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Friday, January 22, 2010

Episode #09: Triple Torture Test

Due to the popularity of my Clairefontaine Triomphe Torture Test, I wanted to replicate the same test between the Moleskine Ruled Notebook, the (US) Rhodia Webnotebook, and (US) Quo Vadis Habana. I drip J. Herbin Êclat de Saphir ink onto all three to compare the feathering and bleedthrough. These are the large sizes of each notebook.


The best performing is the Quo Vadis Hababa. It has 90g, smooth Clairefontaine paper that holds up very well, similar to the Triomphe paper. There is no feathering at all, and just a hint of bleedthrough even with a puddle of ink sitting on it for 6 minutes. The next, very close performer is the Rhodia Webnotebook. The 'Webbie' has 90g Clairefontiane ivory paper, which performs similar to the Habana, but with just a bit more bleedthrough on the back of the paper where the ink puddle sits.


The Moleskine performs unspeakably poor. Not only does it feather worse than a rooster in heat, but it bleeds completely through not one, but 4 sheets of paper. The Moleskine paper is 72g, much thinner than the Habana or Webbie, but still. It's no wonder all I ever hear about Moleskines is how awful they are with fountain pens. You have to see this video for yourself in action. Don't worry, I time lapsed it! I wouldn't make you sit there for 6 minutes watching ink sit on paper. That would be about as exciting as a tree grow. 

Quo Vadis Habanas are available for $18.75 from The Goulet Pen Company.
Rhodia Webnotebooks are also available for $18.75 from The Goulet Pen Company.
Moleskine Ruled Notebooks are available for $17.95 from Barnes and Noble.

Direct link to YouTube for iPhones or full screen

Monday, January 18, 2010

Episode #08: Habana vs. Webbie

I do a side-by-side comparison of the large US version Quo Vadis Habana and US version Rhodia Webnotebook. These journals are different than the versions you find outside of the US. The US versions have fantastic performing, smooth 90g Clairefontaine paper. The journals themselves are relatively similar in size, with the Habana being just a bit larger.

The Rhodia Webnotebook (also known as the Webbie) has ivory paper, with a very stiff leatherette cover. The Habana has white paper, with a semi-flexible leatherette cover. Because the two are so identical, I wanted to do a comparison between both notebooks, pointing out all the differences in detail.

All in all, both are great journals. Some key differences are in the paper color, the slightly different sizes, the ability to lay flat on a desk (the Habana is better at that), and the color selection of the covers. The Webbie is available in orange and black, and the Habana is available in black, blue, red, taupe, and several different Robert le héros designs. Check out the video and decide for yourself which of the two you prefer!

Quo Vadis Habanas are available for $18.75 from The Goulet Pen Company.
Rhodia Webnotebooks are available for $18.75 from The Goulet Pen Company as well!

Direct link to YouTube for iPhones or full screen

Episode #07: Quo Vadis Habana Overview

I give an overview of the Quo Vadis Habana, including the various sizes, colors, features, and fountain pen performance. The Habana is one of the most popular journals around for avid fountain pen users, because it lays flat on a table from the very first page, and its 90g Clairefontaine paper outperforms all other comparable journals.

Similar to the Rhodia Webnotebook, the Habanas are different outside the US than within the US. The non-US versions are 80g non-Clairefontaine paper, which does not perform particularly well with fountain pen ink. The 90g US version with the Clairefontaine paper is truly an impressive journal that is sure to please. They are available in 4 different colors: black, blue, red, and taupe (brown). There are also Habanas that have a cover design called Robert le héros, which are identical in every way to the Habanas except for the design.

There are two different sizes of Habanas, a 6 1/4" x 9 1/4", and a 4" x 6 3/8". The larger one has the great 90g paper and an 8mm ruling, but the smaller one has a narrower 5mm ruling and only 64g paper. This is in order to keep the smaller notebook thin. Despite the thin paper, it still performs surprisingly well. It does allow for more show-through or 'echo' as I like to call it, but doesn't feather or bleedthrough at all.

A selection of Quo Vadis Habanas are available at The Goulet Pen Company, as well as other fine retailers.

Direct link to YouTube for iPhones or full screen

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Episode #06: Rhodia Webnotebook Overview

I review both sizes and colors of the US version 90g Rhodia Webnotebooks (aka Webbies). I go over the details of the rulings, page count, features and ink test on the popular notebooks. There are two sizes, both available in orange and black. All the Webnotebooks are ruled, with the rule spacing differing depending on which size notebook you get.

The Webbies have a hard cover, great for carrying around and writing on your lap or other uneven surfaces. The paper is fantastic off-white (ivory) Clairefontaine 90g paper. It's very smooth, and takes fountain pens extremely well. The US version Webbies differ from Webbies in other countries. The non-US version Webbies use 80g paper that is not very fountain pen friendly. About mid-2009, due to popular request, Clairefontaine came out with the 90g US versions because of the efforts of Exaclair, the US importer of Clairefontaine products.

A selection of Rhodia Webnotebooks are available at The Goulet Pen Company, as well as other fine retailers.

Link to YouTube for iPhones and full screen

Friday, January 15, 2010

Episode #05: Triomphe Torture Test

Almost by accident, I discovered that Clairefontaine Triomphe stationary has near superpowers for resisting feathering and bleedthrough. My photographer, Rebekah Goldman, and I were messing around with some 'artsy' shots trying to get a picture of ink drops coming out of the nib of a fountain pen and falling in mid-air. In doing this, we obviously ended up with a puddle of ink on the paper, which we found wasn't feathering or bleeding through at all, even with an entire pen's worth of ink on it for nearly 30 minutes at a time. It was incredible, so I wanted to replicate it in this video.

Watch as I take and basically dump a puddle of ink from my pen onto the ever-popular Clairefontaine Triomphe stationary paper and some cheap Georgia Pacific copy paper I pulled out of my printer. You will be amazed at the different reactions you'll see between the cheap paper and the Triomphe.

The full line of Clairefontaine Triomphe stationery is available at The Goulet Pen Company, as well as other fine retailers.

Direct link to YouTube for iPhones or full screen

Episode #04: The BIG French Clairefontaine Order

I explain the ground-breaking effort I'm coordinating to get access to Clairefontaine products that are not currently imported into the US. Clairefontaine in France has a catalog of over 5300 products, and in the US we only have access to a few of the most popular products. What started this whole process was the barrage of requests I had for Clairefontaine loose-leaf paper, particularly Séyès (French ruled). This paper has been imported into the US in the past, but has been discontinued by the sole Clairefontaine importer, Exaclair.

I am working to find which products are most in demand, and I'm working with Exaclair to import these from France. There are a great deal of logistical issues to work through, and it is a bit complicated, but hopefully this video will help to clear it up at least a bit. I have a thread on the Fountain Pen Network that covers everything I'm saying on the video, viewable through this link.

March 1st will be the deadline for any orders placed, so feel free to email me if you have any questions.

Link to YouTube for iPhones and full screen (part 1)

Link to YouTube for iPhones and full screen (part 2)




Episode #03: Clairefontaine Triomphe

I do a basic overview of the delectable Clairefontaine Triomphe stationary tablets and envelopes. Triomphe has been around for about 60 years, and is the premier stationary in the world for fountain pen usage. The paper is 90g, and has an almost miraculous ability to repel ink, keeping any ink from feathering, bleeding through, or echoing (showing through on the backside). The paper is ultra-white, and is known as some of the smoothest paper in the world.

There are two different sizes of Triomphe, and A4 and A5 size with envelopes to match. The paper comes 50 sheets to a tablet, with a glue binding at the top with the intention of having each sheet easily torn out of the tablet. The envelopes themselves are also 90g, extremely fountain pen friendly, slightly textured, and self-sealing. Keep your tongue in your mouth!

The full line of Clairefontaine Triomphe stationery is available at The Goulet Pen Company, as well as other fine retailers. 

Direct link to YouTube for iPhones or full screen

Episode #02: Clairefontaine Staplebounds

I review and compare the 5 most popular Clairefontaine staplebound notebooks. These include C3586, C63596, C3606, C381 (Séyès/French ruled!), and C63125. I do a writing test comparison between a small Mead Composition notebook and the C3586 (3"x4"), and there really is no comparison! The 90g smooth Clairefontaine paper in these staplebound notebooks is really some of the best writing paper in the world, especially for use with fountain pens.

I briefly introduce Séyès ruling, otherwise known as 'French Ruling', on the C381 (6 3/4" x 8 5/8"). I don't go into great detail about this ruling, but I promise to do so on a future episode. Enjoy this video, as it gives you a good size comparison of the different notebooks, as well as details about the rulings and colors available.

An extensive selection of Clairefontaine Staplebound notebooks is available from The Goulet Pen Company, as well as other fine retailers.

Link to YouTube for iPhones and full screen

Episode #01: Ink Nouveau Intro

This is the first Ink Nouveau episode ever, an insight into my daily life as the pen maker behind the Goulet Pen Company. Part 1 covers my views on passion through writing, and a tour of my 'warehouse' and shipping operation.

Part 2 covers a tour of my workshop where I make each of my pens by hand. I have a host of different woods and resin materials that I use to make each pen. Rachel (my wife) thinks I have too much wood, more than I'll ever use in my lifetime, and she's absolutely right! My shop is messy, but I'm okay with that. I think it's been 'picture-worthy' clean once, when I had set up all my tools and before I made my first pen. Since then, it's always a mess, because it's a 'working' shop!

Link to YouTube for iPhone and full screen (Part 1)

Link to YouTube for iPhone and full screen (Part 2)






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