Friday, February 27, 2015

Goulet Q&A Episode 68, 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.

Thanks to a little bit of snow, this week's Q&A features an unplanned new location and some special guest performers. I'll dish on flex pen writing basics, my favorite notebook for journaling, and how well I'd perform as a mime. Next week we'll be back live at Goulet HQ -- with another nice Q&A surprise. OK, here we go...

Pens/Writing: - (6:52)

Glenn L.- Facebook - (6:58)
What are your recommended fountain pens for lazy people like myself? I like pens that are easy to use, easy to fill, and most importantly, super easy to clean? Effort, schmeffort. Your top picks for lazypens, please!

Lori Arrowood- YouTube - (10:04)
Hey Brian, I was browsing the web the other day for fountain pen stuff and came across a link for a Pilot Cocoon fountain pen. Maybe I'm crazy but it looks to me to be the exact same thing as a Pilot Metropolitan, yet it lists on JetPens for $45. The site also says the nib is "metal" (assuming that means non-gold) - am I missing something? What is the difference?
  • basically nothing
  • Pilot Metropolitan in US, Cocoon in Japan, MR in Europe (with SI cartridge!)
  • no difference, I’m not joking when I say the Metro is an incredible pen for the money!

Paper: - (11:59)

Ty W.- Facebook - (12:03)
I love my rhodia webbook. However, for daily note jotter it seems overkill. What is a better replacement, preferably with dots and/or ivory paper? I loath bleed through/shadowing- hence ending my decade long love with Moleskine thanks to the elegance that is the fountain pen. 
  • Leuchtturm1917 is the ticket
  • dots, awesome colors, more pages, pretty darn good paper (not quite Rhodia though)

Travis W.- Facebook - (14:51)
If you could only use one brand/type of paper for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  • Rhodia, great all-around paper

Chad C.- Facebook - (16:25)
Dear Brian, I'm a lover of Rhodia paper for writing, but not in love with the 8mm wide ruling found on most of Rhodias large writing pads. I tend to write small, with short quick strokes and a smaller ruling would be great. Do you know if a smaller ruled, lined large Rhodia writing pad exists or perhaps in development. Thanks. P.S. the friday Q&A has become date night for my wife and I. 
  • Need clarification on this one, the only Rhodias with 8mm is larger wire bound notebooks
  • Most everything Rhodia does is 7mm, except small Webnotebooks (6mm)
  • You could go with large Rhodia dot pads, they’re 5mm

LiAnn7396- YouTube - (19:28)
What's your favorite diary. And paper. And please leave out rhodia dotted one. The one you use for pen testing :)
  • Toss up between Rhodia Webnotebook and Leuchtturm
  • I use and enjoy both, for different reasons
  • Webnotebook is 7mm and I like it for more journaling
  • Leuchtturm dot is 5mm and I like it for note taking

Business: - (22:36)

Chuck B.- Facebook - (22:51)
Have you thought of offering nib tuning on purchases?
  • definitely thought about it!
  • don’t have anyone here or nearby with the skills to do it
  • those with the skills elsewhere don’t need the work
  • only option is to train up in-house, and that’s a huge undertaking
  • the door is closed, but not locked

Personal: - (26:15)

Jackie M.-Facebook - (26:16)
Inquiring minds want to know. If someone were to grab Brian's hands while he's talking, does he become functionally mute? (Just kidding.) Goulet Q&A is one of the high points of my week. 

  • if you grabbed my hands, the rest of my body would surely gyrate
  • nothing will really shut me up though ;) 

GimmeeCookiee- Blog - (29:12)
Congratulations on (almost) reaching 20000 subscribers! Which youtube channels do you personally enjoy watching (Pen related or otherwise)?

Troubleshooting: - (34:01)

Mayra R.-Facebook - (34:05)
My pilot metropolitan used to write very well but lately when I'm writing, no ink will come out. I've had to force ink into the nib and sometimes not even that works. What can I do to solve this problem?
  • make sure it’s inked up, it’s hard to tell sometimes with the included converter
  • clean the pen (remove nib/feed)
  • try a different ink
  • ‘pound down’ the ink

Chris W.-Facebook - (39:20)
I've recently considered converting my Edison Collier to an eyedropper pen. However, I am concerned about the inside of the barrel getting stained and affecting the appearance of the pen (even though it is on the inside there is a slight amount of transparency.) Any thoughts?
  • very natural concern
  • acrylic acetate (what Edisons are made of) is a pretty stain-resistant material
  • celluloids stain much worse, don’t eyedropper convert those (with permanent inks anyway)
  • shouldn’t have grave concerns, the pen’s easy to disassemble if thorough cleaning is needed, I basically never hear of Edison staining issues

Mirjam L.-Facebook - (43:26)
I have bought a couple of noodlers flexpens in the past, I like how they write, but I can't get the hang of writing with flex. Is there a special technique to it? Normal writing works fine.
  • only flex on the downstroke (top left to bottom right), 45 degree pen angle, go slow, practice practice practice! 

Chase Harris- YouTube - (47:02)
I recently purchased a Platinum Preppy Highlighter and converted it to an eyedropper with Noodler's Firefly ink. The problem I am having is the pen writes (or rather highlights) extremely wet. Is there a way to adjust the flow on a Preppy Highlighter? I thought about using a cartridge to see if that slows things down a bit but I am not optimistic. Are there dryer alternatives for a refillable highlighter? I also have a M205 Duo but the line width is too small for my liking. I should also probably mention that most of the highlighting I am doing is in code books with thinner paper.  It's not quite Bible paper but it is very close. 

Jacob W.- email - (51:21)
This may be a dumb question but: I recently purchased my first piston filled pen. I am a bit disappointed by how dry it writes. I decided to open the piston a half turn to fill the feed with ink and the pen started to write much more wet. I was wondering if I should always open the piston when I write or if the nib needs to be altered.
  • you aren’t really opening the piston, you’re just forcing ink down the feed (which makes it wetter)
  • this helps in a pinch, but isn’t something that should be required ongoing
  • something else is going on
  • clean the pen thoroughly (FP101 Pen Cleaning and Maintenance)
  • try another ink, see if it helps
  • dilute the ink 10% or so
  • if all that doesn’t help, it’s the nib

QOTW: I’d love to introduce our Media Team to you. Mike is our Manager, Jenni is our videographer, Sarah is our photographer, and Margaret and Madigan are Community Coordinators (social media). What questions do you have for them?

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Reloaded and refreshed: Leuchtturm1917 notebooks

Leuchtturm1917 has emerged as a popular notebook choice for fountain pen users who are seeking paper that's durable enough to handle fountain pen ink without breaking the bank.

Their products -- including Hard Cover Notebooks, Soft Cover Notebooks, and Jottbooks -- are not new to GouletPens.com or our customers. In fact, they've become so popular that we're taking the opportunity to reload our collection with some fresh new colors, including Berry, Emerald, Lemon, Navy, Purple and Azure.

In addition to featuring a wide range of colors, sizes and paper types -- including blank, dot grid, graph and ruled -- Leuchtturm1917 also packs a number of special touches and features that you don't see from every notebook manufacturer. These include an expandable pocket, a ribbon page marker, elastic band fastener, and more, depending on the particular style. They also open flat.

With those same great features and some attractive new colors, we think think that the Leuchtturm1917 collection can be a friend to any fountain pen fanatic.

Write On,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Conklin Duragraph Fountain Pen Overview

Video Time Markers:
  • Conklin History - (0:14) 
  • Price - (1:48) 
  • Unboxing - (2:31) 
  • Color Options - (4:06) 
  • Features - (6:00) 
  • Comparable Pens - (8:02) 
  • Nib Information - (10:16) 
  • Filling Mechanisms – (11:40) 
  • Engraving – (12:35) 
  • Inking it Up - (14:11) 
  • How it Writes - (15:39) 

I'd like to introduce to you the Conklin Duragraph, a recent edition to the Conklin line of pens and GouletPens.com.

The Conklin Pen Company was established in 1898 and is still regarded as one of the most significant and innovative manufacturers from what is today known as the Golden Era of fountain pens. The Duragraph was originally released by Conklin in 1923,  This pen pays homage to the classic designs of the vintage Conklin era.

Conklin Duragraph in Forest Green

The new Duragraph collection draws its inspiration from the rich heritage of the Conklin brand, which was purchased and revived by Yafa in 2009. The rebooted model is manufactured overseas, assembled and distributed from Canoga Park, California, and pays tribute to its roots with a TOLEDO, USA engraving on its nib (the company was founded in Toledo, Ohio). 

Inlaid engraving on Amber Duragraph

The Duragraph comes available in three European resins: Amber, Cracked Ice, and Forest Green. They're turned from solid cast-resins that give the material a beautiful depth and pearlescence that you typically only see on pens much more expensive than these. At $44 (list price of $55), this is a great "step up" pen for many newer fountain pens users who know a little more what they like, and want a professional and stately pen.

At 26g the pen is a pretty average weight, with a bit of back-weight when posted due to the long length. For larger-handed individuals, the pen is quite comfortable both posted and unposed. Those with smaller hands who hold their pens closer to the nib will likely want to unpost.

There are some nice embellishments on the pen, including an inlaid Conklin logo engraving on the finial of the cap, a centerband with a  subtle crescent engraving around the Duragraph name, and black accents on the grip and finials to really give the pen a vintage look. The clip is a little tight, so you will only want to clip this on relatively this pockets like on dress shirts. The threads on the grip of the pen are very subtle, comfortable even if you hold your fingers directly on the pen. There is a very small and subtle step from the threads to the pen body that are hardly noticeable even if you hold your pen way back on the grip.

The Duragraph is available in a Conklin fine, medium, or 1.1mm stub nib. The nibs are smooth with a bit of feedback to them. I find the medium to actually be the toothiest nib and even has a slight stub grinding to it. The fine is pleasantly smooth, as is the 1.1mm stub. The stub is the wettest of the nibs, while the fine and medium are fairly average flow (perhaps leaning a bit wet). The nibs are all #6 size, which is great for expanding into other brands’ nibs for sizes that Conklin doesn’t offer. You can get GouletMonteverdeEdisonNoodler’s #6 size nibs and swap them into this pen, keeping in mind that Conklin isn’t going to warranty the function of your pen with any other brands’ nibs, as you might expect. 

Fine nib on a Cracked Ice Duragraph

The nibs are a little odd, so let me explain. All of the Duragraphs come with stainless steel nibs. The fine and medium come with two-tone nibs with a crescent-shaped breather hole. The stub is (normally) polished steel with a round breather hole. However, we’re in an interesting situation at the moment from now until the end of March 2015 (approximately), as Conklin is out of these polished steel stubs. So rather than having no stubs, they’re going to put on black stub nibs instead. They’ll write the same, just look a little different.

The Duragraph is a standard international cartridge/converter pen and includes a pair of cartridges and a threaded converter. This is a great pen for changing out your inks a lot for you serial ink samplers out there, especially if you have a bulb syringe and you know this sweet pen cleaning trick! Unfortunately, the pen won’t fit standard international long cartridges, and can’t be converted to an eyedropper fill either, given that the threads on the back of the grip are exposed metal and will corrode with prolonged ink exposure. This part isn’t made of stainless steel like the nib.

Threaded standard international converter on Cracked Ice Duragraph

So that’s a roundup of the Conklin Duragraph! You can get more details and specs at GouletPens.com, and pick one up for yourself for $44. If you have any other questions about it, feel free to ask in the comments.

Write On,
Brian Goulet

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