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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

TWSBI Mini Review





TWSBI announced their Mini a long time ago, and it has finally landed in my hands. I only received a limited supply of them, but still couldn't resist shooting a video because I knew how many questions I'd get about them and how they compare to the 540. In fact, I didn't even get any of the 'Classic' Minis, but had to Frankenpen one up to show what it looks like.

In the top video, I cover:
  • TWSBI Mini unboxing (0:20)
  • TWSBI Mini compared to 540 (1:58)
  • Aligning the clip to the nib when posted (4:33)
  • Mini, 540 Schmidt, 540 Bock nib comparison (6:22)
  • Hack swap of a 540 nib on a Mini (9:35)
  • Showing TWSBI Mini clear, black, and classic (11:00)
  • Filling the Mini (12:35, 14:20)
  • Removing the piston mechanism (13:20)
  • Showing ink capacity of the Mini (14:58)
  • Mini writing with EF nib (15:35)
  • Mini EF nib compared to 540 EF nib (16:40)

In the video, I use the following materials:

In the first video, I touched on the fact that I thought the 540 nib might fit on the Mini. I did a little further investigation, and it looks like it will work. I covered my findings in the second video, and I also clear up the difference between the older Schmidt 540 nibs and newer Bock nibs.

As always, I'm a retailer so take everything I say with that in mind. I carry these pens at my site GouletPens.com but they're available at other retailers as well as directly from TWSBI, too. You can also see writing samples I did of all the TWSBI Mini nibs (EF, F, M, and B) and how they compare to all the other pens I have in the Nib Nook.

TWSBI Mini Clear
TWSBI Mini Black

TWSBI Mini Classic


What do you think? I'd love to hear your impressions, let me know in the comments.

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Write Time 10/24/2012



Write Time is back! This is the first broadcast we've had in over 6 months, and it was a good one. We had a great crowd join us live, and here's the recording of the video for those of you who wanted to hang out with us but just weren't able to make it last night. We're not able to record the chat, unfortunately, but we try to talk in such a way that you still understand everything that's going on ;)

We covered a lot of topics over the hour and a half, but here are some highlights:
  • What we've been up to in the last 6 months
    • Pen Plaza
    • Goulet Gallery
    • Moving our shop
    • Moving our house
    • Candy in Goulet packages
    • Contests and giveaways
    • Live chat trial on Gouletpens.com
    • Various brands acquired and dropped and why
  • TWSBI Mini timeline (expected Monday 10/29/12)
  • Pilot Metropolitan timeline
  • Platignum timeline
  • Changes to Diamine Blue Black
  • New Noodler's pen colors
  • Two new Private Reserve colors (coming tomorrow!)
  • Lamy Studio Royal Red Giveaway
  • Leuchtturm1917 thoughts

Of course, we talked about a lot of other things, and for anyone wondering about the smoke alarm going off at the end of the video, everything is fine ;) Thanks to everyone who joined us live, and we'll plan to see you next week, but not on Wednesday. Next Wed. is Halloween, and we're going to have our broadcast instead on Friday Nov. 2nd at 9pm EDT to celebrate the first annual Fountain Pen Day! See you then : )

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lamy Studio Royal Red Giveaway!



***This contest is officially closed! Any new comments posted will be purely for conversational purposes***

It's been a while since we've done a giveaway here at Ink Nouveau and GouletPens.com, so we're going to make up for some lost time. You may have heard about the new Lamy Royal Red Studio that's coming out in the next few weeks. And you may have thought about picking one up for yourself… well, wouldn't it be better to win one? That was our thinking, and rather than just give one away, we're going to give away TWO of them, along with eight other sweet prizes.

Here's a list of all of the prizes that we plan to give away:
That's a total of 10 prizes that will go to 10 individual winners, with one winner for each prize.



How to Enter

The contest will begin as soon as this post goes live on InkNouveau.com, and will end at 11:59 p.m. Eastern US time on Sunday, October 28, 2012.
There are three ways to enter. You can enter once if you'd like, or in all three places to increase your chances of winning.
  • Ink Nouveau: Post a comment on this blog post (below) to answer the question "What is your favorite fountain pen and/or ink and why?" (max. 1,000 characters). Please be sure to use your name or an alias, NOT anonymous, so that we can track you down if you're a winner! 
  • YouTube: Post a comment on the YouTube post for this video answering the question, "What is your dream fountain pen?" (max. 450 characters)
  • Twitter: Retweet the announcement of this blog post from @GouletPens on Twitter
If you enter in the same format multiple times (i.e. multiple comments on the blog, multiple retweets, etc), we will only count your original entry. Any blog/YouTube comments that do not answer the question will not be counted. We encourage you to comment on each other's entries as we hope to spur some interesting conversation from these questions, just realize that you will only have one counted entry per site (YouTube, InkNouveau, Twitter). 


How to Win

All qualifying entries will be compiled from all three sites (Ink Nouveau comments, YouTube comments, Twitter retweets) into a master list and assigned a number. From this numbered list, we will randomly select 10 numbers using random.org and those will be our winners. The specific prizes will be randomly assigned to each winner. 
  
The winners will be announced during a special episode of our live broadcast Write Time at 9, on Friday, November 2nd (which is also the first-ever Fountain Pen Day!) at 9 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -0400). We'll also post the winners the following day on Ink Nouveau.

You will only be eligible for one prize, and you may only qualify for one entry per site. If we find that you have posted using multiple aliases in order to increase your number of entries, you will immediately be disqualified from the entire giveaway. We want this to be a fair contest, so don't be all sneaky, that's all we ask.

If you have multiple legit entries and are chosen for more than one prize, we'll give you the option to choose which prize you want, and then choose an alternate winner for the other prize. Our goal is to make sure that 10 different people get to win something.

We will contact all winners after the announcement to coordinate getting prizes to them. If there is no way to reach them or if they don't respond to us within three days after we announce winners, we will consider the prize forfeited and offer it to an alternate winner. We will cover all shipping costs for the prizes if applicable, both within the US and internationally. Whoever our two Lamy Studio winners are will have to wait just a little bit because they aren't yet available, but we will mail them as soon as we have them (expected arrival we're told is mid-November).

We hope this contest will be a fun way to share our fountain pen passion with others, and it's a great way for us to say thanks for supporting us and what we do. Thanks everybody, and good luck!

***This contest is officially closed! Any new comments posted will be purely for conversational purposes***

Write On,
Brian and Rachel Goulet

Write Time Topics 10/24/2012



It's our first Write Time in a long time, and we're glad to be back! Join us as we come back live broadcasting here at 9pm EDT tonight. There will be a live chat so we can talk with you about any pen stuff you want to know, it's a similar format to the 70+ Write Time broadcasts we did before our hiatus. Here's what we plan to discuss:
  • What we have been doing for the last 6 months
  • Lamy Studio Royal Red Giveaway (details later today)
  • TWSBI Mini release
  • New Pilot Metropolitan pen
  • New Platignum (not Platinum, Platignum) Studio….yeah it's confusing, we'll clear it up
  • Other new pens we've been reviewing lately
  • New Pilot Iroshizuku inks coming
  • Answering your questions!

We have a lot of catching up to do and there will surely be a lot of questions for us, so you can either post them here in the comments or save them for us tonight in the chat. If you're not able to join us live, we'll be posting a video recording of the broadcast tomorrow. We're really excited to be back!

Write On,
Brian and Rachel Goulet

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Write Time is back!



After a 6 month hiatus, we're bringing Write Time back! For those of you who don't know about Write Time, it's a live broadcast that Rachel and I did on a weekly basis for about a year and a half. After the birth of our daughter it was just too much for us to continue doing, so we went on an indefinite hiatus back in April. And that hiatus ends tomorrow!

The main idea behind Write Time is for us to be able to engage with anyone willing to visit with us. We will have a few topics that we plan to discuss, but we like to leave the format open for questions and feedback from anyone who wants to join us live in the chat as we talk. It's a great way to be able to talk with us and hang out with a lot of other fun and passionate fountain pen folks. For those who just aren't able to join us live, we will be recording the video portion (no chat) and posting it on our YouTube channel, as well as on Ink Nouveau the following day.

We're eager to hang out with you again live this Wednesday, October 24th at 9pm Eastern US time. You can just go to the Write Time page here and watch the video and chat as it happens, but if you want to actually participate in the chat, you'll need a JustinTV account. There will be ads shown during the video and there's nothing we can do about that, it's super-annoying and we all hate them, but hey, they're streaming the video and chat for free so it's worth the trouble. We actually looked into live streaming our own broadcast, and there's just no way we'd be able to do it on our own. Justin helps us out and does a pretty fair job with it.

We're really excited to bring Write Time back. It's something that we've missed doing, and a lot of you have expressed to us that you really missed it, too. See you there!

Write On,
Brian Goulet


Friday, October 19, 2012

Pilot…Plumera?



Is it a new pen from Pilot? No…it's just a made up name I came up with for putting a Pilot Plumix nib on a Prera. The Prera is a great pen that comes available only with a fine or medium nib. The Plumix is an inexpensive Pilot pen that comes with a stub nib (something around a 1.0 or 1.1mm), and you can swap the nib out for the Prera! Good stuff ;)

Pilot Preras

Pilot Plumixes


Write On,
Brian Goulet

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Monteverde Prima



The Monteverde Prima is a 'new to us' pen at GouletPens.com. It was one that we'd kind of overlooked since picking up Monteverde as a brand earlier this summer, but the announcement of a new Turquoise color in the Prima line grabbed our attention, and we thought they were worth a look. We liked what we saw…solid pens, attractive cast resins, smooth nibs, and a good price, $70 list ($56 retail). This puts the pen in good company with the Lamy Studio, TWSBI 540, Lamy CP1, and Pilot Prera.

 In this video, I cover:
  • Showing all 7 Prima colors (0:42)
  • Prima details (2:50)
  • Filling mechanism, cartridge/converter (5:50)
  • Removing/swapping nib (8:18)
  • Close ups of each color (9:32)
  • Comparing the Prima to Lamy Al-Star (11:00)
  • Prima weight/balance/posting (11:55)
  • Writing with the Prima 1.1mm stub (13:18)
Products I use in this video:
Monteverde Prima, in Black, Blue, Brown, Tiger Eye, Brown Swirl, Green Swirl, and Turquoise.





Write On,
Brian Goulet 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pilot Custom Heritage 92



Originally, I set out for this video to be a review of the new (to the US) Pilot Custom Heritage 92, and it turned into kind of a comparison between the Custom Heritage 92, the Custom 74, Custom 823, and Prera, as well. That's why the video is so long, there are basically 4 pens packed into one video, though the main focus is on the Custom Heritage 92. This is the first time I have my hands on it, and it's a fairly pricey pen at $220, so I wanted to really be thorough and see how it stacked up to the other Pilot pens. It comes in fine, medium, and broad, and you can see all the detailed specs at GouletPens.com.

Here are the highlights for the video:
  • Unboxing (0:41)
  • Comparison to Pilot Prera (2:00)
  • Comparison between Custom Heritage 92, Custom 74, and Custom 823 (3:02)
  • Details of the Custom Heritage 92 pen (9:25)
  • Filling the Heritage 92 (12:25)
  • Showing ink capacity (14:40)
  • Writing with a Pilot Custom Heritage 92 medium 14k nib(16:15)
  • Writing with a Pilot Prera medium steel nib (17:25)
  • Writing with a Pilot Custom 74, medium 14k nib (18:35)
  • Writing with a Pilot Custom 823, medium 14k nib (19:20)
  • Pricing of all the Pilot pens shown here (20:00)
Write On,
Brian Goulet 

Pilot Custom Heritage 92

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mailbox Monday #29


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 you! I'll be posting highlights of some of my more interesting email questions every Mailbox Monday. These are some emails of mine from the past week or so:

When are you going to review the Pilot Custom Heritage 92 since it's a new pen for you and rare in the market place and not just an old pen with a new color. I think the 92 has the same nib as the Custom 74 so the nib widths are the same, yes?
Haha...funny you should ask this....looking at the time stamp of your email, I literally was shooting a video on the Custom Heritage 92 as you were emailing me about it! I need to edit it and process the video, so it'll be probably wednesday before I get it up, but it's coming. It's pretty comprehensive too, I compare it (with writing samples) to the Custom 74, Custom 823, and Prera. The nib on the Custom Heritage 92 is exactly the same one as the Custom 74, and it writes so well...the Custom 74 is one of my favorite pens, and the Custom Heritage 92 is right there with it. 

I have a quick question for you. I get confused sometimes between stub and italics. I've noticed that sometimes people or sellers write stub/ italic nib together in the description of the pen's nib. I was wondering if the invincia stylus has an italic nib (semi crips) or a stub nib like that of a platinum music pen. Thank you!!!
Most manufacturers use the term interchangeably, but really they all make stubs. It sounds like you already understand the difference, but I have an explanation of it (with video) here. I don't know any pen manufacturer that makes true (crisp) italics, they're usually just varying degrees of smooth-edged stub nibs. The Invincia is no exception, it is a rounded stub nib much like the Platinum Music Pen. I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.

Are the leuchttum 1917 large notebooks going to be available with the grey cover?
Right now they aren't, Leuchtturm isn't making them that way. But the gray linen is a pretty new cover style, so i'm going to encourage them to offer it in the large style. Hopefully it'll be something they'll make soon, but I don't know of any immediate plans to do so.

I was really wondering if there was a permanent marker ink for use in fountain pens ( for curiosity not practicality).
No, not that I'm aware. Most permanent markers work by using solvent-based ink (hence why they smell so bad), and that would be really bad to use in a fountain pen. There are basically only 3 types of fountain pen ink, water soluble dye-based, water soluble pigment based, and iron gall. Probably 98% of all fountain pen inks are conventional dye-based inks.

Sometimes we encounter glossy surfaces in our lives. What do you use to write on glossy surfaces such as the backs of pictures, clay coated papers (some college textbooks) stickers/gift tags and those coated bookmarks that you send (Brian Gray's are even glossier). I tend to end up using a sharpie marker for those sorts of things. Do you resort to something other than a fountain pen or do you have some trick up your sleeve for that.
I've always used a Sharpie, I believe there are markers that are made for photo paper (Pilot Photo Marker Pens come to mind). As far as fountain pens go, they aren't going to be able to do much of anything on photo paper. Photo paper is inherently resistant to moisture, and fountain pen ink is water based, so there's not really anything that can be done to make it work on it. 

Hello, I was wondering if you could inform me if a Lamy Al-Star fountain pen (section and z24 converter) will fit into a Lamy Al-Star rollerball barrel. If it does then will the rollerball cap fit on the new fountain/rollerball barrel pen? I hope this is not confusing but I am wondering if you can convert a Al-Star rollerball into a Al-Star fountain pen. Please advise.
Yes, the rollerball and fountain pen Al-Star should have interchangeable front sections of the pen. Lamy USA is the only place that carries pen parts, and they may be limited in what they offer, but I suppose if you're buying old parts on eBay or something like that, you can swap to your heart's content : )

Why do you instruct that JB's perfect pen flush be returned to the bottle after cleaning? Wouldn't it make more sense simply to eject the solution down the drain? Just wondering.
Those are the instructions from the JB's bottle. I personally don't use it that way. I actually decant small amounts of flush into sample vials and clean from those, so I keep my bottle fresh. Since the JB Flush is meant to be used in between two clean water flushing steps, it doesn't particularly matter if the flush is inky or not (until the flush gets REALLY saturated with ink). Use whatever method you prefer.

Thanks for taking the time to read my emails! I'd love to hear what you think in the comments. I'll be compiling this coming week's emails into next week's Mailbox Monday post!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pilot Vanishing Point: Gun Metal with Black Matte Accents



Pilot has come out with a new Vanishing Point color, Gun Metal with Black Matte Accents. It's basically a Gun Metal Gray VP body with Black Matte trim instead of rhodium. It's a simple merge of the two pens, but WOW does it look sweet!

Pilot Vanishing Point, Gun Metal with Black Matte Accents



It was originally rumored to have the same shadow box as the black matte VP, but that's not the case (pun!). It comes with the standard Pilot hard case that all of the other VP's do. It's available now, and is the same price as other VP's, $175 list, $140 at GouletPens.com.



I have a couple of other videos on the Pilot Vanishing Points, too. Here's an overview of the Vanishing Point line, as well as a video on how to properly fill a Vanishing Point. I also show how these VP nibs write in my Pilot Vanishing Point Fermo review.

What do you think? Do you like the new color, or do you prefer the black matte version better?

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Leuchtturm1917 Notebooks





There are two different videos I made here, the first covering an overview of the brand with an explanation of the different sizes and formats, and the second where I compare the two different types of paper in Leuchtturm1917 with Moleskine and Rhodia.

Leuchtturm1917 is a brand of journals that we've been asked about a lot in recent months, so we had to look into them for ourselves. When it comes to paper shopping, we're always a little skeptical of any new paper we hear about, as most companies just don't make products that hold up to fountain pen ink. Well, after trying Leuchtturm for ourselves, we were impressed, especially given the price. The paper isn't absolutely premium for fountain pen use, with the right (or should I say wrong) pen and ink combinations, you certainly can push it past its limits to evoke feathering and bleeding. But this paper's threshold of pain is pretty high, higher than anything I've used in this price range before, and their notebooks have a lot of really cool details that make the brand as a whole something really unique.

Here is a bit of their history, as quoted from the Leuchtturm1917 site:
Founded in 1917, Leuchtturm can look back on over 90 years of experience in the production of high-quality stationery. The company was re-established in Hamburg from 1948. From the 1960s, Leuchtturm’s international expansion continued apace, culminating in the company becoming the world’s leading supplier of postage stamp and coin albums. Axel and Max Stürken took over management at the end of the 1990s as the fourth generation to head the traditional Hanseatic family-run company. 
Experience and consistency are important requirements for quality. Quality gives ideas a solid foundation on which they can develop. We are convinced that small details can make a big difference. 
Some items, such as the springback binder, are still made in the same way as they were back in the days when the company was first set up. Since then, many items have been added to our range. All LEUCHTTURM1917 items unite the belief that success stems from quality and well thought-out detailed solutions. Today, LEUCHTTURM1917 stands for premium quality in more than 50 countries.
The most exciting thing about Leuchtturm1917 is the format, the details, and the value. These notebooks cost significantly less than other notebooks like them, and the build and paper quality is impressive for what you're paying. They come stacked full of paper, have numbered pages with a table of contents to organize the book, back pockets (on everything but the Jottbook), and even come with stickers to label the binding so you can quickly glance at your journals on a shelf. They have done a lot of cool stuff with these.

Leuchtturm1917 numbered pages in every notebook.

Place for a date at the top of the page.

Table of contents at the front of each notebook, to organize your book.

A place for the name and address at the front of the notebook.

Back pocket on hard cover and soft cover notebooks (not the Jottbook though).

Perforated sheets (ranging from 8-28 total, depending on the notebook) in the back of most notebooks.

Thank you card from the owners, Leuchtturm1917 history, and stickers to label your binding available on most notebooks.

Rachel and I cover a lot in the videos, but there are honestly just so many different little details that it's hard to go over everything, especially the subtle things that change from one notebook to another. We've put an incredible amount of time and effort into detailing and photographing every aspect of these notebooks on GouletPens.com, so that will be the best way to see the specifications of each different product.

There are three basic cover types, the Hard Cover, Soft Cover, and Jottbook. Among these, there are three different sizes available, the Pocket (A6, approx.), Large (A5, approx.), and Master (A4, approx.). The prices on the entire notebook line range from only $6 to $28, so you definitely get some serious page for your buck. They have notebooks in blank, lined (5mm on most notebooks, 8.5mm on the Hard Cover A4 Master only), 5mm graph, and 5mm dot grids.

There are some really neat colors, too! Most of the colors are only available in the ruled format, but that could change in the future.





The paper itself is (in my view) better than Moleskine, not quite as ideal for fountain pen ink as Rhodia/Clairefontaine, so there will need to be some consideration given about which pen and ink (mainly the ink) used on this paper. I tested several inks but there's no way I can test anywhere near the 700 inks we have, so I'd love to hear from anyone with Leuchtturm1917 experience which inks work best. It's been pretty evident that Leuchtturm1917 has catered to more of the pencil/ballpoint/rollerball crowd that Moleskine serves than the fountain pen community, but they are very interested to learn more about fountain pens and what we crazy ink lovers want in our notebooks. Part of what got me so excited about working with Leuchtturm is that they are so open to feedback and excited to learn about our community, so I can definitely see them taking a lot of our feedback to heart. This seems like a company that is very user-oriented, and that's something that I can get behind.

***One thing I forgot to mention in the post originally, but the labels for the notebooks actually hold up quite well to fountain pen ink. Here's a sampling:

Leuchtturm1917 labels with fountain pen ink, holds up well!


This is a brand that we've been really excited to begin carrying, and I think it will find a nice cozy place in the fountain pen world. We're offering a significant part of the Leuchtturm1917 line of notebooks at GouletPens.com. If you have any feedback about anything, don't hesitate to ask me in the comments below. I'd love to hear what you think!

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mailbox Monday #28


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 you! I'll be posting highlights of some of my more interesting email questions every Mailbox Monday. These are some emails of mine from the past week or so:


Why is the piston filler pen so revered in comparison to other types of filling mechanisms? Being fairly new to the pen community, I find it curious. I think the converter makes cleaning a pen so much easier. What a convenience compared to the piston! I know that the "connoisseurs" have a different take on this. Why is the measure of quality so different when comparing CC vs. piston pens?
Basically, it's just because of ink capacity. When a piston pen is using the whole body of the pen to hold the ink, it can usually hold 3-4 times the volume of your typical converter. That's basically the main benefit. Also, it's a little more convenient to fill, because you don't have to unscrew the body of the pen to get to a converter to fill it, you just dunk the pen in the ink, unscrew the back of the pen, and you're good. Of course, the cartridge/converter has a lot of benefits over the piston, ease of cleaning is a huge one. But another one is that if your converter stops working right, you just get a new one for a few dollars. If a piston pen stops working right, you usually have to send it in for repairs to the manufacturer.
Brian, Any news on the TWSBI Mini??? I tried their facebook page but couldn't find a release date - maybe just missed it...
It's going to be at least a month before it's available, we don't have a specific date yet.
I received my Ocean Blue ink (thank you for your usual prompt delivery) and I was anxious to use it. However, I was surprised to see the warning sticker on the plastic around the box that said to wipe the nib to prevent staining and that you shouldn’t leave the ink in the Pen reservoir (or something like that, I don’t have the actual sticker in front of me). What do these mean? I was unaware that the ink could stain the nib or that the ink shouldn’t be left in the pen…What gives? Should I be afraid to use it?
You don't need to worry about that sticker. They originally started putting it on the 1670 Rouge Hematite because the ink is heavily pigmented, that's how it gets it's famous 'sheen'. Bleu Ocean doesn't have that sheen, and doesn't have any pigment in it all, so there's no need to worry. Frankly, I think they went overkill putting that sticker on there and it really isn't necessary. I found that using Bleu Ocean was no different than using any of my other fountain pen inks. Hopefully this eases your concern.
What is the difference between the steel and rhodium nibs on the Edison Beaumont FP? Do they write differently?
The steel nibs are stainless steel, so they'll be a little stiffer than the other ones. The Rhodium are actually 18k gold that are plated in rhodium, the plating gives it a sliver color instead of the yellow gold color. Aside from being $125 more for the rhodium-plated 18k nib, it writes a little wetter and 'softer' than the steel nibs, because gold is a softer material than steel. Personally, I think the steel nibs are great and it's hard for me to justify the $125 up charge to go with the 18k nib. But, for those that truly love the feel of a gold nib, it's worth it. If you're unsure, then get the steel. You can see writing samples of the nibs in our Nib Nook, the '18k' nib is the same as the 18k rhodium-plated nib, the only difference is the color of the nib.
How come ink saturation changes from ink fill to ink fill in the same pen with the same ink? For example: I have an Edison Collier that I have filled with Iroshizuku tsuki-yo. I write with it and it's a nice dark blue as advertised. Then the pen runs out. I flush my pen with water until it runs clear before refilling it with the same ink. No longer is it the deep blue that it was, but a lighter, dustier blue. Any thoughts?
The most likely suspect would be water in the pen left over from cleaning. When you ink it back up, the water left in the pen dilutes the ink when you refill, and it looks washed out. Make sure when you clean your pen that you're then wrapping a paper towel or napkin around the nib to draw any residual water out before you ink it up again, to ensure the truest ink color.
Regarding the MonteVerde Mini Ink Cartridge Converter (MV31072): Do you have any personal experience in using these in Kaweco Sport pens? I've heard good and bad things about doing this, as to whether or not they fit.
When it comes to using Monteverde mini converters in Kaweco pens, it's really hit or miss. I don't know what the variant is...the Kawecos or the Monteverde min converters...but sometimes they fit, and sometimes they don't. They're two different brands, so they don't do any assurance to see if they mate up to each other, so it's a bit of a gamble every time. 
I'm afraid if someone hands me a pen to sign something and I already have a fountain pen in my hand they'll think, "Well, la-dee-da, aren't you special?" You ever have people look at you funny when you use a fountain pen, like their pen just isn't good enough?
Do I get weird looks about my pens? Um, yeah. Actually, I basically just try to avoid telling people what I do anymore because it always goes into a 15-minute ordeal of me having to convince them that "yes, I really do run an online fountain pen retail business". But pretty much I just work all the time, so I rarely interact with people who aren't using fountain pens! :) 

Thanks for taking the time to read my emails! I'd love to hear what you think in the comments. I'll be compiling this coming week's emails into next week's Mailbox Monday post!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Ink Drop Contest - Sept Winners, Oct Contest


 Thanks to everyone who entered into our September "Staff Favorites" Ink Drop Contest! The first-prize ($25) winner was Kelly O.!



Our two runners up ($10) were Peggy J. and Suzy L. Congrats to all of you, and again, thank you to everyone for your submissions!



Now on to October....

October's Ink Drop theme was Cryptid Inks, featuring a new line of inks from Scribal Work Shop, all named after mythological creatures. Brian reviewed them in yesterday's blog post. The 5 colors are:
Now on to this month's contest! Same rules as always.

Contest Entry Guidelines/Rules:
  1. You can submit any kind of writing or artwork. It can be an ink review, a poem, a watercolor wash, a sketch, swabs, lettering, or even get all scientific with chromatography... it just has to be ink on paper.
  2. You must use all five Ink Drop colors.
  3. It would be awesome if it relates to the theme, but not required.
  4. Entry can be submitted electronically (email rachel@gouletpens.com) or via snail mail (The Goulet Pen Company, 10201 Maple Leaf Court, Ashland, VA 23005). Any physical submissions will become our property to hang up on our letter wall. :)
  5. Entry must be received by October 31, 2012 at 11:59pm EST.
  6. You can submit as many entries as you like, but you will only be eligible for one prize.
  7. Please include your name and email when submitting your entry so that we can contact you if you're a winner!
  8. The voting period will be open on November 1, 2012 and close on November 6, 2012 at 11:59pm EST. It will be announced through Ink Nouveau with a link to the image gallery and a link to vote. You may vote once - just vote for your favorite entry!
  9. The entry receiving with the most votes will win a $25 GouletPens.com gift certificate. The second- and third-place entries will each receive a $10 gift certificate. We'll announce the winners on November 7 on Ink Nouveau.
Curious about Ink Drop? Click here to learn more about our monthly ink sample subscription program.

Email us if you have any questions, and let us know what you thought of this month's colors in the comments below!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

October 2012 Ink Drop Reveal: Scribal Work Shop Cryptid Inks



It's not often we get to completely surprise our Ink Drop members these days, but we managed to pull it off this month! This month features Scribal Work Shop's line of Cryptid inks, which consists of 5 colors all themed after mythical creatures. These include Kraken, Leviathan, Nessie, Siren, and Zhulong. The inks are conventional fountain pen inks that are made by chemist Lucas Tucker, an alumnus of Virginia Tech. He was actually in school around the same time as Rachel and me, as well as other Hokies on our team!

Lucas has an interesting story about starting his company, and you can read about all that here. The main theme of his story is that he wants to be independent, an entrepreneur, and we can certainly appreciate that! He reached out to us about his inks and after I tried them for myself, I saw that he had a pretty decent thing going. As I sat there with swabs that I made of all 5 of his ink colors, it occurred to me that his nice palette of colors would be perfect as a surprise Ink Drop theme! We normally have to plan out our Ink Drop far in advance, but we had an opportunity to create this month's Drop as all Scribal Work Shop and it was just too exciting to pass up. I know Lucas is really excited at the opportunity to have so many members of the fountain pen community trying his ink at the same time as well, and it will be a great opportunity for him and his company to become known.

 Here are the Scribal Work Shop Cryptid inks that we featured in this month's Ink Drop:

Kraken

This is a deep black ink, with very little shading. The Kraken was a many tentacled beast known for sinking ships and killing sailors. The accounts of the Kraken is considered by many to be maritime descriptions of giant squid.



Leviathan

This is a green ink. a The Leviathan is mentioned most notably in the book of Job. Believed by some to be a giant crocodile, and by others a giant multiheaded water dwelling beast.



Nessie

This is one of the more pleasant purples I've seen lately, fairly dark and subdued. Nessie, or the Loch Ness monster is probably one of the most famous Cryptids, believed to be a giant dinosaur like beast that lives in Loch Ness in Scotland.



Siren

This is a medium-dark blue ink. Sirens were beautiful women, sometimes half bird, sometimes half fish or serpent, who drew sailors to their deaths with their enchanting music.



Zhulong

This is a true red ink. Zhulong is a mythological red dragon with a human face known in China to be responsible for the day and the night.



***We found that some of our Zhulong ink had mold growth in it that developed after the Ink Drop had been prepared and shipped out. We haven't heard from anyone that's received a sample that it has been a problem. If you do notice anything wrong with your Zhulong sample, let us know by sending an email to us, and we will make it right for you. I've talked to Lucas about why this has happened, and he explained that red dyes are more susceptible to these kind of issues, and he's going to use a stronger biocide in this ink moving forward. We won't have any bottles or samples of Zhulong for sale for the next several weeks as a result. I'll keep you up to date as I learn more. 




We're excited about Scribal Work Shop, and glad that we are still able to keep Ink Drop members on their toes. These colors are all very nice, the ink is well-behaved, and rather affordable. A 2-ounce/60ml bottle will retail for only $8, so this ink is sure to be one the fountain pen world will notice. What do you think?

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Friday, October 5, 2012

Pilot Metal Falcon Soft Nib Showcase



If you liked the soft extra-fine Pilot Metal Falcon video I posted last week (here), then you'll surely like this video! I needed to use each nib size to add this pen to the Nib Nook anyway, and while they were all inked up at the same time, I used the opportunity to shoot this video showing my using each soft nib size. I was using Noodler's Black ink on 80g Rhodia dot pad paper. This video is total pen porn, but I just couldn't resist ;) Enjoy!

Write On
Brian Goulet

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pilot Vanishing Point Fermo Review



The Pilot Vanishing Point Fermo is the lesser-known sibling pen to the click Vanishing Point, but shares a similar design and the exact same interchangeable nib units. It is a retractable fountain pen, that utilizes a twisting mechanism instead of a click one. I shot a video covering just about everything I could think to cover, including all of the following topics summarized here.

Pilot Vanishing Point Fermo, in Deep Blue, Diamond Silver, and Black


Box and Packaging
The Pilot Vanishing Point Fermo box is the standard Pilot box like you see with the Vanishing Point (except Black Matte), Custom 74 blue, clear, and smoke, and Namikei Falcon and Pilot Metal Falcon, and Pilot Custom Heritage 92. The pen comes with a Pilot Con-50 converter and a single Pilot/Namiki cartridge with a metal cartridge cap.
Pilot Vanishing Point Fermo, with Con-50 converter, Pilot/Namiki cartridge, and metal cartridge cap (all included)


Color and Model Options
The Fermo comes in 3 different colors, Black, Deep Blue, and Diamond Silver. All are rhodium trimmed and come with an 18k gold, rhodium plated nib in extra-fine, fine, medium, and broad nib options. 
Filling Mechanisms
Cartridge/converter, Pilot/Namiki proprietary cartridges, Con-50 converter. Ink capacity isn't huge, that's a bit of a drawback to the Con-50, but it's no different than any of the click Vanishing Points or other Pilot pens. Refilling ink cartridges is a method that some prefer for slightly greater ink capacity.
Comparable Pens
Nib Size Options
Extra-fine, fine, medium, and broad 18k gold nibs with rhodium plating. Some retailers may choose to offer the pens with fine, medium, and broad 18k yellow gold nibs as well. These nib units are exactly the same as the click Vanishing Point nibs, and are interchangeable. 
Maintenance
Typical pen maintenance, the capless design may require more regular use to keep the pen from drying out, but I didn't experience anything unusual with Ku-jaku during my test week. The inside mechanism on this appears to be the same little 'trap door' style as the click Vanishing Point, which actually does a pretty good job of keeping the nib wet when the pen isn't in use. I didn't notice any difference between this and any other pen I have. When cleaning out the pen, it's actually pretty easy because you can remove the converter, and use the good ol' bulb syringe to flush it out. There isn't a real intricate feed system exposed that makes it hard to clean out. 
Notable Features
Retractable, slightly slimmer/sleeker than the click VP, can use any existing VP nib. It might be a little more comfortable to use for those with smaller hands, if the click VP is just a tad too big. 
Size and Dimensions
Weight: Overall: 33g (1.16oz)
Length: Nib retracted: 141mm (5.55in), Nib protracted: 150mm (5.91in) Nib Length Outside of Pen: 9mm (0.35in) Diameter: Body (no clip): 12mm (0.47in) Body (w/ clip): 13.8mm (0.54in)
Writing test
Flow is nice, drier in the EF and F nibs. EF and F write much finer than Western nibs like Lamy, medium and broad write more like other brands' nibs. EF nib is CRAZY thin. Make sure to pull nib unit out of the pen, don't try to ink with the pen body attached! Fully immerse the filler hole when inking up. Grip Section is smooth, part of the body. slimmer than the click VP, which is nice. No problems with gripping, despite it being metal. The metal is lacqeuered, which helps keep a better grip than you might have on a chrome-plated metal grip section. 


Conclusion
Strengths: This is a beautiful pen that I personally find more comfortable to use than the VP. It is very well balanced and the nibs are excellent. You don't need to worry about losing or dropping a cap when you go to use it, and it definitely has a cool factor to it. It looks very classy and professional, without being flashy or gaudy.

Weaknesses: It's a significant jump in price to the VP, no doubt because of the engineering involved in developing a retractable twist pen. The ink capacity isn't outstanding, but that only really matters for the wetter medium and broad nibs as the smaller nibs sip ink.

Price: List $325, GouletPens.com price of $260. Certainly not cheap, but it is an attractive pen that writes really well, very nice for a snazzy work pen that isn't gaudy. I fully realize the price will drive most pen fans to consider the click Vanishing Point first, given that it's nearly half the price, but the Fermo is a respectable pen on its own.

Recommendation: This pen definitely won't be for everyone, but for those that love the click VP and want something different, this will be a pleasure. It'll also be nice for those that want the convenience of a retractable nib like the VP, but haven' been crazy about the thickness of the grip section or the click action. 

 What do you think? Let me know in the comments....

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Monday, October 1, 2012

September Ink Drop Contest - Voting Time!


It's time to vote for the winners of the September Ink Drop contest! The theme was "Staff Favorites" and the colors were De Atramentis Dianthus (scented), De Atramentis Sandalwood (scented), Diamine Apple Glory, Noodler's El Lawrence, and Noodler's Liberty's Elysium.

We are awarding three winners each month. First prize (the entry with the most votes) wins a $25 GouletPens.com gift certificate, and two runners-up each win $10.

We have six wonderful entries this month! We definitely have some talented artists.

So check out all the entries here and then head on over to this survey to vote for your favorite! 

Voting will end on Saturday, October 6 at 11:59pm EST. We'll announce the winner the next day along with the theme announcement and contest commencement for the next month.



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