Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Fun with the Modified 6mm Parallel

My modified 6mm Pilot Parallel nib.
Right before I left for Japan, I had discovered Andrew Tan’s instructions for modifying Pilot Parallel pens. I tried the mod immediately on my 3.8mm Parallel. As a general rule, I bring only tried-and-true art materials and tools with me when I travel, but my first impressions of the hacked nib gave me such a kick that I took it with me on my trip. Even while I was still traveling, I ordered a 6mm Parallel to modify when I got home.

I’ve been using the 6mm ever since, and the fun continues!

This is the unmodified 6mm nib right out of the box.
 As you can see, I had to sand off quite a bit of the nib.
Because I’d already been enjoying the unmodified 6mm Parallel, I left the first one unchanged. Out of the box, the flat-cut 6mm nib is good for making straight, angular marks, which I like for some things, but it’s difficult to make smoothly rounded lines. That’s where the modified 6mm nib comes in. I find it much easier to make curved lines with its rounded edge (see below), and a varying line can be made more gradually. It’s become a different nib altogether. Still, I’m happy that I left one 6mm nib unmodified, because it might still have its place.

Now that I’ve been using the hacked 6mm Parallel for several weeks, I’m thinking that the modified 3.8mm that I took to Japan might be the more versatile of the two. While I can’t get the broad strokes of the 6mm nib, I can still get smooth, curved lines as well as a finer point with the 3.8mm. But both modified Parallels seem to give my line a more spontaneous look, which I prefer to a rigid, calculated line. The modified Parallel line isn’t as fluid as the one either my Sailor fude or my newest Sailor Cross Point can make, but those steel Parallel nibs are a whole lot of bang for the buck (less than 7 bucks, to be exact). (But darn those non-posting caps! I almost dropped one into the Kamo River in Kyoto!)

Want to read a veritable encyclopedia on fountain pens? See Liz Steels recently completed series of seven fantastic posts on the subject!

9/25/15 The unmodified 6mm Parallel makes more angular
12/21/15 The modified 6mm Parallel can
make smoother curved lines. 
10/30/15 The modified 3.8mm Parallel allows
slightly finer detail.
12/18/15 modified 6mm Parallel

12/18/15 modified 6mm Parallel

12/5/15 modified 6mm Parallel


  1. Glad to hear that you're enjoying your parallel pens. I don't find them nearly as convenient as fudes for getting lines as thick as I like so mine don't get used. I really like the sketches of the artists and the vague images in the background that they're drawing. Neat idea/composition.

    1. I definitely find the Parallels less than convenient too, especially that non-posting cap! But you know me -- I can't resist trying something new. ;-) And I got a kick out of doing the hack! I don't get many opportunities to carve my own fountain pen nibs. ;-)

      - Tina

    2. Wrap the back of your pen in tape to get the cap to post. I use black gaffer tape about 1/2 inch wide and it take a few wraps around the pen to get the needed thickness for the cap to properly post.

    3. Thanks for the suggestion! I'll try it!

      - Tina

  2. You have such a variety of tools to create almost any kind of line!


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