Monday, April 28, 2014

Monteverde Tool Fountain Pen: Quick Look

The Monteverde Tool Pen is a gadgety novelty pen with a lot of neat features. It's a fountain pen, sure, but it has all kinds of other stuff going on, like:
  • Bubble level
  • 4 different rulers (standard/metric)
  • Phillips and flat-head screwdriver
  • Elecrostatic rubber stylus tip, for touch-screen devices
  • Straightedge
  • Fountain pen with medium nib
Orange tool pen ready to write!

With 4 different rulers, this pen really measures up!

Bubble level, y'know, for picture frames and stuff

Two different screwdrivers, Phillips and Flat-head. You know you need these at all times.

Monteverde Tool pen only takes standard international cartridges, no converter (sorry!)
And a stylus tip, if you have fat fingers like me!

Available in orange, black, silver, or classic carpenter's yellow, the Monteverde Tool Pen is a uniquely fun gift for yourself or someone else at $40. You can learn more about it at GouletPens.com.

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Friday, April 25, 2014

Goulet Q&A Episode 28, Pilot/Namiki Fountain Pens

So I'd originally intended for this week's Q&A to be about Pilot and Namiki pens and ink, but I didn't get a single question about ink! Oh well, so I changed the title to give focus to the brands' pens. I had a bunch of great questions that you can see with timestamps below. Enjoy!

1) Myke N.- email (3:43): 
When are you expecting to have the Pilot Resin Falcon with the Soft Extra Fine nib be back in stock?

2) Myke N.- email (4:35): 
What is your recommendation on cleaning a Con-70 converter?

3) Myke N.- email (7:48): 
Have you used a Justus 95? If so, what is your impression of the adjustable nib? Would you be able to do a review of it?

4) @jjlsetter/@dowdyism- Twitter (9:32):
Best way to clean inside the top portion of a vanishing point, near the trap door part?

5) Shane H.- Facebook (13:12):
I've been writing with my pilot metropolitan with the nib upside down to get a finer line out of it. Will this damage the nib in the long run? 

6) Jeanne P.- Facebook (15:44):
I like the Custom Heritage 912 w/ FA nib & it's not offered here US. Can u special order?
7) Francisco H.- Facebook (16:50):
Would the Prera suit a student? I have a have a metropolitan, but I'm looking to branch more into the Pilot brand.

8) Dylan K.- Facebook (20:16):
I was browsing EBay looking for well priced Pilot vanishing points and I came across some earlier models from the 60s and 70s. I couldn't find any reviews on these older models, and was wondering if they would be a wise purchase.
9) Sherah E.- Facebook (21:40):
How many pages of writing should the ink in a fully filled CON-70 provide, given one has medium sized writing?

10) Bill M.- Facebook (26:32):
Are the nibs and feeds on the custom series the same for all three pens? They all seem cool, but an extra $130 might not be worth it to some people just for the vacuum fill.

11) Rob P.- Facebook (29:09):
Can the Falcon nib be used for everyday writing or is the line variation cumbersome when taking notes? Also, do you think Goulet will ever sell Pilot Metropolitan nibs? I really enjoy using my Pilot Metropolitan but feel a Fine nib would better suit my needs. It would be great if the nibs could be swapped like on the Lamy Safari. Thanks!! 

12) Winnie P.- Facebook (34:34):
I have given 3 Metropolitans as gifts and everyone loves them. They are perfect for newbies. They all ask about a fine nib, any idea when they will be available? Thank you.
13) Wesley S.- Facebook (35:32):
How long does the hooded nib of the Vanishing Point stay protracted before drying out when not in use? I'm thinking of getting this pen for clinical work but I don't want to annoy my patients with constant clicking noises in between jotting notes. 

14) Mike H.- Facebook (37:17):
I was thinking about purchasing a Namiki Falcon but I was wondering if you have any other pens in the price range that you would prefer.

15) Neil K.- Facebook (40:16):
What is the future direction of the name branding? Is everything moving to Pilot? Or will they continue to maintain the Namiki branding for "high end" products? I know that Vanishing Point is in transition.

16) Michelle L.- Facebook (44:15):I know everyone loves the metropolitan, the Prera, Namiki Falcon and the Custom 74 but what are some other Pilot models that are under-rated and few people rave about? I love Japanese pens and would love to know your opinion!

Thanks to everyone who asked me these great questions this week. Be sure to check out my older Q&A videos here, and post in the comment below if you have any random fountain pen question for my Open Forum topic next week. Have a great week! 

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Lamy Al-Star Fountain Pen: Quick Look

This is the first of a brand new series of videos I'm calling "Quick Look", where I touch on the highlights of the products I carry on GouletPens.com in a very condensed format. This isn't meant to go deep, but give you, well, a quick look at the key aspects of what makes this pen special and who would like it.

The Lamy Al-Star is a very popular fountain pen for newbies and experienced enthusiasts alike. This is a quick look at the pen with its key features.

Lamy Al-Star Fountain Pen in Ocean Blue
Lamy Al-Star Fountain Pen in Ocean Blue
Lamy Al-Star Fountain Pen in Black
Lamy Al-Star Fountain Pen in Black
Lamy Al-Star Fountain Pen in Bluegreen
Lamy Al-Star Fountain Pen in Bluegreen
Lamy Al-Star Fountain Pen in Graphite
Lamy Al-Star Fountain Pen in Graphite

Lamy Al-Star Fountain Pen in Purple
Lamy Al-Star Fountain Pen in Purple

What I'm thinking is that since this video is so short, I'd probably hold off from doing a post every video, but maybe do a compilation every 3-4 videos and roundup a bunch of pens into a single blog post. I dunno, I'm still working all that out. But I thought since there are so many pens out there that people would really just love to know a little bit more about, this format will allow me to hit on a lot of pens in a short period of time. These will really be ideal for embedding on the specific product pages of GouletPens.com, and that's really kind of their intention. I wanted to share them here, as well, so that you could give me some feedback.

Do let me know what you think in the comments! I plan to shoot a lot more videos like this.

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Friday, April 18, 2014

Pilot Metallic Vanishing Point Fountain Pens Have Landed!

The popular Pilot Vanishing Point fountain pens already come in a pretty good range of colors, but Pilot's really stepped up their game with the new Metallic colors. I was originally told they'd be available in the US around mid-May, but they came early! They're here now in Copper Red, Desert Orange, Mountain Blue, Tropical Purple, and Valley Green.

In this video, I show:
  • Showcasing each of the 5 colors (0:34)
  • Comparison to several other VP's (like the pink LE from 2011) (1:40)
  • Showing inks that match each color pen (4:04)
  • Comparing the Desert Orange to an orange Rhodia pad (5:10)

If you haven't already seen it, check out the two blog posts I already did showing some pictures of these new metallic VP's, this one and this one. They are the same price as all of the other Vanishing Points ($175 list, $140 at GouletPens.com), and are available with an extra-fine, fine, medium, or broad nib in black, rhodium, or yellow 18k gold. These aren't a limited or special edition, either, these colors are said to be an ongoing part of the Vanishing Point line!

Write On,
Brian Goulet 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Top 5 Fountain Pens for Graduation Gifts

Fountain pens have long been a popular gift item for graduations, retirements, and major milestones in peoples’ lives because of their longevity, functionality, and the fact that whenever they’re going to use that pen they will be thinking of their own achievement as well as you, who helped them along the way.

These are the important factors to consider when shopping for a fountain pen as a graduation gift:
  • Presentation- is your recipient going to be impressed? 
  • Longevity/durability- is this a pen they’re going to be using for years, perhaps the rest of their lives? 
  • Ease of use (cleaning, writing)- is the pen enjoyable to use? 

Here are my top 5 fountain pens for graduation gifts (in no particular order):

These are purely my opinion based on a variety of factors, and I’ll give you my thoughts about the pros and cons of each one:

Lamy Studio ($79.20-159.20)

Lamy Studio (in Imperial Blue)

Pros: - looks really nice - several neutral color options - affordable - uses Lamy cartridges or converter for bottled ink (included) - great nib selection, EF, F, M, B, 1.1-1.9, fine recommended for newbies
Cons: - slick metal grip, not ideal for long writing sessions - box could be more impressive

Edison ($149)

Edison Nouveau Premiere (in Cappuccino)

Pros: - American made - Gorgeous resins - Dependable writers - Great nib selection (EF, F, M, B, italics)
Cons: - a little more expensive - light weight might seem less ‘quality’ to the unaware

Lamy 2000 ($159.20)

Lamy 2000 (in Makrolon)

Pros: - 50 year reputation - workhorse pen - great ink capacity - snap cap is perfect for the work environment - hooded nib is great for keeping nib wet - subtle elegance - good nib selection, EF, F, M, B; EF or F recommended to newbies
Cons: - small ‘sweet spot’ can take getting used to - not flashy - doesn’t take cartridges, bottled ink required- box could be more impressive

Monteverde Invincia Deluxe ($108)

Monteverde Invincia Deluxe (in Rose Gold)

Pros: - very impressive visual appeal - heavy (many equate heaviness with quality) - takes cartridges or converter for bottled ink - good nib selection, F, M, B, italic; fine is recommended for newbies
Cons: - heavy (might be too heavy for some) - large pen, not as ideal for those with smaller hands - flashy pen might draw unwanted attention for some

Platinum 3776 Century ($176)

Platinum 3776 Century (in Black)

Pros: - best sealing cap in the market, nib won’t dry out - classic pen design fits in all work environments - takes cartridges or converter (included) - draws a fine line, great for cheap work paper - good nib selection available, EF, F, M, B
Cons: - most expensive of the group - nibs write rather stiff, takes getting used to for some - cartridges are proprietary Platinum brand

Honorable Mention:
Pilot Vanishing Point ($140)

Pilot Vanishing Point (in Black Matte)

Pros: great pen for the active enthusiast - many color options - very practical pen with the click - several nib options, EF, F, M, B
Cons: strange to hold for the first time, makes it a bit of a gamble as a gift

If you're unsure exactly what pen is best for your graduate or you know they're pretty particular about what they want, keep in mind that a gift certificate is always an option. It’s worth mentioning that along with fountain pens come ink and paper, and it’s always nice to set up your graduate so they’re good to go. Click here to see my Top 5 Favorite Fountain Pen Inks. Be sure to check out package sets with these pens and many others with our favorite combinations of accessories.

Do you agree with my choices? I'd love to hear! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Monday, April 14, 2014

Lamy Z24 converters finally back at GouletPens.com!

Thank goodness, Lamy Z24's are finally back! It's literally been over a month since we sold out of them, and we've been backordered on them all this time. We normally keep very high reserve quantities of these converters on hand because they're a staple product that we know you always want the option to pick up.

Lamy Z24 Cartridge Converter
Lamy recently moved their warehouse across the country and though we tried to buy up converters and other key products in advance, we still were hit with extended outages of some key things like these converters. Thankfully, Lamy has a Z26 converter that's very similar and is interchangeable (see this video I made on that here), so at least we had some of those during parts of the outage. And of course Lamy released the new BlueGreen Al-Star and announced the Neon Coral Safari (set to arrive in May) during the time we had no converters…

But just today we got a huge shipment of Lamy converters back in, so we're going to be all set for a while. Thank you so much for being so patient!

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Friday, April 11, 2014

Goulet Q&A Episode 27, Open Forum

It's the 27th episode of Goulet Q&A, and this week it is an Open Forum. I took random questions that you had, ranging in topics from scratchy nibs, flow issues, Organics Studio ink, crappy paper, and fighting Nick Cage. It's a good mix!

Here are this week's questions: 

1) Tyler A./Tristan N.- Facebook (2:27):
I would really like to know how to make a scratchy nib less scratchy.

2) Serah E.- Facebook (4:11):
Is it possible for Goulet Pens to use different shipping companies instead of USPS? Love the company and people there, and would really love to support it more often, but the shipping to Singapore is really scary…

3) Travis W.- Facebook (5:53):
What's the deal with the Organics Studio? What's special (or different) about the brand?

4) Alan L.- Facebook (8:14):
What is the best notebook to mix with school and fountain pen use? Right now I like to use a Moleskine but they are too pricy to be used with school. But I also don't want to subject my pens to cheaply made notebook paper.

5) Kathy V.- Facebook (9:27):
How do you pick the right paper? Some are thick, some are colored, and some soak up the ink and bleeds.

6) Ben H.- Facebook (11:27):
What is your process for coming up with the Ink Drop colors every month?

7) Ethan J.- Facebook (15:41):
Could you beat Nick Cage in a fight?

8) John J.- Facebook (16:48):
Do you still make pens for fun, or have you retired from that?

9) Geoff P.- Facebook (19:43):
2 of my Kaweco pens (an EF clear Classic Sport and an M blue Ice Sport) both filled as eyedroppers are leaking out ink through the nib. When I start writing I find the feed saturated and ink pooling at the sides underneath the nib. My BB orange Ice Sport doesn't seem to be doing it. The Blue is worst and often spills out ink onto the paper unless I notice it first and blot it away. Any suggestions? It happens at all ink levels.

10) Jody D.- Facebook (22:07):
I'd like to know if I bought a more expensive Lamy than my Safari & Al-Star would I get a "better" nib? Don't get me wrong, I love their EF nibs but why spend more? (This also applies to pricier Pilot or Platinum pens as opposed to their entry level pens.)

11) Rhonda S.- Facebook (26:31):
Is there a customizable notebook with Clairefontaine looseleaf paper, or does Clairefontaine make a customizable spiral notebook? I love their paper. The French lined notebooks are a great price.

12) Rose H.- Facebook (27:54):
I'd love to know an ink that will go well with the new blue-green Lamy.

13) Carmen C.- Facebook (28:37):
I love Clairefontaine's paper. Any chance they'll make the clothbound notebooks (or any of the others, really) with a dot grid? Seriously, who do I have to beg to make this happen?

14) Loraine B.- Facebook (30:47):
What is the most affordable Japanese fountain pen that I could get with an extra fine nib? I have a Lamy Safari with an extra fine but I would like a finer nib. Any suggestions?

15) Michelle L.- Facebook (32:07):
Can you explain the differences between all these higher end Pilot models. I am so confused. I am speaking of : Pilot Custom Heritage 91/ Custom 74, the Custom 823, and the Custom Heritage 92., etc. I'd love a discussion on prices/looks/ nibs (are they all gold?). 

16) Michelle Y./Matt Z.- Facebook (35:38):
What to do if your new pen has poor ink flow (Lamy Safari)

17) Michael L.- Facebook (39:22):
what empty inkwell would you say has the widest opening? is there any ink bottle you would recommend that would completely fit an oblique dip pen holder?

18) Emily P.- Facebook (40:31):
Are all fountain pen users hobbyists or are there some random users? Someone in a class of mine was using a fp to take notes. I wanted to talk to her about everything fountain pens, but I worried that she might not be involved with the whole hobby of it, or if she was just using one randomly.
A special thanks goes out to everyone who asked me questions this week, it was a great mix! I'm really sorry if I wasn't able to answer yours, just keep asking and I'll do my best to cover it in the future.

Because of a business trip, I will have to skip next week's Q&A (April 18th). I will come back April 25th, where the theme will be brand-focused again, this time: Pilot/Namiki. Ask me any questions you have on Pilot and Namiki pens and ink in the comments below and I'll answer as best I can! Have a great next couple of weeks!

Write On,
Brian Goulet 

Monday, April 7, 2014

April Ink Drop Reveal: Islands in the Sun

In case you're not familiar, Ink Drop is our monthly ink sample program, where we mail out (usually) five different colors of ink samples, all related to a theme. It goes out on the first business day of each month, and the colors are a surprise until a few days in, once folks have a chance to receive them in their mailbox. Anyways, on to this month's reveal...

We selected "Islands in the Sun" for our April 2014 Ink Drop theme, using a bright, warm palette that has us dreaming of beach vacations on sunny islands. These colors remind us of the warm sun and cool waters that you'd find on that perfect island getaway. We chose:

Writing samples by Alex Ross

So tell us, what was your favorite color this month?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Goulet Q&A Episode 26, Nathan Tardif Interview

In my last Goulet Q&A, I did my best to answer the slew of Noodler's questions I received. There were a few that I thought would best be answered by the man himself, Nathan Tardif! He's the founder of Noodler's Ink, and the one-man-show who designs and coordinates the manufacture of all Noodler's pens and hand-mixes all of the Noodler's ink in the world. He's an incredibly, incredibly busy man, and I am honored to have been able to spend an hour with him!

These questions were all originated from fans, but I have edited them to broaden or narrow the scope:

Q1) Kevin L.- Facebook (5:36):
Why do some pen experts seem to have a problem with Noodler's Ink or its maker? There are some pretty bold statements made out there about the safety of Noodler’s that doesn't seem to match up with the experience that the vast majority of pen users are having.

Q2) David- InkNouveau (20:13):
You (Nathan) encourage tinkering with the flex pen nibs and feeds, yet the nibs and feeds themselves are not available for purchase apart from the pens. I know some people are frustrated because they’ll do some adjustments to their feeds and if they mess up at all they’ve essentially ruined the pen because they can’t get any replacement parts. do you have any plans, or would you be open to considering offering those parts available separate from the pens?

Q3) Tom J.- email (30:41):
When you develop an ink like Black Swan in Australian Roses or 54th Massachusetts that has a special story around the ink and it’s properties. Do you come up with the story first and then develop the ink, or do you develop the ink and find a story to match it?

Q4) Wesley S.- Facebook (37:43):
I’ve read various posts comparing Noodler’s blacks, but I would love a definitive comparison. What are the differences and why are there so many different black inks?

Q5) Scott B.- Facebook (45:42):
At this point you’ve crated 2 higher-end Konrads, the Ebonite and the Acrylic, have you considered doing that for the Ahab? Is that even anything feasible?

Thank you everyone for asking such good questions, and a special thanks to Nathan for your time! Next week's Q&A will be going back to an Open Forum, so any questions can just go right in the comments. I hope you enjoyed this interview, we'll have to do it again!

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

New! Edison Nouveau Premiere in Cherry Blossom (Spring 2014 Edition)

It's here! The Spring 2014 Seasonal Special Edition Edison Nouveau Premiere in vibrant Cherry Blossom acrylic resin. This is the wildest color Premiere we've ever offered! This is exactly the reason we love doing these seasonal pens, it allows us to really take a chance with color choices we'd be tentative to make with a regularly offered pen. Cherry Blossom is a vibrant pink that is ever-so-slightly translucent, with bold white swirls. Here in Virginia where GouletPens.com is located, Cherry Blossoms are sign that spring has finally arrived. After this long winter, we're all ready for spring!

Edison Nouveau Premiere Spring 2014 Cherry Blossom

Yes, I know, I know, today is April Fool's Day and some of you may think this pen is a joke, but I promise you it is for real. If you do want to see our April Fool's joke from last year, check out our $28.95 Edison Bulb Filler video here. We opted to skip doing anything silly this year, and it just so happens that today is the best day logistically for us to launch our new Premiere.

So what is the Seasonal Premiere all about? Check out our other video here that explains what it is and why we do it.

You may be curious about the Black Ice Premiere that we have left over from Winter 2014. It was a huge hit and we stocked up a bit, so we do still have some of those left. But with the launch of the Spring 2014 Cherry Blossom, the Black Ice is no longer in production and once the pens we have on hand are sold, they'll be gone for good. The same will go for the Cherry Blossom, they'll be here for about 3 months until we announce our Summer pen, sometime around the change in season (late June/early July).

Edison Nouveau Premiere Cherry Blossom, closeup of the swirls

The Premiere is available with a stainless steel nib in extra-fine, fine, medium, broad, 1.1mm, and 1.5mm stub nibs. The nibs are smooth with a touch of feedback, much to the liking of many Edison fans! The Premiere is a standard international cartridge/converter pen (converter included) that is also convertible to an eyedropper (see how here). We offer it exclusively at GouletPens.com for $149, starting today!

What do you think of the Cherry Blossom?

Write On,
Brian Goulet

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