Friday, February 24, 2017

Goulet Q&A Episode 157, 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 getting into nibmeistering, rules of pen etiquette, and the blackest of the black inks!

This week:
  • crazy warm weather here, lots of illness too

New/Upcoming Products: - (:53)

Pens/Writing - (1:41)

1) Karl K.- Facebook - (1:42)
Are there any hard and fast rules, i.e., do's and don'ts, regarding pen etiquette when someone asks to examine my fountain pen -- or my examining theirs? I am not sure I want someone "trying out" my pen. Would it endanger my nib?
  • there aren't really "hard and fast rules", it varies person-to-person
  • some people aren't comfortable lending their pens, ever
  • there's long-standing ideology that a nib is unique to your writing and anyone else writing with it could ruin it
  • I take a common-sense approach to it
  • if it's an inexpensive pen, give some basic instruction and give it to everyone!
  • if it's more expensive, only do it if you really trust the person, they'll understand
  • I instruct how to hold it, and don't write with a lot of pressure
  • It's the pressure thing that you most have to worry about
  • Usually if I can set it up right, I have people writing more cautiously than brazen
  • you have to determine what's comfortable for you and the individual you're sharing with

2) Melissa R.- Facebook - (5:39)
If you were to get a nib ground to something new that you've never tried before (I personally want to try an architect grind), what nib would you use? Something replaceable in case you didn't like the grind (like a Lamy nib or a Goulet nib) or something maybe less replaceable on a pen you love in hopes of ending up with a really awesome pen?
  • great question, there's definitely an element of risk involved here
  • this depends if you're risk-averse or reward-seeking
  • grind a cheaper nib if you suspect you may not like it, or have no idea, to limit your loss
  • go nuts on a more expensive pen if you expect to love it
  • a more known/expensive pen with a custom grind could have better resale value, too, if you really just don't like it
  • I'd strongly consider you get a pen that whatever nibmeister has worked on a lot or recommends for that grind
  • You can always reach out to whomever you'd like to do your grind and see what they recommend, because after all, it's very custom work

Ink - (9:20)

3) the_nice_devil- YouTube - (9:22)
Can you buy ink concentrate? is it possible to make ink powder and just put it in a bottle and just add water?
  • ink powder, not really- dye can be powder but is only one component of FP ink
  • other components used to make inks are liquid only, and couldn't easily be made into a powder
  • some fountain pen inks are more saturated than others, and can be diluted and still very usable as pen ink
  • Noodler's has very concentrated inks and often recommends diluting them to maximize their value

4) aga.wy- Instagram - (11:46)
Ink question: which is the darkest of them all? 

5) chinyan_pandya- Instagram- (13:53)
What are your thoughts on boiling the ink for a few seconds to evaporate some of the water and make it more saturated? Perhaps bring out a bit more of the sheen? Is it even possible? Waiting for your interesting insights! 
  • boiling? yikes, I don't think I'd want to do that, never tried though
  • technically, the water will evaporate just leaving the cap off for a while
  • will it bring out more sheen? That I don't really know, I don't think so
  • you can't squeeze blood out of a rock, if the ink doesn't sheen it won't sheen
  • putting down more ink will make it sheen more, and technically if you have less water that could get a similar effect...
  • I doubt ink that's evaporated enough to really make a difference in sheen would perform well in a pen, it'd probably write too dry and clog up
  • I've never tried it though, I'd be curious to test that out!

Business - (17:26)

6) Matthew M.- Facebook - (17:33)
Do ink manufacturers ever have a problem with you repackaging and selling the ink as samples?
  • nope! not at all, they think it's great! 
  • as an authorized retailer for all our brands, we are helping them out by getting their ink into as many people's pens as possible, and since the barrier to entry is lower with samples we can help with that
  • the samples combined with the Swab Shop is a big win for ink companies, and they are really appreciative of that exposure

7) Joshua W.- Email - (20:47)
I was wondering how it would be best to look into nibmeister work. I have done a little bit of antique watch repair at a friend's shop, nothing professional, but helped him out a bit, and working on fountain pens sounds like a similar vein of work. It doesn't seem like the kind of thing you could go take a course on, at least not here in the US. Any suggestions?
  • this is something I've been trying to figure out myself! 
  • there's definitely no school for it, and very limited information available in books, videos, or online
  • basically, there are a handful of people doing this work in the world, and they're all really really busy and not mentoring others a lot
  • it's really a trade/craft, and either needs to be passed down or learned through trail-and-error
  • pretty much, you can read some of the resources out there (Richard Binder is a good one) and get a bunch of cheap nibs and practice your little heart out
  • the only other alternative would be to link up with a pen company that does it in-house, and that's going to be VERY tough, especially as most of them are outside the US

QOTW: How do you feel about loaning your pen out to other people? What's your process? - (28:34)

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, February 23, 2017

Thursday Things: Black and White and Red All Over

A polka dot inspired flat lay of black, white, and red fountain pens, notebooks, and ink.

What's black and white and red all over? You may want to say a newspaper but we've got a much more exciting answer this week! Thursday Things: Black and White and Red All Over is a fun and exciting collection of eye catching red, black, and white products ready to make your writing pop! Prepare yourself for an adventurous assortment of the writing variety.

Featured products from left to right:
Check out the Thursday Things: Black and White and Red All Over shopping guide to see all these playful products.

A Kaweco Skyline Sport Black in a polka dot inspired flat lay of black, white, and red fountain pens, notebooks, and ink.
Kaweco Skyline Sport Fountain Pen - Black
A red Lamy Safari in a polka dot inspired flat lay of black, white, and red fountain pens, notebooks, and ink.
Lamy Safari Fountain Pen - Red 
A Pilot Metropolitan Retro Pop Red polka dot inspired flat lay of black, white, and red fountain pens, notebooks, and ink.
Pilot Metropolitan Retro Pop Fountain Pen - Red
A Jinhao x750 Frosted Black in a polka dot inspired flat lay of black, white, and red fountain pens, notebooks, and ink.
Jinhao x750 Fountain Pen - Frosted Black
A White Lamy Safari in a polka dot inspired flat lay of black, white, and red fountain pens, notebooks, and ink.
Lamy Safari Fountain Pen - White
Noodler's Neponsets in a polka dot inspired flat lay of black, white, and red fountain pens, notebooks, and ink.
Noodler’s Neponset Fountain Pen - Black Python in Pearls and Noodler’s Neponset Fountain Pen - John Mung
A polka dot inspired flat lay of black, white, and red fountain pens, notebooks, and ink.

What is your favorite dad joke to tell?

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Why Did You Stop Writing?

Recently, I was given boxes full of my childhood memorabilia from my mother's attic.  I was surprised and delighted to find notebooks filled with my childhood ramblings, beginning in 3rd grade. There were cute stories, embarrassing love letters to crushes that were never sent, a few diary attempts, and some seriously angsty teenage poetry. As I read through it, I was impressed at my younger self's ability to put pen to paper and open up an introspective world through writing. And then it struck me- for the vast majority of my 20s, I didn't write at all

This is especially true of my college years, when writing felt like a chore to get through the countless classroom assignments. I was involved in campus groups, had a part-time job, and a full social calendar. Post-college, I was living abroad in South Korea and exploring seemed more important than spending time alone writing. Later, it was work, familiar obligations, friendships... as I got older, my life just seemed to be constantly on hyper drive. Looking back, it felt like something else was always more important than sitting down and putting pen to paper- a constant hustle to do more, see more, be more.

But is this constant go-go-go grind that seems to be so prevalent in this day and age a reality, or is it the choices that I'm making? Did my younger self simply have more time or was she just wiser with what she did with it? Could I make different choices and tap back into my more introspective and thoughtful self?

Strangely, fountain pens have been the impetus for reviving my love of writing. It seems silly- that a simple writing instrument could inspire me to turn back to something I loved so much when I was younger. Simply because I love feeling the way my fountain pen glides across the page, I started writing to-dos for work, making art for Monday Matchups, Bullet Journaling, and making home made cards for friends and family. I was able to tap into my creativity and reconnect with a part of myself that I didn't know was missing.

Flipping back through my 2016 journal, I'm able to get a grasp of the work I've done, the places I've been, and the exciting things I accomplished. It is physical proof of the progress and changes that have unfolded in the past year. For the first time in about 10 years, I have a written record of my life to look back on.

People talk about taking time, or making time, for the things that you love. I've found that sometimes it's making a small change to your daily habits that can change the balance of your day, and from there, your life. For me, finding fountain pens has been more than just a hobby- they have been a tool to help me enjoy my life at a deeper and more meaningful level.

I'd like to invite you to, yes, slow down, and think about it a moment. If you aren't currently taking time to write, why did you stop? Was it a conscious choice or did it simply fade away as other things crowded in for your time and attention?

If you did start writing again, how would that impact your life?

Maybe you should write about it.

Write on,

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