Saturday, March 31, 2012

Goulet's move is done!

Well, it's been a busy week!

We moved our whole shop to expand to a bigger space, about twice what we just moved into only 6 months ago. For this move, we only had to lose 3 days of shipping, which is actually faster than we anticipated things would happen. We packed up the last of the orders we had on Monday and used Tuesday to pack, Wednesday to move, and Thursday to set back up, and we were up and fully operational again on Friday. We were about half-staffed on Saturday, to catch up from the lost shipping time during the week, and we're going to resume this coming week as normal.

Our team had a great attitude during the whole move, and they really showed us how effective hard work and team effort can be when we all have a goal in mind. Be sure to thank them in your order comments if you're going to be ordering from us soon, they all worked really hard and moved a lot of heavy stuff so that we can keep on providing you guys with the writing stuff you love :) We're very quickly settling into our new space and we're getting excited about continuing to grow.

That said, it's still going to be probably a week or so before I'm able to get Ink Nouveau back up to speed. I am in the process of setting up my new studio, which you will soon be able to see in my videos once I get them going again. On top of that, I have a new camera (Canon 5D Mark III) that just came in on Monday, of course right before the move! I got a couple of new lenses, too. I'm learning to use all my new stuff, so expect that I'll be continually improving photography all around for GouletPens.com and Ink Nouveau.

Coincidentally, we also completed a website redesign on GouletPens.com this past week. We didn't plan to have the move and the website changes coincide, it just worked out that way! It's probably best because although we'd been working on the new design for the last month, the actual implementation took the better part of Tuesday and our site had to be down during that time. This week was a bit of organized chaos for us, but we're finding our groove again and getting really pumped to get back into the zone and keep on doing what we do best.

Thanks to you all for continuing to support our store and Ink Nouveau. Our growth would not be possible without your help and support. We're moving to a larger space because we have plans to stick around for a good long while, and continue to grow for the foreseeable future. Thanks for being patient with us on the blog and with emails as we transition, and look for a whole lot more exciting stuff to be coming from the Goulet's and crew :)

Write on!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

5 New Diamines, 2 new Edelsteins, R&K Glass Pens

Of course, the day we begin moving our shop, we get in a slew of awesome stuff, including Rohrer and Klingner Glass Pens, 5 new Diamine inks, and 2 new Edelstein colors! Before breaking down my studio, I decided to take pics and swabs of these cool new things and show them to you. I don't have much insight to give on these yet as we are dodging electricians fixing lights over our heads, we have things half-packed and in two different locations, and I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off to keep it all together, so this will just be more of a quickie introduction. Enjoy!

Rohrer and Klingner Glass Pens

Rohrer and Klingner Glass Pen, Crazy Insides

Rohrer and Klingner Glass Pen, Pretty Swirls

Rohrer and Klingner Glass Pen set, 3 different combos of two inks

Diamine Apple Glory, VERY vibrant! Brigthest non-highlighter green I've ever used

Diamine Aqua Lagoon, very nice turquoise color

Diamine Eau de Nil, darker turquoise leaning heavy blue

Daimine Matador, like Red Dragon but brighter and more vibrant

Diamine Merlot, darker and less burgundy than Syrah, deep wine color

Pelikan Edelstein Tanzanite, pure blue-black designed to replace the ill-fated Pelikan 4001 Blue-Black

Pelikan Edelstein "Ink of the Year" Turmaline, limited run for 2012, bright (but usable) pink

I just wanted to introduce you to these brand new inks and glass pens now, since the GPC shop will be turned upside down for the next week or so. I don't know how long it'll take me to get my studio back up and running as getting our shop operational and getting orders shipped out will be the highest priority for me. In any case, I hope you enjoy this little intro :)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Goulet's are on the move!

We had only just moved out of our garage to our current space six months ago, but we're moving again to a larger office/warehouse, just two doors down in the same building to better accommodate our growth. We'll be moving this upcoming week, so we ask for your patience while we pack everything up, move, and get adjusted to our new space. That being said:

Any orders placed on GouletPens.com through Sunday March 25 at 11:59 EDT will be shipped this coming week (Monday or Tuesday at the latest).

Any orders placed on Monday March 26 or later *may* not ship until the following week.

We'll do our best to resume shipping as quickly as possible. Our phone line may be off for a few days, but you can email us with any questions and we'll respond as we're able. Blogging will be light (or non-existent) while we move, as I personally will be lifting heavy things and moving them all week! I know I have a lot of reviews to catch up on (like Banditapple and Field Notes), but I won't be able to do these until we're all moved and settled in to our new space. Thanks for your patience!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pilot Con-50 Converter Improvement

Pilot Con-50 converters, new version on top with metal piece, old version on bottom

A couple of weeks ago, we noticed some little metal pieces inside the Pilot Con-50 converters that were coming in. The Con-50 is a converter used for most Pilot and Namiki pens, and is notorious for 'holding' ink up in the body, which causes a break in ink flow. No doubt, this new metal piece coming in the converters is an effort to cut down on this. I personally never really had much of a problem with my ink flow with the 'old' converter, but I know many have.

Time will tell if this improvement does the trick. The one drawback is that the little metal piece rattles around in the converter a bit, which can be annoying (at least in an empty pen). With ink in it, it's not nearly as noticeable.

What are your thoughts?

Monday, March 19, 2012

TWSBI Nib Swapping

Here's a pretty straightforward video on how to do the following for a TWSBI nib:
  • Swap out the whole nib unit/grip section for different nib sizes
  • Swap out the nib unit within the grip section for pens that have colored grip sections
  • Replace inner cap liner for newer TWSBI nibs (especially stubs) that are slightly wider than the original nibs on older (pre-February 2012ish 540's and all 530's)
  • Use the black body cap (comes with each separate nib unit purchased) to cover inked up TWSBI pen bodies during nib swaps
Hopefully this is helpful to you! The process is very simple, and you'll have a much clearer understanding of how it's done once you see the video. No special tools are required. Post any questions/comments below!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

How Fountain Pen Highlighter Inks Hold Up During Copying

We got a phone call today asking about how the various fountain pen inks we have hold up after being copied on a copy machine. I've been asked once before about copying inks and how to get them to show up, but this time it was someone asking about inks that don't show up through the copier. I just happened to have my swabs handy, so I went ahead and threw them on the copy machine and saw how they held up! It's pretty much like I suspected:

  • If you want to have your inks show up on the copier, stick with the non-yellows. The darker the color the better (like blue or green).
  • If you don't want to have your inks show up, go with yellow highlighter ink (like Noodler's Firefly, Pelikan m205 Duo, or PR Chartreuse).

Just thought it was something interesting to share! Enjoy.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Write Time 3/14/12

Last night's broadcast was great, Rachel and I made some 'night coffee' and it helped to give us a little energy boost to share everything we needed to talk about before taking our Write Time hiatus. Here's everything we covered:
  • Official announcement of our new paper brand, Banditapple! These are great little cahier notebooks, with soft off-white (leaning gray) paper that is slightly more absorbent and faster drying than Rhodia/Clairefontaine. It'll be a great addition to our current paper lineup.
  • 12 new De Atramentis colors just came in, including George Washington, Ben Franklin, and US Constitution
  • Edison Pearl LE pens 
  • Updates on the next Edison Nouveau collaborative pen (only a few weeks away)
  • TWSBI VAC-700 and Micarta drama
  • 5 new Diamine colors coming next week
  • 2 new Pelikan Edelstein colors later this month
  • Rohrer and Klingner glass pens coming in the next month or so
  • March Ink Drop colors
  • Omas Blue drama
  • J. Herbin Poussière de Lune drama
  • Our hiatus and why we're doing it (Ellie, plus moving our GouletPens shop)
It was a fun broadcast, and Ellie was crazy super cute and well behaved for the first 30ish minutes :) Thanks to everyone who joined us live, it was wonderful to see such support from everyone for the reasons why we're going to take a little break to recoup. We're going to come back with a new Edison Nouveau in hand, as well as a renewed perspective on how we can keep making Write Time a fun and exciting time for all of us. We'll still be blogging and doing everything else as usual, so we'll be around ;)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Write Time Topics 3/14/12

We're back! We took last week off, but boy do we have a lot to cover tonight if you're free to stop by here at 9pm EDT:

  • Official announcement of our new paper brand!
  • 12 new De Atramentis colors just came in, including George Washington, Ben Franklin, and US Constitution
  • Edison Pearl LE pens 
  • TWSBI VAC-700 and Micarta drama
  • 5 new Diamine colors coming soon
  • 2 new Pelikan Edelstein colors later this month
  • Rohrer and Klingner glass pens 
  • March Ink Drop colors
  • Omas Blue drama
  • J. Herbin Poussière de Lune drama
We're also going to be taking a hiatus from Write Time for (approximately) one month, this will be our last broadcast for a little while. We've been having a hard time broadcasting every week since the birth of our daughter in late December, and we need to take some time off to regroup and plan for some big things going on at Goulet central. We're actually going to be moving our shop in the next two weeks, and every spare second of free time we have will be devoted to making that happen. We'll explain it all in the broadcast, but long story short we have started to outgrow our new space after only 6 months and we're moving up :) It's a good thing, but still a lot of time and work in the meantime!

If you're free to come by tonight, we'd love to chat with you. Otherwise, we'll be posting the recording tomorrow as usual :) 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Edison Pearl LE 2012 Pen, Available For Two Weeks

If you've been hanging out on the Fountain Pen Network lately, then you've likely come across some talk about a group buy of an Edison pen over the last couple of weeks. A group buy is when a bunch of members get together and purchase the same type of pen to get a 'quantity discount' spread across the membership. How much of a discount? Well, a custom-only Edison Signature Line pen like the Pearl normally starts at $250 and goes up is going to be available for $170 (acrylic) and $190 (ebonite).

Rachel and I had been keeping a close eye on the development of the idea since it came up. Edison has done several group buy pens in the past for various forums and clubs, but the logistics are always the challenge. You run into issues of shipping, payment processing, email correspondence, etc. We're actually in development of our next Edison Nouveau pen right now, so we were already talking with Brian Gray about pen designs and materials.

When the issue of all the logistics came up in the thread and our name started to get thrown around, we bounced the idea back and forth with Brian about whether or not our involvement would be beneficial to everyone. Edison has a lot of irons in the fire right now between pen shows, 4 different current production model pens, and one (possibly two) more production pens in the works...so Brian needed the group buy to be well organized and efficiently run for it to be able to happen at all.

Long story short, we were able to offer our services at GouletPens.com to help with the logistics of the group buy. You can see how the whole thing unfolded, as well as the progress as the pens are being produced over on this FPN thread. They are being sold exclusively through us at the Goulet Pen Co.

Brian gave an option of several materials for the pen, with a poll for everyone to select their favorite. There were two that were locked in a dead heat, so Brian's offering them both! The first is a polished Beige Black Ebonite Swirl, selling for $190:

The other is Cobalt Fleck Acrylic, which is similar in vibrancy to our Cobalt Swirl Premiere, but slightly darker and with a flecked/gem pattern to it instead of a swirl. This pen will sell for $170:

These pens will only be available for a limited time, so you'll need to purchase it before 11:59pm EDT on Sunday, March 25th to claim your stake. Once the buy period ends, Brian will begin making the pens and in 2-3 months they should all be ready. He will ship them to us, and we will distribute them to their rightful owners.

One of the best benefits to our involvement is that you can combine your shipping with other stuff from our site. Because it's such a long wait from the purchase time to the delivery of the pens, we're offering to combine the shipping cost of the pen with anything you purchase at the same time, but we'll ship you your 'other stuff' in our normal 1-2 day turnaround time, then ship the pen to you separately when it's ready, at our expense (this goes for international customers too!). We thought that would be something pretty cool to offer.

If you have any logistical questions about the 2012 Pearl LE, you're welcome to post here in the comments, post in this FPN thread (Brian Gray will check in on it periodically), or email us. If you've ever been interested in getting an Edison Pearl at a significant discount from the normal custom-only price, you have two weeks to go for it ;)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Brian's Mailbox #7

My email inbox gets a plethora of interesting pen related questions, and I spend a good deal of time crafting thoughtful responses to each person who writes to me. A lot of times, the questions I get are good ones that I feel are worth sharing with others, so that's what this post is for! These are some emails of mine from the past week or so:

I just purchased and received a 4.5 oz bottle of Noodler's polar brown ink. I was dismayed to notice, however, that the bottle had a "winter 2009 edition" label on it -- I saw online that Noodler's reformulated the ink in 2011 to be darker and more saturated (http://noodlersink.com/whats-new/polar-brown/ ). Is there any way I could trade the bottle of ink I purchased for the newer formulation, as I rather prefer that tone? 
No need to fret, the ink you have is the newest Polar Brown. There has only ever been one reformulation, and that happened in 2009. Noodler's had some web issues on their website in 2011, and as a result had to take down and reload a lot of their pages on their site. You'll notice the date is posted as March 22, 2011. If you look at many of the pages, that's what date shows as the 'post' date, but in fact it is just a technical oversight on their site. We've pointed it out to them time and time again, but you see it's still there. It's not to be taken as March 22, 2011 was the date the ink was reformulated, rather it was that March 22, 2011 was the date they uploaded that information onto the site. I know it's confusing and I'm sorry about that. 
I'm very interested in the Pilot Custom 823 and wanted to ask a quick question.  I'm a lefty so usually gravitate toward fine (Kaweco) or extra fine (Lamy Safari) nibs.  I took a look at the Pilot Custom 823 writing samples and am having a bit of trouble deciding whether the medium or fine nib is best for me.  Do you have any thoughts?  Also, do you have recommendations of a great quick-drying ink?  Blue is preferable.

The 823 is a really cool pen, I'm a fan! The Pilot nibs are pretty fine. The fine nib on the 823 is just a tiny bit finer than the Lamy extra-fine nib, but not by much. There's a pretty big jump to go up to the 823 medium nib though, so if you like the Lamy extra-fine, then I think the 823 fine would be 'close enough' to that to meet your needs. The Kaweco fine is broader (no shock here) than the Lamy extra-fine, and the 823 medium nib is going to be a little broader than the Kaweco fine. Long story short, if you like the Lamy extra-fine and want that (or a little finer), the Pilot fine is what you want. If you like the Kaweco fine and perhaps want even a little broader, then the Pilot medium will be the way to go.  
When it comes to using each nib, there will be pluses and minuses for both sizes. The fine nib will put down less ink and dry faster, but the medium nib is going to feel a little smoother as you're 'pushing' it when writing left-handed instead of 'pulling' it like you would right-handed. 
For inks, the fastest drying one I know is Noodler's Bernanke Blue: http://www.gouletpens.com/Noodler_s_Ink_Bernanke_Blue_p/n19067.htm
The way this ink dries quickly is by being absorbed very quickly into the paper. The ink has more of a tendency to spread and feather than other inks, and that is a consequence of the fast drying feature. If you want to use an ink like this for fast drying, then that would be an argument in favor of leaning towards a fine nib, since the width of the line on the paper will appear thicker with fast-drying inks. Private Reserve also has fast-drying inks: http://www.gouletpens.com/Private_Reserve_Bottled_Ink_s/881.htm

What would you recommend for my next step up the FP ladder of quality. I own the popular Lamy and TWSBI now. I'm looking at your Pilot Vanishing Points or a Pelikan M200.

Well, the VP and m200 are quite different pens, really. There are some pros and cons with each, which I'll lay out for you here: 
Pros- convenient click mechanism, 'cool' factor, 18k gold nib, replaceable nib units available, lots of colors to choose from, can use cartridges (Pilot/Namiki only though) or bottled ink
Cons- small ink capacity, can be awkward to hold for some people, more expensive, more involved steps to fill it with ink, only 3 nib options (F, M, B) 
Pros- lower price, nib units are swappable, piston mechanism, higher ink capacity, more nib options (EF, F, M, B)
Cons- steel nib (not that it's a bad nib, it's just not 18k like the VP), few colors to choose from, on the small side (that may not be a con)
Depending on the specific features that are important to you, either one of these pens may suit you. They're both classic pens that are staples in the fountain pen world for good reason. They both write really well, just be aware that because Pilot is Japanese and their nibs are usually ground pretty fine, that the Pilot F is going to write much like the Pelikan EF, and all of the other sizes will be about one step different with Pilot always leaning thinner than Pelikan. 
I have a quick question for you.  I have just tried the sample of Noodler's Blue that comes with the "Blues, Royal" ink sample package.  I really love the color!   However, I am interested in the lubricating properties of the Noodler's Blue American Eel ink.  Is that the same color?  I can't quite tell from the swabs.
Yes, the Blue and Blue Eel are nearly identical. The only reason we don't put Blue Eel in that sample package is because we are out of stock of it a lot. We have it in now though :) Noodler's Blue/Eel is one of my all-time favorite inks!
I am  looking for an ink that was once made by J. Herbin, called “l’Encre des Vaisseaux” now discontinued. Have you ever heard of it? Do you know of a substitute (non-Noodler's)?

I found your FPN thread asking about the ink and I see that you've gotten a couple of good responses there, that's more information than I have on the ink! The best I'll be able to do is try to find a color that comes close, though I don't know exactly what shade of purple L'encre des Vaisseaux is. I imagine the reason that ink is no longer available is due to EU regulations on ink manufacturing. In recent years, many ink companies have had to either reformulate or discontinue the formulas for many legendary inks, even including ones like Pelikan Blue-Black and Lamy Blue-Black.  
Ironically, the only substitute that comes to mind are all Noodler's inks. If the water resistant aspect of the ink isn't important to you, then it opens up a lot more options for you. If you want a water resistant purple that isn't made by Noodler's then there's only one ink I know, and that's Rohrer and Klingner Scabiosa. It's more of a dusty purple though, not vibrant like Violette Pensée.  
I don't specifically know much about this ink at all, in fact most of what I know about it now is from the responses in your FPN thread! If the properties of the ink aren't critical and you're going mainly for color, then I strongly urge you to check out all of the inks we have in our Swab Shop: http://www.gouletpens.com/Swab_Shop_Purple_s/820.htm 
The ones that I feel may match closest (non-Noodler's) are: Diamine Lavender, Diamine Violet, Diamine Majestic Purple, Sheaffer Purple, Waterman Purple, Rohrer and Klingner Cassia, and other ones within that color range.
Will you be at Atlanta pen show? 
Unfortunately not! We have a two-year old and a 3-month old, I'm afraid a 12-hour drive is pretty much out of the question for us! Perhaps in future years though :) 

Hopefully these posts are helpful to you! I'd love to hear what you think in the comments. Also, feel free to shoot me an email anytime, your question could end up in the next Mailbox! 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Platinum Kanazawa Leaf Maki-e Pens

Platinum Kanazawa Leaf Maki-e Fountain Pens

The Platinum Kanazawa Leaf Maki-e pens are quite new, only being released worldwide on February 1st (they arrived in the US later in the month). We had the unique opportunity to get some of them, and we jumped at the chance. It all began when we recently started getting into the Platinum Modern Maki-e pens, which are the same nib and body style as the Kanazawa. To learn more about the new pens, check out Platinum Japan's website.

So a couple of things happen when we start carrying new pens. Firstly, I have to write test them and provide samples for the Nib Nook. The Modern Maki-e pens are offered in fine, medium, and broad nib sizes, but the Kanazawa Leaf pens are only fine and medium. Here are my writing samples:

Okay, so the writing for the name of these pens is prettttttty tight, it was a lot to fit in a small area! I didn't really get to show off the best part about these nibs, which is that they are soft enough to give you some respectable line variation, almost on par with the Namiki Falcon. I wouldn't call them 'flex' nibs, but they are soft and can give you variation up to about two nib sizes larger than their designation. You can see this a bit with the X's and figure-8's that I did in the samples.

This whole Maki-e kick really began when I purchased a new macro lens for my camera (which I blogged about here) and had used the Modern Maki-e pens as my test subjects. The idea of having  a whole new line of these detailed pens to photograph was really exciting for me! I spent a whole day photographing main pictures for these new Kanazawas, and yet another full day just with the macro lens to get the incredibly detailed shots you see below. I think these are some of my best pictures to date, I'm pretty proud of them! I will say that these pens are gorgeous, and the only editing on these pictures that I did was to make the detail as crisp as possible and to edit out dust. The rest is all the pens...

Platinum Kanazawa Leaf Maki-e - Goldfish

Platinum Kanazawa Leaf Maki-e - Mt. Fuji

Platinum Kanazawa Leaf Maki-e - The Moon and a Rabbit

Platinum Kanazawa Leaf Maki-e - The Moon and a Rabbit

Platinum Kanazawa Leaf Maki-e - The Moon and a Rabbit

Platinum Kanazawa Leaf Maki-e - Changing Autumn

Platinum Kanazawa Leaf Maki-e - Changing Autumn

Platinum Kanazawa Leaf Maki-e - Changing Autumn

Platinum Kanazawa Leaf Maki-e - Changing Autumn

Platinum Kanazawa Leaf Maki-e - Changing Autumn

Platinum Kanazawa Leaf Maki-e - Swirling Petals of Cherry Blossoms

Platinum Kanazawa Leaf Maki-e - Swirling Petals of Cherry Blossoms

Platinum Kanazawa Leaf Maki-e - Swirling Petals of Cherry Blossoms

I'd love to hear what you think, of both the pens and my pictures. I'm really diving in deep with my macro photography, taking a great personal interest in getting highly detailed images. It's time consuming but I am enjoying it! If you all like these pictures too, then I will certainly keep them coming with a lot of the other pens I have on hand. Feel free to comment!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Write Time 2/29/12: Fountain of Knowledge

Yesterday, we introduced the Fountain of Knowledge, a library of reviews, comparison tools, and glossary terms for all things related to fountain pens on the GouletPens.com website. Essentially, we have created a place where anyone interested in learning about fountain pens can go, especially those new to the hobby. It's been well-received so far, but we'd really love to hear what you think!

We also changed some of the navigation on our site...we're not sure we're in love with it or not. We may end up changing some stuff back, but we'd love your thoughts on that too.

We have big plans for 2012, and we have more ideas for innovative tools than I think we'll even be able to accomplish this year, so please give us your feedback and let us know what's most important to you.

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