Friday, December 16, 2011

Brian's Mailbox #2

So I started this thing called the Mailbox, where I share with you a bunch of emails that I've gotten in the last week or so, and how I've responded. In an effort of continuity, here's the second one!

I've dropped my Kaweco Al-Sport and need to have the nib re-aligned. Should I get it fixed or just buy a new one?
Since the Al-sport is a $72 pen, spending $30 to fix it would seem to make sense. But, the nibs are the same on the Al-Sport as the ones on the Classic and ICE Sports. If you bought an ICE Sport, it will only cost $22, and the nib will be exactly the same as the one that comes on the Al-Sport (the Classic Sport is $25, and the nib is gold colored). You can swap out that nib for the one on your Al-Sport and be all set.
I am getting a lever fill pen this week (an Esterbrook LJ to be precise) and was wondering if the said method would work for it. You mention lever fill in the video. But how would you do it?
I'm not familiar with the specifics of the LJ, but the concept of feed saturation should work with any pen that has fins on the backside (exposed side) of the feed. What you'll want to do is turn the pen over so you have the fins of the feed facing skyward (the pen will be horizontal), and pull the lever so it compresses the ink sack inside the pen. Then saturate the feed with ink, just like I do in my video. Next, you'll want to tilt the pen so the nib is pointed skyward (the pen will be vertical), and push the lever down so it decompresses the ink sack, which will cause the ink to go into the pen. With the nib still pointed skyward, pull the lever up again. This will expel any air inside the pen. Then, lay the pen back down horizontally, and saturate the feed again. Repeat this procedure until you get to the point where you are pushing the lever down and ink is coming out of the pen into the feed (when you have the pen vertical). That means it's full!
I have a question regarding the difference between De Atramentis Black Standard ink versus the black edition black ink. In the web site it appears that the black edition black ink appears more grayish than the standard black ink. Is that true, or are they they same exact color just in different bottle?
I'm not really sure if they're the same inks or not, to be quite honest. I suspect they are slightly different, because I swabbed and edited each color individually, so what you're seeing is the most accurate representation of the ink colors that I can show. I'm sure there are some factors like degree of flow and saturation that may make the inks act and appear slightly different than in the swab. But from what I can tell in real life (and it supports what you see in the Swab Shop), the standard black is a bit darker.
I'm about to put in an order for a Noodler's Ahab in Medieval Lapis. Since those just came in the latest batch, do they have the double-walled o-rings installed?
All of the Ahabs we currently have still have the original o-rings. We're told that these were already in production before the improved o-rings were discovered. I *think* that future batches of the pens will have the new o-rings, but with Nathan we're never really sure what to expect, to be quite honest!
I was curious about the coating on the new matte black Dialog 3. Is it the same as the finish on the CP1?
Yup, it is!
I received a Brause Calligraphy and Writing Set today, but I'm not sure how its work as this is my first time using this kind of pen.Do i need to buy specific ink for the pen or i can use the ink of fountain pen like noodler's? As i found that i can only write few letters after dipping the (steno)nib with the ink, but works well with the 2mm nib.
What you have there are dip pens, and they are primarily used with (thicker) calligraphy ink, which is a whole different set of inks than what you would use in a fountain pen. However, the reason we carry this set is because certain nibs in the set do work really well with fountain pen inks, so it's easy to dip and test the colors without having to ink up a whole fountain pen. The reason the 2mm nib works well is because of that small metal fold on top of the nib (that's called a reservoir)...and it's actually removable! You can slide that metal reservoir off and put it on any of the nibs in the set, and get a much longer writing experience with the 3 nibs that write more like a typical fountain pen.
Despite owning fountain pens since the early 1960s, and expensive ones since the early 1970s, I was amazed when I got back into the hobby early this year how much difference the ink can make in the way a pen operates. For example, I bought an original Cross Century fountain pen in the early 1980s, when Cross made its first FP. I liked it, but it always leaked into the cap when using Cross cartridges. I gave up on it for 25 years.
You are so correct! I may be that ink didn't used to be as much a factor as it is today. New (at least relatively new) companies like Noodler's and Private Reserve have come on the scene recently, and really pushed the envelope in terms of ink offerings. There used to be just a few in companies and their properties were hardly distinguishable, but with modern chemistry and the internet allowing people to buy and share inks easily, there are more options than ever before for inks. It really is amazing how much of a difference the ink can make in the performance of a pen.
Aside from ink, paper is also a big factor. I call it the trifecta....paper, pen, and ink. They all interact with each other to provide the overall writing experience, and chaining one can alter the whole experience!
I hope you like my Mailbox! Hopefully you've been able to pick up on some tips here. If you have any questions, you can always post here in the comments, or shoot me an email.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Write Time 12/14/11

This was our last broadcast of 2011, and the last before the birth of our little girl! We spent a lot of time talking about everything we've been doing to prepare for our baby, and the logistics of the new products we have coming in over the next few weeks. We'll be tied up with family needs, so we won't be doing Write Time for at least the next few weeks. We'll announce when we're coming back once we see how things go with a new life with two kids!

A couple highlights from the broadcast:
  • Please email orders@gouletpens.com for all of your questions - we have a great team in place who will keep things running smoothly, and they'd be glad to help you out. We simply won't be able to keep up with our personal emails for a while, so this is your best bet to get help.
  • If you want something by Christmas, please try to order by this Friday, December 16.
  • Our site will be down for physical inventory on December 30. We'll also be working on some price increases during this time. Lamy will be going up effective February 1.
  • New products coming in 2012, including more Noodler's pens, lots more pens from TWSBI, more Edison pens, and more Rhodia products. Lamy EF nibs should finally be back in stock next week too!
  • We're working on getting De Atramentis swabs up on the web later this week. Samples will be available later in the month as our team has time to do them up. First priority is getting your orders out! :)
Thanks for your continued patience as we go through this very exciting transition in our lives!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Write Time Topics 12/14/11

Last broadcast of 2011! Our baby girl is scheduled to arrive next Wednesday, so this will be the last Write Time for a few weeks.

Tonight we'll be discussing holiday timelines, some price increases and new products for 2012, and answers to all of your writing questions!

So if you have the time, join us tonight at 9pm EST to talk pens and other random stuff. Write on!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Noodler's Ahab Tinted Demonstrator Pens

Noodler's has released their next round of Ahab colors, the tinted demonstrators. These are now available, and while I had them in my hands, I thought I'd shoot a quick vid just to give you my impression.

The blue and purple ones are a little darker and more opaque than I initially thought they would be, but it's not a dealbreaker because you can still see the ink inside the pen, which is kind of the point of the demonstrator! These pens, aside from their color, are the exact same as the previously released Ahabs. Same material, same o-ring, same size, same price ($20).

There are huge quantities of these available right now, but don't fret. More are expected in a couple of weeks (and I think the next batch will have the improved double-wall o-rings on them).

What do you think?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Write Time 12/7/11

Last night we had two big things to launch! One was the introduction of De Atramentis inks on GouletPens.com, and the other is the new writing comparison tool called the Nib Nook. We've been working for months to develop the Nib Nook, which is a tool that allows you to view easily comparable writing samples with all of the different pen models and nib sizes that we carry. Like the ink samples and Swab Shop, it's a revolutionary tool that we hope will be incredibly useful.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Brian's Mailbox #1

I get a lot of emails every day about all kinds of various topics on fountain pens. I was given the idea by Mike (thanks Mike!) to create blog posts called 'mailbags' (I'm opting to call it 'mailbox'), where it's basically a spitfire Q&A of the questions that I'm getting by email and my responses. Keep in mind, a lot of  my responses are opinion-based, though I always work to be as factually correct as possible. I thought the idea was perfect for Ink Nouveau, because I get a lot of questions about all kinds of pen topics that don't necessarily warrant an entire blog post, but would be good info to share.

So I think I'll give it a shot. Right now, Rachel is only about two weeks away from giving birth to our daughter, so the amount of time that I'm going to be able to dedicate to Ink Nouveau (and videos in particular) will be limited for the next few months. Doing mailbox posts will be something that will help everyone, should be interesting to read, and will be something that I can manage through the early months of parenthood (part 2!). I'll try posting whenever there's good content, perhaps weekly (but don't hold me to that!) So let's give it a shot!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Write Time 11/30/11 with Brian Gray

We're back with another Write Time! This time, on YouTube, due to popular demand :) I was finally able to figure out how to both record on my computer and broadcast at the same time...it's a bit more work for me to go and post the video on YouTube instead of just using the embedded video on JustinTV, but it's worth it to avoid some of the technical issues some of you have been having with previous videos.

In this broadcast we talked about:

We also have the audio version of this broadcast available on iTunes as a podcast, just search for Ink Nouveau :) Thanks to everyone who joined us live, and a special thanks to Brian Gray for sticking around for a very long (but fun) broadcast. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Write Time Topics 11/30/11 with Brian Gray

We're back, and with a guest! Brian Gray of the Edison Pen Company is joining us live by phone tonight at 9pm EST for another broadcast of Write Time. We're going to be announcing our latest collaboration, the newest Edison Nouveau Premiere LE. The first LE that we did was a huge hit, and we've been thinking about doing another since the first one 6 months ago.

So if you have the time, join us tonight as we hang out with Brian and talk pens and other random stuff. Write on!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Goulet Swab Shop Tutorial

The Swab Shop is likely one of the most useful tools that we have on GouletPens.com. The basic idea: we've swabbed, scanned, and color adjusted every fountain pen ink that we carry, so that you can compare the colors to each other in a single, consistent place. We initially came up with the idea almost a year and a half ago, when we only carried 138 inks. Now, we're preparing to cross over 500 colors, and we've added several features to the shop since we originally created it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Original Crown Mill is in!

No joke, we just got in our first order of Original Crown Mill cotton and laid paper not an hour before the release of the Noodler's Ahab pens! We're running around like crazy people to get these listed in time so that you can get them at the same time as your Ahabs, so check out the OCM paper here.

Original Crown Mill is Belgian paper that has a great reputation with fountain pen ink. There has been a bit of a gap in its availability since Swisher went out of the picture, and we've had a lot of people asking us for it. We just got in our first shipment and haven't even had the chance to really play with it to a great extent, but I did grab a few pens I had inked up and write on the Pure Cotton, which is what I've heard a lot about:

I tested it out with three different pens and inks. The paper feels great, it's most certainly all cotton, and does have a much more textured feel than the Rhodia and Clairefontaine that I've been using regularly for the last two years. The paper is more absorbent than clay-coated, pulp-based paper. As such, your lines will appear a little broader than on Rhodia/CF, and the color will also be a little more flat. The shading and color variation will not be as dramatic on this particular paper.

I did noticed a little bit of bleedthrough on the back with the flex pen and Purple Heart (lubricated) ink, as well as a tiny bit with my Pelikan italic:

I would fully expect these pen/ink combos to bleed on most papers, though, since these are realllly wet pens and inks. The Pilot with Noodler's Blue did great, though. This is cotton paper, after all, and will be more absorbent than Rhodia and Clairefontaine. For those of you that like the more textured (also called 'toothy') and absorbent feel of cotton paper, this may be what you're looking for.

We just started carrying a limited offering of the Original Crown Mill line, and we're always open for suggestions of what else we could carry (see our line-up here). I also plan to do a lot more playing around and reviewing. Just post here in the comments if there's something you'd like us to get that we don't already have, or if you have any experience with OCM that you'd like to share.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Noodler's Ahab O-ring Replacement

Noodler's Ahab Flex Pens are a novelty, there's no question about that. But one of the best things about the pen is that the whole thing is easy to take apart and maintain. The design of this pen is genius in its simplicity. And Nathan (the pen's designer) has already improved upon his already good design.

Noodler's Ahab Flex Pen, taken apart

The original o-ring that is shipping on the first batch of Ahab Flex pens is a standard o-ring, that is there specifically because it's replaceable with o-rings you can get at any home center. Nathan designed a new double-wall o-ring for the Ahab pen, so that a bead of silicone grease can fit between the two walls.

Left: Original Ahab o-ring, Right: New  double-wall Ahab o-ring

We're told that future batches of the Ahab pens will be coming standard with the double-wall o-rings, but for the first batch of pens, they will include the regular round ones. If you want to upgrade to the new ones, you'll need to drop just an extra $1 for a pair of them. It's not something you have to do to have a well-functioning pen, but the option is there for you if you so choose.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Noodler's Ahab Writing Test

I thought it might be handy to showcase the difference between the Noodler's Ahab and the original Noodler's Piston-Fill Flex pens in terms of their writing use. I've shown the size and filling differences between these two pens in my other post, here. You can also see the full line of Ahab colors coming out in the first release, here.

My conclusion is that the nibs on both pens have about the same unflexed line width (somewhere around a fine), and they have around the same maximum line width, about 3mm when you really push it to the limits. But to me, the Ahab feels a little easier to flex. It's not an overly dramatic difference, just a slight improvement. I don't know if I can attribute it to the design of the nib itself, or just to the fact that the Ahab's larger size feels better in my hand and gives me more control over the pen. It's probably a combination of the two.

I will be the first to admit that I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to proper use of a flex pen, so I'm really eager to see some of the reviews come out from a lot of you that really know what you're doing with one! My feeling is that the Ahab is a pen that's going to be every bit as ground-breaking as the original Noodler's Flex Pens.

What do you think?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Showcasing the 11 Ahab Flex Pens

Noodler's has released their latest creation, the Noodler's Ahab Flex Pen! There are 11 colors to choose from, so I wanted to showcase them all in the video and in picture form. Click here to see my comparison of the Ahab to the original flex pen. We'll be releasing these $20 pens for sale on Monday, November 21st at 12 noon Eastern US time at GouletPens.com.



Cardinal Darkness

Clear Demonstrator

December 25th

Ivory Darkness


Lapis Inferno

Mandarin Yellow

Medieval Lapis

Pumpkin Poltergeist

Which colors are most appealing to you?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Write Time 11/16/11

Watch live video from Write Time at 9 on Justin.tv

We certainly had a lot to talk about in this broadcast! We covered:
  • Noodler's Ahab Flex Pen release this coming Monday at 12pm EST 
  • Rohrer & Klingner inks are finally in!
  • Announcement/reveal of a new nib size comparison tool we're developing
  • New Edison pens coming soon, Premiere LE and new Edison Nouveau model
  • More paper offerings, including Original Crown Mill
  • Our 2-yr Goulet Pens anniversary tomorrow!
Also, I finally figured out how to record the video of our broadcast and post it on YouTube! Unfortunately, I didn't have it set up in time to record this broadcast, but from here on out, I'll be able to repost Write Time broadcasts on YouTube.

We're going to cancel next week's broadcast due to the Thanksgiving holiday, so we'll see you back here on November 30th!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Write Time Topics 11/16/11

Rachel and I are ready for another Write Time sofa chat, so if you're around at 9pm EST tonight, we'd love to have you hang out with us!

Topics to discuss tonight:
  • Noodler's Ahab Flex Pen release next Monday (finally! yay!)
  • Rohrer & Klingner inks
  • Announcement/reveal of a new web tool we're developing
  • New Edison pens coming soon
  • More paper offerings
  • Our 2-yr Goulet Pens anniversary tomorrow
  • Updates on timelines for new products, and answers to any of your pen/ink/paper/writing questions!
If you have the time, join us tonight and we'll have a nice chat :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

GouletPens.com Email Notification

The email notification is one of the most helpful tools we have on GouletPens.com, both for you and for us! It does a number of helpful things including:

  • Notify you as soon as we have a product in stock that was previously out of stock
  • Allows us to send newsletter emails specifically to update those waiting on a given in-demand product
  • Shows us how many people are waiting for a particular product so we can be sure to purchase enough to meet demand
  • Helps us decide how to logistically release new products (like Noodler's Flex Pens)
It's a great tool for you and a great tool for us. It's something that helps us to better serve you and be in tune with what you need. We put together this video to share with you how helpful this tool is, and to guide you through the signup procedure so you can use it for anything we carry. Signing up doesn't guarantee or commit you to purchasing anything, it's simply for notification.

This is just another handy tool we have in place to try to make the purchasing experience better with us! If you have any other ideas for enhancements to our site, please, send me an email or post in the comments.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Ahabs are Coming!

We got a sneak peek at the new colors of the new Noodler's Ahab Flex Pen coming next week. There will be 11 colors in the first batch (pictured below).

We're tentatively scheduling our release for Monday, November 21, at 12pm EST.
(In the event our shipment ends up being delayed, it'll be pushed to the following week, and we'll announce if that's the case).

We encourage you to sign up for the email notification list for any color you're interested in. Some of these colors will go fast! But the good news is, a few weeks later, a second batch will arrive with even more colors - a variety of tinted demonstrators, possibly an all-black one... we'll see when they arrive! In the meantime, here are some sneak peeks of the 11 colors we'll have next week:

Clear demonstrator

Lapis Inferno - blue and white swirls

Mandarin Yellow - solid yellow

Bumblebee - yellow and black swirls

Arizona - yellow and orange swirls

Poltergeist Pumpkin - orange and black swirls

Medieval Lapis - blue, black, and white swirls

Ivory Darkness - black and white swirls

Cardinal Darkness - red and black swirls

December 25th - red and green swirls

Jade - green and white swirls

P.S. In case you missed it, check out our other blog post from September with even more pictures and a video overview of the Ahab flex pens.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Write Time 11/9/11

Watch live video from Write Time at 9 on Justin.tv

Well, I almost accidentally canceled last night's broadcast! We were debating about doing it or not, mainly because Rachel has been really burned out this week and we had a dinner arrangement with my parents. The dinner fell through and Rachel felt good, so we kept the broadcast. I'd originally titled yesterday's post 'Write Time Canceled 11/9/11', but when I wrote about everything we were going to talk about, I forgot to change it! Silly me....you'd think after nearly 500 blog posts I would do a goof like that :P And yeah, 500 posts is right around the corner! I'll hit it in the next two weeks, probably.

So anyway, we DID end up doing a broadcast, and here it is. We talked about :

  • How we're bringing back almost all of the Clairefontaine and Rhodia notebooks we'd stopped carrying a couple of months ago
  • Changes (for the better!) to our quantity discounts on all notebooks
  • Noodler's Ahab flex pens will be here in the next two weeks (definite ETA coming soon!)
  • New pictures I've been taking and what kind of videos we're working on in the near future.
Thanks to everyone who joined us live! As always, we had a great time. If you're able to join us, we'll be here again next week on Wednesday, November 16 at 9pm EST!

Write Time Topics 11/9/11

Rachel and I are ready for another Write Time sofa chat, so if you're around at 9pm EST tonight, we'd love to have you hang out with us!

We have been working on some cool stuff though. We're going to be bringing back nearly all of the Rhodia and Clairefontaine notebooks that we'd discontinued a few months back. We stopped carrying some less popular notebooks because we had no space for them...we moved...and now we have space again! So we're bringing them back. If you're looking for a specific notebook, you can always send us an email. We should have them in and on GouletPens.com in the next week.

Noodler's Ahabs are in the US now, and they just need to work their way through the distributor! We should be getting them sometime in the next week or two (no exact ETA yet). We'll blog and everything before they come though, don't worry!

We also took new pictures of the Edison Collier, so you can check those out here.

We've also changed the way we do quantity discounts (in your favor!), so we'll talk about that, too. If you have the time, join us tonight and we'll have a nice chat :) 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Kaweco Sport New Arrivals

Kaweco just came out with 5 new Sport pens, so I wanted to show them off. There are two new ICE Sport pens, Pink and Yellow. These pens are exactly the same as previously existing ICE Sports, just a different color. They have all steel (silver colored) accents.

Kaweco ICE Sport, pink

Kaweco ICE Sport, yellow

There are also three new Classic Sport pens, Guilloch 1930, Green, and Bordeaux. These are identical to the previously existing Classic Sport pens, with gold accents.

Kaweco Classic Sport, Guilloch 1930 (black)

Kaweco Classic Sport, green 
Kaweco Classic Sport, bordeaux

These new pens are the same price as their already existing siblings. They accept standard international cartridges, but alas, no converters. However, you can convert these to eyedropper pens like I show in this video. It's also hard to see the details in the pics of the Guilloch 1930, so I made a video on it here.

What do you think of the new colors?

5 new Kaweco Sport colors

Monday, November 7, 2011

GouletPens Comparison Tool

We have a pretty cool feature on GouletPens.com that allows you to compare detailed specs of everything we carry, so we wanted to show you how to get the most out of this tool. We have spent a lot of time taking detailed measurements of everything, and this tool will help you to be able to quickly and easily compare products side-by-side with detailed specs. At a glance, you'll be able to compare:

  • Pictures
  • Prices
  • Detailed Pen Dimensions
  • Ink Properties, Bottle Sizes
  • Notebook Sizes, Page Counts, Rulings, Paper Thickness, Etc.
  • Stock Status
  • Reviews/Customer Ratings

Essentially, you just check the boxes underneath the products you'd like to compare, then click on "Compare" to see them side by side.

Check the boxes, then click Compare.

You can select products from anywhere on the site to compare to each other, which will pull up in a side-by-side detailed comparison like you see here:

Compare up to 3 products side-by-side.

I hope you enjoy the comparison tool, it's something we've spent a lot of time to put together. It's all part of what we're trying to do to make GouletPens.com a great place to learn as well as shop. If you have any questions about this tool or our site in general, feel free to email me (Brian).

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Out With The Old, In With Imperial Blue

Lamy is replacing its previously existing Blue Studio pen with a new, darker color Imperial Blue. As of this post, the Imperial Blue is a brand new pen, listed as a separate product from the 'old' Blue. There will be a little bit of an overlap of the two colors, but the arrival of the Imperial Blue means that the end of the old Blue is near.

Lamy Studios, front: (new) Imperial Blue, back: (old) Blue 

Same metal grip section, same steel nib options on both pens.

The two pens are identical in every aspect but the color, coming with the swappable standard Lamy steel nib options. If you've had your eye on the old Blue color, I would recommend not waiting on it for too long, as it is being phased out and will soon no longer be available.

So what do you think of the new color?

See how to swap Lamy nibs, here.

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