Tag Archives: Pilot

Pilot Sign Pen & Fineliner Markers

I hope you’re all having a great week so far! I think it might be a shorter week for most of us, with the holiday on Monday.

If you’ve walked through the building over the last few weeks you may have noticed signs indicating that the annual fire alarm system testing takes place today and tomorrow. Jon and I have been anxiously discussing strategies for dealing with “intermittent fire alarm sounding” and “access to all units” with a napping baby and a dog, but actually things have been pretty smooth so far. You know how I like to tempt fate by saying these things halfway through Day 1. And apparently the dog doesn’t bark at fire alarms, only at real people, like paying customers and visiting friends. He makes me so proud sometimes.

Pilot Sign Pen Wonder Pens Blog wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada

Pilot Sign Pens available in Black, Green, Red & Blue

We received these Pilot Sign Pens a while ago, back in that shipment when we got the Kakunos, and I’ve been meaning to write about them since then. While I think there’s just something about fountain pens – the entire thing, how they write on the page, the process of filling them with ink, the bottles of ink, the way they look, the non-disposable nature of a fountain pen – I have a soft spot in my heart for a lot of these vintage-styled Pilot pens. I used a lot of these Pilot pens growing up, although I think I only ever used black ones, although I also used the coloured ones while I was teaching.

Pilot makes all sorts of pens, gel pens and ballpoints and new erasable pens and paint markers and fountain pens. Their catalogue is excellent bedtime reading because you can always, always find some new pen that looks interesting, no matter how many times you browse through their pages. However, there are a few classic Pilot pens that have been around since forever, some pretty iconic pens that even have a bit of a cult following.

Pilot Fineliners Sign Pens Toronto Canada Wonder Pens Blog wonderpens.ca

Classic Pilot Fineliners on the left, and these new-to-us but also classic Pilot Sign Pens on the right.

The Pilot Fineliners are better known than these new Sign Pens, but they’re both great felt-tip pens. We’ve gotten a lot of lettering artists and graphic designers who like these pens, and we even have one designer who buys boxes of each of these pens in different colours and he says he goes through them like candy. Yum.

Pilot Fineliner Wonder Pens Blog wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada

The Pilot Fineliner is one of Pilot’s most iconic pen, with a very simple and straightforward design, but with that white ring that makes it so distinctive. Available in black, blue, green, red, brown and purple, although black is far away the most popular.

Pilot Fineliners Black Blue Green Red Purple Brown Toronto Canada Wonderpens.ca wonder pens blog

The Fineliners create a nice, crisp line – the tips are felt and are nice and hard, metal reinforced. Over time, especially if you write with a lot of pressure, the tip can widen out a bit. If you go really nuts you can damage the tip permanently, but for the most part, these pens are made to be used.

Pilot Fineliner Toronto Canada Wonderpens.ca Wonder Pens Blog

Pilot Fineliner Writing Sample Wonder Pens Blog wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada

Comparatively, the Sign Pens are just that, they are more like a marker/sign pen. I think the Fineliner is around 0.4mm, and the Sign Pen is like a fine marker, around 1.2 mm.

Pilot Sign Pen Fineliners Wonder Pens Blog wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada

Pilot Sign Pen Fineliners Toronto Canada wonderpens.ca Wonder Pens

Pilot Sign Pen Writing Sample Wonder Pens Blog wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada

Pilot Sign Pen Wonderpens Blog wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada

It says “Medium Water Resistant” on the barrel of the Sign Pens, which I think means “Medium tip” and “Water Resistant.” I did a super quick water test where I just ran the paper under the tap for five seconds, and while the red did the worst, they are for the most part fairly water resistant.

Pilot Sign Pens Wonderpens Blog wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada

Unfortunately, the Pilot Fineliners don’t show very much water resistance at all…

There’s not really much to these pens – no how-to’s on filling or maintenance, just pull off the cap and write. I thought about writing two separate reviews, but they’re very similar pens in how they write, just with different tips sizes. And I kind of feel like they go together. They’re simple and iconic Pilot pens, and I use them for scribbling, doodling, addressing envelopes, drawing… but I think a lot of designers, engineers, graphic artists and writers use them for sketching and corrections.

Did you know? (according to Wikipedia…) “Markers are also sometimes referred to as felt-pens or felts in some parts of Canada.” I consider myself fairly well-versed in stationery lingo, but I didn’t know this! I must be living in the wrong part of Canada. I somehow suspect that if I was in my classroom, and I said, “Nadiha, please pass out those felts,” no one would have any idea what I was talking about.

Pilot Fineliner Sign Pens Toronto Canada Wonder pens Blog wonderpens.ca

What the kitchen table really looks like when I’m blogging. All those numbers on the calculator represent our expected quarterly profits… HAHA.

In other news, we’ve had a very welcome re-stock of Coach House Press Notebooks, including a few new colours in their softcover notebooks, as well as some Leuchtturm notebooks back in stock, including the dot grid and lined hardcover A5 notebooks. We are expecting a shipment of Noodler’s inks including Plains of Abraham and Raven Black by the end of the week!

I was supposed to get out our newsletter this past Monday (first Monday of the month), but things got away from me (I cannot deny that we went to dim sum on Monday to celebrate the holiday, and let me tell you there is nothing so non-conducive to productivity the afternoon following a long dim sum meal), and so we have big plans to get it out tomorrow. If you do not already subscribe to the newsletter, please consider it! You can go to our website and enter your email at the bottom of the screen. The newsletter is like a monthly super concentrated version of the blog, where it’s just the important stuff and 99% of my rambling is edited out.

Pilot Fineliner Wonder Pens Blog wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada

Pilot Kakuno :)

When we receive shipments in from our distributors or manufacturers, Jon likes to organize it all in a calm and efficient manner – clearing off space, getting invoices out, counting. He hates it when he’s trying to count the pens and it seems like something is missing, but it’s really just already in my hand and full of ink. I’ve been trying my best to resist, but it’s been pretty exciting over the last few days as we’ve gotten a few boxes from Pilot with special order items from Japan. It hasn’t even been anything so tremendously anticipated, like the Blue Midori’s or last year’s Stormy Grey ink, but I guess it’s like when you order stuff online, and it finally arrives at your doorstep!

Pilot is actually distributed by Crestar here in Canada, but we sometimes ask them to special order items from Japan that aren’t stocked regularly. It’s a bit of organizing (and a lot of guesswork to get these special orders timed right, but the folks at Crestar are really great people 🙂

Pilot Kakuno Wonder Pens wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada

The first of these new pens to share is the Pilot Kakuno is probably the one I’m most excited about. We have a few different colours in the two available nib sizes, fine & medium. Depending on how things go, we may expand the colours and nib sizes. I sometimes hear about parents and kids interested in handwriting and writing, and I’m not sure if it’s that I’m listening more or that there is really a growing interest in it all.

With a Fine Nib we have: Grey & Blue
With a Medium Nib we have: Grey, Green, Orange & Pink

The pen comes with only a cartridge! No converter included. Pilot is proprietary, so you’ll need to get either more Pilot cartridges or a Pilot Converter.

This is a pen marketed towards school-aged children to help them learn how to write with pens or fountain pens, similar to the Lamy ABC. The Kakuno has a friendly font on the cap, which you can purchase in the different colours, and the pen itself is a bit smaller and slightly chunkier than the Metropolitan. What the Kakuno is most well-known for, though, is a bit hard to notice unless you’re looking for it: it has a smiley face on its nib.

Pilot Kakuno Wonder pens wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada

Supposedly this smiley face is to help remind kids that you write with the pen nib side up. I feel a bit like once you learn that it’s supposed to be nib side up, you don’t need too many reminders, so I like to think the smiley face is just there to be a friendly face in life… then again, maybe it’s been too long since I’ve been around school-aged children. I recall having to remind 13-year-olds that pencils are for writing with, not putting up a nostril, and then putting back into the communal pencil jar.

It was a coin toss between the orange and the green for me, but I already have a Copper Orange Al-Star and a TWSBI 580 AL in orange, so it was the green.

Pilot Kakuno Wonderpens.ca Wonder Pens Toronto Canada

I waffle back and forth between wanting my inks to match the general colour of the pen, but I happened to have Rohrer & Klinger’s Alt-Goldgrun on my desk. It’s one of my favourite greens, a good spring/summer/fall ink, but also good at Christmas, so it’s basically a year-round sort of ink.

This is a medium nib in the Kakuno, which will be the same as the medium Metropolitan, but closer to a European Fine (Lamy Fine, Kaweco Fine). Japanese nibs tend to write a bit finer than European nibs.

Rohrer & Klingner Alt Gold-Grün Pilot Kakuno Wonder pens wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada

The grip is a translucent, bur dark, and is also triangular shaped, which helps guide your fingers into the right angle for writing. It’s not as pronounced or defined as the Lamy Safari/Al-Star grip, a bit more rounded or softer.

It’s a pretty light pen, made out of plastic, so it will be good for longer writing sessions. The plastic is super durable, maybe in anticipation of getting knocked around a bit. The snap cap is secure, closing and opening with a solid snap, and will post on the back of the pen securely. There’s no clip, but both the cap and the body are hexagonal so they won’t roll off your desk.

The nib is basically the same as the Metropolitan, except that it has a smiley face on it. It’s smooth, firm and a nice wetness. This is a pen you don’t have to worry about.

Pilot Kakuno Wonderpens.ca Wonder Pens Toronto Canada

The Pilot Kakuno is just a cute, sweet pen. If you like the Metropolitan and how it writes, you will also like the Kakuno.

It’s great for students and children, but it’s also just a fun pen that’s – like all Pilot pens, such as the Metropolitan, the 78G, the Prera – reliable, consistent and easy to write with. Sometimes that’s what it comes down to – the pen just writes when pull it out of your pocket, uncap it and put it to paper. A great all around pen.



Pilot Parallel Pen as a Highlighter

Sometimes we get customers who tell us they use their Lamy or TWSBI 1.5 italic nibs as highlighters, filling them with a highlighter ink like Noodler’s Firefly, or another light ink. 1.5 is a pretty broad nib for writing, and you can get some good calligraphic action out of it, but you can also consider using a Parallel Pen if you’re ready to get serious about your highlighting.

Pilot Parallel Pen at WonderPens.ca

As a display of my commitment to writing instruments and to my readers, I have sacrificed my Complete Poems & Plays of TS Eliot to demonstrate the highlighting capabilities of the Pilot Parallel Pen.

The obvious advantage is that you can get a much broader nib that is usually available on standard fountain pens.

The Parallel Pen is available in 1.5 mm, 2.4 mm, 3.8 mm, and 6.0 mm. This is one of the most popular calligraphy tools because of its ease of use (no messing around with dipping nibs and drips of ink), portability and reliability – it lays down an even, consistent line every time. Many professional and expert calligraphers use these pens daily.

The highlighting samples were done with the green lid, 3.8 mm Parallel Pen.


The second advantage is that the Parallel Pen has slightly more controlled and drier flow than a regular fountain pen. It is nice and even and consistent. You typically get more shading and variation out of fountain pens; the parallel plates helps regulate the flow. You may still get some pooling at the end of your strokes, but it won’t be as wet. This is particularly important if you’re highlighting notes or text on lower quality paper at work or school.

You can use highlighter ink like Noodler’s Firefly, which is more of fluorescent colour, but you can also try lighter shades like Rohrer & Klingner’s Helianthus (above) or J. Herbin’s Bleu Azur (below). You can even try diluting some mid-range colours to get lighter shades. You can add distilled water and ink in a separate vial.


Probably its biggest disadvantage is that it’s a long pen, definitely not a shirt pocket pen for on the go. I am assuming the design of the body has to do with its function as a calligraphy tool. If you have a pencil case or cup, or can leave it at your desk at work, it may not be a big deal. 

If you are someone who does a lot of highlighting, as a student or teacher or whatever it is you do, the Parallel Pen offers a good alternative to the marker highlighters that can dry out on you, growing fainter day by day. It comes with two proprietary Pilot cartridges, and you can use the accompanying “cleaning converter” as a converter to hold ink. I have heard that the converter may not work, and it is indeed a tight fit, but we use the converter in the Parallel Pen in the tester tray, and trust me when I say the pens in our tester tray are soldiers.

And, as a bonus, you can practise your calligraphy with it too.