Friday, August 26, 2016

Goulet Q&A Episode 135, 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 whatever happened to "Ink Nouveau", why people post their pens, and where I see Goulet Pens in 25 years!

New/Upcoming Products: - (1:12)

Pens/Writing - (13:25)

1) Gamaliel D.- Facebook - (13:28)
Could you do a more extensive review about the Pilot Custom 912 in stub nib? 
  • Sure!
  • It's a good size pen, similar to the Custom 823 but lighter
  • Uses a Pilot Con-70
  • nib size is similar to the Custom 74 nib as opposed to the Custom 823
  • all rhodium trim
  • black only
  • This is the pen that Pilot USA has chosen for special nibs like the FA, stub, Waverly, etc
  • the stub here writes a LOT like the Pilot VP stub
  • it's not super crisp, quite rounded
  • it actually writes crisper the steeper you hold it up
  • it gets pretty broad/rounded when you hold it low

2) John Lee-YouTube - (19:12)
Brian, can you talk a little about why people post their pens and what you figure is the percentage of people that do? I just don't get it. Even though its just a little while I have to hear in all pen reviews how well or not a pen posts, when most of the time their either back-weighted, cumbersome, ridiculous, unbalanced, bothersome, or just outright do not fit when posted. So clearly pens are designed to be written unposted, with few exceptions. So why are fountain pen enthusiast, a crowd who go through great lengths and expense to achieve the best writing experience, using their pens in a manner unintended? When in the end, that practice could scratch your pen and laying it out in front of you is much easier than posting. Is it a fear of losing your cap that overrides all the rest?
  • I know there's a huge difference between European preference and US preference here
  • I'm a US retailer, so a lot of my customer base is US (though not all)
  • My guess: 80-90% of US posts their pens
  • probably the opposite in Europe and Asia
  • A lot of our brands are European-based, so they make the pens without posting top-of-mind
  • Most Americans love posting their pens, I can't really tell you why!
  • I know I go back and forth
  • a lot of times I'll post because it is actually more comfortable for me, but I have large hands with long fingers
  • this is really curious!

3) j1448- Instagram - (28:01)
Hi Brian, I have a friend who loves their Pilot Plumix- but when I saw her using it for the first time, I had no idea what it was. Turns out, it's a pretty good pen but everyone seems overlook it (I think it's because the Metropolitan is so popular.) In your opinion, what are the 5 most underrated fountain pens?

4) Curtis F.- Facebook - (38:29)
I really like the look of some of Noodler's Ebonite pens, especially the new civil war ones. However, I am not that interested in a flex pen, at least I think. Is there a "standard" nib/nib unit that can be changed if I would get sick of the flex pen part?
  • the new Neponset Ebonites Noodler's just came out with are Civil War themed, yes
  • the Neponset music flex nib is definitely not for everyone
  • the flex is only if you press hard to make it flex, you can write with normal pressure and not flex it
  • that still is a pretty broad line though
  • it can be replaced with a Noodler's non-flex nib, though not super easily
  • Can also fit a Goulet nib, though it's been less consistent with the newer pens

Business - (43:53)

5) La Lynne- Facebook - (43:55) 
Hey Brian, on your YouTube videos (older ones!) you often say 'Goulet pens & ink nouveau' - what was the difference, when did you stop using ink nouveau, were there any benefits of having more than one site, do you still use that name for anything, and did you have any other sites before you settled on the Gouletpens one?
  • when I started out, I wanted to try to have my blog/videos as a separate 'brand' than my website
  • my logic (at the time) was I wanted to have my personal opinions and identity somewhat separated from the store, how ignorant I was!
  • I quickly realized my greatest asset was the personal nature of my videos, and the feedback I'd gain from the community to influence the products I'd carry in the store
  • I quickly regretted having the two separately branded, but co-branded for many years
  • there really were no benefits at all, it was more work and confusing for people to have two completely different brands for similar content!
  • ultimately, the recognition of Goulet far outweighed any affiliation anyone had with Ink Nouveau, so we merged them when we redid our website and blog in 2014
  • hardly anyone said much about the transition, it was very natural
  • we did try a bunch of different names before settling on The Goulet Pen Company
  • first I just went under my name as a sole proprietor
  • the we tried "The Wood Route", everyone pronounced it differently than we intended 
  • We've been The Goulet Pen Company (with gouletpens.com) since January 2009

6) fountainpen.ink- Instagram - (58:24)
Where do you see the company in 25 years? Do you have plans to grow into a massive fountain pen empire?
  • well, we've been around for just under 7 years so far, so it's a bit of a reach to picture 25 years...
  • a very large part of me wants to get deeper and deeper into the fountain pen world, getting into nibs and pen manufacturing and who knows what else by then
  • will it actually happen? It's hard to say
  • the internet itself is only about 25 years old, so whatever we're doing probably won't look that much like what we're doing now
  • I definitely enjoy growing and running this business, and I feel like I'm learning more and getting better at it every day
  • I don't think it'll ever be 'empire' status though, I enjoy being niche
  • Rachel and I have always just wanted to make the most with what we have, and if growth is the consequence of our good decisions and blessings, we will embrace it

Troubleshooting - (01:09:33)

7) _ben_nim_- Instagram - (01:09:36))
I like the Leuchtturm notebooks, especially with the matching Pen Loop. But sadly they are a little tight and won't fit my Vista, Safaris, AL-Stars and TWSBIs. I have a Lamy Logo that fits, but the pen is too narrow for my taste. So what is your recommendation for Pen-Loop-friendly fountain pens? (Or should i just give up and buy a Pilot MR/Metropolitan?)

QOTW: Do you post your pens or not? Why? - (01:16:41)

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

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Thursday Things: Dragon's Ember

A dragon inspired flat lay of fountain pens, notebooks, and ink, with fiery orange colors.

Ignite your inspiration and let the creativity flow like lava from your pen with Thursday Things: Dragon's Ember. This hot collection of fire, lava, and dragon-themed pens, ink, and paper will have you burning up the pages with sparks of glowing brilliance. Let this week's collection engulf your imagination and set your writing passions ablaze.

Featured products from left to right:

Find all these products together on the Thursday Things: Dragon's Ember shopping guide!

A TWSBI Mini Smoke pen in a dragon inspired flat lay of fountain pens, notebooks, and ink, with fiery orange colors.
TWSBI Vac Mini Fountain Pen - Smoke
A Pilot Sterling Dragon pen in a dragon inspired flat lay of fountain pens, notebooks, and ink, with fiery orange colors.
Pilot Sterling Fountain Pen - Dragon
A Monteverde Intima Volcano Grey in dragon inspired flat lay of fountain pens, notebooks, and ink, with fiery orange colors.
Monteverde Intima Fountain Pen – Volcano Grey
A Smoke Custom 74 in a dragon inspired flat lay of fountain pens, notebooks, and ink, with fiery orange colors.
Pilot Custom 74 Fountain Pen - Smoke
A Homo Sapiens Dark Ages in a dragon inspired flat lay of fountain pens, notebooks, and ink, with fiery orange colors.
Visconti Homo Sapiens Fountain Pen - Dark Age
A Kaweco Liliput Fireblue in a dragon inspired flat lay of fountain pens, notebooks, and ink, with fiery orange colors.
Kaweco Liliput Fountain Pen - Fireblue
A dragon inspired flat lay of fountain pens, notebooks, and ink, with fiery orange colors.

Do you have a favorite fire-inspired fountain pen or ink?

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Top 7 Fountain Pens to Last a Lifetime

Timeless. Durable. Comfortable. Finding a pen that can stand the test of time can, well, take some time! You want something that bucks trends and has that classic appeal that will last for decades. It also needs to be made of tough stuff, to stand up to years of hard writing. Finally, it must feel good in your hand not just now, but in 20, 30, 40 years.

The plethora of antique fountain pens in the world that are still in working order tells us that fountain pens are made tough. That being said, the number of antique pens requiring a little (or a lot!) of TLC proves that not all fountain pens are made the same. That is especially true in this day and age, with new and more economical materials and methods of production.

While all of our fountain pens will last you much longer than your average plastic rollerball, we've put together a selection of fountain pens that you'll want to make a long term commitment to. They are stylish but not faddy, durable but not bulky, smooth writers but never boring. In short, they are the buy-it-oncer's dream pens.

Lamy 2000
The Lamy 2000 is made of Makrolon (brushed fiberglass) and stainless steel, making it a strong and durable pen. With a gold nib and large filling capacity, it is a pen that will serve you well and for a long time. The design is sophisticated and pleasing, while the weight and balance of the pen make it an incredible tool to hold. To get the best writing experience, this pen may require a bit of getting used to, so be prepared for an adjustment period. That being said, the smoothness of the nib and stunning design make this a pen you won't mind making a lifetime commitment to.

The Lamy 2000 is available in Makrolon for $159.20 or Stainless Steel for $300.

Karas Kustoms
Hand machined in the USA, Karas Kustoms fountain pens were created with durability in mind. They are made to be thrown in your pocket, purse, or bag and rattle around next to your keys and wallet. In fact, the scratched and weathered appearance they acquire after a few years is part of the appeal to some. They are offered in aluminum, brass, and copper with swappable nib and grip sections, for personal customization. Depending on the material used to create them, they can range in weight, so make sure to double check that if you don't enjoy heavy pens. They come in two models, the Fountain K and the Ink, which have the same aesthetic but are different sizes (the Fountain K is smaller). To test their durability claim, Brian literally threw this pen across a parking lot once and it came up slightly scratched, but with no noticeable writing problems. If you have a tendency to go really hard on pens this could be your one and only, forever and ever, fountain pen. 

Karas Kustoms fountain pens range in price depending on model and material used. They start at $75 and go up to $150. 

Platinum 3776 Century
The Platinum 3776 Century has a classic design that will never go out of style. If you are only a sporadic writer, don't enjoy changing ink, or just hate the cleaning process that comes with fountain pens, this could be a good option for you. The Platinum 3776 comes with a "Slip & Seal" mechanism which keeps your ink from evaporating for up to 24 months. The gold nibs are gorgeous and give just a hint of feedback when writing. It comes in a number of beautiful colors including black, blue, burgundy, and a clear demonstrator. From time to time, Platinum will release a limited edition, which are made with equal care and attention but aren't available for long.

The Platinum 3776 Century is available at GouletPens.com for $150 to $176 depending on the model.

Pilot Custom 823
The Pilot Custom 823 is striking in amber with gorgeous gold trim. The fountain pen goodness doesn't end there - the vacuum filling system holds an incredible amount of ink and the 14kt nib glides smoothly across the page. It's a bit larger than other Pilot pens we carry, but still comfortable in the hand. The resin is a smoky amber demonstrator, so you'll be able to watch your ink level in the body of the pen. Additionally, this pen is incredibly well balanced and truly a pleasure to hold in your hand. It'd make a great pen for a lifetime because of the smooth nib, incredible balance, and ink capacity. The Pen Addict has a great pen review, which you can read here.

The Pilot Custom 823 is available at GouletPens.com for $288.

Edison Nouveau Premiere 
Edison Nouveau Premiere fountain pens are known for their beauty. Their designs are classic, smooth, and made of stunning acrylics in a variety of shades. One of the things that distinguishes these pens from others is that you can change a number of things about them. You can use a standard international converter (which comes with the pen) or eyedropper it for increased ink capacity. The nibs are also easily swappable and come in two varieties, steel or 18kt gold. Both nib styles are extremely smooth and a joy to write with. They are also fairly lightweight with an ergonomic grip section perfect for long writing sessions. While the Edison Nouveau Premiere is a favorite around here, the Collier, Beaumont, or Pearlette fountain pens all have their advantages.

You can find the Edison Nouveau Premiere at GouletPens.com starting at $149.

Visconti Homo Sapiens
The Visconti Homo Sapiens joins this list for a number of reasons. First of all, the pen is made from basaltic lava, a fact that is fascinating but also provides incredible strength to the body of the fountain pen. It is virtually unbreakable and hydroscopic, meaning it absorbs the moisture from your hand as you are writing. This is especially helpful if you are prone to long writing sessions which can sometimes result in slippery grip sections. This pen has a number of other incredible details that make it a top contender to be your be-all, end-all pen. The 23kt palladium nib is wonderfully smooth, although quite a wet writer. It features the Visconti Hook Safe Lock, which means it won't come unscrewed in your pocket and create an inky disaster. Additionally, the vacuum power filler is resistant to ink corrosion, making it a safe bet for long term use. It comes in two sizes, regular and midi, so you have some options if you prefer larger or smaller pens.

The Visconti Homo Sapiens ranges in price depending on size from $440 to $556 at GouletPens.com. 

Namiki Maki-e

The line of Namiki Maki-e pens actually come with a lifetime guarantee. Urushi lacquer, which is used in every Namiki pen, is an incredibly durable material for all that is a natural substance. Each pen is not only gorgeous, they are well balanced and come with incredibly smooth nibs. The designs are intricate and would be fascinating to behold, even 20 years from now. The understated and classic color palette on each pen won't go out of style. While the Emperor might be a bit large for everyday use (or not! depends on your hand size), the Nippon Art Series, the Yukari line, and the Chinkin Collection will fit snugly in most hands.

The Namiki Maki-e fountain pen collection range in price based on the model and are available at GouletPens.com.

A couple of tips if you are purchasing a pen with the idea of using it for the next fifty years or so. You're going to want to take care of the inner mechanisms and the outer body. Even the best engineered pen will become finicky if you don't maintain a regular cleaning schedule.

If you plan on carrying it around in your pocket or purse, a pen case or sleeve made of leather is your best bet for body protection. You might see some wear and tear on the leather after a decade or so, but your pen should be just fine inside. We carry Aston and Visconti pen cases that would work perfectly for this purpose and vary in price.

Those are our top picks. What do you think of our selections? Do you have a pen that you've purchased for lifetime use? Leave a comment below and let us know!

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

Don't miss anything! Subscribe to our Weekly Email Newsletter!

Disqus for Goulet Pens Blog