When I talk about the best fountain pens for beginners, the list goes something like this:
And every time I rattle off that list, I want to add the Pilot Kakuno to it. In all honesty, I think the three above are the best choices going into it blind. But if you want to add the caveat of “fun” into the mix, then the Kakuno may be the best choice.
Not only is this pen fun, it functions extremely well. I expect nothing less from Pilot in the fountain pen market, even in the entry level realm.
The Kakuno is designed purposefully for beginners. The grip section is triangular in shape to teach you the proper way to hold a fountain pen. The smiley face on the nib teaches you to always keep the nib facing up at the correct angle. Even the hex barrel and cap indention are designed to make the pen easy to handle.
From that description, the Kakuno sounds like a kid’s pen. It’s certainly designed with kids in mind, but in reality it is so much more. It’s a well designed, highly functional fountain pen that anyone can use and enjoy. I know I enjoy the heck out of it.
My first Kakuno was the grey barrel with lime green cap. I backed that up pretty quickly with the orange cap model, because orange. At the time, the Kakuno only came in fine or medium nib widths. In the second round of pens - white barrel with pastel caps - Pilot added extra fine into the mix. This is important because many first time fountain pen buyers that read this site what to know if there is an inexpensive fountain pen with a line to match their favorite micro gel ink pen. Pilot extra fine has always been the answer, but there was never an easy way to get the nib. There is now.
I’ve seen the clear barrel Kakuno making the rounds in Japan, and as a demonstrator pen fan, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. The build is identical to all of the Kakuno’s before it, but now you can see the insides better. I’m a big fan of pen guts and ink blood. :D
It’s as great as expected, and the extra fine nib is an added bonus. On my Rhodia Ice Pad, the line width is comparable to the Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.3 mm gel ink pen. That’s impressive for a fountain pen.
The only question remaining is if you can eyedropper the Kakuno. You will need to fill the two holes on the back end of the barrel with epoxy for starters, then add silicone grease to the barrel threads. My only concern is that the feed is friction fit and there is not an extra spot to silicone the nib unit threads, because there aren’t any. Cartridges and converters obviously work fine, but they seal off around the feed post. I’m not sure how ink would handle just floating around that area.
Speaking of converters, I used the Pilot Con-70 in mine. This is Pilot’s largest capacity converter, and most expensive as well. You don’t need this one for the Kakuno, but I have a couple not in use so I put it into action. All of Pilot’s other converters will work, as will all of their cartridges. For the clear barrel Kakuno I’d look at using more fun colors, like the Pilot Mixable cartridges.
The Pilot Kakuno is a great pen for any level of experience. The most beginning fountain pen user will enjoy its cool looks and ease of use, and the most experienced user will love the great nib and build quality. It’s an all-around great pen.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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