Tuesday, September 19, 2017

What Shapes Do Fountain Pens Come In?

Fountain pens come in just about any and every size or shape imaginable. With this great variety, there is sure to be a pen that appeals to every fountain pen fan's style. But are there really that many definite different groups that fountain pen shapes can be broken down into? In this slice from Q&A episode 169, Brian tackles the question about pen shapes outside of the standard round/cigar shape. Read on below to hear his take on shapes he considers most common and recognizable.


Cigar Shape

This is definitely the most common shape for a pen and probably the most classic fountain pen look. Pens in the cigar shape have a straight body down the middle and the ends are usually rounded or curved. These pens very much resemble a rolled cigar. One classic example of this is the Aurora 88.


The Torpedo shape is quite similar to a cigar shape, but with one strong difference. Torpedo shapes pens have the straight, clean lines through the middle of the body, but they come to a sharp point at each end, like the Edison Nouveau Premiere, or are sharply tapered, like the Lamy 2000.

Flat Top

Another classic style pen shape is the flat top. These pens have a larger, more prominent cap and a smaller body. There is a noticeable step between the cap and pen body when the pen is capped. These pens are characterized by their straight, flat top of their caps. The Conklin Duragraph and Conklin Nighthawk are both great examples of this.

Baseball Bat

This shape is a bit unusual, a seemingly classic style with a twist. Baseball bat shaped pens have a larger, more prominent cap and a very tapered body. They resemble a baseball bat that is smaller near the one end and flared out drastically towards the end. Brian's example of this is the Delta Amalfi, but the Monteverde Invincia could also be a decent example of this.


Tube shaped fountain pens are another clean shape option. These pens resemble a straw with their straight, streamlined bodied. The cap and pen body flow together in one straight line with no breaks. The Lamy CP1, Kaweco Liliput, and Lamy Logo are good examples of this type of pen.

Bullet Pen

These tiny pens are perfect from the pocket or bag. They are grab-and-go small and easy to carry. The bullet pen becomes a very manageable size when the cap is closed, but can be very comfortable to write with when posted. They are the best travel pens and are much loved daily carry pens. Some examples would be the Kaweco Sport or the Stipula Passaporto.

Faceted Pens

Faceted pens are probably the most diverse group on this list. These pens are designed to have geometric shaped bodies with various numbers of sides and facet faces. It could be as simple as a triangle shape like the Pelikan Twist, or the hexagonal shape of the Caran d'Ache 849, or the squared circle shape of the Visconti Opera Master. They pens can be a fun way to add some texture and excitement to your pen case.

The shapes listed above aren't an extensive list of all that's available. Pen companies are consistently introducing new pens in exciting new designs and shapes. But these are some of the most common shapes we have identified.

Do you have a favorite pen shape? Let us know in the comments below!

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

Monday, September 18, 2017

Diamine Espresso with a Caran d'Ache 849 Green Fluo: Monday Matchup #156

Hazelnut Mocha recipe drawn with a Caran d'Ache 849 Green Fluo fountain pen and Diamine Espresso ink.

Hi, all! I'm Zippy, the Customer Returns Specialist here at Goulet Pens, and I'm excited to bring you my matchup of the Caran d'Ache 849 and Diamine Espresso today. I was very excited to get to try out this newly released pen and, as an avid coffee drinker, any ink called Espresso is fine by me! Read on to hear if this pen and ink lived up to my hype.

The weather here in Virginia is getting cooler and it's FINALLY becoming the time that everyone's minds turn to thoughts of nice warm beverages. I wanted to take that notion and run with it for this piece. I grabbed the Anthracite Grey Leuchtturm1917 A5 Dot Grid Notebook to create my piece. I liked how the Ivory paper contrasted against the brown ink and I felt the dots would be super helpful for spatial planning with the recipe. I started by writing out the ingredients list, then I drew in the coffee cup and steam, finally I added on the instructions. I found it worked best from top of the page to bottom so I didn't mess up. To create the smudged look on the drawing, I dotted the ink on the page with the pen then swiped over it with a cotton swab. If I were to do this piece again, I would probably try to play around with the shading of this ink. My initial thought is that this wouldn't make a great shading ink, but the fact that it dried lighter tells me that it might have more to offer than I originally thought.

I enjoyed using this pen and ink. I wasn't a fan of the grip of the 849 because it had a step between the grip and body. The weight of the pen and smoothness of the nib were perfection however. I honestly think I could get used to this grip for that writing experience. The ink was very wet. It didn't dry super fast, which was good for being able to smear it, but it dried quickly enough to be good for an everyday writing ink. I did find it dries a bit lighter than when it's initially put down. Anything that you want to be super dark or filled in would need to be gone over a second time. But as far as writing goes, it went down dark and stayed dark after drying.

I think this pen would be great for work or school. The green is a bit bright so it might not be the best in a professional setting but it also comes in other, more reserved colors that would work. It would be great for jotting down notes and stuff. If you are into brown inks, I think this ink would be great for everyday writing. Journaling and letter writing on an ivory or cream paper would look gorgeous. It would work just fine in a school or professional setting if brown inks are allowed. It is well behaved and I would consider it extremely versatile in its use. Again, it's not the fastest drying so I wouldn't use it in a setting where you're going to be on the go and need to open and close your notebook constantly, but other than that, it's great!

Hazelnut Mocha recipe drawn with a Caran d'Ache 849 Green Fluo fountain pen and Diamine Espresso ink.
Hazelnut Mocha recipe drawn with a Caran d'Ache 849 Green Fluo fountain pen and Diamine Espresso ink.
Hazelnut Mocha recipe drawn with a Caran d'Ache 849 Green Fluo fountain pen and Diamine Espresso ink.
Hazelnut Mocha recipe drawn with a Caran d'Ache 849 Green Fluo fountain pen and Diamine Espresso ink.
Hazelnut Mocha recipe drawn with a Caran d'Ache 849 Green Fluo fountain pen and Diamine Espresso ink.

You can find the Caran d'Ache 849 at GouletPens.com for $52. Diamine Espresso is availabe in a 40ml bottle for $15.95 or a 2ml sample for $1.75

Want to enter for your chance to win this great duo? Check out the Monday Matchup Giveaway rules below!

How to enter Monday Matchup Giveaway:
  • Match a pen and ink together. They don't have to match in color, any fountain pen, and ink works.
  • Take a picture of your pen and ink matchup. 
  • Find the entry details and instructions below on how to share your picture with us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or as a blog comment*. 
  • You can choose to enter only one way or submit up to 4 different entries if you'd like. Feel free to use the same picture for all 4 entries.
  • Confirm your entry via the Rafflecopter widget below which will record your entries. This is how we'll draw a random winner. Since it's totally random, you're eligible to win each week! 
  • To see more of Rafflecopter's privacy policy, click here. Your email is never shared, and is only used to contact you should you win.
  • *Due to recent changes with the Disqus platform, you must register for a Disqus account in order to post a photo entry in the blog comments.
a Rafflecopter giveaway The contest is open Monday, September 18, 2017 at 12 pm EST until Tuesday, September 19, 2017, at 12 pm EST. One winner will be randomly selected and announced tomorrow once the contest closes. The winner must live in a country that Goulet Pens currently ships to. Click here to see the Official Contest Rules.

Write on,

Friday, September 15, 2017

Goulet Q&A Episode 182: Updating Goulet Videos, Permanent Inks, and Why Flex Nibs Aren't Finer

In this episode, I talk about updating old videos, risk of NOT using permanent inks, and why flex fountain pen nibs aren't as fine as dip calligraphy nibs. 

This week:


1) @franzjpm- Twitter  (12:09)
Will you ever release an updated version of the top 5 starter pens video?
  • I've thought about updating it, been asked this question before
  • truth be told, I think the video still holds pretty solid
  • are there others that could be included on this list, sure
  • TWSBI Eco would be the one pen I'd really consider adding in
  • What would I take out though? I LOVE the Eco, and think it's a great pen, but I don't know that it'd oust any of my original top 5! It'd be a definite #6
  • Nemosine Singularity
  • Pilot Kakuno
  • Kaweco Perkeo (once it proves itself)
  • Faber-Castell Loom
  • It brings up a bigger question, when should I consider redoing videos? It's honestly not often that top lists I choose get outdated, though sometimes things get discontinued
  • If there's a top 5 or 7 list and one or two things change, is that worth a total redo?
  • I could see doing a "top x list of the year" or something like that, intentionally make it refresh

2) j_drag_o- Instagram (18:10)
I'm looking for a good pen for school under $100. I already know about the Metropolitan, Safari, al Star, Twsbi eco, etc. What would you recommend, maybe a matching ink?

3) Bill D.- Email (21:43)
I've seen only one mention about cleaning a new nib before using to remove manufacturers' coatings to prevent poor ink flow. Could you please speak about this on one of you Q&A videos? Also, cover the tip about NOT handling the nibs with your bare fingers to prevent skin oils from contaminating the nib which could lead to poor flow. I've seen this matter covered extensively on calligraphy videos on other channels.
  • if you're coming over from the calligraphy world, this is a common practice, because you're dealing with very inexpensive nibs that are steel, not stainless steel like fountain pen nibs (or gold, for more expensive pens)
  • calligraphy nib manufacturers put coatings on the steel nibs to prevent rust, and that coating impedes ink flow and needs to be cleaned off in order to be used 
  • fountain pen nibs don't have any type of coating on it, so they don't necessarily have to be cleaned in order to function "out of the box"
  • that said, it's still a good practice to flush a fountain pen before you clean it, because there could be machining oils, bits of debris left over from manufacturing
  • many pen companies clean their pens from the factor anyway, so even this isn't always a requirement, but it's good practice

4) christineIsloc- Instagram (24:50)
Why don't the steel flex nibs out there have narrower unflexed points? The ones I've used seem equivalent to a medium nib (Noodler's, etc). Calligraphy nibs, on the other hand, go almost needle-like. Is there a reason this is the case, to last longer? Which flex nib that you carry has the narrowest point?
  • it doesn't have to be the case, for sure
  • a fountain pen nib can be ground down every bit as fine as any calligraphy nib
  • calligraphy nibs are significantly less expensive, made of "regular" steel maybe with a chrome coating, and don't have tipping material on them
  • essentially, they're disposable, so they don't have to last nearly as long as a fountain pen
  • you will throw out a calligraphy nib from rusting or bending long before you'll actually wear away the tip from long-term use
  • if you have a needle point fountain pen that sees heavy use, the tipping will wear away sooner than a larger tip nib (because there's less surface area) and you'll need a replacement
  • really thin nibs also feel really scratchy, which might be acceptable when doing calligraphy because you're often doing that in a really controlled environment
  • fountain pens are made to be more portable, and when writing "on the go", speed and feel of writing matter more
  • this conversation of calligraphy vs flex fountain pen nibs is something that's become more of a conversation recently, especially as low-cost accessible flex fountain pens have come to market (like Noodler's)
  • with historically rare (vintage) flex fountain pens or newer, expensive custom or limited edition flex pens longevity has mattered more than hairlines
  • the pen that we have is the Pilot Falcon soft extra-fine, but it's just that....soft, not "technically" a flex though that's what it's known for
  • aside from that, it'd be Noodler's

5) jiyonglovesbeer- Instagram (34:18)
I believe there hasnt yet been any intensive reviews on CARTRIDGE INKS. As i travel a LOT(BECAUSE OF work) i happen to prefer cartridges than bottled ink. I might not be the only one. OR I might be THE only one who hasnt seen those cartridge reviews.
  • I am willing to bet most of the reason for that is because most inks are available in both bottles and cartridges, and bottles are just more popular
  • the vast majority of hardcore fountain pen enthusiasts (which pretty much all pen reviewers would consider themselves to be) prefer bottles because they look nice, are more economical, and you can use the ink in any variety of pens (not limited by a proprietary cartridge format)
  • cartridges are what they are...you don't get a choice about them, because you buy whatever fits the pen...you get some color variation, but it's usually a lot more limited than bottles
  • and since the ink is often available in both...
  • I also think because cartridges are cheaper, people are more inclined to just buy them, and don't do as much research on them thus less of a desire for reviews

6) manojpvr- Instagram (39:45)
Will the inks which are not advertised as permanent disappear one fine morning?
  • haha, no, it won't be like the disappearing ink you may have used as a kid as a joke
  • any disappearance would happen over time by UV exposure or paper degradation
  • you can buy UV-resistant inks, options are much more limited though
  • water exposure could be another thing, that's often more of the risk
  • the truth is, unless you meet some rather extreme circumstance like dropping your notebook into a body of water or leaving your notebook baking in the sun for months, you don't "need" permanent ink
  • permanent ink is best for using for important documents or long-term storage writing like memoirs, journals, etc


7) chintan_pandya- Instagram (44:50)
Since the Goulet Pen Company has already contributed so much to the FP community. Once you grow even more, would you consider hosting introductory FP workshops in collaboration with schools or something similar to promote hand writing and fountain pens in the future? Now that the education system itself is gradually doing away with hand writing totally and switching to typing, and even digital textbooks, I believe it is going down the rabbit hole of over reliance on technology.
  • there's a lot we could unpack here, and I don't want to fall down a rabbit hole, especially on the whole reliance on technology thing
  • first, thank you for the compliments!
  • we haven't seriously considered hosting local workshops or anything, mainly because we're just not skilled for that
  • we're not teachers, handwriting experts, or anything like that
  • we know pens, customer service, fulfillment, product education...but in terms of teaching handwriting (to kids esp) we're quite unqualified
  • now we could certainly look to partner up with schools or teachers or organizations that already do this sort of thing, and that's something for us to contemplate for the future, indeed
  • truth be told, our influence is likely to be greater valued in the online community, and that is our mission statement, so we will always look to serve in this capacity first

QOTW: If you had your choice to have me update any older Goulet video, what would it be? (51:33)

Write On,
Brian Goulet

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