Do you love Pilot Parallel pens? Have you ever wished they redesigned the pen’s body? If you answered “yes” to both questions this mod may be just what you need.
Today I want to share with you my improvised mod for the Pilot Parallel pen. I always liked the convenience and performance that the Parallel pens offer. The nib design is simply exceptional. It consists of two flat metal plates that channel ink onto paper unlike any other fountain pen. Basically it is a version of a folded pen, which is a dip pen artists often use for expressive drawing. The advantage of the Parallel pen as opposed to the conventional folded pen is that it is fed constantly from the reservoir, eliminating the need of dipping the pen in ink.
As to the reason for my mod, the problem with the Parallel pen is that the body is extremely uncomfortable to hold because of how narrow the barrel is – in fact it’s so thin that it won’t fit the CON-70 converter. It does feel very cheap as well. I’ve been thinking about a custom Ebonite pen that would house the Parallel nib and feed unit for quite some time. Until I get that done I wanted to do something about the comfort when using the pen and so I came out with an idea of combining the comfortable body of Noodler’s Ahab with the geniality of the Parallel pen nib design. And so in this short tutorial I will show you how I perform this mod. Although admittedly a very rudimentary modification, it should help alleviate the two major issues I’ve mentioned, namely 1. the inability to house a CON-90 converter and 2. the physical discomfort of using the Parallel pen.
We don’t need too much equipment for this mod. As I said it’s very rudimentary. A sharp knife or a craft knife, scissors and a painter’s paper tape are the basics.
Of course we need an Ahab pen and a Parallel pen. CON-70 converter is optional but I prefer to use it as it does have increased ink capacity when compared to the other Pilot converters. As to the eyedropper conversion, I did use the Parallel pen filled as an eyedropper but since I find the body uncomfortable I don’t mind giving it up. You see, you can’t fill the pen as an eyedropper when modded.
The mod itself is easy to do and quite fast to do as well. Easily reversible too. All we do is replace the whole Ahab unit for the Parallel one. We only use the barrel and cap from the Ahab pen.
The Ahab’s barrel and cap shape and size is actually very compatible with the Parallel unit (with the converter attached). It fits as to the length and the step down from the Ahab barrel to the Parallel section is actually quite minimal. The only problem we face is to find a way to make the Parallel unit stay in place when inserted into the Ahab barrel. And this mod is basically a workaround for that.
This is where the word “makeshift” comes in. This is not a fancy solution but very simple, functional way to get the best of both worlds. We simply use a paper tape to make the Parallel section wider at the threads. When inserted into the barrel the tape will hold the unit in place by friction. I am sure I could make a proper plastic or Ebonite double-threaded converter that would screw onto the Parallel section allowing the barrel to screw on it properly but I don’t have the time nor tools to do that. Nor do I think many people would benefit from such mod as it would require considerable experience and a good amount of tools.
The first step is to cut approximately 8 – 10 mm wide strips of tape. You can do one long strip of the same width. Personally I find it easier to work with several shorter ones than one long but it doesn’t really matter all that much. Though there is a benefit to using several strips as you’ll see later.
Wrap the tape around the threads, layer upon layer. The reason I use paper tape is because when layered it has some give to it and it functions as a buffer. This way the fit is very tight without stressing the materials excessively. The tape will yield over time, adapting to the nooks and crannies of the section and barrel.
Test how it fits as you apply the strips of tape. You want the tightest fit possible. This is why I like doing several strips instead of one, if the fit is too loose you can apply one more strip, and one more after that, etc.
Once the fit is right, trim of the excess tape. This is best done with a sharp knife or a scalpel/craft knife.
That’s pretty much it. Now just ink the pen and assemble together.
The Conclusion and Writing Sample
The pen now became very comfortable. It won’t wobble or become loose, at least not with normal use. I used it quite a bit and haven’t experienced anything of the sort.
In case you’d like to switch nib sizes, you don’t have to repeat the mod. I suggest you just use the same Parallel section. You can take out the nib and feed assembly and insert the one you want to use next. The nib and feed are friction fit in the section. Grab the colored plastic part and simply pull on it while gently rotating. Be careful if you have it inked though so you won’t splash ink all over yourself.
I am also going to do one more Parallel mod soon which includes some serious work on the nib, converting it into a true “folded nib” type pen, but I thought you may enjoy this one in the meantime. I will link the mod here when it’s available. Keep an eye on my website and subscribe for my newsletter so you won’t miss any new tutorials, lessons and reviews in the future. Also make sure to follow me on social networks, you can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Flickr.
Anyway, enjoy your new and improved writing experience and let me know what you think about this mod. Have you seen any other mods I may want to check out? Which Parallel nib width do you like to use most and what kind of work you do with it?