Friday, November 30, 2012

Write Time 11/28/12

Click here to view the transcript of the chat from this broadcast. 

This broadcast we were trying out a new broadcasting program for the first time, so I'd love to hear what you think! We have a new broadcasting program that we are trying out, and we were able to overlay images of some of the pens we talked about, which is a huge plus.

But where are we, why aren't we cozy on our living room sofa like we normally are? Well, that's a funny story. In a nutshell, I was messing with the light switches in our living room and wasn't able to finish my project in time for the broadcast, so we had no light! We had to move over to our dining room and set up an impromptu broadcasting location. Because I didn't have an ethernet cable long enough to reach there we had to broadcast over wifi, which wasn't ideal, and some people experienced some skipping in the chat (which we talk about in the video). This won't be an issue ongoing though. I've fixed the lighting in our living room and we'll be back to normal next week :)

In this video, we talk about:
  • Lamy Studio Royal Red (10:50)
  • Pilot Metropolitan (18:05)
  • TWSBI Mini (22:05)
  • Edison Nouveau Encore LE, Flecked Tortoise (28:00)
  • Platignum pens (39:50)

Thanks everyone who joined us live, especially those with choppy video feeds, we'll make sure we do everything we can to keep that from happening again. We'll be back live next week on Wed. Dec. 5th at 9pm EST. See you there!

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Write Time Topics 11/28/12

We're back! We took last week off because our son was sick, and after a week of passing that bug around the family, we're all healthy and ready to do another live broadcast tonight at 9pm EST. Here's a bit of what we'll be touching on tonight:
  • Lamy Royal Red Studios have arrived, after a 5 month wait!
  • Edison Nouveau Encore LE, buy period still open through Nov. 30
  • TWSBI Minis back in 
  • What's up with the TWSBI 540s
  • Ink Drop theme for December, and November's contest entries
  • Timelines for other new products coming in like:
    • Pilot Metropolitans
    • Platignum pens
    • Herbin 1670 Bleu Ocean (coming tomorrow)
    • TWSBI Mini nib units
    • TWSBI VAC-700 in clear

We're also trying out a brand new broadcasting program for Write Time and we've upgraded our home internet service to allow us to accommodate a much higher quality video stream than you've ever seen from us before. We've been working really hard lately to try to make Write Time a more enjoyable viewing experience for both our live and recorded broadcast viewers, and we'll be putting it through its paces tonight! We'll have the new Lamy Studio to show off to test how good our broadcast can look!

We're excited to see you tonight at 9pm EST for would should be our nicest looking broadcast we've ever had ;)

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Friday, November 23, 2012

Goulet Holiday Promotions

It's rare that I do a purely promotional blog post, but I've been getting a lot of questions about what I'm doing at GouletPens.com for this holiday season. Rachel and I have been working hard to come up with some fun stuff for the holidays, here's everything we're doing:

Inksamplepalooza! Now through Monday Nov. 26th at 11:59pm EST we're taking 20% off all ink samples and ink sample package sets. Woo hoo! 

Holiday Specials! We're giving away a free bottle of ink with purchase of select pens. We've compiled all the eligible pens into one page, or just look for the red bow image! This deal will last through most of December.

Tons of new package sets! We worked hard to come up with a much more extensive selection of package sets to make holiday shopping easier for your fountain pen newbie friends and family. We also have some savings built in there over the individually priced items.

Christmas Seasonal Selections! We took a bunch of Christmas-themed items and compiled them together in one place. Fun!

We jam-packed our Goulet Outlét with lots of new great deals. In our Sale Items page, you'll find a lot of bottled inks, notebooks, pens, and more! In our Closeouts page, you'll find even better deals on items that we're discontinuing.... good while supplies last!

You can also view all the latest new products and what's coming soon in our weekly newsletter, just out this morning.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, and enjoy your holiday shopping! Thanks, as always, for supporting us.

Write On,
Brian & Rachel Goulet

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Updated Ink Nouveau and Write Time Podcasts

When I initially set up the Ink Nouveau podcast just over a year ago, I must confess that I didn't really know much about podcasting. My logic was that if you didn't have the time to sit at your desktop and watch my videos on YouTube, then you may want to download them and take them with you on your phone/tablet. It's a good thought, and I down-sampled the videos to make the file sizes smaller so you wouldn't fill up your phone with two videos. There was a lot of room for improvement, and that's just what Sam (my IT wizard) and I have been working on these last few weeks.

What we did was break out our content instead of having everything lumped into one feed. Previously, we had Write Time (audio and video) in with the Ink Nouveau videos, and it was a bit of a mess. So what we have now is a total of three podcasts (click on the name to subscribe):
  1. Ink Nouveau- tips and tricks, reviews, and my 'normal' format of regular videos. They will be as compressed as we can make them without sacrificing too much quality. The quality will be improved ongoing over what we were doing in the beginning. 
  2. Write Time video (click here for our iTunes listing)- recordings of our Write Time at 9 broadcast, in as high a quality as we can get. Usually ends up being 1-1.5 hours long. We're compressing it as small as we can without making it look terrible, so file size should be manageable. We only have these videos starting at episode 74, but we'll be including all future broadcasts in the podcast feed.
  3. Write Time audio (click here for our iTunes listing)- if you'll be driving while you listen or just don't feel like looking at us, you can download the audio recording of our Write Time at 9 broadcast. It's the exact same recording as the video broadcast, but will be a smaller size and (obviously) no video. We have recordings starting at episode 49, with some holes. We'll try to work out some of the missing episodes, but all episodes moving forward will be included in the podcast feed.

Thanks so much for being patient with us the last few weeks as we've been monkeying around and getting all this set up. We've submitted all of this into Apple, but it won't become searchable on iTunes until next week, since Tim Cook gave the whole company the week off! If you have any questions about any of our podcasts, just post down in the comments and I'll help you out.

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Write Time 11/21/12 Cancelled

We were originally planning to have a Write Time broadcast tonight, but last night our son (Joseph, almost 3 years old) was sick, and we spent most of the night taking care of him. That set us back a bit with our personal plans around Thanksgiving, so we need tonight to be ready for visiting with family. So we're sorry to cancel on such short notice, but that's how it goes sometimes with kids! We're home with Joseph today watching a lot of Thomas the Tank Engine, and he's feeling much better. We hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, we'll see you next week when we're back for our broadcast at 9pm EST on 11/28/12.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mailbox Monday #32

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:

Which pens do you consider to have the tightest sealing caps? (Kaweco, Preppies, Plumix, Pelikano [Jr], others) I'm trying to figure out which would be the best of my pens to ink with my new Q'Ternity and I figure it should probably have a tight seal to keep it from drying out in the pen. Decided to skip the N flex pens as I get the impression this ink might tend toward the dry end of the continuum since it's a quick dry ink. Yes? Your expertise would be most welcome.
The best would actually be the Platinum 3776 Century pens, they advertise more than a year of sealing without drying out! Platinum Preppies seal well, the Prera does too. TWSBI's aren't bad....basically any pen that has an insert in the cap will seal well. I don't know that it's necessary to have a well-sealing pen for Q'Ternity or any other fast-drying ink for that matter. Contrary to what you might think, fast drying inks are actually quite wet. The reason they're fast drying is because it absorbs very quickly into the paper and spreads out, so it dries quicker to the touch. I haven't found that the ink dries any quicker in a pen than any other ink.

I have many fountain pens that use standard international cartridge converters. I never use the plunger mechanisms though as I always refill them with a syringe. The mechanisms though consume half of the available ink space. Do you know of any robustly made cartridge converters that would have the reinforced neck etc. without the plunger mechanics, and therefore twice the capacity?
When it comes to cartridge converters, you usually don't have many options. Whatever converter fits is the one that there is for it, and that's it. For example, the standard international converter that comes with most pens that fit it is the same for all brands (they might have their company's logo on it, but that's about the only difference). Proprietary converters from other brands might be a slightly different (like Pilot, Sailor, Sheaffer, Lamy, Platinum), but they're only going to fit those brands of pens. If you want to get more ink capacity, there are really only two options. You can refill ink cartridges for the given pen, which may or may not have a higher ink capacity than the converter. There aren't any converter-grade cartridges that are super-durable but with a higher ink capacity than a normal converter, though. Ink cartridges are flimsier and meant to be disposable, so you'll be able to get a few fills out of them but they'll wear out and crack/lose their seal after 3-5 refillings. Or you can possibly convert the pen to an eyedropper-fill pen, like I do here with this Platinum Preppy. But not all pens are able to do that. 

I'm planning to buy some Noodler's Green Marine and a bulletproof Black. The idea is to mix and get a bit darker shade and a stronger bulletproof line. What would be the results of mixing a small quantity of X-Feather in? About 1:8 ratio. I'm not entirely sure to go with that or regular BB for my additive. I wouldn't like pure X-Feather because I like to use my pen for notes at school, and X-Feather dries very slowly. But BS Concord Grape has too much bleed/show-through to write on both sides of a page.
You can mix Noodler's inks, but when you get into mixing inks with different properties, you'll essentially be diluting the properties in accordance to the ratios you mix. For example, Black is bulletproof, Green Marine is not. So if you mix the two 50/50, then your mixed ink will only be partially bulletproof (about halfway), because only the black components of that ink will be. Does that make sense? Same goes for lubrication, UV-resistnace, etc. The part that gets interesting/confusing is that each individual ink has its own mixture of chemical properties, exactly which we don't really know because the formulations are proprietary. So when you get to mixing different inks together, it really takes a lot of trial and error to try to get a specific result, because you only partly know what you're mixing. As long as you keep an experimentation mindset, it can be a lot of fun. The only inks you don't want to mix are Baystates...well, you can mix them with other Baystates, but not with other inks. They have some kind of property that makes them incompatible with other inks, to the point where it will froth/gel.  

I'm curious if anyone has tried taking a Konrad and pulling the plunger out of the back assembly and using it as an eyedropper. I would assume I would want some silicone grease.
The Konrad is a piston-fill pen, so it needs to have the mechanism intact to be able to seal properly. The only pens that are able to be eyedropper converted are ones that have removable cartridge/converters that have completely sealed bodies. Because the Konrad has a piston mechanism inside, the seal on the end of the piston rod is what keeps the ink from leaking out of the back. If you remove that, then you're left, essentially, with a gaping hole in the back of the pen. Now in theory you could seal up the back of the pen somehow, but it's not entirely practical to do that, and wouldn't really buy you much in terms of ink capacity. The Konrad's pretty good as is, if you really want a high ink capacity, then you should take a look at the Ahab, which holds a mammoth 6ml of ink when you fill the body!

Will the TWSBI Ink Bottle work with most fountain pens?
The TWSBI ink bottle will work with any pen, but which pen will fill which way will vary. Basically, if you take off the aluminum part, then it's just a regular bottle and you can fill it with any pen. The aluminum part has an adapter that is made for the TWSBI 540, TWSBI Mini, or a Standard International converter. Those are the only things you can use on that part, to fill it without having to dip your pen into the ink. 

I'm at the point where I'm looking to expand my pen inventory and while I really like my Lamy Studio, I'm yearning to have a gold-nibbed pen that is a level up from it. This is where I need your help. I've surfed around and tried some pens at a great store in The City (Flax Art & Design, San Francisco) and am gravitating towards four different pens. (I haven't tried the TWSBi locally, so I really don't know how it feels or writes, but it's on the list because of all the attention it gets) This is what I'm looking for in a new pen: (ordered somewhat in priority) 

1) Writing Experience - melted butter on glass and all that 
2) Fit & Finish - must be quality materials and workmanship 
3) Durability - it should last decades if not for the rest of my life, and not be too sensitive (or melt) with a variety of good inks 
4) Ease of Maintenance - if it's not reasonably easy to clean, what's the point? 
5) Serviceability - if it should need to be repaired or have parts replaced, how easy is that? 
6) Various Intangibles - "soul", je ne sais quoi, etc. - you know what I mean ;-) 
7) Appearance - moderately important, I'm not drawn to most "classic" style pens with gaudy colors or weird end-to-end random patterns 

The four pens: Pelikan M605 (I know it's not a regularly stocked pen, but I would special-order it from you) Pilot Custom 74 Platinum 3776 Shoji TWSBi Diamond 540 Pretend for a moment that they were all the same price, which would you recommend?
I don't think that I'll be able to give you any one magical answer because a lot of what you asked is subjective and I will have an opinion that may be different than yours or others, but I'll do my best. I think the best thing I can do for you is give you my opinion about the 4 pens you asked me about.
• Pelikan M605- I don't personally have experience with this exact pen, but I have used the Pelikan m600 White Tortoise that was a special edition late last year. It was a gorgeous pen, and I know that Pelikan has a great reputation for their gold nib pens. I think it meets all of your criteria...as it well should, because it's by far the most expensive of the group.
Pilot Custom 74- I love this pen. It writes so well, and Pilot has a great fit and finish. My medium nib Custom 74 is my go-to pen, even though I have about 100 others at my disposal. The one potential drawback is that the converter is hard to clean well, so it's kind of a pain to change colors on a regular basis if you're using inks that are hard to clean. It's not a huge deal, but it's worth mentioning.
Platinum 3776 Shoji- This is also a great pen, and is limited edition that I believe will run out very soon. The best thing about this pen is the patented cap seal that Platinum has on this pen, they tout over a year of storage with an inked nib that will not dry out. If that matters to you. The nib is a bit stiffer than the Pilot, so if you like stiff nibs, then go for it. Both Pilot and Platinum's nibs are finer than the corresponding Pelikan size.
TWSBi Diamond 540- This one is hard to fairly compare because it's a steel nib and the others are gold, and there's obviously a huge difference in price. But you asked me to ignore that so I will. I am a fan of the 540, mainly because it generally writes well and is easy to disassemble for cleaning and maintenance (it even comes with a wrench and silicone grease). The biggest downside to this is that TWSBI is discontinuing this model, so it will be hard to find. We have some of the colored 540's left, but those will dwindle. We have no clear ones and won't get any more. We're told that TWSBI is updating the pen to become the 580, a similar design with some slight improvements, but we have no information about when that will happen or how much it will cost (probably similar to the 540).

Honestly, all of these pens will meet all of your criteria, they're all beautiful and well-engineered pens that will write well and are relatively problem-free in maintenance. What separates them will be nitty gritty details such as their ink capacity, specific dimensions like weight and grip diameter, and of course, price. 

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!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Edison Nouveau Encore LE in Flecked Tortoise

In a collaboration between Goulet and Edison, we have designed the Edison Nouveau Encore LE in the beautiful Flecked Tortoise acrylic. It's a rare material that we never thought would be feasible in a production setting, until Brian Gray was able to acquire enough to make this limited run. Rachel and I had fallen in love with it ever since the first picture we saw over a year ago, and when we were working on prototypes for the Encore release earlier in 2012, Brian made a pen for himself out of this material that he still uses as his go-to pen. He was nice enough to send it to me so I could photograph it, but with the caveat that I return it to him as quickly as possible! ;)

This is the first Encore to have gold trim, as the other three all have rhodium trim. It has a two-tone steel nib (gold-plated) that is offered in fine, medium, and broad. The nib writes nearly identical to a Lamy nib, you can see a comparison towards the end of the video. It is a cartridge/converter fill pen (like most other Edisons), and it can be converted to an eyedropper if you want to increase the ink capacity. This flecked tortoise material is interesting stuff, it almost glows under bright lights like we have in our photo booth, but you can see it looks a little darker in less intense lighting like you see in the video. That's because it is slightly translucent, and the amber color can change quite a bit based on how the light hits it. It's good-looking stuff!

Because this material is so hard to come by, we're only going to be able to do a limited production run on a pre-order basis. What we're planning at the moment is to accept pre-orders through November 30, 2012. If that turns out not to be enough time for everyone, we may extend it a bit, but we're not planning to do that at the moment. Once all the orders are in, Brian will be able to finalize all of his materials and begin production on the pens. The target finish date right now is around early-mid-January. We don't know how many pens there will end up being, but each one will be individually numbered. Custom grinds are available from Brian Gray as well at an additional cost that will be handled directly through him, just let us know about it when you order your pen and we'll pass along the info to him.

Brian Gray also wrote a blog post about this pen which you can check out.
I'd love to hear what you think of this pen, just post in the comments below!

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Friday, November 16, 2012

Pilot Metropolitan

The new Pilot Metropolitan is awesome. I handle a lot of fountain pens, that's no secret. And I can often see a pen and quickly judge what type of writer will enjoy the pen the most. Not all pens are for all people, though there are certainly some that are more universal than others. Often, it's the less expensive pens that are most coveted, as beginners can start using them without a great investment. Veteran users can stock up on many of them to keep them different inks and in different locations (work, desk, car, bathroom, whatever!). The type of pens I'm talking about are ones like the Platinum Preppy and Lamy Safari, the ones that everyone seems to have. It's rare that a pen will come along that I feel will become as widely popular as these pens, so I don't say the following statement lightly: the Pilot Metropolitan is a pen that has the potential to be as popular as the Preppy and Safari. 

Pilot Metrpolitan Fountain Pen

Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen

Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen

Now that's a bold statement, I know, and it's also going on the assumption that Pilot will expand beyond the medium nib and gold, silver, and black colors. But I bet that they will, because there will be a demand for it. Seriously, I know I'm a retailer and sell these pens so take what I say with that in mind. I'm also an enthusiast and the build quality, writing quality, and incredible value of this pen are something I just don't see every day. This pen is only $15, and that comes with a converter…I honestly don't know how they do it.

I was excited about these as soon as I saw them, and had to double- and triple-check with our distributor that the price was only $15 because I just couldn't believe a pen this good could be so inexpensive. Whatever you're doing Pilot, keep it up! Reviews of the pens are coming in now that they've been available in the US for a few weeks, and I'm not the only one swooning over these pens. The biggest drawback with the Metropolitan is that it's only available with a medium nib right now. But it's a Pilot medium, so it's as fine as most Western fine nibs (like Lamy), or maybe even finer .

Photo of a Pilot Metropolitan. Showcasing it's nib sizes and color options.

I think this pen is really something, and I'm absolutely thrilled it's here. I look forward to hearing what you think of it! Just leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Write Time 11/14/2012 with Brian Gray and Wayne Mullins, Contest Winners

To see a transcript of the chat, download it here

Last night's broadcast was a first for us, two guests in one night! A special thanks goes out Brian Gray of the Edison Pen Co. and Wayne Mullins of Ugly Mug Marketing for taking time out of their night to call in to us. We also tested out some new broadcasting software that greatly improved our video quality. Of course, I accidentally forgot to click a button to have my external mic work for the broadcast, so we did the whole thing with the internal mic, argh! Oh well, so the quality of the audio isn't as good as it could or should be. C'est la vie.

Brian joined us first to introduce our new Edison Nouveau Encore LE in Flecked Tortoise. It's a gorgeous material that normally isn't available in high quantity, but Brian was able to procure enough for us to do a limited run in this Goulet exclusive pen. We're absolutely thrilled about it, as we've been drooling over this pen for the last year or so! I'll be doing a more comprehensive post with a video soon.

Wayne Mullins also joined us as we announced the winners to our join contest, So You Have A Contest…. Wayne is a marketing guru and author of the book So You Have A Website…Now What?, where he included us in chapter 1. There were 25 lucky winners that will be receiving a copy of his book, a Platinum Preppy, and a Clairefontaine notebook. The winners will all be individually contacted by me, but here they are listed out (some names are similar to other contestants):

Amanda Kay Hagee
Nick B
Katie S.
Achilleas Kontozoglous
Dave Bissett
Lucas J.
Marc Girouard
M. Wochner
Jack Bowers
John the Monkey
Greg G
ILove Rhodia

Wayne was also very generous to spontaneously give 20 extra copies of his book to the first 20 people that emailed him live during the broadcast, thank you Wayne!

It was a fun broadcast, and we really enjoyed it. Thanks to everyone who took time out of their night to hang out with us! We'll be back again next Wed., Nov. 21st at 9pm EST.

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

23 New Noodler's Ahab Flex Colors!

As if there weren't already enough options for Noodler's Ahab flex pens, Nathan has gone full bore with 23 new colors. Many of the colors are ones unlike anything we've seen…new tortoises, and a lot of resins with pearlescence. They're pretty darn cool, and I didn't know what chance I'd have to put all 23 together in a single video, so I seized the opportunity here. Some of the colors are a bit similar to others, so I compared as many similar pens as I could to what's already offered. It's a lot to cover, so sit back and enjoy :)

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Write Time Topics 11/14/12- Brian Gray and Wayne Mullins as Guests!

It's time for another Write Time at 9 tonight, and we have two very special guests joining us. First, at 9pm EST we'll have Brian Gray of the Edison Pen Co. calling in by phone to help us introduce the new limited edition Edison Nouveau Encore. We'll catch up with Brian a bit and talk about his latest projects and what he has planned for the next several months. Then at 9:30pm, we'll hang it up with Brian and call in Wayne Mullins, author of So You Have A Website…Now What?, and sponsor of our latest contest where we are giving away 25 copies of his book, with a fountain pen and Clairefontaine notebook. We'll be announcing the winners live during the broadcast (as well as posting them tomorrow), after we chat with Wayne a bit about his background and what inspired him to include us in his book.

So it should be a fun-filled broadcast, it'll be a first for us with two guests in one evening. We'll be recording the whole event so you can watch it later if you're not able to make it, but if you are able to come, it'll be a good time starting at 9pm EST tonight. See you there!

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mailbox Monday #31

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 do you think you'll have something to report on the 3 new Iroshizuku Colors?
The new Iroshizuku inks are scheduled for release in Japan only in November (I think they're out right now), but they won't be arriving in the US until early January. I don't have a specific date yet, but we have all three colors on order and we'll be getting plenty of it. 

I have been searching around for some ink bottles, but not the common type. When browsing your site I saw mostly glass bottles but for my particular scenario I need plastic. In just under 2 months I am heading overseas for a 9 month deployment in the sandbox and would like to bring along some of the various types of inks I use. (this is a brick building area, no middle of desert/tents and so on. Would not be the ideal accessory the latter scenario!) Most of my supplies have come from your company for the past few years, and most of the inks are noodlers line. Considering the fact that supplies such as these would be shipped by family once I arrive at the main base, and they will be at the mercy of USPS stateside, then cargo handling crews en route, anything glass just spells a disaster (at least that is my reasoning). I haven't researched the specifics of inks, but from another standpoint I know of the purposes of storing various chemicals in glass versus plastic but am hoping for a <1 year timeframe the concerns with inks may not be an issue. You all are the experts compared to my knowledge so if you could please provide some comment on what may be possible for this. I think at a maximum maybe 2-3 different inks, dip and fountain pen refill along with the recent highlighter ink I just put an order through for. 
Thank you for your service! I think something like this would do you really well. For transporting pen ink, it's one bottle I see mentioned over and over again by fountain pen users. I'm not affiliated with REI or Nalgene at all, I've just heard these bottles work well. They're only 1 ounce so you may have to split up a Noodler's bottle into a few of them, but they're pretty inexpensive and will give you the peace of mind during transit. I'd still probably put these bottles inside individual plastic bags just in case, but you really should be fine with these ;) 

Any tips on how to fill the Vac 700 from one of your sample bottles?
I have a video on different filling tips from a sample vial, and one if not several of the techniques should work for your Vac-700. Taking off the nib section and willing with a syringe would be the easiest, but tilting the vial might be able to suffice, too. 

I have been watching your great Youtube videos and just saw the one about the "surprise" pens that come with the various 4.5 oz Noodlers inks. My question is which 4.5 oz colors come with the fountain pen that also has the roller ball white colored tip insert? Do you know of any other roller ball pens that are dropper filled or that could be easily converted (ie with the oring trick) to dropper filled? I find it mind boggling there are not more choices in this niche.....or am I just not looking in the right places?
There are 5 Noodler's 4.5 ounce inks that come with the eyedropper rollerball: Baystate Blue, Kung Te-ChengWhaleman's Sepia, Heart of Darkness, and Lexington Gray. There are VERY few other rollerball pens that use fountain pen ink, and that is, I'm not sure. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that rollerball makers have no incentive to make a reusable product (if you throw it away, you have to buy another!), and fountain pen makers make very little money from their ink, so there's little incentive for them to develop these types of pens. There are a few, Noodler's has one, J. Herbin has one, Visconti makes one, so does Kaweco, I think Delta might make one (not sure about that) but that's all I know. I think the Kaweco one can be converted to eyedropper (I don't carry that, so I'm not sure), the Noodler's one is a piston fill, so there's no conversion necessary, I'm not sure about the Visconti, and the J. Herbin one has a hole in the back of it, so you'd need to plug that hole to use it as an eyedropper.

With the Christmas card season fast approaching, I am looking for a vivid red ink that approximates a pointsetta or a red Sharpie marker. Any suggestions? I would like something that does not look like dried blood or muddy water after it sits for a couple hours.
There are several great options, some of my favorites are Diamine Red Dragon, Sheaffer Red, Noodler's Nikita, and Noodler's Red. You can check them all out in the Swab Shop

Does your company plan to sell packs of paper samples that have many brands/types of paper? Similar to how you sell 'packs' of ink samples? Seems like a lot of work to actually implement, but was curious.
We used to do that a while ago, but the logistics were overwhelming. Not only was it very time consuming to put them together, but shipping a few sheets of paper in a way that they wouldn't get bent was very challenging, and we weren't able to do it in a way that made economic sense. We keep trying to revisit the idea, but aren't able to do it in a way that is manageable for us.

I have many fountain pens that use standard international cartridge converters. I never use the plunger mechanisms though as I always refill them with a syringe. The mechanisms though consume half of the available ink space. Do you know of any robustly made cartridge converters that would have the reinforced neck etc. without the plunger mechanics, and therefore twice the capacity?
When it comes to cartridge converters, you usually don't have many options. Whatever converter fits is the one that there is for it, and that's it. For example, the standard international cartridge that comes with many brands of pens is the same for all those brands (they might have their company's logo on it, but that's about the only difference). Proprietary converters from other brands might be a slightly different (like Pilot, Sailor, Sheaffer, Lamy, Platinum), but they're only going to fit those brands of pens. If you want to get more ink capacity, there are really only two options. You can refill ink cartridges for the given pen, which may or may not have a higher ink capacity than the converter. There aren't any converter-grade cartridges that are super-durable but with a higher ink capacity than a normal converter, though. Ink cartridges are flimsier and meant to be disposable, so you'll be able to get a few fills out of them but they'll wear out and crack/lose their seal after 3-5 refillings. Or you can possibly convert the pen to an eyedropper-fill pen, like I do here with this Platinum Preppy. But not all pens are able to do that. 

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!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

So You Have A Contest...

Back in the very early days of the Goulet Pen Company, a customer/fan of ours named Wayne Mullins (of Ugly Mug Marketing) reached out to me because he was intrigued about the way we were running our business. This is back when Rachel and I were working together in our house, long before we had the great team helping us that we do today. As time went on, Wayne continued to keep in contact us as our business grew, always interested in the way we were growing our business.

 A couple of months ago, Wayne reached out to me about including me in his book, So You Have A Website…Now What?. I was all for it, thinking I might get a footnote or citation somewhere. Little did I know, I'd have my name printed at the start of Chapter 1, Turning A Hobby Into A Profitable Business. Wow! Talking further with Wayne about it, we thought it would be neat to do a contest to give away some copies of his book, and thus, this contest was born!


There will be 25 prize packages awarded to 25 individual contestants. Each package will include a copy of So You Have A Website…Now What?, a Clairefontaine 3.5"x5.5" notebook, and a Platinum Preppy fountain pen (for taking notes on the book!). Shipping is included and US as well as international contestants are eligible to win.


The contest will begin as soon as this post goes live on Ink Nouveau, and will end at 11:59 p.m. Eastern US time on Sunday, November 11th, 2012.

Entering is simple, just answer the few questions on our survey below and submit it. The answers will be hidden from public view, and will not be used for any purpose other than for this contest.


All qualifying entries will be compiled into a master list and assigned a number. From this numbered list, we will randomly select 25 numbers using random.org and those will be our winners.

The winners will be announced during our live broadcast Write Time at 9, on Wednesday, November 14th at 9 p.m. EST. Wayne Mullins, the author of the book, will phone in as a live guest to tell us about himself and his book. We'll also post the winners the following day on Ink Nouveau as we post the recording of the Write Time broadcast.

You will only be eligible for one prize, so please only enter once. 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.

We will contact all winners after the announcement to coordinate getting prizes to them. If there is no way to reach you or if you don't respond to us within three days of announcing the winners (that means by Saturday, Nov. 17th at 9pm EST), we will consider the prize forfeited and offer it to an alternate winner. We will cover all shipping costs for the prizes, both within the US and internationally.

This contest is now officially closed, thank you to everyone who participated!

We're very thankful to Wayne for including us in his book, as well as providing the prizes for this contest. Be sure to check out his site, and pick up a copy of his book if you're interested. Thanks everybody, and good luck!

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Write Time 11/7/12

Last night we just ended up doing a pretty laid back Write Time broadcast, but we still managed to fill a fun hour and a half ;) We talked about TWSBI Minis, Pilot Metropolitans, the Parker 5th Element (ha!), among many other various random fountain pen and ink topics. It was a Q&A style broadcast, and was a lot of fun conversation. For the first time, we actually have a transcript of the chat for you to view as well, so you can see all of the tangential conversation (with some actual useful links and the like) that was going on during the broadcast. Enjoy!

Here's the transcript. It'll open in your web browser, or you can right click on it to download it. Enjoy!

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Write Time Topics 11/7/12

We're back with another Write Time at 9 broadcast tonight, live at 9pm EST. We did our last broadcast only this past Friday on Fountain Pen Day, so we don't have a whole lot of planned stuff to talk about, but if you want to come hang out with us, we'll be there. We'll do kind of a Q&A format, where you can ask us whatever you want about fountain pens, ink, paper, or the density of the universe and we'll answer with eloquent, rambling responses! See you then :)

Write On,
Brian Goulet

November Ink Drop Reveal & Contest

November's Ink Drop theme was Autumn Leaves III. This is our third year where we chose to feature a variety of fall colors, reflective of the changing leaves. The 5 colors are:

 Now on to this month's contest! Here are the 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 November 30, 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 December 1, 2012 and close on December 3, 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 December 6 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!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

October Ink Drop Contest Winners!

Thanks to everyone who entered into our October "Cryptid Inks" Ink Drop Contest! The first-prize ($25) winner was Marta W.!

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

Tomorrow we'll reveal the November Ink Drop colors and commence the new contest!

November 2012 Carnival of Pen, Pencil, and Paper

Welcome to the November 2012 Carnival of Pen, Pencil, and Paper! Really, I should add 'Ink' to the title as well, as that's really what I know and love as much as anything else. So what is the carnival? Basically, it's a menagerie of blog posts done across the internet from people who love writing stuff like you and me. I did my best to try to find the blog posts I found most interesting regarding all kinds of writing instruments, with a heavy focus on fountain pens because that is my own personal interest. Enjoy!


Tale of a Vandal Pen Collector: It’s Personal—Hakumin Edison - Peaceable Writer
Batman - Nancy Olson, Ink.
Review: Platinum Carbon Desk Fountain Pen - Journaling Arts
Monteverde Prima - Ink Nouveau
Montegrappa Mayan Calendar Limited Edition - House of Pens
Review: PaperMate InkJoy 300RT 1.0mm Ballpoint Pen - Gourmet Pens
Pilot Vanishing Point: Gun Metal with Black Matte Accents - Ink Nouveau
Review: Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.4mm Gel Ink Pens - Gourmet Pens
Does It Hurt To Write? Get a Fountain Pen! - Inkophile
Delta patents new Fusion nib to be introduced on the Fusion 82 fountain pen - FPGeeks
Pilot Custom Heritage 92 - Ink Nouveau
Rollerball Roundup - Does This Pen Make Me Look Fat?
Pen Review: Lamy Safari Charcoal with Black Nib - pentulant
Autobiography with the Pilot Vanishing Point - Autobiography by Pen
TWSBI Mini Review - Ink Nouveau
Hands-on with the TWSBI Diamond Mini Fountain Pen - FPGeeks
J. Herbin Rollerball Pen - Office Supply Geek


New Rhodiarama Webbies- Okami-Whatever
Keep Track Of Your Collection With The New InkJournal - Inkophile
Leuchtturm1917 Notebooks - Ink Nouveau


Review of Dixon Ticonderoga Groove - Pencil Revolution
Pencil Review: Staedtler Mars Lumograph - A Penchant for Paper


Two New Inks from Noodler's - Noodler's Ink
Review: Caran d'Ache Caribbean Sea Fountain Pen Ink - Gourmet Pens
Inkcyclopedia: Private Reserve Avacado - FPGeeks
Inkcyclopedia: Waterman Florida Blue - FPGeeks
Inkcyclopedia: Iroshizuku Momiji (Autumn Leaves) - FPGeeks
Tintentest - Scribal Work Shop Nessie - Just Another Pen! (in German)
J. Herbin Scented Inks - Rants of the Archer
Ink Review: Pelikan Edelstein Topaz - pentulant

Cool Art Stuff:

Turkey Day - Life Imitates Doodles
Mercedes Pens - The Pen Guy

In the effort of full disclosure, I did include a few links to my own blog posts (Ink Nouveau) over the last month, and I only included them because I felt that they were educational and in the spirit of the Carnival. I am a retailer and do make my living from my store, but that was not my intention when including the links here. There may be posts from other retailers or bloggers affiliated with retailers. My including them in this Carnival is not any kind of endorsement for any blogger or retailer, it's purely for entertainment/educational purposes.

I'm honored to be hosting the Carnival this month! I'm not yet sure who will be hosting next month's, but I'll be sure to update as soon as I know. If you are a blogger and want to submit your own entries for next month, do that here. You can check out October's Carnival here, and September's here.

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Monday, November 5, 2012

Mailbox Monday #30

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:

I noticed that some reviewers of the Noodler’s Konrad pen have been using other nibs in it. The monteverde stub nibs were mentioned at least twice. Is this something you’re familiar with? Are you able to provide any information about which nibs are interchangeable between brands/models?
The Noodler's Konrad (and Ahab) both take a #6 size nib, which is also used by Edison, Monteverde, Bexley, Taccia, and plenty of other pen companies both modern and vintage. Monteverde and Edison are the only ones I know that sell their nibs separately (and Monteverde is the only one with a stub, which is why you probably hear more about that). The nib on the Konrad can just pull right out of the pen, and you can replace it with another brand's nib, as long as it fits in there. 

I need to know what I'm doing wrong. I have used ink converters in my Rotring Art Pens successfully, but when I try to install the one I received today wit my P. Script pen...Well, I think I have it and then it just falls out. Please help.
You're not doing anything wrong, it's the pen, not you! I actually shot a video about this a while back. The Pelikan Script, Pelikano, and Pelikano Jr. are all like this, the converter just doesn't hold on to the pen. It's annoying during filling, but doesn't affect the use of the pen because the back of the pen holds the converter in place when you screw it together. It's just annoying to fill! What I usually do is just fill the converter directly, apart from the pen.  

I've been using Polar Blue, and have loved it. I'm looking for a more vibrant blue... I write to my mother-in law who has glaucoma, and a very vibrant color is easier for her to read. Just watched your video on Elysium. I like it alot! In the video you said the ink was bulletproof, yet your web page says it is "partially" bulletproof. Not trying to trip you up, just trying to understand, and make a decision between Bay State and Elysium.... I've had a letter of non-bulletproof get rained on... not even sure how it got delivered, the address was so badly washed out. 
Liberty's Elysium is a much more vibrant blue than Polar Blue, and essentially the bulletproof properties of Polar Blue are what makes Liberty's Elysium permanent. The more vibrant blue components of LE are not as permanent, and can wash away. So while it is more vibrant, that vibrancy will not hold up with water. About 50% of the color will wash away, but that remaining 50% will be there for good. That's why it gets the 'partially' rating. So if you're mailing it, if it gets wet some of the color will fade, but it will remain readable. If you want true permanence in every sense, then you need a fully bulletproof ink like Polar Blue. BSB is the king of vibrancy, and it is water resistant, but it's not UV resistant hardly at all, and will wash away with bleach, if that matters to you. 

Quick question, will you be publishing write time to the RSS feed so that podcast type apps can download it?
We will, but we're in the process of changing things right now. Previously, we would put all of our videos and Write Time audio into a single podcast and instead we're going to break it all out into separate feeds. So we'll have an Ink Nouveau feed with my normal videos/reviews, a Write Time HD video podcast, and a Write Time audio podcast. It's taking us a little time to set this up because we're having to go back and split up the Ink Nouveau podcast and separate all of the different types on content in there, but I'm thinking in the next week or two we should have everything good to go. 

I've had a fine Namiki/Pilot 823 for some months now. It is a very enjoyable, smooth "fine-liner, " but I would like an even smoother, slightly broader, and wetter nib for everyday use. Would you recommend the purchase of a second 823, this time in Medium? It (the fine version) really is a very nice pen, just too fine/dry, for some purposes/papers. 
I'm a big fan of Pilot pens, they really have it pretty well figured out! I personally prefer the medium nibs. Pilot nibs write thinner than a lot of other brands' pens, so I find it to be a really nice balance between writing wide enough to really see a lot of the ink color, and writing small enough to be readable. The Custom 823 in a medium would likely do better for you than your fine, I find there's a pretty big jump from the fine to the medium, both in line width and wetness of the ink flow. 

I also personally love the medium Pilot Custom 74. It is a great pen, writes a lot like the 823, but a little wetter than your fine nib will. I have a lot of pens, but the Custom 74 is the one I use the most :)  

Is the eyedropper that comes with the 4.5 ounce bottle of Noodler's Nikita a Preppy or the mottled red eyedropper in the picture? I've seen pictures in various places of both pens with the bottle.
Nikita comes with the red Noodler's eyedropper pen, and have been for the last two years. Other sites probably have old pictures and never updated them. Most of the other Noodler's 4.5 inks come with Preppies, but this one is special :) I do believe Nathan will be changing them somewhat soon though, who knows what'll come next :P He likes to keep us all on our toes! If/when he changes it, we'll change it on our site : )

Hi there! I recently got into fountain pens and am very interested in everything about them, and luckily got guided to your website. One of the coolest things I saw on the site was the tip to start an "ink journal". Well, I bought the suggested notebook (from Goulet Pens, of course), but now I need a bit of a guide to figure out what exactly to write about when it comes to documenting the ink/pens. Is there any chance you (Brian?) can send me a few pictures of some pages in your journal to give me an idea of what to write about? Much appreciated!
I don't use anything super-special for an ink journal. I have a few pics in my blog post I did about my ink journal. There's really no right or wrong way to do one, it all depends what you want to use it for. I actually don't use one very much these days, but I'm kind of a special case. You see, because I blog regularly, I end up doing ink reviews of the inks I use and scanning them into digital form, so that often becomes my reference instead of a single journal. But when I was doing regular ink journaling, the one I preferred was the Clairefontaine Clothbound A4 Basic, here. Including info like the pen you used, date you used it, the type of ink (duh), and your impression of the ink. Including something else like a poem, Bible verse, favorite quote, something like that is fun too, whatever floats your boat. 

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, November 4, 2012

Meet Team Goulet

As a special event to celebrate Fountain Pen Day, we did a live broadcast showing all 10 (12 if you count our kids!) members of the Goulet team. We have bios of me, Rachel, our two kids Joseph and Ellie, Sam (both Doran and Vaughn!), Alex, Ben, Will, Randall, Drew, and Jacob, but it doesn't show each of our personalities quite like a video does. So we had a little meet and greet where we streamed a live video with an interactive chat so you could meet everyone on our staff. We recorded the video for everyone that wasn't able to make it live, and here it is. Enjoy!

Write On,
Brian Goulet 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Write Time and Lamy Giveaway Winners!

The time has come to announce the winners for our Lamy Studio Royal Red Giveaway! The contest was a lot of fun. We were delighted to read such interesting conversation, and we encourage everyone to continue to comment on Ink Nouveau and YouTube. The reason for doing the contest the way we did was partly to give things away, and do so in a way that would be interesting for you to read about what pens and inks others enjoy using as well! Because of the overwhelming response to the contest we haven't yet had the chance to go back and comment on anyone's comments, but will plan to do so soon.

We announced the winners live during our Write Time broadcast last night at 9pm EDT. We would normally do this broadcast on a Wednesday, but since yesterday was Fountain Pen Day, we wanted to make it a special celebration. We announced the winners, but also discussed the Pilot Metropolitan, TWSBI Mini, Noodler's Q'Ternity and 54th Massachusetts, and new Noodler's Konrad colors.  We also gave away a slew of prizes during the broadcast, so if you're watching it recorded, know that the prizes are already claimed!

There were a grand total of 1,405 entries from Ink Nouveau, YouTube, and Twitter combined. That's an amazing response, better than we could have hoped! Without further ado, here are the winners of the 10 prizes!
  • Gerald Taylor, Lamy Studio Royal Red (Ink Nouveau)
  • Dustin Long (alternate), Lamy Studio Royal Red (YouTube)
  • Jessica, J. Herbin 1670 Bleu Ocean (Ink Nouveau)
  • TonicLime, Noodler's Liberty's Elysium (Twitter)
  • jakevans1547 (alternate), 3-month Ink Drop membership (Twitter)
  • retro51fan, 3-month Ink Drop membership (YouTube)
  • Emilio Villegas (alternate), 3-month Ink Drop membership (Ink Nouveau)
  • Tamara, $10 GouletPens.com gift certificate (Ink Nouveau)
  • shartvigs, $10 GouletPens.com gift certificate (YouTube)
  • jwkeckley, $10 GouletPens.com gift certificate (Twitter)

These are the names/aliases that were given on each of the sites entered, we will do our best to proactively reach out to each winner, but if you won and haven't yet heard from us, then please send an email to Rachel claiming your prize. Thank you everyone who participated in this contest, it was a wonderful experience and we will certainly plan to do more of them! In fact, we'll be doing another one later this week, but more about that later ;)

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Friday, November 2, 2012

Fountain Pen Day! Special Video: The Fountain Pen News

November 2nd, 2012 is the first ever international Fountain Pen Day. What is it? It's a day that members of the fountain pen network as well as retailers and manufacturers in the fountain pen world are marking as a "day to embrace, promote, and share fountain pens and the handwritten arts."

You'll probably see a number of retailers and bloggers doing special things to promote this kickoff holiday celebrating this crazy hobby we love. And what better way to kick it off than to show you a collaborative video that a bunch of us fountain pen video-making folks decided to put together. The video is called The Fountain Pen News, and was led by Stephen B.R.E. Brown, the Dutch-sensation on YouTube. It includes him, myself (Brian Goulet of GouletPens.com), Brian Gray of Edison Pens, Brian and Lisa Anderson of AndersonPens.net, and Dan Smith of the Fountain Pen Geeks.  Stephen was the brainchild behind the video, but we all had fun contributing to this parody of the obscure Monty Python's Flying Circus skit "News for Parrots".

In addition to this video, we at the Goulet Pen Company are going to be celebrating Fountain Pen Day by doing two live broadcasts. The first one will be a meet-and-greet of the full staff at 'Team Goulet', which we'll have streaming live on our Write Time page here at 11am EDT. We'll be there with a chat where you can ask us questions as we tell you who we are and what we do every day. In addition to that, we'll be giving away some fun stuff like bottles of ink, and we'll be recording the whole broadcast for those who aren't able to join us live. Rachel and I will be having our recently revived Write Time at 9 broadcast at 9pm EDT later in the evening, where we'll be announcing the winners of our Lamy Studio Royal Red Giveaway, as well as some other spontaneous prizes. It should be a lot of fun, we hope you're able to join us!

Have a great Fountain Pen Day. Today is a day to enjoy your pens and share them with your friends.

Write On,
Brian Goulet

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