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Average Customer Review
 4.7 (26 customer reviews)
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March 2, 2009
I'm going to have to...
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I'm going to have to join the chorus of praises on this page and sing another one for the Pilot Parallel.

It's a bit of a paradox. The Parallel is cheap - very cheap. And it's overtly plastic, and it's not even that elegantly put together. Its plastic parts have seam lines all over the place, the silver color of the body isn't 100% even... And yet, it doesn't matter one lick, because the Parallel is simply the best writing calligraphy fountain pen I've ever used.

The secret, of course, is Pilot's "parallel plate" nib. The name is a little ambiguous; After all, every calligraphy fountain pen nib consists of two "parallel" plates, one next to the other with a split down the middle. The Pilot pen, on the other hand, has two plates sandwiched on top of each other. Ink flows between them and because of the comparatively massive capillary surface area it's kept flowing smoothly and is remarkably resistant to drying out in the nib.

The end result works surprisingly well. The Parallel is somewhat sensitive to how flat you hold its nib against the paper, moreso than traditional calligraphy pens, but when used correctly it produces the cleanest, crispest, most even lines I've ever experienced. It's nib-to-paper feel is likewise excellent and is usually an indicator of how you're handling the pen. If the feel isn't silky-smooth it's a surefire sign that you're not holding the nib flat.

That said, the Parallel is a very wet writer (as repeatedly mentioned by others) and because of this you have to be a bit careful about how fast you write and what kind of paper you use. The Parallel is undoubtedly capable of being used on just about any paper (except maybe paper towels, or tissue paper) if you get the lead out and don't let the nib stay stationary for long. On coarse or porous paper, though, that huge capillary surface area can whip up an inkblot the size of a quarter in seconds if you just poke the nib into one place and leave it there, so don't do that. If you have a habit of resting or tapping the nib against your paper while you ponder your next sentence, do yourself a favor and knock it off.

The only ink I've tried in mine so far is the stock Pilot branded stuff that came with it, so I can't comment on how thinner versus thicker inks will work with the Parallel. Reports indicate that thicker inks will be more controllable, and I can certainly see how that would be true. When it's moving, at least, the Parallel is about as wet as the customized (ground nib) Sheaffer I'm used to using, so I would imagine it'd do just fine with ink similar to Sheaffer's "Skrip" stuff and equivalents.

Towards that end, the Parallel comes with a couple of goodies of varying utility. There's a nib cleaning card, for a start, which is meant to be used to floss dirt and paper swarf out from between the nib plates. You get one measley black cartridge and one red with the pen, and they're proprietary to Pilot pens and functionally unavailable in the US except by mail order. You get a converter cartridge with the set but it's a rubber "squeeze bulb" design that's got miserable suction and worse capacity. Pilot insists that the converter cartridge is only intended to be used to clean the pen (by sucking up and backwashing water or cleaning fluid through the nib) and I'd just as soon take their word for it. If you want to refill the Parallel, get a syringe and just refill an empty cartridge instead.

My only other complaint is that the Parallel doesn't come with any sort of pocket clip. It makes sense, because the pen's body is longer than your usual pocket-pen, but it makes life difficult for those of us who use our calligraphy pens for day-to-day writing. (The dingus that sticks out of the Parallel's cap, if you're wondering, is just a flap of plastic that's meant to keep the pen from rolling away.) There's also no way to affix the cap to the tail of the pen, so you'll have to find someplace else to stick it while you're writing.

15 people found this helpful
 
April 5, 2011
Excellent Pen! I have...
Excellent Pen! I have 22 years experience as a calligrapher, and this is my new favorite pen. It is smooth and comfortable to write with. Highly recommend.

8 people found this helpful
marychastain
 
August 19, 2010
Bought all four! These...
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Bought all four!

These things are perfect for the pro and the novice alike! The flow is strong and very consistent. The tip glides smoothly over the page, and can be used flat for a wide line, or on the edge for a monoline.

If you love calligraphy, and hate dipping, you really have to try one of these!

7 people found this helpful
superdan_lamb
 
December 26, 2010
Awesome pen! Bought the...
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Awesome pen! Bought the 1.5mm and fully intend on picking up a second, and then doubles of the other three sizes. Truly a joy to write with. Also, Jet Pens was a pleasure to buy through. Showed up in literally a matter of a couple days. Definitely going to order through them again!

5 people found this helpful
simplicity05
 
February 26, 2010
rf2444, this isn't properly...
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rf2444, this isn't properly speaking a forum, but I'll offer some information: the effect shown above is obtained by transferring ink from one pen's nib to another by gravity and capillary action.

Use two pens, inked in different colors: one in (say) red, the other in blue. Hold the red pen upright with its nib up. Briefly -- *briefly*, no more than a few seconds -- touch the blue pen's nib to that of the red pen. (Cap the blue pen and set it aside.) When you write with the red pen now, it will briefly write in blue; it will gradually change through shades of violet and plum until you are writing entirely in red again. This is a wonderful effect and well worth the price of the pens!

5 people found this helpful
susan111_az
 
April 18, 2011
This pen is okay, and...
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This pen is okay, and its my first time using a calligraphy pen. I tried it out on light weight printer paper and the ink blots really small when writing (but im sure its just the paper).

The barrel is plastic and i was hoping itd be a little better quality. The ink dries super fast tho. I didnt realize that youd need two pens to mix the ink so thats kind of a downer. But i'll be buying the other pens as well.

4 people found this helpful
 
November 29, 2010
This is one ultimate...
This is one ultimate tool. this is my first time to calligraphy. really its impressive. on time for Christmas cards.

simple to use for a beginner like me.

highly recommended!!!

3 people found this helpful
dsprabhakar
 
November 28, 2012
I absolutely LOVE this...
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I absolutely LOVE this pen. I use it every day to write in my journal, to make lists, or whatever I want to feel good about. I got the 1.5 (my favorite) and the 2.4, which writes nicely but quite large. I'm back for the other two though as I like to make my own cards. I don't know how you could wrong with these pens--they write easily and look beautiful on paper, plus they're relatively cheap for calligraphy pens. I'll admit that I'm not a calligraphy expert, but I don't think you'll be disappointed.

2 people found this helpful
meredithrchildress
 
July 30, 2012
Very picky regarding...
Very picky regarding the angle of the pen.

When I was about 6, my dad's idea of a good summer activity was have me systematically practice exercises through his drafting textbook...free hand, with no compass or precision angles. While I hated it, it provided me with a very strict guideline on how to hold a pen/pencil when I write.

Unfortunately, this is a bit shallow of an angle for this pen.

Like others have remarked, this pen provides very good lines with great dynamic range.
However, I find that I have to hold the pen at least at 60 degrees to the paper for it to work for me.
Otherwise, I have a very dry, scratchy writer.

I won't blame the pen, but it's not my favorite.
For what it is, it's very well priced.

2 people found this helpful
matthewjlau
 
May 21, 2010
AMazing pen. This is...
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AMazing pen. This is my first calligraphy pen and I can't say enough great things about it. Well worth the cheap price!

2 people found this helpful
juliamartinez4