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Lamy vs Kaweco vs Schaeffer vs Pilot Parallel

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Greetings Everyone; 


I hope this is the most correct spot to post this question.   I've dabbled with calligraphy since I was teenager, for projects and to add that special something.  I have been using a speedball + nib & dip, with sailor black ink.  However, I'm starting a 2 projects. The first my intention is write in copperplate and the second in a gaelic style, perhaps insular, or Ceananns, not sure yet.  When I'm practising with my speed ball, I'm using a C-2 (3mm) or C-3(2mm), although I suspect is more the later.  Which brings me to my question. 


Lamy Joy Calligraphy set (1.1 / 1.5 / 1.9) is $100 

Kaweco Skyline (1.1, 1.5, 1.9, 2.3) $95 

Schaeffer (1.0, 1.5, 2.0) $50

A converter for the ink for the above 3 is another $10 bucks. 


Pilot Parallel (1.5, 2.4, 3.8, 6.0) $50 


So I mean which one will provide those smooth clean lines, without scratching the paper, and maintain ink consistency from the 1st letter to the last drop.  Which is best bang for buck, quality / longevity / price point ?

(How far does 1 cartridge go...)? 


Any ideas ? 


Thanks a bunch for thoughts, 


Best Wishes,



Edited by scatterbrainz
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Hi scatterbrainz-


If I understand your question correctly, you want to start on two new calligraphy projects, one in copperplate and the other in the insular script.


For copperplate, AKA roundhand, you generally want to use a flexible, pointed nib. I believe that none  of the pens/sets you listed include one of those. I would recommend getting some pointed flexible dip nibs and using them your Speedball dip pen. There are many good pointed nibs, some larger, some smaller, some sturdier, others more delicate. Some calligraphy suppliers offer samplers of pointed nibs so that you can try a few, and find the ones you like best. No need to pay a lot for a “holy grail” pointed nib when you are just starting out, especially since they don’t last forever.


For insular script, as in the Book of Kells, you need a crisp broad edge nib, like your Speedball c-2. For broad edge calligraphy with a fountain pen, I would recommend the Pilot Parallel pens. Unless you wish to write huge letters, you might not need the full set, perhaps just a couple of the smaller sizes. I easily refill the cartridges with any ink I want with a plastic pipette. There are some super clever hacks for the Pilot here, including eyedropper filling and using the flushing bulb as a jumbo cartridge. Jake Rainis also cuts his Pilot nibs to create double and triple lines. 




The Pilot Parallel pens are great broad edge calligraphy tools—they deliver clean, sharp hairlines and are very easy to use. If I am looking to produce the finest of hairlines, say for cancellarescha on a small scale, I will still reach for a broad edge dip nib (which I sharpen even more) but insular script doesn’t require this.


Have fun and let us know how the projects turn out.

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  • 4 weeks later...

100 USA dollars for a Joy? Eek, the nibs were the same as the Safaris, right? I thought the Joy could replace nibs on the go, no need to get 3 pens. They're not terrible, but the Pilot outputs better lines if you use a good angle, and double as highlighters with bright ink.

Always looking for new ways to downsize my collection.

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