Pilot Kakuno

Kaweco Perkeo Review

The new Kaweco Perkeo came into my possession from the very kind folks over at Pocket Notebooks out of the blue one hectic weekday morning. Whilst this item was sent to me, this review contains my honest opinions and thoughts on this fountain pen.

My 'Bad Taste' Kaweco Perkeo

My 'Bad Taste' Kaweco Perkeo

The Kaweco Perkeo is a brand new fountain pen in Kaweco’s product offering that fills a previously unoccupied gap. The Perko costs £15 putting it in the same price bracket as the Pilot Kakuno and the Lamy Safari.

The Kaweco Perkeo, Pilot Kakuno and Lamy Safari 

The Kaweco Perkeo, Pilot Kakuno and Lamy Safari 

The design of the Perkeo mirrors elements of the Kaweco Sport range. The pen lid is instantly recognisable with its angular shape, the only difference being its larger size.

The Perkeo lid clicks onto the barrel rather than screwing on like the pocket fountain pens. I presume this makes the pen friendly to younger audiences. Like the Sport ranges you don’t get a pen clip but then I don’t think it’s needed.

The barrel on the Perkeo is angular with lots and lots of flat surfaces running the full length. I really like this design move as I feel like it adds a satisfying texture to the pen.

The grip section has three ridged sections to aid and guide the users grip. This is very like the grip design on the Lamy Safari but I think the Perkeos grip is less intrusive.

A comparison shot of the Lamy Safri grip section and the Kaweco Perkeo grip.

A comparison shot of the Lamy Safri grip section and the Kaweco Perkeo grip.

The nib on the Perkeo is marginally bigger than the Kaweco pocket pens. However when comparing it to the Pilot Kakuno and the Lamy Safari it’s far smaller and looks a little measly. Personally I feel like the Perkeo would have benefitted from a larger nib to balance out the proportions of the pen.

A diddy Kaweco nib

A diddy Kaweco nib

Generally I’m a fan of Kaweco fountain pens and own several of their pocket fountain pens. The Perkeo feels very similar with its fun colour schemes and recognisable design. It’s a great entry level fountain pen and it makes sense for Kaweco to have a product offering that can compete with the Kakunos and Safaris. Whilst I like this pen I am not sure it would be the pen I would recommend over the Lamy Safari for people starting out, but it’s a very welcome addition to the enthusiasts toolkit.

The Perkeo in hand

The Perkeo in hand

And for size comparison the Kaweco AL Sport

And for size comparison the Kaweco AL Sport

Fountain Pens for Beginners

Fountain pens can be a daunting prospect and requires some sort of research before buying in order to figure out what you are looking for and which fountain pen will work best for you.

In this post I will look at the pros and cons of some of the best beginner fountain pens on the market. For me a beginner fountain pen should have a low entry price, be easy to acquire, pleasant to use and perhaps also look a little bit nice. Beginner fountain pens are usually the gateway drug, the pens that open us up to the world of fountain pens and get us interested in taking that next step.

The Lamy Safari, Kaweco Skyline Sport in Mint Green, Pilot MR, Pilot Kakuno and TWSBI 580 RB

The Lamy Safari, Kaweco Skyline Sport in Mint Green, Pilot MR, Pilot Kakuno and TWSBI 580 RB

Option 1 - The Lamy Safari / AL Star

Lamy is a German brand of fountain pens. They have a European nib which generally means they are a little wider than their Japanese counterparts.

I have grouped these two fountain pens together as there are a few minor differences and the prices are not too dissimilar. One has a plastic barrel, the Safari, the other an aluminium barrel, the AL Star.

Pros

  • Lots of different colour barrel options
  • Swappable nibs that are easy and affordable to replace. These also come in a huge range of sizes from EF all the way through to a 1.9mm stub nib
  • Left handed nib option available
  • Full length fountain pen
  • Easy to find both online and in stores
  • A good sized cartridge convertor meaning bottled ink use is possible

Cons

  • Moulded grip section (this may not be a con for everyone but it is a restriction hence it ends up on this side of the list)

The Lamy fountain pens have a great entry level price, the Safari costing less than £15 and the AL Star less than £25.

Option 2 - Kaweco Classic / Skyline Sport

The Kaweco Classic or Skyline Sport fountain pens are another German brand fountain pen. They are pocket fountain pens meaning they are quite a bit smaller than the other fountain pen options included in this post.

Pros

  • Pocket size means this is a great fountain pen to use if you’re on the move
  • A range of different barrel colour options
  • Nib sizes range from EF all the way up to a B nib
  • Posted this pen turns into an almost full length fountain pen

Cons

  • Changing the nibs on the Classic and Skyline Kaweco fountain pens is a bit more complicated. For the Classic Sport range you can buy a new nib and grip section for most colours. For the Skyline range not everywhere stocks the replacement parts. Therefore if you want to try a different nib size you may need to buy a whole new pen.
  • Cartridge convertor options on the Kaweco line are poor. Cartridges are the best route with the Kaweco range.

A Kaweco Classic or Skyline Sport will set you back around £20. You can easily get hold of these fountain pens from a number of different online retailers.

Option 3 - Pilot MR

The Pilot MR is a great entry level fountain pen. These fountain pens come with an aluminium barrel and as they are a Japanese brand of fountain pen, they have finer nibs. This is something to bear in mind when choosing your nib size. A fine Japanese nib will be finer than a fine German nib. On the MR I have found the M nibs are the easiest to come by, but with some digging you may be able to find a F nib.

Pros

  • A great entry into the wonderful world of Pilot fountain pens
  • Cartridge convertors are available with this pen which means that you can use cartridges or bottled ink
  • Aluminium barrel
  • Lots of different barrel options available, some simple and classic and some of the colours are a bit more fun

Cons

  • Not a wide range of nib sizes available on this fountain pen

A Pilot MR costs less than £25. For this additional outlay you are getting some higher quality materials.

Option 4 - Pilot Kakuno

The Pilot Kakuno was, I believe, intended to be a fountain pen for a real beginner, i.e. children learning to use their first fountain pen.

Pros

  • It’s fun
  • It has a smiley or winking face on the nib
  • F or M nib options available
  • It can use a convertor as well as ink cartridges
  • Very lightweight

Cons

  • It’s plastic and could be prone to breaking
  • Some of the nicer, prettier colour options are not available in Europe. I got my white barrel and yellow lid option when in the US.

For the Pilot Kakuno you will have to part with around £10 which is a fantastic price for a fountain pen.

Writing samples using each of the above fountain pens  

Writing samples using each of the above fountain pens  

Option 5 - TWSBI 580

This option is a bit more adventurous. It was the first fountain pen I bought around 4 years ago when I was getting back into stationery. I am including this in here as it’s a great fountain pen and not too pricey, but it is edging towards the next step fountain pen. There is now the TWSBI Eco fountain pen which is much more affordable, however I have not tried this pen out and wouldn’t be comfortable recommending it fully.

Pros

  • A demonstrator fountain pen means you get to see all the inner workings which is really cool
  • It’s a piston filled fountain pen which means bottled ink only, no cartridges here. With the piston filling mechanism you are getting a good amount of ink in the barrel
  • Chrome detailing
  • There is a mini version available too if you want that smaller fountain pen for on the move

Cons

  • It could be a bit of a jump for a first fountain pen and some people may find the piston filling mechanism a bit daunting.
  • A higher price in comparison to other fountain pens on this list

My TWSBI 580 cost £40, however the TWSBI Eco can be bought for less than £30.

Final thoughts

This post has become quite lengthy but hopefully it is a useful reference. I wanted to give a fairly good overview of the entry level fountain pens in the market. I love using fountain pens and use a lot of those listed here on a daily basis.

If I were to recommend one fountain pen on this list it would be the Pilot MR. I love my MR and I think it is the best starting off point. There is no moulded grip section, it’s full size, it’s a lovely Japanese Pilot nib and it’s aluminium. You get a lot of pen for your money with this fountain pen.

February 2016 Loadout

I haven't done a loadout post since December 2015. As before I have broken my loadout into groups to make some sense of the choas. I really enjoy using a variety of different products and sometimes you need to find the right stationery pairings. 

personal loadout

My two Midori Travelers Notebooks and an array of pens

My two Midori Travelers Notebooks and an array of pens

Regular Midori Travelers Notebook - I now have two of these beautiful notebooks. My Blue Travelers Notebook holds my weekly refill where I try and be a little bit creative recording my days and practicing lettering. I also have a ruled refill in this notebook. I recently added the orange elastic that comes with the brown Travelers Notebook after Wonderpens recent post. I love the contrast of the orange against the blue. 

My second Travelers Notebook holds everything to do with The Finer Point. I have a monthly calendar where I keep on top of everything I need to do with my blog and also track my study schedule. My second refill is a blog brain dump refill. 

Midori MD A5 Ruled Notebook - this acts as my extended journal. When I need more space to write, this is the notebook I use. I love this notebook as it lies flat and it handles fountain pen ink really well. 

Hobonichi Techo - I continue to enjoy using this little book even after a year. I am still using this to record my days and this year I am including a little photo from my day.

Pilot Hi-Tec-C - I use a selection of these gel pens in my Travelers Notebook. I have a combination of sizes including the 0.4mm and 0.5mm. I am using the black, brown, violet and cherry pink colours and at the moment two of these refills are loaded up in my Karas Kustoms Render K and the Ateleia Brass Pen

Sakura Pigma Micron 03 - I use this pen for doodling and lettering in my Travelers Notebook. I have been trying lots of different fine liner pens lately. I love the way they write and they are so durable. 

My Hobonichi Techo and the fountain pens I use most

My Hobonichi Techo and the fountain pens I use most

TWSBI 580 RB - I have this inked up with Pilot Iroshizuku Tsutsuji-Azaela. I love the vibrant pink colour of this ink and by using this in a demonstrator pen I get to enjoy the colour even when not writing. 

Karask Kustoms Ink - I have this fountain pen inked up with the Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-gaki. This bright orange adds a nice pop of colour to my notes. The Ink has a fine line which is actually fairly bold and means I get to enjoy a nice thick line of orange on the page. 

Lamy AL Star Copper Orange - I have this inked up with the Lamy Black T-10 ink cartridge. I quite like having a plain black ink in one fountain pen. 

Lamy Safari - This is inked up with the Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku an ink I have found myself enjoying again and again. 

Pilot Kakuno - This is inked up with the Pilot Iroshizuku Ama-Iro. This is a new ink I received for Christmas and I love the light blue colour.

Pilot Metropolitan - I have this fountain pen inked up with Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-Kai. I love the super fine line on the Pilot Metropolitan and with Shin-Kai it makes a great writing partnership. I think this is my favourite low cost fountain pen that looks and feels great to write with.

The Carry around 

Passport sized Travelers Notebook - This holds my personal monthly view calendar and a ruled notebook. This is the notebook that I carry with me on a daily basis and where I dump anything that pops into my head.

School loadout

Field Notes Kraft, ruled notebook - This is being used to take notes on my design course and while I have loads of different colours editions available I thought I would go back to basics and go with the original. 

Pilot Coleto - I have an aqua blue, green, orange and cherry pink refill in this pen. This is a great pen for school work as I can have 4 different colours to hand, in one pen making note taking a breeze. 

Staedtler Tradition H - I use this for any doodles or outlines I need to make as part of my course. Staedtler pencils write really well and they look great.

Work loadout

Word Blue Mountain notebook - I loved the design and the colour of these notebooks. This is the first Word Notebook I have tried and I have been using this for my work to do lists. 

Blackwing pencils - I use these a lot for taking notes at work. Pencils work so well in the Word notebooks which gives me a perfect excuse to increase my pencil use. I have added an orange eraser into my 602 for something a little bit different.

Caran d'Ache Edelweiss F - a simple pencil but one that I really enjoy using. This pencil matches my Blue Mountain notebook quite well too. 

Tombow Mono 100 - This was one of the first pencils I bought. The Mono 100 looks great and writes so smoothly. 

Staedtler Wopex - There is something strange about these pencils and the waxy barrel can be a little bit odd, but for some reason I quite like it. 

Loadout thoughts

Every time I prep for one of these posts I am always a little bit surprised by how much stationery I use on a daily basis! My loadout shows that I like using Japanese stationery and Midori has become my go to paper product over the past few months. I like the design of their stationery and the way the paper handles an array of different pens. 

As always I'd love to hear about what you're using and what are your favourite must have items. 

December Loadout

It has been some time since I have done a loadout post, but for December I thought I would update you all with the tools I am using. This time round I have broken my loadout down into a series of mini loadouts as there can be a lot of variation in what I use, depending on where I am using it.  

Personal Loadout  

MTN - this remains my constant and has been for some months. In here I have one insert for general notes, the free weekly planner and a month planner. I really enjoy using this set-up and having everything all in one place. I am now in a position where I would be lost without the MTN.  

Hobonichi Techo - I am still using my Hobonichi, however since introducing the MTN into my set-up I have not been as loyal to the Techo. With this in mind I am working through some ideas about how to use my Techo next year as there will definitely need to be some changes here. 

The main line up

The main line up

Gel pens - I have been using the Pilot Hi-Tec-05, G-Tec-C4 and Coleto mostly with my MTN. I love the colour options available and the Pilot gel pens perform consistently well.  

Pencils - I have been and will continue to use my Palomino Blackwing 211 and Faber Castell 9000 HB. These are two of my favourite pencils at the moment and I regularly grab these for scribbling down notes or to do lists. 

Fountain pens - The Lamy AL Star, Karas Kustoms Ink, Kaweco AL Sport and Pilot Kakuno are all in my rotation this month. I really enjoy using these fountain pens and each one offers up something slightly different. 

Other things I am playing with  

Baron Fig Apprentice - Before starting this notebook I had never used the small Apprentice notebook from Baron Fig. I have started using this to try out different pencils as the paper handles graphite really well. This notebook is for doodling and taking notes about pencils. It is used rarely but sits by my desk so its easy to grab when I want to test something out. 

Pencils - some of the pencils I have enjoyed with this notebook are the Palomino Blackwing - a pencil that I didn't think was one for me but when used for doodling I really like it. Also I have been testing out General's Kimberly F and General's Semi-Hex.  

Studying Loadout

Field Notes Shenandoah edition - Currently I am using the Red Maple Shenandoah notebook for taking notes. This notebook looks a lot like the Kraft edition but you have a very bold, blood red pop of colour on the inside. Once this book is complete I will be moving over to one of the new Snowblind notebooks.  

Pilot Coleto - paired with this I have 2 Pilot Coleto gel pens with a number of different colours. One is a recent acquisition from a very generous, fellow pen addict who gifted me the pen as he was no longer using it. I like these pens for notetaking as it's easy to switch colours whilst scribbling down notes with minimal fuss. I tend to tear through the refills, which in the UK are becoming harder and harder to get. 

Work Loadout  

Rhodia Bloc No 14 - my work notes are pretty much to do lists and the Rhodia Bloc No 14 is the perfect to do list size. It's great for work as once my to do list is done I can easily rip out and discard the page. The Rhodia paper is super smooth and more suited to fountain pens, but I find the dark grid lines distracting and hard to read from. Therefore I have taken to using pencils in this notebook. 

A selection of pencils - Not only does the graphite stand out on the Rhodia's crazy dark grid but they're perfect for writing down quick notes. I have been using the Palomino Blackwing 211, General's Kimberly F, Mitsu-bishi 9000 HB and Tombow 8900 HB.

Closing Thoughts 

December has become pencil heavy and has seen the re-introduction of gel pen use in my life. Fountain pens are still my one true love but sometimes you just need a simple, but nice gel pen.