Friday, October 18, 2013

Goulet Q&A Episode 9: Paper and Notebooks

Here is another episode of Goulet Q&A, our 9th one so far! This one is a little bit longer at 51 minutes, because I had a lot of really good questions about paper and notebooks that I wanted to answer. I kick off the video recapping on last week's episode. Here are this week's questions:

1) Andrew M.- email (6:15):
Desert island. One type of paper. What is it?

2) Musicmaven- InkNouveau (8:14):
Do you know if Quo Vadis is even thinking about bringing back the white lined paper (even as an option to ivory) in the Habana?

3) Keri- Ink Nouveau (10:19):
I am ready to jump on a plane to visit the Rhodia headquarters and beg for top-spiral dotpads in person (except I could probably buy a few coveted, spendy pens for the price of a plane ticket). Have you heard anything about production starting on them again? Or do you have any suggestions for an alternative, if not dot grid?

You wouldn't have or be able to include in the next Q&A video a side-by-side comparison of the Rhodia and Clairefontaine grid paper, would you? It looks like Clairefontaine is a bit lighter, which is desirable since the Rhodia's lines often feel too heavy/dark, but I haven't been able to find a comparison photo with my googling this afternoon.

4) Loren S.- Facebook (13:27):
Tomoe River?

5) Philip K.- email (14:48):
What notebook / loose leaf paper is good for High School / College Students?

6) Joshua K.- Facebook (17:53):
Who makes the best lower cost loose leaf paper? Be it a fancy French brand or not.

7) Alice M.- Facebook (19:18):
What paper do you recommend for printing downloadable stationery that is fountain pen friendly!

8) Nate B.- Facbeook (20:33):
Where are some places to get cheap lined 90gsm paper? Also is there much of a difference between 90gsm and 100gsm paper? (A video example would be nice)

9) Many people- (21:50):
What does gsm/g/gm2 mean when talking about paper thickness/weight?

10) Ted- Ink Nouveau (25:10):
Do either you or Rachel like to use laid paper? And if so, what nib(s) do you like to use on it?

11) Joseph Q.- Facebook (28:26):
Which is more fountain paper friendly, the Quo Vadis Habana or the Leuchtturm1917?

12) Randall P.- Facebook (31:14):
3.5x5.5 pocket notebooks that are fountain pen friendly?
  • Refills That Fit A Passport Midori Traveler's Notebook video
  • Clairefontaine C68596
  • Clairefontaine Life.Unplugged Roadbook
  • Clairefontaine Life.Unplugged Staplebound Duo
  • Midori Traveler's Notebook- Passport
  • Rhodia Unlimited
  • Rhodia Webnotebook 
  • Banditapple Peewee
  • Field Notes
  • Leuchtturm Pocket (slightly larger)

13) Dujuan J.- Facebook (32:38):
Are you still using your midori traveler's notebook? If not, why? If so, could you update us on how you are using it?

14) Cws- Facebook (35:31):
What is your opinion of the Whitelines notebooks? Are they any good for fountain pen writing?

15) Jessica B.- Facebook (38:34):
Piggy-backing on this, could you show the Rhodia weekly planner? I'm interested in the layout and it's kind of hard to tell in photos.

16) @bftsystems- Twitter (41:14):
How about options for carrying your pens WITH your notebooks, e.g. Pen loops, sleeves, elastics,whatever

17) @silverbreeze- Twitter (43:38):
Out of the FP friendly notebooks which lays flattest?

18) Sam- Ink Nouveau (46:30):
Have you considered selling Black n' Red notebooks? I find them good for writing with a fountain pen.

Thank you so much to everyone who submitted your questions! Without you I'd just be a crazy person talking to his camera. Next week will be an open forum again, I think I'm finding a groove of alternating between a theme one week and an open forum the next week. This will allow me to answer a good variety of questions. If you have any questions for next week, you can leave a comment below, ask on Twitter at #GouletQA, ask on our Facebook page, or email GouletQA@gouletpens.com. Be sure to check out any old Goulet Q&A's that you might have missed here, and have a great weekend!

Write On,
Brian Goulet


  1. As much as I appreciate the thought and effort you have put on this, I must say that -to me- some of the changes are not for good. The Nighthawk was supposed (according to your previous video that is) to be a totally stealthy pen. No logos, no imprints, just the centerband "Monteverde" that is absolutely necessary to identify the manufacturer. Now, it's just another finish for the Invincia Deluxe line. I feel that the pen kind of lost it's identity. I also liked the first box better, but that's not a dealbreaker for me. Boxes just sit on a drawer, anyway.
    The new carbon weave on the other hand is quite prettier!!! Nice work on this!
    (I'm sorry if my comment disappoints you in any way. I just thought that you would like to have some genuine feedback.)

    Best regards,

  2. White Lines like the green grid of EverNote MoleSkine are invisible to scanners and phone cameras. Work very well with the EverNote take a picture of a physical page and have it sync over devices, plus OCR searchable


  3. Thanks for the info, Brian! Now to pick the nib size. Hmmmmm.

  4. I see you are getting the twsbi black and rose gold, when do you anticipate the white and rose good 580

  5. I'm a left-handed writer, fairly slow at writing, and have mostly only had access to cheap, absorbent paper; therefore, so far I have restricted myself to fine nibs. I did, however, order bottles of Noodler's Burgundy and Black Swan in Australian Roses, which would be better with a broader nib, but I'm a little apprehensive about trying such a nib because of my tendency to smudge. I currently own a Noodler's Ahab with a fine nib—writes like a medium because of its too-generous flow—and four cheap Nemosine Singularity pens with fine nibs (great go-anywhere pens for the price, but not the highest quality).

    What would you recommend as far as nib/pen combinations or tips in writing techniques for a leftie to branch into broader-nib writing? I do have rather big hands, which cramp up easily with small pens.

  6. A question that I submitted before, but I think got eaten by my browser acting up:

    Any suggestions on what to do with a consistently hard-starting pen? I've tried flushing with pen flush and trying a couple of different inks, but no real improvement.


  7. What paper do you recommend for letter writing?

  8. I am also a leftie, I am lucky as I learned to write underhand, early, but from your post I am guessing you ink up your hand like I used to :-). I suggest seeing if you can write with the paper almost at 90 degrees. Broad nibs need time to dry.

    Ahabs are great (I have 3' one with a Goulet 1.5 stub) but their feeds are made for flexing. Try a TWSBI pen. My current favorite stock nibs are Monteverde Broads so don't feel discouraged .

    I would agree with Brian, buy the 28/32 lb laser printer paper and play on that.

  9. Wait for Mike Masuyama to reset his shop after moving. Or check with Richard Binder. Sounds like your nib or feed need adjustment.

  10. Thanks, Tom. Glad to know I'm not the only leftie fountain pen user!

    I don't usually ink my hand up because of the fine nibs and my glacial writing speed, but I'm afraid a broad nib might push it a bit too much. I'll see about tilting the paper a bunch, which is admittedly unnatural.

    I've been looking at the TWSBI pens a bit, so I'll have to try one once I can afford to indulge in pens again.

  11. It's how I learned to underwrite. Once you get used to not twisting your wrist and arm in odd ways, you can relax those muscles. Made writing less a chore for me.

    I strongly suggest saving up and buying a TWSBI 580 rather then getting cheaper pens from Amazon (Which I did before I found the Goulets).

    As you sound like a hook writer, you may want to email orders@gouletpens.com and ask Katy her opinion on the Lamry lefthand nibs, I don't like them but I underwrite with the nib either facing up or only slight angles.

    Have you tried a Ahab with a nonFlex nib yet?

    The Goulets are very nice and installed one before shipping no service fees

  12. Morning Brian and Rachael (it's Sunday so you may be on one screen)

    Just writing to see if you could try to get Katy to do a Video or blog post about using Fountain pen and being left handed. I know Jonathan G and I would be glad to have any help :-) or just knowing we aren't alone :-)

  13. Getting an error on itunes when trying to download the podcast of this and the Nighhawk. Says it cannot find the file.

  14. You asked if anyone had ever found cheap FP-friendly loose leaf paper.

    In Canada, I have found Staples Sustainable Earth sugar-cane based paper, which comes in writing pads of different sizes, wire-bound notebooks, journals, and notebook filler paper. It's 8"x10.5", wide-ruled, 3-hole punched paper, 100 sheets for $1.81. (I'll save money on paper so I can spend more on Goulet nibs for my Noodler's Konrad pens!)

    After a quick search of the American Staples website, they seem to offer similar products, although in different quantities than the Canadian Staples website.

    The paper itself is smooth, and while it is thinner than Rhodia, handles FP ink quite well -- even Noodler's eel inks from my medium, broad, and stub Goulet nibs. I can use the back of the page, which I certainly can't say of other papers in the same price range.

    Hope this helps. :)

  15. Well, I tried turning the paper, but I can't write with more than a 30-degree turn—my wrists aren't the best. I'm best with the paper flat or turned backward (counter-clockwise) slightly, the latter of which I might be able to make work so that I don't smudge.

    My Ahab has a fine-tip, non-flex Knox K35 nib on it, but the stock feed doesn't seem to seat well on it. Also, I was kind of an idiot when I first got it—it was my first pen—and didn't learn the proper nib alignment within the section and was quite rough trying to fit it. As a result, it acts really wet, like it's been reamed out a bit, and leaked with the slightest jiggle. I should probably buy a new one, as I know a little bit more now, but I haven't yet.

  16. Jon - that's not backwards you are left handed!

    If Ahabs are comfortable for you, get a Ahab with a Goulet Nib installed, if you ask them in the order they will do it for you. I think it's $35 + shipping. When you can budget it of course. I also like stub nibs but they take practice.

    Hope this helps. And really don't be afraid to email orders@gouletpens.com, single most helpful retailer I know and that's counting Amazon and Apple ( who always help if I have an issue) the Goulet team goes out of their way to help even before you order.

    If you have a pen that fills well from vials (Ahabs suck at this) I would get the Goulet Fast Drying Sample Pack at some point, oh and Noodler's X Feather if you are stuck on cheaper paper exspecially if you happen to be a student.

    Check Brians Blotting paper video too. You don't need a rocker to use them and they help me lot.

  17. Had that issue too finally watched the embed not sure if it's not just a bad podcast encoding

  18. Any plans to carry the Pilot Decimo? The Vanishing Point is brilliant, but it is much too large and heavy for my small hands.

  19. As far as quality affordable looseleaf lined paper, I have found Roaring Springs Environotes filler paper to be a decent paper. The inks I have used with it, Diamine mostly, are: Chocolate, Grey, Apple Glory, Ancient Copper, Green Black, Steel Blue, Orange, Oxblood, Violet, Twilight, Registrar's Blue-Black, and R&K Scabiosa. You can find it at many college bookstores in the US, and possibly some office supply stores here and there. It is a sugarcane fiber based paper like Staples has , but comes with traditional blue and red lines. It also has better resistance to feathering than the Staples paper, very little if any in fact, and does not bleed through with a 1.9mm Lamy nib with Ancient copper, not the wettest nib, but lesser papers can bleed with it. Its about $6 for 170 pages 8x11.5 in size. So, its a little more than what you would pay for conventional loose leaf, but not unreasonable I feel.

  20. Arika Harman CloudOctober 21, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    I am WILD about my TWSBI Vac 700 in blue, enough so that I wanted to get another one in clear. Upon looking more closely, I see that my Vac 700 has a Bock nib, and they now come with the JoWo nibs. So here's my question...how do these nibs compare? My pen writes so smoothly and beautifully that it's hard to imagine it being improved upon. Also, I'm curious to know how the nib sizes compare. My Bock nib is an F nib. Would the JoWo F nib writer thicker, thinner, or about the same? Thanks for any advice on this!

  21. I was wondering if you have any experience with fountain pens on Doane (Grid + Lines) paper. If so, and it handles well, have you considered carrying it? Might be an option for those looking for loose leaf paper, I know they manufacture it. (Another option for those wanting loose leaf - I currently use a Rhodia No. 18 3-hole top bound notebook because it has the micro perforated pages and you can tear it out making it loose leaf)
    I was also wondering if you have any plans to carry the soon to be released Nock Co. pen cases.
    I love the Q&A format. Thanks for all that you do!

  22. Another very nice option for printer-friendly FP paper is Strathmore Writing. It's pricy (usually a little under $30 for a ream) but it's uncoated (so you don't have some of the smearing/long dry issues), has a great texture, and is a dream to write on with fountain pens. No bleedthrough, little or no feathering with most pens and inks. The "Natural White" is quite yellow/ivory, so pick Ultimate White or Bright White if you want a true white.

    You can find tons of websites that will give you various line grids (including French rule) if you want to print it up as lined paper, and of course you can use a hole punch to create loose leaf paper.

  23. If you want to run up a bunch of loose leaf paper, I'd probably take a ream of the paper of your choice, hit the line ruling websites to get a PDF of your favorite line choice, and get Kinko's to print the lines & drill the holes for you.

  24. From the English Lake District... loose leaf 'quality' writing paper to suit fountain pens and pencils. Made by specialist paper mill on the banks of River Kent. It rains lots here so the water is SOFT and the paper BEAUTIFUL. 100g and 120g white, ivory and cream... plain or linen / hammered embossed.

    Well suited to its neighbour in Liverpool just 80 miles away... Diamine Ink. Probably made from the same water source... I will ask Christine at Diamine.

    Not meant as an advert, but would welcome comments and reviews of this 'new' product to the FP world.

    Brian... I will send a few complimentary packs for you and your fellow enthusiasts to test.

    Your writing and videos are a delight.

  25. Thanks. Looks like this pen will be living in its box for a little longer. :(

  26. Hi Brian. I have a question for Q&A. What inks will fade fastest? I had a rather private story to relate to a friend, so I didn't want to send over e-mail. I sent a letter instead. And I really didn't want this letter to stick around forever. I used a pale ink color, hoping it might fade away... eventually. But are there inks that will reliably fade over time -- for those of us wanting to dodge posterity? Thanks.

  27. Are you a fan of Lord Windamere, and do you send him crab salad for the holidays? :)

  28. Regarding Tomoe River (pronounced To-mo-ay, I'm told), I've been buying pads from Dave at NanamiPaper.com. I think he's making the pads himself. Is this something you'd consider doing, or is that too labor intensive?

  29. You wore a shirt with a collar on it. You look good in it. Keep it up.

  30. I finally had a chance to sit down and watch the video and wanted to say thank you so much for the Rhodia/Clairefontaine comparison! It looks like I'm going to stick with the Rhodia grid for the time being, then, since it and the Clairefontaine are so similar (it might have been the lighting making it look lighter in the photos!)

  31. I bought some from Nanami as well. The paper itself is amazing: smooth, strong, thin... almost magical.

    That said, I have yet to find an ink that dries in a reasonable time frame. J. Herbin Claire de Lune was the best... at the very least it actually dried. Several Noodler's colors and my Diamine Evergreen took forever not to be liquid and really never dried. I smeared the hell out of a letter the next day.

    It's just so smooth and dense, it basically doesn't absorb the ink at all.

    Just my $0.02. I'd love to love this paper, but can't find a good pen/ink combo for it yet.

  32. Fellow lefty here :)

    I write at a solid 90 degree angle, and have since middle school or before as a solution to the Graphite Hand of Death, and preponderance of bound notebooks. It keeps my wrist perfectly neutral as well, no flex.

    For what it's worth, I think it also helps produce letter forms that are more consistent with right handed forms. Normally I'm all for rebelling against Righty dominance, but for things like flex nibs, calligraphy and brushes, the forms almost certainly won't look proper written with the left on paper that's upright because of how the hand and fingers move. Rotate by 90 and suddenly the push and draw match up.

    I expect the hardest thing to get used to transitioning as an adult will be acclimating to reading your text without cocking your head hard right, but I don't know... writing is one of those habits that those of us older than 30 (?) probably have pretty firmly ingrained.

    But if you can master it, you can occasionally write totally upside down & impress your friends ;)

  33. I find their printing services expensive, but cutting, punching, and binding quite reasonable. I had 200 sheets of HP 32lb laser cut into quarters and spiral bound with clear plastic on the front and black on the back. 2 or 3 cuts, 4 binds. $10 or $12? Not bad for 4 little notebooks.


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