Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Tomoe River Paper: First Impressions

Our customers have been asking for a while now whether we would ever be carrying Tomoe River paper products. And finally, we can answer in the affirmative: yes!

Imported from Japan, Tomoe River combines two qualities that many are seeking out in prospective paper -- it's both fountain pen friendly and remarkably thin at 52gsm. When our Goulet Pen Company team members took it for a test drive, they also discovered a number of other qualities about the paper, from its sleekness and smoothness to its transparent look and lightweight feel.

We're currently carrying Tomoe River as tablets and loose sheets in cream and white:

We're looking forward to further testing out Tomoe River paper and sharing what we learn with all of you. In the meantime, if you have any observations or insights to share, we'd love to hear them!

Write On,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

Monday, April 27, 2015

Monday Matchup #45: Sheaffer 300 Gloss Blue with Chrome Trim in Fine with J. Herbin 1670 Bleu Ocean

Elephants never have to worry about misplacing car keys or dropping the ball on anniversaries and birthdays. They never forget. And we're betting you won't soon forget the approaching pachyderm penned by Caitlin from our Customer Care team.

With a Sheaffer 300 Gloss Blue with Chrome Trim in Fine and J. Herbin 1670 Bleu Ocean Anniversary Ink, Caitlin achieves spot-on shades of blue and golden sheen. The quote from Khalil Gibran, a poet and artist, reminds us to press on and persevere no matter the beat we're marching to.

As for those missing car keys, well, why don't you check the the trunk...

The Sheaffer 300 Gloss Blue with Chrome Trim in Fine is available at GouletPens.com for $80. J. Herbin 1670 Bleu Ocean Anniversary Ink is available in a 50ml bottle for $26 and as a 2ml ink sample for $1.75.

Write On,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

Friday, April 24, 2015

Goulet Q&A Episode 75, Open Forum

Goulet Q&A is now available as an audio podcast! Click here  for the RSS feed to use in your podcast app of choice, or click here for a direct download.

After being out last week, I've recovered and am answering some great questions! I'm talking about offensively bright blue ink, bringing you back to my college years, and telling my favorite Dad joke. We've got some great new products for you as well! Without further ado, I present the latest Goulet Q&A....

New/Upcoming Products- (2:36)

Pens/Writing- (6:06)
1) Prechaya F.- Facebook- (6:13)
I would like to purchase my first Edison pen but can't decide on which one on the production line to get. I like the size of the vanishing point, metropolitan, and Parker sonnet but hate the feel of the Lamy Al-Star.
  •  Edisons are definitely thicker pens than most
  • you’ll want to stick with thinner pens, like the Beaumont, Premiere, Herald, Pearlette
  • clearly, I favor the Premiere! :) 

2) Gary W. - Facebook- (7:56)
I am curious as to how you would maintain the outside of a fountain pen. For instance, how would you care for and keep clean the rhodium trim, gold trim, acrylic exterior, or the resin exterior?  What polishes or cleaning cloths are safe to use on the exterior of a fountain pen?  How about scratch removal?
  • my favorite is a jeweler’s cloth, works great on plastic and metal
  • anything more aggressive could be bad for the metal
  • some pens can use a polishing compound, though you have to be careful with this 

Ink- (13:35)

3) Brian W.- Facebook- (13:38)
I have noticed several new nicely shading orange inks in the new products recently.  How do they compare with the old standby Noodler's Apache Sunset? (Lamy CopperOrange, Diamine Autumn Oak)
  • Apache Sunset sets a really high bar for shading! Nothing truly lives up to it
  • AS really goes beyond shading and gets into actually changing colors from yellow to orange to red
  • Autumn Oak is really nice, but darker and not as intense shading 
  • Lamy CopperOrange is very cool, and great for a Lamy ink but won’t be around long I think
    • check out Noodler’s Habanero or Diamine Autumn Oak as substitutes

4) Yunus E.- Facebook- (15:59)
I do not know if you already covered but could you tell us which inks require more maintenance, be cleaned more often and would harm to the nib, feed or pen body itself
  • none of these are definitely going to cause harm, unless you neglect your regular maintenance
  • there are no true guarantees, so use careful consideration when using any of these inks in particularly rare or valuable pens
  • any pigmented ink (Platinum Carbon Black, Sailor Nano inks, etc)
  • any iron gall ink (Diamine Registrar’s especially)
  • Noodler’s eternal inks (especially UK and Russian inks, Hunter, Fox, Periwinkle, Luxury Blue)
  • Noodler’s KTC, Whaleman’s Sepia, highlighter inks, Baystates
  • Inks with heavy sheens (J. Herbin 1670 inks), Diamine Majestic Blue
  • Super5 and DA Document inks
  • in general, inks with permanence!

5) @tobydeemer– Twitter (25:02)
Please recommend an offensively bright blue that is also rather wet, and as low maint. as possible. Is there such a thing?
  • J. Herbin Eclat de Saphir
  • would say Noodler’s Baystate Blue, that’s not quite low maintenance (though if you clean with bleach, it’s not too bad)
  • Noodler’s Blue Eel is pretty good too 

Troubleshooting- (27:26)

6) MK B.- Facebook- (27:30)
I have a converter in my Platinum Cool pen. I can't get the plunger to move anymore.  In hopes that it's just  dried out, I'm soaking it in pen cleaner.  Any other suggestions?
  • not super uncommon
  • silicone grease on a toothpick and spread on the walls of the converter
  • converter can be disassembled and greased as well 

7) Po T. - Facebook- (29:27)
How should I handle my preppy so that it does not crack? I handled my preppys with care and I did not dropped it. However, it seems that simply normal cap opening and closing is enough to create cracks on the Cap.
  • it’s been getting a reputation for that, mainly because of some defects that Platinum has addressed
  • I just talked to them about this, they said they started making changes as soon as they were aware of the complaints of the cracks in early 2015
  • they’ve told me the pens coming now should be better
  • If you’ve had a recent crack, contact your retailer (if it’s us, we’ll replace it/credit it for you) 

Business- (32:04)

8) Jysung– YouTube- (32:09)
How much research/preparation do you do for the Q&As? It seems like a lot of content to have to prepare on such a regular basis.
  • more than you might think
  • start out posting asking for questions on Monday (used to be Tuesday) on Twitter, FB (just a few minutes)
  • as questions come in, Madigan and Margaret are combing YouTube, FB, Twitter, and the blog and compiling questions (takes around 2 hours total throughout the week)
  • Margaret and I go through on Wed. afternoon and pick ones that we think will be best for that week, she responds to others that I can’t get to or have already answered (30 min to choose, an hour to respond)
  • Jenni or Madigan will provide input as they’re able about if we’ve answered a question before
  • once selected, it’s time to format them to prepare for typing answers (30 min)
  • Wed. night I answer the questions in bullet form and research as necessary, think through products I need to show (2 hours)
    • this probably takes less time than you think, because I honestly have a giant vault in my brain of random pen knowledge! Researching is fast for me because I know exactly where to look if I don’t know something
  • Thursday morning I finish prepping, Jenni helps me set up lights and camera (30 min)
  • I shoot (1 hour)
  • Jenni edits and uploads to YouTube (1hour, in parts)
  • Thursday afternoon/Fri morning, Jenni, Mike, Madigan, Margaret all work on copy for blog, YouTube, podcast, FB to publish the video (1 hour x 4)
  • When all is said and done, it’s roughly 10-12 hours of total time for our team to produce and publish a single Q&A

9) Tim P.- Facebook- (42:41)
What is the most unusual place that The Goulet Pen Company shipped an order?
Personal- (45:20)

10) Gary W. - Facebook- (45:33)
What was your major in Virginia Tech?
  • applied early decision with Corps of Cadets “checked the box”
  • went in “University Studies”, undecided, but was aiming to be an engineer
  • I went to one class (English) that was for engineers, and the teacher gave us a list of 8 novels we’d be reading that semester, I left that class and knew I wasn’t studious enough to be an engineer!
  • I immediately went to see my counselor, after talking for about 5 minutes it was obvious I am business minded, so I intended to switch
  • couldn’t just ’switch’, had to apply in and take several classes to even be able to apply
  • finally got in as Business Management with minor in Leadership (Corps of Cadets) sophomore year
  • did that successfully, but was really feeling like a cog in the system b/c the classes were so large
  • discovered Residential Property Management, fell in love with the program and switched mid-Junior year
  • had to take summer school to make up for it, and complete my 6-week internship after ‘graduation’ 
  • graduated, got ‘name your price’ offer with commercial real estate firm, turned it down to power wash houses with my dad
  • in my spare time, I started turning pens, which eventually led me here!
  • typical college story, right? ;) 

11) Bill E. - Facebook- (58:55)
I'm about as obsessive about watches as I am fountain pens. So what brand of wrist watches does Brian enjoy wearing???
  • good hustle Bill! you’ve been asking about this for several weeks now
  • I do enjoy a good watch, though I definitely haven’t gotten into it like I have with pens
  • my favorites are automatic watches, the more skeleton the better (it’s like a demonstrator!)
  • I don’t have a particular loyalty to one brand, I go more for a diversity of styles
  • I do really like Bulova, they just feel really good to me, expensive but not insane
  • I have one Movado that Rachel bought me as a 30th b-day gift, that’s what started the watch thing
  • several Skagen’s, nice thin watches
  • several other lower-tier brands like Fossil, Caravelle, Kenneth Cole, more for fashion 

12) Tim D.- Facebook (1:02:00)
Since you did a sideways slide from custom pen making to providing us with great selection and value in pens and paper, do you ever get the urge to either make a total change in direction in your entrepreneurship or widen the scope of your company's vision?
  • the circumstances are completely different now, because my initial “slide” was to get into something sustainable
  • what I’m in now is clearly sustainable, and with 6 years invested and 30 peoples’ families to consider, any move for me would be calculated well in advance (years)
  • I have no plans to change anything anytime soon, though I’m certainly working towards building up leadership and becoming a master delegator to decrease the dependency on me day-to-day 
13) @pen_haul– Twitter- (1:11:12)
What is your favourite dad joke?
  • Rachel HATES it! Whenever we drive by a cemetery I point and say “You see that cemetery over there? People are dying to get in there”
  • technically, that’s a joke I’ve been saying since before I became a dad though :)
  • My dad joke that my son taught me as the first joke he learned (from Thomas the Tank Engine), “What does a snowman eat for breakfast? Snowflakes!"

QOTW: What is your favorite “dad” joke? Cheese it up good! My son is at the age where he laughs at everything and I want to crack him up.

Thanks so much for spending time with me this week, I really appreciate it! Be sure to check here if there are any old Q&A's that you missed.

Write On,
Brian Goulet


Lamy Safari NeonLime (2015 Special Edition)

Whether you're pulled up to the Periodic Table or your favorite writing desk, there is no denying that Neon is light, bright, and the right way to set your message aglow. That's the case for both exterior signage and, for our purposes, the pages of your favorite notebook.

The Lamy Safari NeonLime (2015 Special Edition) is here -- for now -- and it's available as a fountain pen, rollerball pen -- and there is even matching ink. Being limited edition products, there is no way to know exactly how long we'll have them in stock. So if you gotta have it, you gotta get it sooner than later.

The Lamy Safari is great as a daily carry, starter pen or collector's pen given its limited production. The NeonLime color is not too many shades away from the 2013 NeonYellow Safari. In fact, depending on the lighting, the new NeonLime can appear a bit on the yellow side.

While the price is right at under $30, you do need to order a separate converter if you plan on inking up sans cartridge. Available in EF, F, and M, you can also swap in other Lamy nibs, including broad, 1.1, 1.5, and 1.9mm italic.

The NeonLime fountain pen is available at GouletPens.com for $29.60. The rollerball pen is $25.60, the 50ml bottle is $10.50, a five-pack of cartridges is $4.50, and a 2ml ink sample is $1.25.

Write On,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Advice for Fountain Pen Newbies

There’s always a little bit of fear when trying something new. Just think about when you were a kid first learning to ride a bike. What about getting behind the wheel for the first time? Or starting a new job? 

Some of these fears diminish as we get older, but even as adults, these same nerves can often follow us. When you’re first getting into fountain pens, it can feel overwhelming. It’s more than just jotting down a few notes. It’s an experience. You might be asking yourself, how do I hold this pen? How do I fill it with ink? And most importantly, what do I do with all the ink on my hands? Thanks to the internet, the fountain pen community doesn’t have to be limited to geographic proximity. We’re able to share in this hobby from all across the globe. And all of us at Goulet Pens love getting to play a small part in helping to make that happen. 

One of our company values is “empower through education." We really enjoy introducing people to the enhanced writing experience. So, we asked our Facebook fans to share their pieces of advice and words of warning to fountain pen newbies. Whether you are just starting out using fountain pens, or you're looking to get your friend hooked, these bits of wisdom will be invaluable to you. There was tons of input, so we selected only a few to share with you here. A big thank you to everyone who shared their wisdom with us and our Facebook community!

Advice and Words of Warning to Fountain Pen Newbies:

  • Rachel L. - ...Join a fountain pen forum or FB group. learn from others. share. try try try!

  • Rob P. - Paper matters. Don't be surprised if your new fountain pen writes too thick or if your new ink doesn't shade like you see in online pictures. The cheap paper used in most offices is much too absorbent for fountain pen use. Do yourself a favor and pick up a few good pads of paper to enjoy the full fountain pen experience.

  • Carmel C. - You don't need to spend the big bucks for a good pen. Get to know the pens you have before you buy more. Experiment with different inks and paper. Do some research before buying your pen. Look after your fountain pens.

  • Stephanie P. - Subscribe to ink drop or pick up a bunch of ink samples every few weeks, when you find one you love, buy a bottle, but not before then!

  • Maria A. - ...Read up online, and learn about the different kinds of pens, the different filling systems, the different pen materials and the basics. It will pay off quickly. Apart from that, enjoy, have fun, and most of all: Never be afraid to use Google, and ask a lot of questions. We have all been newbies, and most are happy to help a new possible "penholic."

  • Maeli Z. - Get a little notebook and start an ink journal. I started one after my second round of ink samples and it has been a great resource. May want to include a section where you can write the date, ink, and pen type each time you ink up a pen! (I was constantly forgetting which ink sample I'd put in which pen.)

  • Michelle W. - You might as well buy a 10-20 pen case, cuz you're gonna fill that puppy up in no time flat.

  • Ruth S. - If you're left-handed, don't listen to people who tell you you can't use a fountain pen because your writing style is "weird" or awkward. You can learn to use a fountain pen. It might take a little more time to find the pen-nib-ink-paper combination that best suits your personal writing style...

  • Allastair L. - Don’t be afraid to tinker.

  • Patrick T. - Buy the pen you want, not the pen other people tell you that you should want.

  • Kenneth H. - Budget, budget, budget, enjoy, enjoy, enjoy, learn, learn learn and welcome to a wonderful world of wonderful, sharing people
  • LiAnn T. - Don't procrastinate when your pens are empty. Clean them up!

  • Jeffrey G. - Just because it's expensive doesn't mean it is right for you.

  • Heather C. - Don't get overwhelmed by all the choices...pick a pen and ink and go from there. Oh, and also, enjoy the adventure!

  • Shannon M. - Buy lots of paper towels.
  • Chris P. - Don't fill your pen from a bottle of ink when there are toddlers or cats around!
  • Ceit D. - Ink happens, if you have a kitten, Ink happens on the floor, if you don't cap it and put it back. Ink happens on your hands and everywhere else. Don't be afraid of the ink and the mess it will make, embrace it --;)
  • Paul K. - Check and recheck that the lid is screwed back on before lifting the ink bottle. Otherwise you will have a real mess on your hands. Literally.
  • Hugh R. - There are no 100% leak-proof pens, so be very careful, guys, before inserting one in your oxford shirt pocket.
  • Thiago P. - Beware: beyond this purchase lays a whole new world. You will never have clean fingers again, and ink stains will have names on them.
  • Junee L. - Don't leave your pens uncapped to roll off the table nib downwards and have the nib do a leg split afterwards.
  • David J. - Put the cap back on the ink bottle first.
  • Kenneth M. - Don't shake your pen like a ballpoint if it is not writing. My office has a nice streak of Waterman Florida blue due to someone doing this.
  • Caitlin P. - ...Do your research but realize what works for someone else may not be comfortable to you. Last but not least, have fun, enjoy.

What would you add to this list? Be sure to like us on Facebook so you can join in on our next conversation! 

Write On,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday Matchup #44: Conklin Duragraph Amber in Stub with Private Reserve Shoreline Gold

The King of the Jungle. The Mane Man. Big Cat. Call them what you like, but no matter the name, lions dominate the food chain and the literature landscape, from antelope to zebras and Narnia to Oz.

This week the Cowardly Lion sits atop the Monday Matchup throne, with some help from Madigan on our Media Team, a Conklin Duragraph Amber in Stub and Private Reserve Shoreline Gold. The Duragraph is as timeless as the tale of Dorothy, Toto, the Lion, Tin Man, and Scarecrow. And if you don't have a Triple Cross medal or Wizard available to provide a needed dose of courage, the big and bold Duragraph will most certainly get the job done.  Meanwhile, the Shoreline Gold ink provides just the right amount of ferocity.

If you find yourself getting lost in a Monday Matchup daydream as you gaze upon the lion's lush mane and wise words, just tap your nib to paper three times and repeat after us, "There's no place like Goulet..."

The Conklin Duragraph Amber in Stub  is available on GouletPens.com for $44. Private Reserve Shoreline Gold is available in a 66ml bottle for $11 and as a 2ml ink sample for $1.25.

Write On,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

Friday, April 17, 2015

Grab a Slice of Goulet Q&A!

Even with the whole Goulet family out sick this week, we didn't want to leave you without a bit of Goulet Q&A. We've lined up some sweet slices for you in place of our normal Q&A. Hopefully, these will tide you over until Brian is up and running at full steam! Thanks to everyone who submitted questions this week. We'll answer a selection of them in our next Open Forum. Now sit back, relax and enjoy...

Goulet Q&A Slice: What Notebook or Loose Leaf Paper is Good for High School and College Students?

What notebook / loose leaf paper is good for High School / College Students?
  • Clairefontaine
Check out the Full Version of Episode 9

Goulet Q&A Slice: What are some Fountain Pen Inks for Students?

What are some fountain pen inks for students, with the criteria being that the ink behaves well on cheaper paper, is not too expensive, and is at least somewhat conservative in color (wouldn't want to be handing in apache sunset to a professor). So far the only ink I have found that fits these criteria is Noodler's Black, but I would like to find others.

Check out the Full Version of Episode 1

Goulet Q&A Slice: What is the Best Way to Get Rid of Baystate Blue Stains?

What is the best way to get rid of Baystate Blue stains--on/in a pen, on hands, on clothes, on the kitchen counter?

Check out the Full Version of Episode 25

Goulet Q&A Slice: Which Noodler's Models do not have the Smell?

About Noodler's, which models do not have the smell, so I may buy some. How do you get rid of the smell if they do? 

Check out the Full Version of Episode 25

Goulet Q&A Slice:
What is your Recommendation on Cleaning a Con-70 Converter?

What is your recommendation on cleaning a Con-70 converter?

Check out the Full Version of Episode 28

Goulet Q&A Slice: What are Your Thoughts on Ink Mixing/Dilution in General?

What are your thoughts on ink mixing/dilution in general? What are brands/techniques to avoid?
  • Mixing within brands is usually cool
  • Some inks have vastly different properties like Noodler's need to be careful (Baystate)
  • Good to mix:
    • Platinum Mix-Free
    • Private Reserve
    • conventional Noodler's inks
    • Waterman
    • Sheaffer
  • Always mix in small quantities
  • Let set for few hours to see reaction
Check out the Full Version of Episode 22

Goulet Q&A Slice: Do Certain Nib Manufacturers Consistently Run Larger or Smaller?

Are there any rules if thumb about relative nib sizes? Like, do certain manufacturers consistently run larger or smaller? Do nibs from, say, Germany or Japan tend to be wider or narrower than the same size nibs from elsewhere?

  • Japanese are typically ground finer in the EF and F nibs than European (German)
  • M and B nibs are usually fairly comparable
  • varies by pen, check Nib Nook for comparison of specific pens
Check out the Full Version of Episode 42

Goulet Q&A Slice:
What is the Dollar Threshold For Pens and Writing Performance?

What do you think is the dollar threshold where a fountain pen's writing performance does not get any better if you spend more money. For example does a $100 pen write as good as you're likely to get regardless of what you spend.

Check out the Full Version of Episode 1

Goulet Q&A Slice: Could You Give Us a List of Pens that Use a #6 Nib?

Brian, could give us a list (written or off the top of your head) of pens that use a #6 nib? Or do you have a way of knowing what sized nib is on a pen?

Check out the Full Version of Episode 2

Goulet Q&A Slice: What's a Good Ratio of Water Dilution to Reduce the Feathering?

What's a good ratio of water dilution to ink to reduce the feathering of Baystate Blue and other inks?

  • using distilled water, start at about 10% dilution, won’t change the color noticeably
  • the higher the dilution, the more watery the color (duh)
  • go to about 25% and see how you feel
  • mix in SMALL batches, 3-5ml at a time if you can
Check out the Full Version of Episode 64

Write On,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

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