Friday, December 2, 2016

10 Great Gifts for Unique Writing Styles

Fountain pen enthusiasts are always on the hunt for a new writing experiences. Even those with an affection for fine or medium nibs can sometimes reach outside their comfort zone and try an italic or broad nib. While there are hundreds of fountain pen options out there, finding a unique but still pleasurable writing experience can be a challenge.

Luckily, at Goulet Pens, we offer a world of different fountain pen options. If you are looking to get out of your old writing zone and experience something new, try changing your writing instrument! We've put together a collection of 10 options, sure to spice up your writing experience. Who knows? You may even find a new favorite!

Extra-Fine: Pilot Vanishing Point (EF)
Unique Writing Styles - Pilot Vanishing Point Extra-Fine
If you're looking for an extra-fine nib, the ever-popular Pilot Vanishing Point is a great affordable and unique option to try. This nib is a Japanese-ground, so the extra-fine will be much finer than other pens, especially those with European nibs. Because of the nib size and the amount of ink it puts out, this is an excellent pen to use on more absorbent paper or cheaper paper.

The retractable nib on the VP lends itself perfectly for everyday writing, especially short, quick notes or memos. Additionally, it comes in a variety of color choices and even has swappable nib units if you want to try a broader nib eventually. You can find the Pilot Vanishing Point in a variety of colors at GouletPens.com starting at $148.

Broad: TWSBI Eco (Broad)
Unique Writing Styles - TWSBI Eco Broad
While broad nibs aren't the most popular, the TWSBI Eco broad offers the chance to try this unique writing style at an affordable price. One of the best benefits of writing with a broad nib is that they almost always offer a smooth writing experience due to the increased surface area on the tip of the nib. That's certainly the case with the TWSBI Eco as the broad nib features a stiff stainless steel nib that writes wet.

With the benefits also comes a few drawbacks. Combining a wet nib with absorbent paper can result bleed through or feathering, but if you're using a paper that can handle the ink, you'll get some great color variation (especially with shimmering inks). At GouletPens.com, you can grab a TWSBI Eco for just under $29.

Dip Pens: J. Herbin Glass Dip Pens
Unique Writing Styles - J. Herbin glass dip pen
Now for something completely different! J. Herbin glass dip pens offer fountain pen ink fun without the hassle of an ink reservoir. They are completely handmade, so there can be some variation. There is no standard 'fine' or 'medium' tip or nib designation for them, but they do tend to be pretty wet writers.

The glass dip pens work because they are fluted, meaning they have grooves in the tip that holds the ink when you dip the pen into the ink. When putting the tip to paper, capillary action draws the ink down the grooves and onto the paper, leaving a mark. Because of this, you may need to turn the pen in your hand as you're writing to get a groove to touch the paper.

Glass dip pens are great for ink sampling! Additionally, if you are in a hurry and don't want to ink up an entire pen, you can still write a message. All in all, they give you a pretty stiff writing experience that might have some tooth to it. You can pick one up at GouletPens.com for around $25.

Brush Pens: Platinum Brush Pens
Unique Writing Styles - Platinum brush pen
For those who want a huge variety in line width, check out the Platinum brush pens! Synthetic or natural hair fibers will act as the 'nib' and wick the ink down from the reservoir to the tip. By using just the very tip of the fibers, you can achieve an incredibly fine line, but if you press down (or hold it at an angle) you can get a juicy broad line and wet swath of ink.

Clearly not meant for signing documents, the Platinum brush pens excels in creative ventures like drawing or calligraphy. Ranging from $40-$65, these are must try for any creative types out there.

Italic Nib: Aurora Ipsilon (1.2mm Italic)
Unique Writing Styles - Aurora Ipsilon Crisp Italic
The Aurora Ipsilon is offered with a crisp italic nib that is ground to be square on the edges. Because of the grind, it offers a unique and toothy writing experience. It's also very sensitive to the angle and rotation by your hand as you hold the pen. Some people love the feeling of feedback when using this pen, but it certainly isn't for everyone. If you are looking for a super smooth writing experience, you may want to pass on this one. 

The benefits of using this italic nib is you can get very crisp line variation. The cross stroke will be thin while the down stroke will be wide, creating clear line variation in your writing. We offer this pen at GouletPens.com for just under $100.

Soft Nib: Pilot Falcon
Unique Writing Styles - Pilot Falcon
While not quite a flex pen, the Pilot Falcon gives beautiful line variation with its soft nib. The amount of pressure you apply controls the width of the line, giving you good control in your writing. You may be tempted to emulate other flex nibs you see online, but be cautious as you can spring the tines on this pen if you're applying too much pressure.

Featured in a classic design and backed by fantastic quality control by Pilot Pens, the Falcon is a great pen if you're looking for a bit of line variation. Find it at GouletPens.com for $140.

Flex Nib: Noodler's Konrad/Nib Creaper
Unique Writing Styles - Noodler's Konrad Nib Creaper
Noodler's changed the fountain pen game with the introduction of the Nib Creaper and, subsequently, the Konrad, offering an affordable modern flex pen in a world where only expensive vintage fountain pens offered true flex nibs. The stainless steel flex nib on these pens offers a substantial amount of line variation. Because of the nib material, you do have to be pretty intentional when flexing the nib to get the line width, but using a lower pen angle can help get you the line variation you are looking for.

As with most Noodler's pens, it may require some tinkering, like heat-setting the ebonite feed. Offered in the ballpark range of $20, these flex pens are worth giving a try!

Stub Nib: Pilot Metropolitan (1.0mm Stub)
Unique Writing Styles - Pilot Metropolitan stub nib
Brand new to the scene, the ever dependable, highly favored Pilot Metropolitan is now available in a 1.0mm stub nib option. This stub is a bit more rounded than the crisp italic nib on the Aurora Ipsilon, but still offers some line variation on the cross and down strokes.

Because it's more forgiving on the pen rotation, this is a more reasonable everyday carry. If you're familiar with the stub nib on the Pilot Plumix or Prera, it writes very similarly to that. Offered at GouletPens.com for $15, this is an affordable option to spice up your writing.

Thin Stub: Nemosine Singularity (0.6mm Stub)
Unique Writing Styles - Nemosine Singularity 0.6mm stub
The Nemosine Singularity with a 0.6mm stub nib is a pen that sits in the 'best of both worlds' category. With the thinner stub offering, you can have a daily writer that resembles a medium nib, but can also produce some line variation when needed.

With this nib, you can even produce some 'faux-calligraphy'. You don't really have to change your writing style, but the nib will produce line variation that gives off that impression. The Goldilocks of nibs, the Nemosine Singularity can be found at GouletPens.com and is yours for under $25.

Thick 'Stub': Pilot Parallel
Unique Writing Styles - Pilot Parallel
While not as functional as an everyday writer, the Pilot Parallel fountain pens offer something completely unique. These pens lack a conventional nib but have 2 (parallel!) plates that can produce sharper hand-lettering. The Parallel fountain pens come in a variety of thicknesses: 1.5mm, 2.4mm, 3.8mm, 6.0mm. Especially with the thicker plates, these are very fun to use when trying out calligraphy.

For another trick, check out this GPC video that shows you can blend 2 ink colors by touching the tips of 2 Parallel pens. Grab these pens that offer a unique writing experience at an affordable price. Purchase them individually for $10 or get the whole set for $32 GouletPens.com.

Unique Writing Styles - Group
From the extra-fine on the Pilot Vanishing Point to the thick stub on the Pilot Parallel, each of these options will add a little something new to your normal fountain pen line up.

What pen offers your favorite unique writing experience? Let us know in the comments below!

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

Goulet Q&A Episode 146, Open Forum

Goulet Q&A is now available as an audio podcast! Click here  for the RSS feed to use in your podcast app of choice, or click here for a direct download.

In this episode, I talk about wax seals for gift wrapping, if flex nibs work when writing in print, and my top 5 piston filling pens!

This week:
  • into the holidays! Busiest time of year for us
  • lots of illness/family drama lately, through the worst of it
New/Upcoming Products - (5:50)

Pens/Writing - (11:17)

1) Erika R.- Facebook - (11:19)
Is it a waste to buy a flexible nibbed pen if you don't write in cursive? I print. I can't really picture whether the variation in line thickness will look nice or just messy.
  • when it comes to fountain pens you definitely don't HAVE to write in cursive, you can print
  • cursive is most effective because it's a continuous flow of ink
  • when it comes to flex nibs, it's a little different story
  • if you're writing with light/normal pressure, it shouldn't matter at all
  • if you're trying to actually flex the nib, it will be more challenging to use in print than cursive
  • you can do it, but it will take a lot of extra time

2) Ramananda R.- Facebook - (16:03)
I don't want to get into Fp Collection. Your channel has pretty much rekindled my love for FP's. I only used old school Hero fountain pen in my high school, How do I choose one pen that I can always use and carry? Given the variety of fountain pens and companies manufacturing them, how do I zero on that one pen that I can always use?
  • just one pen? I'm not sure you're asking the right guy here ;)
  • the beauty and curse of fountain pens is that they're all so different, and they write/feel differently for everyone
  • it's a very personal choice
  • it will be pretty challenging to research/find the "one" perfect pen on the first try
  • research helps, reading reviews, blogs, watching videos
  • nothing will tell you like using it for yourself
  • you will either need to borrow one, or buy it for yourself and resell the ones that don't work and keep "the one"

3) Mary P.- Facebook - (22:16)
How smooth is it possible for extra fine nibs to get? I love a super smooth writing experience, and my Goulet stub nibs and my Jinhao mediums all deliver. But for work (grading essays, etc.) a medium is just too big of a nib. My Pilot Metropolitan fine is fairly smooth, my Goulet extra fine a bit toothier. Is it possible to get these tiny nibs glassy smooth with mylar/micromesh? Or will an extra fine nib always be a bit toothy? I'm relatively new to fountain pens and don't have a ton of time for adjusting and working on nibs right now. Is it worth trying to smooth them out some or should I just figure that this is life with an extra fine nib? Thanks for your help and for all you do.
  • yes you can definitely smooth out an extra fine nib
  • there is less surface area to it, so it will always have a little more feedback than broader nibs
  • finer nibs require a lighter touch, in the smoothing process and in writing them

4) dreiminator- Instagram - (30:36)
What are the top 5 best piston filling pens out there?
  • this is purely my personal preference here
  • Lamy 2000- great performer, good ink capacity, ink window, quick uncapping
  • TWSBI Eco- inexpensive, easy to maintain, clear, big ink capacity
  • Pelikan m800- beautiful, timeless, high quality, writes well, though expensive
  • Montblanc 149- timeless, reliable, good ink capacity, though expensive
  • ??????????????

Ink - (39:23)

5) allentheyoung- Instagram - (39:25)
When I had mostly cartridge/converter pens, I used a lot of vibrant inks, and I didn't care about how hard they were to clean. Now that I've got piston fillers and vacumatic, I'm loving more easy to clean inks. I've found some vibrant inks that clean easily like Eclat De Saphir and Waterman Inspired Blue. What other vibrant easy to clean inks would you suggest?

Sealing Wax - (45:17)

6) thisisbs808- Instagram - (45:20)
Any advice or warning when using wax seals for gift wrapping? How to make a good looking seal over ribbon or string? Any caution needed with gift wrap that is shiny or light weight? That kind of thing
  • no real warning, other than don't screw it up or you'll have to rewrap!
  • definitely use supple wax
  • if using it on twine/ribbon, make sure to use a generous amount of wax
  • shiny stuff should be okay, wax should stick to it

Troubleshooting - (53:45)

7) Phil M.- Facebook  - (53:48)
My 14k nibs write well but under magnification I notice the tines are always slightly misaligned vertically. Is this just a thing that normally happens or am I totally doing something wrong? Nibs are a Omas stub and a Pilot FA
  • if it ain't broke, don't fix it! 
  • checking tine alignment is something you want to do if the nib isn't writing properly
  • sometimes, nibs aren't aligned and they still write well! Go with it

8) prairiesquid2600- Instagram - (58:10)
Oh Gouletpens, I love love love my Sunburst Orange Conklin All American, I got one of the Hoio misprints. I adore the pen, but the nib is wonky. One of the tines is a leeetle higher than the other which is causing difficulty writing with it. I have the 1.1mm stub. Is there anything I can do on my own to try and fix it or should I send it to a nib fixer?
  • yes, you should be able to fix it! you can bend the tines
  • only need to use your fingers, and you can realign them
  • if you can't do it on your own, then you can send it to someone

Business - (1:02:50)

9) Clairity_DX- YouTube - ()
Do you think the fountain pen hobby is growing or shrinking recently? I know there was a lot of buzz about the Kakuno being a fantastic starter pen (and just from holding mine, I definitely agree), and the Pilot Metropolitan before it, but are there really that many newcomers buying these pens? What might this say about the possible future of the fountain pen industry?
  • Globally it is growing, yes, especially in Asia
  • hard to say in the US
  • GouletPens has definitely been growing, I think online sales have been growing, I'm not sure about B&M's
  • the Metro and Kakuno are definitely attracting newbies, same with TWSBI and Noodler's
  • the fountain pen industry is certainly evolving, and a lot of companies are starting to recognize that getting quality entry-level pens are important for long-term growth
  • those that aren't introducing new entry-level products are going to have a tougher time staying relevant, and will rely more on their brand name than anything
  • exceptions would be luxury brands, but even they are looking to introduce (relatively) entry-level pens (Visconti, Montegrappa, Aurora, etc)
  • I personally am very optimistic, because I think there will be a resurgence of analog writing in response to an increasingly technical world
  • the companies that recognize this and move in this direction will have the most advantage

QOTW: If you could have only one fountain pen for the rest of your life, what would it be? - (1:11:33)

Thanks so much for joining us this week! You can catch up on any old Q&A videos you missed here.

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Thanksgiveaway 2016 Winners!

Thanksgiveaway is always a special time of year for us here at the Goulet Pen Company. This year, with the help of our vendors, we were able to offer an array of truly spectacular gifts. The response from the fountain pen community was almost overwhelming. Letters full of thanks poured in, from the US and Canada, of course, but also from far flung places like Brazil, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Thailand, Norway, Sweden, Germany, and many many more. For the first time ever, we even had a hand delivered letter brought right here to GPC headquarters! We received nearly 2,000 letter, in fact, well over our highest estimates.

Each letter held a story, a piece of the writer's life that they chose to share with us. The Goulet Nation gave thanks for husbands, wives, children, and family near and far. You wrote in about things that inspired you, the beauty of the world around you, and tough lessons you learned this year. Some were bursting with creativity with gorgeous art and detailed drawings. Others were sweet in their simplicity. We loved reading them and getting a little window into what makes your world unique and beautiful. We hope that even if you didn't win, you found the act of taking the time to put fountain pen to paper and rejoice in the wonderful things around you to be a helpful exercise. Receiving so many letters of thanks has been a truly humbling and inspiring experience for our team here. Thank you so much!

Without further ado, here are the winners of the 2016 Thanksgiveaway write-in contest! They were all chosen at random. Quick note to the winners- we'll be reaching out via email to advise you as to next steps.

1. Pelikan M400 Tortoiseshell-Brown Special Edition Set
Lauren G. from Seattle, WA will be taking home this stunning three piece set! With a total value of nearly $1000, she'll be receiving a the Pelikan M400 Tortoiseshell-brown fountain pen with a medium nib, a rollerball, and ball point pen. Congratulations!

2. Visconti Homo Sapiens Dark Age
Stephanie H. from Springfield, VA is receiving the stunning Visconti Homo Sapiens Dark Age fountain pen with a fine nib.

3. Montegrappa Fortuna Copper Mule
Allison M. from Winona, MN gets the Montegrappa Fotuna Copper Mule with a Medium nib. Enjoy! 

4. Pilot Vanishing Point Twilight
Jerome L. from France will be writing away with the 2015 Limited Edition Pilot Vanishing Point Twilight with a medium nib. Congratulations Jerome!

5. Lamy 2000 Makrolon
Andrew C. from Australia will receive the Lamy 2000 Makrolon fountain pen with a medium nib!

6. Edison Nouveau Premiere Water Lily
Yungjee K. from Wolfforth, TX gets the Seasonal Edition Edison Nouveau Premiere Water Lily in a fine nib. Go Yungjee!

7. Conklin Nighthawk
Owen H. from Ann Arbor, MI won the Conklin Nighthawk with a fine nib. Congratulations, Owen!

Runner-up Prizess: Monteverde Invincia Full Blue Anodized fountain pen with a bottle of Montegrappa Blue ink and a copper mug
We just sold out of this Goulet exclusive pen! The following lucky four will receive a Monteverde Full Blue Anodized fountain pen with a fine nib, a bottle of Montegrappa Blue ink, and a Montegrappa Copper Mug: 
  1. Cathy T. from Palo Alto, CA
  2. Christopher C. from Van Noys, CA
  3. Robert L. from Canada
  4. Alex H. from Northbrook, IL
Thanks again, for all of the beautiful and heartfelt letters. If you would like to check out some of the entries we received, please check out the Sharing Thanksgiveaway 2016 blog post!

Leave some love for our wonderful winners in the comments below! 

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

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