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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Goulet Nibs



I'm very pleased to announce the introduction of the Goulet #6 Stainless Steel nibs! Made by Jowo in Germany, these $15 stainless steel nibs are available in EF, F, M, B, 1.1, and 1.5 sizes, and have a sweet GP ink splatter logo on them. These nibs are ideal for converting your Noodler's Ahab or Konrad (and any other pen that holds a #6 nib) to a non-flexible pen with a good range of nib sizes.

Here's a quick reference for you to jump to just the part of the video you want to see, since I know I made it really, really long!
  • Backstory of why offering our own nibs is significant to GouletPens.com (0:20)
  • Showing the nibs (8:55)
  • How the nibs write (10:35)
  • Placing a Goulet nib on a Noodler's Ahab (14:22)
  • Writing with a Goulet nib in an Ahab (19:38)
  • Replacing the nib with an inked-up Ahab (20:10)
  • Placing a Goulet nib in a Noodler's Konrad (21:29)
  • Filling the Konrad with a replaced nib (25:00)
  • Writing with a Goulet nib in a Konrad (26:13)



These are German nibs, so they're going to write a little broader than their Japanese friends. They will be similar to other nibs made by Jowo. They are smooth with a hint of feedback, so not quite like writing with a hot stick of butter on a sheet of ice, but smooth enough so that I think most folks will find them quite favorable. You can compare the thickness of each of the writing samples with any of the other pens we stock in our Nib Nook.
  • The extra-fine is fairly thin, not hairline, but thin enough to get the job done. It'll be ideal for those who want to write as fine as possible. It'll be about comparable to Lamy, Edison, and other German nibs. 
  • The fine is not a world of difference from the extra-fine, it is a little broader but about the same wetness. The fine will be a solid all-around nib. 
  • The medium is pretty a pretty drastic change from the fine, though. It's broader, and significantly wetter. If you're b looking to get the most color out of your ink and want to start seeing some real shading, that's where you'll want the medium. 
  • The broad, well, that thing is just a firehose. Use it when your paper is on fire and needs to be doused! 
  • The 1.1mm is going to be better for an 'everyday' stub, adding a snazzy bit of calligraphy styling to your writing without having to drastically change the way you write. The 1.1mm and 1.5mm are stubs, so you'll get line variation between the cross- and down-strokes, but the corners are rounded so they will be relatively smooth, much smoother than a 'crisp' italic. Click here to see the difference.  Stubs are a bit less forgiving than conventional nib in terms of how you rotate your pen in your hand when you write, but once you write with them for a little bit, it's easy to get used to them. They'll let you know how they like to be held ;) 
  • The 1.5mm is a bit wider on the down-stroke, and something that will be a little bit harder to use with everyday writing, unless you have the room to write larger than normal. 



Each of these nibs is $15, and come as just the metal nib (no feed or housing of any kind). We're also going to offer them in a set of all 6 sizes for $80, a bit of a discount there for ya ;) Though they are standard #6 nibs and will fit a variety of different pen models, just be aware that pretty much all pen companies will only warrantee the performance of their pen with their own nibs in them. You are more than welcome to tinker around and swap these nibs on whatever pens you want, but be conscious of your particular brand's warranty policy before you do so. I have been using these nibs on the Noodler's Ahab and Konrad with good results, so that's my primary motivation for offering them.

I'd love to hear what you think! These are something I've been working on for some time, and I'm very eager to see how the fountain pen world responds.

Write On,
Brian Goulet

57 comments:

  1. My first response was "Really? The day after my order ships?" My second response was "Which Noodler's pen should I get to go with these?" [Konrad Amazon Pearl or Red Mesa Tortoise].

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  2. Could you do a comparison between your nibs and the TWSBI 580 nibs? I believe both of them came from Jowo.

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  3. Will these nibs work with the TWSBI Vac 700? :) If so, I may have to get them all.... >>

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  4. I actually just said exactly the same thing. I have a Konrad that is beautiful, but I just don't write with enough pressure to enjoy the flex...this is totally my solution.

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  5. You said you started with turning wood pens... my husband does, too, and I'm getting a nice collection of beautiful turned fountain pens. But... they all do have the same nib. I haven't had the courage to try to yank out the nib from one of the kit pens to see if they come out. I've tugged lightly, but they seem quite solid in there.

    So, to get to my question... do you happen to know how the nibs are attached in most standard turning kit pens? Is it just a really really strong friction fit, or are they mechanically secured in place? Because I'd love to have more of a variety of nibs in my pens, and if I can change out the standard german iridium nibs that come in the kits with a nice variety of your new nibs, that would be a really fabulous thing. Probably, I should just bite the bullet and decide that one of the pen kits is just the 'sacrificial lamb' and see how much force it requires to actually pull out the nib, but I figured I'd ask the expert before I go ahead and decide that one of our pen kits is just going to be sacrificed in the name of science.


    Also, I love the ink drop design on the nibs. Yay you!

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  6. Aw, I'm sorry! I was keeping these completely secret until the release...

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  7. Yay! that's exactly why I wanted to offer these :)

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  8. Yes, the 580 does have Jowo nibs, but these ones are bigger than the 580s one (580 uses #5, these are #6). I have to wait to get in some more 580 nibs, but once I do I'll have the up in the Nib Nook to compare to the Goulet nibs :)

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  9. Vac 700 does use #6 nibs, but this would go under the caveat "make sure you know your pen company's warrantee". I sell TWSBI and my intention is not to try to undercut them on their own nibs, that's not what this is all about. TWSBI has replacement nibs for all their pens and if you want your pen to perform as they intend, you'll need their nibs. That said, if you put a different brand nib (like mine) on it for your own experimentation, you are free to do so as long as you don't complain to TWSBI about it if something doesn't work like you hope! I want to make sure I stay in good relations with all the companies I represent, TWSBI included.

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  10. You should just be able to yank them out of there, I never came across a kit that had a permanently installed nib. There are a lot of different types of kits, and they never advertise which size nib they use. In my experience there were two different sizes, most of them being a smaller one that what the Goulet nibs are and I know they wouldn't fit. I can't speak to the large nib kits, they weren't a consideration for me when coming out with these and I didn't test any of them to fit. You'll have to do some trial and error.

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  11. Wow, this is Great! Another example of how Goulet Pens is innovating - and looking out for us fountain pen lovers. Kudos...

    That said...

    Brian, when are we going to see a flex/semi-flex nib option? Boy, that might make Nathan angry as we STILL cannot buy spare nibs (and feeds) for the Ahab and Konrad for hacking to our heart's content. (Sorry to beat on a dead horse, but as an owner/user of multiple Noodler's pens this is a sore spot).

    One more thing; how about a close-up pic of the nib so we can see how the "GP" (as you term it) Goulet "Splash" logo looks? (Love that branding touch BTW.)

    Actually I think your reference to "GP", which means typically means "Gold Plated", may be a minor misnomer...

    I typically refer to what looks like gold plating on modern pen furniture and/or nibs as "Gold Tone" or "GT" - as there is likely very little (if any) actual gold in the plating. Not a detractor though... Modern GT plating on modern pens is quite complex in composition and application (material science and chemistry) and in my experience, reasonably robust.

    Best Regards, David

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  12. Okay. I will try yanking. I was probably just being too gentle. Besides, I'll have an empty, clean pen in the next day or so that I can try pulling the nib from, since my ink drop just arrived (pretty, pretty colors!), so I'll have to clean out a pen anyway. Thank you.

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  13. You're welcome :) Just use the same technique for pulling the nib out of your pen like I show with the Ahab and Konrad here, and you should be set.

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  14. They look really great — congratulations! I have two questions: I've been into fountain pens for about six months now and never really understood what the numbers given to nibs (like #6 for your nibs) mean. Are they just a measure of the curve at the end of the nib where it goes into the section? Second, kind of off topic so I hope you don't mind — you mentioned that you started in the pen business by actually making your own pens. How did you get started doing this? What would you suggest to someone thinking about making a few pens of their own?

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  15. David, thanks for the compliments! As for the spare flex nibs, Nathan's well aware of the demand for that, but I still doubt that'll happen. What he doesn't want is people buying up just nibs to put onto other pens, especially because these nibs kind of need to have his feeds to work well (I haven't heard of anyone successfully putting an Ahab nib on any other pen and having it work well). I doubt you'll ever see a flex option coming from Jowo, either. Flex nibs aren't just nibs, they require really open feeds to be able to supply enough ink to be able to write when flexed. Put a flex nib on a 'normal' pen feed, and it's not going to be awesome. Aside from Noodler's and maybe a couple small one-off pen companies, no one makes affordable flex nibs.

    Is the pic on the black background not close enough? I can get closer.

    I've never seen a GP on a nib referring to gold plating, and since the nib isn't gold colored I doubt that'll really be an issue. They are all advertised as stainless steel nibs, too. The GP stands for Goulet Pens, and matches the GP watermark, Twitter avatar, the splatter is on our website banner...

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  16. Welcome :) The whole numbering system is an old system, and refers to the overall size of the nib. The smaller the number, the smaller the nib. Most companies don't advertise their nib's size, which is why it's often confusing. I don't know if the curvature of the nib has anything to do with the numbering designation.


    I took the hard road getting into pen turning. I had a Grizzly catalog, bought a pen lathe and some tools, and bought some wood and pen kits. Then I turned. I eventually found www.penturners.org, which is like FPN for pen makers. I learned a lot there, plus through my own experimentation. If you're thinking of making a few pens of your own, just make sure you're doing it for fun and not to try to make money. Trust me, I poured my heart and soul into it, and never made a dime from it. I think the likelihood of a musician becoming a rock star are greater than a pen maker making a living ;) But if you just want to mess around and have fun, it's great for that!

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  17. I wouldn't worry about many people thinking of "Gold Plated" when the letters occur in a logo and on an obviously unplated nib. What you do sometimes see on Chinese pens is KGP instead of K. The nib on my Haolilai 601F says 22KGP. It's prominent in hopes, I think, that you will think 22K Gold and sort of ignore the "P". The nib doesn't look very pretty, IMO, so I wouldn't be surprised if it meant 22 "Kindalike Gold" Plated. :) I don't know if you seriously considered the two-toned option with JoWo, but I definitely think you made the right choice in going with the unplated nibs.

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  18. How exciting! I had one of the first noodlers flex pens and I just didn't enjoy it unfortunately. But I think this is want I really need, so yay! Congrats to you all as well.

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  19. How great! Congrats to you, Rachel and Goulet Pens! I just ordered a broad Goulet nib along with a bottle of Platinum Carbon Black Ink. I mainly use fountain pens for drawing, often with PCB for my pen & ink and watercolor illustration work. If I love the broad nib I'll be back for other sizes. BTW, I'm guessing that Goulet Nibs will fit certain Monteverde models such as the Invincia, Napa, Prima and Regatta (though if that's the case I understand why you might not want to play it up given that you sell Monteverde nibs). Keep up the great work, Brian! - Jim

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  20. I think I remember reading on FPN that the number is related to the diameter of the nib section where the nib is inserted (like #6 means it for a 6mm diameter section). But don't quote me on that one :P

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  21. Brian, I know that Nathan is successful enough and a maverick enough to be in a position to have to listen to nobody, but it makes relatively little sense for him to sell us whole pens for $20 but not sell a nib/feed combo without pen for the same $20. I understand he is worried that his nibs and particularly his feeds will end up in other places and people will profiteer from his work, but in truth it's as simple for anybody wanting to do that to just buy Ahabs or Konrads and trash the parts not needed. The fact that we don't appear to be seeing that happen on a widespread basis makes me think his concerns may not be warranted.

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  22. I really hope this is a success, and I can assure you when next I order the 1.1 or 1.5 (or maybe both) will be in my cart. I've played with the Knox nibs that have been available for a while from a competitor and like them in an Ahab, but they don't really give me what a 1.1 or 1.5 offers. They're also good but clearly not in the league of my JoWos.


    I imagine the next stop if this is successful may be #5 nibs. If this does indeed take off for you and for Brian Grey with his similar Edison nib unit offerings that have just happened, I do hope it would be possible to get JoWo to consider a 1.3 offering. There are plenty enough times the 1.5s I have are just a bit wide but the 1.1s I have aren't quite as expressive as I'd like. I understand this may be something that at best gets filed away for two or three years from now, but it doesn't hurt to ask, right?

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  23. Would the 1.1 fit my Metropolitan????

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  24. Very, very cool. Congratulations on this newest addition! I am terribly curious about trying these out in my Noodler's (that don't work very well..)!

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  25. I'm so excited, I'm up at 3:30 am placing and order which includes an EF Goulet Nib, after having seen the news late last evening! THANKS for making these available! I hope that it's such an overwhelming success that you'll offer some #2's for the Nib Creaper (hint, hint). So glad to support a small, family business, and glad that this will hopefully benefit Nathan's business, too. Write on!

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  26. I don't know why I didn't pick up that GP was "Goulet Pens". Maybe because it looked like there was some gold tone on the nib. But that was just wishful seeing. Open palm slap forehead...Thanks for the clarification Brian.

    BTW, I've heard Syd Sapperstein will be offering spare semi-flex nib units for his new Wahl Eversharp Skyline pens, I seem to remember seeing somewhere they'll cost around $25. I wonder where he's getting his flex nibs - likely a secret.

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  27. Brian, this is exciting stuff, hearty congratulations.

    Regarding the Konrad "issue"--I am not a habitual tinkerer, but would there be any problem with just, say, cutting off a few millimeters of the feed itself at the base? This should put the feed back to it's typical position with the stock Noodler's nib, as well as accommodate the fact that the Goulet nib is stuck a little further in.

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  28. Congrats, Brian! I love swapping out nibs on my Noodler's pens, can't wait to use one of these in my blue Konrad! :)

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  29. I am not complaining about missing something because an order just shipped. I am thrilled that my big bottle of Dark Matter is on the way to me (actually, it is probably at home by now) and I'm still at work!

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  30. This was really informative - for example, I had my Ahab nib misaligned, so it wasn't in all the way....duh. So I just experimented with it now and I see how it's supposed to go in. I like how the Ahab feels in my hand, I'm a lefty so flex nibs aren't ideal, and I think I "need" a Goulet nib or two. Congrats on getting your own line! My Ahab may return to use.

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  31. You want feedback on your nibs??? You have to design that in!!!

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  32. My shiny new Goulet medium nib arrived today, and I am in love! I was instantly impressed with how smooth it is! The width, flow and feel are everything I would hope for in a medium steel nib. And who can resist that awesome Goulet logo! I have already ordered the 1.1 and 1.5 as well, and now wish I had just gone ahead and purchased the whole set. If anyone is on the fence about buying these, GET THEM! You'll be glad you did!

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  33. Carla, the Goulet nibs would not fit the Pilot Metropolitan (I own a Metropolitan and I got my first Goulet nib a couple of days ago). One way to get a stub nib into a Metropolitan would be to buy an inexpensive Pilot Plumix, which comes with what is called a medium flat italic nib. You can see and compare lines made by the Plumix at Goulet's Nib Nook page, though the Plumix is only listed in the "select a nib size" section, not the "select a pen" section," and there you can compare it to lines made by 1.1 nibs including the Goulet 1.1. The nibs that come with the Plumix seem to me to be identical in quality as the nibs that come with the Pilot Metropolitan as well as with the pricier Pilot Prera, and they are all interchangeable (which I know because I own all three pens and have interchanged the nibs). Hope this helps.

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  34. Thank you Jim. I do have a Plumix that I've swapped nibs with the Metropoloitan. I was wondering if a Goulet nib would give me a bit more of a broader line. Thanks for giving me the exact information I was looking for!

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  35. That would make sense, because the bigger the number the bigger the nib...

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  36. Thanks! I think these nibs will get a lot of Noodler's pens out of the desk drawers and into people's hands : )

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  37. Yes, the Monteverdes use the same size nib. They have their own nibs available, the only one we have that they don't is the 1.5mm. They have black nibs though, I'm kind of jealous of that!

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  38. I'm glad you're liking my nibs....I had to laugh about signing the lottery winning checks! ;)

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  39. They have been a success....they're basically all gone (except the broad) and we're waiting on our next shipment from Germany to arrive. We're not moving to #5 nibs yet, but we are going to be bringing in #6 two-tone to add to the line. #5's are a little tougher....they don't fit any of the Noodler's pens which is the inspiration for us offering these nibs in the first place, so #5 nibs have a much more limited purpose. That's interesting about a 1.3mm nib. If it's not something Jowo regularly offers then I don't know how much of a commitment it would be to have them design a whole new nib size from scratch, but like you say, it doesn't hurt to ask ;)

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  40. No, unfortunately. It's just all kinds of different.

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  41. Yeah, the Pilot nibs are proprietary...I have heard of someone sort of cramming a #5 nib (Edison nib, I think it was) into a Metropolitan to make it an extra-fine, but they don't have a #5 italic so I'm not sure that'll help.

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  42. Thanks! Reports have been good, so you should totally give it a shot, it'll breathe new life into your pen :)

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  43. Haha, your excitement is evident! I'm not sure about #2 nibs, that might be a little ways off. I'll look into it, that's all I can promise. Thanks for your support though, we're trying to do whatever we can to make fountain pens as enjoyable as possible :)

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  44. Thanks! I've thought about modifying the feed as well, and honestly, I don't know what kind of effect that would have. It's really not that big of a deal that the piston hits it though, at worst you just need to slide it back into place once the pen is full. I may have to experiment with that though, I'm curious.

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  45. You basically got the last big Noodler's bottle that'll be made anytime in the foreseeable future, too. Nathan's so busy these days we basically just stopped taking orders for them, waiting as long as you had to was just a little crazy!

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  46. I'm glad you were able to glean some Ahab help from this video, I sort of elaborated on that point about the oblong Ahab opening because it's something I don't think I covered in other videos before. I bet a Goulet nib would very much be to your liking, especially as a lefty!

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  47. The pun is almost too obvious there, haha!

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  48. I know there is a thread on FPN about it somewhere, I can't seem to find it though :( Our Goulet nibs are #6 size, which is a somewhat common size with larger modern pens. We developed these nibs for the intention of offering a non-flexible alternative for the Noodler's Ahab and Konrad pens, but there are certainly other pens that these nibs will fit. Most manufacturers don't advertise which size nibs their pens use, so you may have to do some hunting online or ask on a forum like the Fountain Pen Network to see which pens do have #6 nibs. Of the pens that we offer, we know that the following all use #6 nibs: Edison Nouveau Premiere, Edison Beaumont, Edison Collier, Edison Herald, Edison Hudson, the Monteverde Invincia and all of it's various versions, the Monteverde Napa, Monteverde Prima, Monteverde Regatta, the TWSBI Vac-700, the TWSBI Micarta, and the Pilot Custom 823 (though Pilot is very strict about not removing the nib from their pen). There may very well be other pens by other manufacturers that we don't represent who use #6 nibs, but I couldn't tell you which ones because we've never tried swapping them in any other pens.

    That said, none of these companies are going to warrantee the performance of their pen with any nib other than their own, so recognize that if you're swapping out their nib for anyone else's, you're doing so on your own accord. We advertise these nibs for the use with the Noodler's Ahab and Konrad, and whatever other purpose you use them for is completely up to you.

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  49. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Suzy! We sold out way faster than we thought we would, we just had no idea what the initial demand would be for these nibs. A mistake that won't be repeated ;)

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  50. Well, for what it's worth we are getting two-tone nibs in the next shipment (late-May/early-June), so you'll get your gold ;) I haven't heard anything about the Wahls, but I'll keep an eye out.

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  51. What you're saying makes sense, but I think in Nathan's mind that would essentially make the bodies of his pens "worth nothing". Even if he charged $15 for the set, that would be great...if it was my choice I'd do it. But he has some kind of reason for not offering them, and I am inclined to believe it has nothing to do with the cost.

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  52. We are bringing in the two-tone nibs as well, they look really nice. Same look as Edisons, if you've seen those.

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  53. Brian,
    First a comment, I really appreciate the civility of the community here on Goulet Pens, I wish some of the other communities I have visited were so. My other question is, now that you are offering the nibs, have you thought of offering feeds too? I am making my own pens and stocks and as one gentleman commented below plug and play nib arrangements that include nib, feed, and stock may leave you with parts you can't or don't want to use. One could, theoretically, cannabalize some of the nib units you already sell which show excellent performance, but it is an extra step and certainly leaves you with "extra" parts. I don't think of making money from making pens, but it is very satisfying to use something you've made yourself. Thanks again for a truly delightful company.

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  54. Hi Brian! Do you think you might work on getting a finer stub made in the future? I'd like to use one as a daily writer, but my writing is a little too small for a 1.1.

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  55. Do these nibs work with Lamy pens?

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  56. I have a handful of fountain pens; and I like each one for a
    particular reason. But there are times when I wish a certain model had a
    different nib.

    I understand not every pen has an
    interchangeable nib. But are there any recommendations for inexpensive
    pens that would allow me to experiment with interchanging nibs?

    I currently have a Pilot Metropolitan and Nimiki vanishing point pens.

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