a more upright (vertical) position for the best flow of ink between the plates - rather than your normal writing grip.

 

The other thing to note is that both the Pilot Parallel and the cheap Sheaffer calligraphy nibs (I own 4 of the latter) are 'crisp italic' pens, that is, they have a straight, flat writing surface with sharply defined edges - whereas the Goulet stub italic nibs (I have two 1.1 mm stubs, plus a TWSBI 1.5mm) have a more rounded edge.  

 

As a result, the Pilot Parallel and the Sheaffer will tend to give you more crisply defined 'edges' to your words when you use them... while the 'stub nibs' provided by Goulet and others are less crisp but far more comfortable - and more forgiving, too, if you don't hold the pen exactly right.

 

The Pilot Parallels look like a lot of fun, as a more specialised calligraphy tool - I'm not at all suggesting that you should't try them - and the Sheaffers (or Montmarte, or a variety or other cheap 'crisp italics') are also a lot of fun to use... But if you're wanting something to add some 'class' to your existing handwriting without having to slow down and write painstakingly slowly and carefully... you might want to grab a Goulet stub nib, or something similar.  

 

One last thing: if you watch the Goulet Pens video on their stub nibs, you'll find that they recommend the 1.1mm as a little easier to write with than the 1.5mm, if you're not used to stub nibs - which is why I chose to start there. Truth be told, I DO find the 1.5mm on my TWSBI harder to use - I have to slow down further, and be more mindful of the placement of nib to paper.  Which is fine if you're wanting to write slowly and carefully (a la calligraphy), but a pain if you want to dash off a quick note to someone!



#20 Gloucesterman

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 23:49

For good pricing inside the U.S. check out jstationery.co (no affiliation). He has them for $8.25 each with free shipping over $20.00!

 

I bought some stuff from him a while back and was very happy with the price and the service!


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