Bung Box Pilot Penmanship EF Fountain Pen Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

Pretty much everyone you meet has something negative to say about their own handwriting, no matter how pretty it might be. It's an extension of our personality, and some people take pride in their penmanship. Others may view it as a tool or trade, but it's one of those things that can always be improved. We never "arrive" when it comes to penmanship.

There are several ways to improve your own penmanship, and the most elemental method is simple practice. Write things over and over while slowing down and focusing on the small details of every letter. Turns out, some pens are better for this exercise than others.

That's where the Pilot Penmanship comes into play. This cheap fountain pen features an EF nib from Pilot, which is something you don't see in a lot of fountain pens from the factory. The idea behind a tiny nib is that you have no choice but to slow down and stay relaxed. If you try to press down too hard or go too fast with this pen, it will scratch the page and be uncomfortable.

While using this pen, I enter a different mindset that focuses on each letter. For one, I tend to press down more than I need to when using pens. It's an old habit from my grade school days where we learned to write with giant, ridiculous pencils. With the EF nib, you can't bear down on the nib without it sticking and scratching. What's more, since the line is so small, you have to work harder to keep the nib controlled when writing. Any mistakes are magnified when using this small nib, unlike larger nibs that cover up a lot of small mistakes.

The nib is excellent and a great value considering the sub-$10 price point. Even though the line width from this nib is a touch smaller than my 0.38mm gel pens, it's exceptionally smooth when used correctly. That, my friends, is impressive.

You can also swap this nib into both the Pilot Metropolitan and Prera. I like this grip section quite a bit. The grip is contoured to provide the "correct" finger positions. It's very similar to the Lamy grip section, but a little smaller. Like I've mentioned with Safaris and Al-Stars, if you don't use the "correct" grip, this pen might not be good for you. Besides the frustration of a pen manufacturer trying to impose a particular finger position for a pen, it's a great design that looks and feels good for me. The version I have has a nice "BunguBox" logo on the side, but that's not standard. The barrel is normally completely devoid of all branding.

The cap is comically small, but posts securely to the back of the pen. It has a couple of small red bits that stick out of the sides of the cap to prevent it from rolling around. It looks good when the cap is secured on the closed pen, but the cap looks silly on its own. Fortunately, I don't think this pen was made to win any aesthetic awards.

That being said, this is a great pen if you're looking for something that delivers an exceptionally thin line. You'd be hard pressed to find something this good that comes straight from the factory. Most of the time, you need a nib specialist to do a custom grind on a larger nib to achieve these results.

The Penmanship accepts Pilot cartridges and the CON-20 and CON-50 converters. It also comes in black and clear, so you have that choice as well. Both are a mere $8.25 on JetPens, which is hard to argue with.

Posted on April 19, 2016 and filed under Pilot, Pen Reviews, Fountain Pens.