Monday, May 31, 2010

Ustream Broadcast rescheduled this week and next!

I'm going to temporarily reschedule the broadcast for Tuesday at 9pm (EST) for this week (June 1) and next week (June 8). I wish I could say I had canceled tonight's broadcast because of Memorial Day, but I can't. The fact of the matter is that I intended to do my broadcast 'Write Time at 9', and completely, utterly, and with no good excuse just forgot. I wish I could say I was so busy remembering our fallen soldiers that I couldn't remember the broadcast, but even that wasn't the case. To be completely honest, I was simply sitting on the sofa with the computer on my lap, next to my wife and son, just following up with emails and doing busywork. Nothing exciting, nothing that should have kept me from doing my broadcast. I just plain forgot.

I want to formally apologize to everyone who went to Ustream fully expecting to see me tonight, and for everyone hoping to catch the recording of the broadcast later in the week. I will still plan to record the broadcast on Tuesday, so that one I will post after it's done.

But see, now I'm a little paranoid. I'm worried that perhaps I am going to forget more in the future! I have several devices at my disposal to remind me, but I hadn't utilized any of them to remind me of the broadcast. Obviously, I will not be able to rely on my own memory from here on out....

I have a class to attend next Monday night for my son's baptism, and I don't know how long it will go. I should be back in time for the broadcast, but if I'm not, that will be two weeks in a row that I'll have missed it!! So here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to temporarily reschedule the broadcast for Tuesday at 9pm (EST) for this week and next week. Heck, it may even work out where Tuesday nights are better for everyone, who knows? After all, this is all a big experiment for all of us anyway...

Here's the link to the broadcast. I hope to see you there!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Ink Blot #12: Goulet Pen Co's New Shop!

Big changes are going on at the Goulet Pen Company! We're (my wife and I) expanding our ink offerings significantly, which requires more storage space. If you've seen videos of our current space, you know we're pretty maxed out. We've taken over part of the workshop and we're moving everything to the garage....

We're currently working out of a 11'x12' guest bedroom, so going to this new area with 10'x23' is a step up! The only problem is, I had to give up some space in by beloved workshop. It was a sacrifice to make in order to accomodate adding 4 new ink brands. We're adding all colors of Diamine, Private Reserve, Caran D'ache, and Sheaffer (and probably more in the future), and we were flat out out of room in our current space.

It's a little crazy, but I took 525sf of workshop space and put it into about 250sf of space. Here's the result:

Needless to say, my shop's a mess. Long story short, don't look for any pens or writing boxes coming from my direction anytime soon. I had to personally weigh out the decision to either continue to make pens (which take a LOT of time), or expand my ink lines and focus on this blog and learning the products I carry inside and out. I looked at what was best for my business and would serve the greatest good to the most number of writing enthusiasts, and the decision was clear. So while my handmade products won't be flying out of the shop anytime soon, I will be offering a greater selection of the name brands you love.

Link to YouTube for iPhones and full-screen viewing.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ink Blot #11: Guest Blogger Ink Reviews!

I mentioned in my Monday night Ustream broadcast that I've considered the idea of having guest bloggers do ink reviews on InkNouveau.com, and I've gotten more than a few people offering to do them! I'm excited and encouraged to see the different perspectives that everyone has about ink, and I think it would make for great reading! I'm expanding beyond my current ink offering on GouletPens.com of J. Herbin and Pelikan to also include the FULL lines of Diamine, Private Reserve, Caran D'Ache, and Sheaffer. I won't have to time right away to do these reviews myself, so I need some help!

I don't want to set any 'strict' standards on the reviews, so there are only two things that I ask. I want to standardize the paper as Clairefontaine, Rhodia, or G. Lalo Vergé de France. I know it will seem a little biased that I want to use these since I do sell them on my website, but trust me, the intention is not to promote the paper. These brands of paper are not outsourced, and are made in a consistent fashion (G. Lalo in its mill in the Netherlands, CF and Rhodia in the CF mill in France). These papers will be a consistent, reliable canvas to show accurate color, line width, and shading for the ink. I also ask that the reviews be very picture-heavy, with clear, good quality pictures. After all, we all just want to see the ink, right?

Aside from these loose guidelines, I really have no rules about the reviews! Use whatever pens you like, and be as analytical or artistic as you like. I want to see what everyone comes up with on their own!

As a way of providing assistance and gratitude to my guest bloggers, I'm happy to supply the paper and ink samples of whatever you'd like to review. I know it's time and effort to do these reviews, so I want to show my appreciation to anyone willing to blog. Email me to get set up!

So let me know if you want to give it a shot! I don't have any deadlines or anything. I know I work best under loose guidance, so that's what I'm trying to provide. Maybe once we get some guest reviews up here and get some feedback, I can make suggestions about what would make the reviews most helpful, but for right now, just be creative and have fun! I'm happy to post reviews from experienced bloggers (and I can post links to your blog in the review), or from newbies who'd just like to give it a shot! Email me and let's see what we can come up with!

Link to YouTube for iPhones and full-screen viewing.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Write Time at 9: May 24, 2010

This was the first broadcasting of my live Ustream show since moving from Tuesday afternoons to Monday nights. **It's since changed to Write Time at 9, every Tuesday night at 9pm EST Considering it was broadcast during the series finale of 24, turnout was pretty good! It was an hour-long conversation touching on a variety of topics.

The Goulet Pen Company is going to be carrying a whole host of new ink brands, including the full lines of Diamine, Private Reserve, Sheaffer, Caran D'ache, and possibly Waterman and Parker. We're also going to offer Aston leather pen cases. Samples will be available for all ink colors (that's a lot of samples!). Expect to see those sometime around the first week of June.

I would also like to know what types of fountain pens from Pelikan, Waterman, Parker, Caran D'ache, Sheaffer, and Bexeley would be of interest to everyone. I'm not going to dive head first into fountain pens for the time being, but I can special order. I want to pace myself in terms of expansion, and want to get a feel for demand before purchasing large volumes of pens.

I'd also like some ideas for ink reviews for all of the colors I'm going to have. We're pushing 200 ink colors with the new brands coming in, with the intention of getting even more. I personally don't *quite* have time to do 200 ink reviews, so I'm thinking of having guest bloggers do reviews, or perhaps some other creative idea. I'm all ears on this one!

Sorry the video is so long (just under an hour), but it's fun and worth watching if you have the time. Thanks!

Link to Ustream for the video link (if your RSS reader won't show the vid).

Friday, May 21, 2010

Ink Blot #10: New Wax Seal Lighter

I've been hunting around for the best kind of lighter for doing wax seals, as I've been doing a LOT of them lately. I've tried matches, candles, butane camping lighters, cigarette lighters, and in a moment of desperation, even a propane torch. Though they all kiiiiiinda work, the butate lighter was the best. However, after burning through several of my wife's butane candle lighters, I wanted to find something more ideal specifically for the intention of doing wax seals.

I found this lighter at Home Depot for $6, and it works the fastest of anything I've seen. I can heat up the wax in about 5 seconds, and be done and sealed in about 10 seconds total. It's a wind-proof flexible neck, refillable butane lighter, with a butane window and a built in LED (why?). It even came with extra butane to refill it.

Check out the vid to see the lighter in action. Pretty wild! It melts the wax fast, so it takes a little getting used to (as you see from my first seal!), but if you're working to do a bunch of seals in a row like I often do, this thing is pretty handy.

Link to YouTube for iPhones and full-screen viewing!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Live Ustream Broadcast moving from Tuesdays to Mondays!

I've been doing my live Ustream broadcasts Tuesday afternoons at 2:22pm EST, but I will be moving the broadcast to Monday evenings at 9pm EST. **It's since changed to Write Time at 9, every Tuesday night at 9pm EST For those unfamiliar with the format of these live broadcasts, I hop on and talk live on video, and there is a chat function where you can log in and post questions to me that I answer live during the broadcast. It's a great way to have a fast, fun, and interactive experience with me and my vast array of writing products that I can grab and compare on the spot.

Now I can send you directly to Ustream to do the broadcast, but I'm working on embedding the video and chat functions directly into my blog. I need to do a little more testing to make sure it works, so look for a new post on that coming sometime before next Monday.

I hope you can join me for my first re-braodcasting of my live show, this Monday the 24th at 9pm EST!

Here's the direct link to the new show on Ustream: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/write-time-at-9-pm-est

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ink Blot #09: To Post or Not?

'Posting' in the pen world refers to what you do with your pen cap while you write. Fountain pens, with the exception of a few new pens like the Lamy Dialog 3 (below), are two-part pens, a body and a cap.

Posting is when you put the cap on the back of the pen while you write, regardless of whether it pushes on or screws on with threads.

The cap unscrews from the pen, and you write with the body, but what do you do with the cap? Do you put it on the desk? Hold it in your hand? Both of these would be 'non-posting' or 'unposted' writing methods.

I've been told (by no scientific method of discovery) that most Americans post their pens, whereas most Europeans hold the cap in their non-writing hand. Just pulling a theory out of the air, I suspect the difference is caused by our writing culture. Europeans (in general) are raised with a familiarity of fountain pen usage, and holding the cap in your hand is a method of security...should someone ask to borrow your pen, they won't be likely to walk off with it if you still have the cap! I suspect most Americans, if they are using a fountain pen, will not likely be asked to have their pen borrowed. Most of the people I meet that see me using a fountain pen in public hardly know what it is, let alone how to use it. No one has ever asked me to borrow one, unless it's a fellow fountain pen users that I know.

So is one way right and one way wrong? Heck no! Do what you want. Depending on the weight and balance of the pen and your own personal preference, you may have a strict way of posting or you may be flexible from one pen to the next. Me? I'm a non-poster. I like have more weight on the nib of the pen, and posting the cap throws my balance off. What do you like to do?

Link to YouTube for iPhones and full-screen viewing!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Ink Blot #08: New Blank Webbies!

The new Rhodia blank Webbies are finally out there! Though they aren't available yet in the US (they will be VERY soon), I was able to get my hands on one thanks to a loyal customer of mine, Isabel Vélez in Spain. She had access to them before me (crazy right?) and thought it would be neat for me to get one and do a review of it before anyone else, so here it is! Okay, so this isn't a formal review, more of just a preview. I got word that the blank Webbies are now in the US, and retailers should start getting them in the next week or two. I've placed an order for mine and I'm expecting them next week. Once I get all the colors and sizes in, I'll do an 'official' review.

The overall size, color, and shape is exactly the same as the ruled ones, with the ribbon marker, back pocket, and elastic strap.

The paper is 96 sheets of the same off-white, 90g Clairefontaine paper that the Webbie is known for. Same color paper, but with no logo, and no lines. It is exactly what you'd expect, blank pages.

The biggest difference that you'll notice when you actually go to use it is the binding. There has been word about Clairefontaine changing the binding on the Webbies to help it lay flat better like the famed Quo Vadis Habana, but this is the first I've seen of it, in the new blank ones. The binding change is like night and day! The new one lays flat MUUUUCH better. Just look at the comparison of the two, just opening up to the middle, with no work on my part to 'break it in':

The 'old' binding is on top, the 'new' binding is on the bottom:

All in all, I'm excited about the new Webbies! There has been a lot of buzz about them, and in my opinion, they are just as good as I'd thought they'd be. The lined Webbies are rumored to change to the new binding (and get rid of the Rhodia logo on the bottom of each page) pretty soon, I'm inclined to think VERY soon now that the new binding is here in the blank Webbies. I'll let you know when that happens.

In the meantime, the blank Webbies will be retailing for the same price as the ruled Webbies, list price $20 for the large (in black or orange covers), and $15 for the small (black or orange covers).

These blank Webbies are available at The Goulet Pen Company (me!), $18.75 for the large, $13.75 for the small.

Link to YouTube for iPhones and full-screen viewing!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ink Blot #07: Blank Habanas!!!!

They've been in Exaclair's catalog (the US importer of Clairefontaine products) for months, but not available in the US....until now!!! The new blank Quo Vadis Habanas have arrived, after much anticipation. The Habana journals have been known for their fantastic ability to lay flat on a table from the first page, for their good size, and great paper that takes even the wettest writing fountain pens. Requests have been made from all over for Habanas with blank pages, and Clairefontaine responded.

The blank Habanas are available in two sizes, the exact same as the ruled versions. The large ones are 6.25"x9.25" and list for $20, the small ones are 4"x6.25" and list for $15. There are 4 different colors: black, red, anis green, and raspberry. All of the other specs are the same as the ruled ones, with one exception: the small ones have 90g paper! The old ruled ones have thinner 64g paper (with 96 sheets), and the newer blank ones have 80 sheets of 90g paper. A good change in my opinion!

For anyone who likes to sketch, draw, doodle, or write without barriers, the new blank Habanas are sure to deliver a great writing experience.

The new blank Habanas are available at the Goulet Pen Company, large ones are $18.75, small ones $13.75.

Link you YouTube for iPhones and full-screen viewing.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ustream Broadcast, May 11, 2010

My voice sounds a little froggy on this one, as I'm coming down with something due to the crazy temperature swings in Virginia. I cover a few different topics including a brief into to the Edison Pen Co. nibs that I'll be using in my fountain pens, some less-than-favorable things I've heard about J. Herbin King's Wax, my personal views on woodworking craftsmanship and the challenges a fine woodworker faces today, my anticipated attendance in the 2010 DC fountain pen show, and a variety of ink brands I'm looking to offer.

I'm also planning to move the time of my Ustream show to Monday nights at 9pm (EST). **It's since changed to Write Time at 9, every Tuesday night at 9pm EST This will be more convenient for just about everyone and the time should be accommodating for both East and West coast (and those in between!).

Link to the video: on Ustream.com.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Ink Blot #06: 960gs/web design sketchpads

I just learned of the 960 gs (grid system) that is apparently a new standard for web layout, the 960 being the number of pixels in width on the layout. As I have many Technoscribe followers, I've learned that many web/graphic designers like to start with rough ideas on paper, with blank sketchbooks or graph paper as the grid system of choice.

I scoured the internet to try to find notebooks or sketchpads that have a ruling specifically designed for this 960 grid system, so it would be ideal for web designers to sketch layouts of websites, but alas I came up empty. I thought Google had everything!! I did find this website, 960.gs, which explains what 960gs is and has some pdf templates you can download to print on your own paper. What I'm really looking for though is a bound notebook or sketchpad, and I can't seem to find any. Maybe I should make some!!

There are several sketchpad products I do carry on my website, but since I'm not a web designer, I am unsure how beneficial they would be for someone looking to sketch out a design based on the 960gs layout.

The Clairefontaine GraFit sketchpads are great products, 90g paper that is great for use with fountain pens, pencils, even watercolor, but they are blank sheets.

Rhodia dotPads are new products that have the same 5/5 (5mm square) ruling as graph paper, but instead of having bold lines shooting all over the page, it just has small dots to indicate the points of intersection that would normally be on graph paper. It allows for some guidance, but without being as obtrusive as graph lines.

Then there is normal graph paper, with which most of us are familiar.

I'm really trying to answer two things:

#1) Is there an interest among graphic/web designers for notebooks/sketchpads with a layout designed specifically for use with 960gs?

#2) Do any notepads like this exist out there currently, and if not, would you want there to be?

Link to YouTube for iPhones and full-screen viewing.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

More Goulet Wax Seal Handles!

I'm having a great time making these handles, getting to use all kinds of exotic woods that I otherwise have just collecting dust on a shelf in my workshop. Here are some of my latest (with many more to come!).

Here's a Macassar Ebony handle, very similar in profile to the East Indian Rosewood one I first made. Feedback was that this profile is very popular. And just in case you're wondering, that's the new J. Herbin Rouge Hematite 1670 anniversary ink in the background there, written on Clairefontaine Triomphe with a Pelikan Script 1.5mm.

One improvement I've made is using solid brass threaded rod to hold the seal to the handle:

Here is a more contemporary profile, made of Box Elder Burl with a satin finish:

And finally, here's a real unique one. This is made of two different woods, Maple Burl on the top, and the bottom requires a little explanation. The bottom is Box Elder Burl like the previous handle, but with a twist. The wood is put into a pressure chamber in a dyed liquid resin, then put under intense vaccuum to draw the resin all the way through the wood. Then it is baked to cure the resin, which encapsulates the wood cells, making it very stable and hard, like a solid resin but maintaining the natural beauty of the wood. This process is called stabilization. This particular piece is double-dyed with teal and violet.

You can see on the bottom of the handle, how the color goes all the way through. Normally the figure of the wood doesn't show well in pictures, but this one turned out quite nicely!

Everyone enjoys the Goulet handles! Even my son is getting in on the action! Though he does need a bit of practice!

I'll have them available soon enough on GouletPens.com.

Ustream Broadcast, May 4, 2010

Here's the recorded broadcast of my live show at 2:22! **It's since changed to Write Time at 9, every Tuesday night at 9pm EST Today I cover my new wax stamp handle designs, the Private Reserve ink syringe, ink rocker blotters, the new sizes of dotPads, and the laaaaarge Rhodia and Clairefontaine GraFit pads!

You can see Write Time at 9, every Tuesday night at 9pm EST.

Video Broadcast:

Ustream Broadcast, April 27, 2010

Here's the recording of the live broadcast from my live show, Ustream Tuesdays at 2:22! **It's since changed to Write Time at 9, every Tuesday night at 9pm EST

Okay, so it took me a week to load it, I'm sorry. I've been busier than usual, as you'll see in the video! I talk about Rouge Hematite, the new J. Herbin anniversary ink, wax seals, Goulet fountain pens, and various Rhodia and Clairefontaine products. Due to my error, I stopped the video and started it back up, so it's in two parts. I had an eye doctor's appointment earlier in the day, where I got those drops that make your pupils dilate. I'm a little kooky!

Part 1:

Part 2:

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