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Friday, June 26, 2015

Goulet Q&A Episode 84, 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.

In this week's Q&A, Brian finally gives an update on the TWSBI Eco, talks about erasable inks, and why you might want to think twice about shoving a kitchen knife in between your nib tines. Enjoy!
Pens/Writing

‏1) @chevchelios069 - Twitter - (5:52)
@GouletPens Hey Brian, any news related to the TWSBI Eco? Is there like an approximate release date?
  • yup! TWSBI just put on their Facebook page
  • mid-late July! 
  • under $30, piston filler
  • very exciting, we’ll surely sell out quickly
2) Sam F. - Facebook - (7:29)
I'm pulling the trigger on an OMAS Arte Italiana Vision on Friday. I think it'd be a shame to NOT get the EF, extra-flexible (and I love nibs with flex). On the other hand, I don't want to be so worried about springing the tines that I'm scared to do everyday writing with it.  Exactly how careful do you have to be with those nibs?

  •  it’s VERY soft, too soft for me
  • as an everyday pen, I think I might discourage you from it unless you have a really light touch
  • the 18k nib is pretty soft as is!
3) Ann T. - Facebook- (11:01)
I really like my pilot metropolitan fine nib pens. I've tried some ""next level"" pens but have ended  up being unhappy with the grip section's shape,  or nib or weight or length of the pens. Am I missing out if I end my quest for the perfect pen (for me) with the metropolitan? Do you have any recommendations for other pens that are most similar to the metropolitans? Thanks!
  • if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! 
  • there’s nothing wrong with loving your Metro, focus on ink/paper to enhance your writing experience for a while
  • eventually you’ll want to branch out again, but don’t force it
  • there’s always more Metros in new colors (later this year) or other nicer Pilot pens like the Custom 74 (big upgrade though) 
4) Jake A. - Facebook - (16:46)
Are the Noodler's replacement flex nibs proprietary to those pens, or could i slap one on a Jinhao and get my flex on?
  • they’re not proprietary, they’re #6 size which is used on several different pens
  • Jinhao is the one where it’s a really struggle to fit it 


Paper - (20:19)

5) ‏@TweetNafi - Twitter - (20:45)
Can we expect new notebooks and new planners in the coming months? I'm looking for a planner that can take fp ink.
  • we don’t have a huge selection, just Rhodia and Leuchtturm 
  • JUST got in the Rhodia Webplanners 
  • in general planners are not great with FP ink, they’re made to absorb/dry quickly for ‘on the go'
6) Amanda A. - Facebook - (24:20)
What do you think of cotton paper?
  • I don’t have vast experience with it, mainly just Original Crown Mill Pure Cotton
  • feels really nice in the hand
  • a little draggy on the nib, that’s how it’s supposed to be
  • lose a lot of shading and vibrancy of the ink, which is okay for some inks and some people really like that
  • overall not my favorite but I’ll use it every now and then 


Ink - (28:38)

7) 林理谙 - Facebook - (28:44)
Can you sell erasable inks/ink erasers? Which inks can be erased? Can you ask Nathan to see if he would make ink eraser fluid? 

  • I don’t know how interested Nathan would be in that, he’s all about permanence! 
  • the only ‘erasable’ ink I know is Pilot Frixion, which is a ballpoint pen/ink that’s pretty cool
  • it technically doesn’t erase, just changes the chemical makeup to make it clear through heat/friction
  • I don’t know of any FP ink that does this, or even could
8) Joshua T. - Facebook - (34:33)
If you haven't already, can you discuss "fast dry" inks? What are your favorites? What are the pitfalls of some of these?
  • in general, I don’t like them personally
  • I don’t have a need for the fast-dry feature most of the time, and the tradeoff is too high for me (desaturated color and lack of shading)
  • Noodler’s Bernankes are pretty good, dull colors though
9) Roberto A. - YouTube - (36:51)
In the last Q&A you explained the difference between Noodlers black and black eel (lubricant), do you know what is different in the x-feather? Thank you!!!
  • probably #3 Noodler’s Black to Black and Heart of Darkness
  • it’s thicker, so it helps with feathering, sure, but it also works well for dip pens
  • long dry time is the drawback 


Business - (39:42)

10) Jay K. - Facebook - (39:53)
Have you looked into fixed-interval discounts for repeat customers? A website recently gave me a 3-day coupon for a recent birthday and I thought it was a nice touch. If you don't have the user's birthday you could key off of their first order, etc.
  • yeah, I’ve toyed with the idea
  • it’s appealing, part of why we wanted to switch sites late last year
  • still something we’re talking about, may be an option in the future
11) @inkywrist –Twitter - (43:41)
As someone who placed two orders this week, does your team ever start to recognize names that come through often?
  • Oh certainly
  • it kind of depends though, especially on how unique your name or address is! 
  • interesting order comments help us remember you too :) 
  • sometimes we don’t realize just how much we actually interact with you b/c of different s/n for different platforms


Troubleshooting - (47:47)

12) Alex S. - Facebook - (47:51)
I bought a Pilot Custom 92 recently and I LOVE this pen. That 14kt nib is awesome. This is my first pen over $50 and I'm terrified of posting the cap for fear of it scratching up the barrel. Is there really any concern or am I being over-dramatic?
  • it’s an expensive pen, I get it!
  • it’s like getting a new car, you worry about getting that first little scratch or ding
  • eventually, you might get some element of physical wear on it, and then it won’t seem so bad :)
  • no, posting won’t hurt this pen, you’ll be okay 
13) Ricky J. - Facebook - (53:28)
How can we increase the ink flow on Pilot 78G Medium nib? I had a really dry flow and I took the pen apart and decided to run kitchen knife through the slit in the feed....should I do it again and try shaving a little to make that slit a little bit wider? (Also....Parker quink sucks lol).
  • oy vey! yeah, don’t use a kitchen knife!
  • spreading the tines with any knife isn’t my approach
  • flossing tines with brass sheet can help clean it, often all that’s needed
  • there’s a difference between a pen that writes drier than it should and cleaning it back to it’s original glory, and taking a pen that’s naturally dry and altering it to make it wetter than intended
  • not sure where this lands, but with the knife you’re getting into alteration instead of just maintenance
  • Quink is super-dry, so just switching inks might make you happy!

QOTW: Do you have an intro-level pen that you just always keep going back to? - (59:48)


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

53 comments:

  1. I'm with you on the Metropolitan - it has a solid feel, is effortless to write with, easy to clean and looks a lot more expensive than it is. I think their choice to branch out into more vibrant colors is excellent and is what drew me to my other favorite entry level - the Lamy Safari/Al-Star pens.

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  2. hey brian!

    i just saw this in my fb feed this morning about an erasable disposible v-pen! http://www.pilotpen.co.uk/en/products-categories/fountain-pens/v-pen-erasable-medium-tip.html

    as for your QOTW: i always go back to my noodlers ahab & creapers... even after purchasing a couple vintage wet noodles, a falcon and a custom heritage 912 FA nib in my quest for the ultimate flex nibs. with my noodlers, i never have to worry about what inks i put in them because they're completely disassembleable (is that a word?) or even losing them.

    but just last week, i found an old sheaffer no nonsense in a box of used pens/pencils and i haven't been able to set it aside! that takes me way back to elementary school days in the 70's learning proper calligraphy with our school librarian. probably more nostalgia than an amazing writer, but we'll see how long it remains inked. even thinking of picking up a couple other colors thru ebay (since they're long discontinued).

    Oh... I have a question for next week. After listening to your comments about the OMAS Arte Italiano Vision EF, I was curious how the super-soft Pilot Custom Heritage 912 FA nib compares with the OMAS extra-flessible nib (not that I have an extra five Benjamins to drop right now, but just wondering for future reference).

    thanks for another informative and entertaining q&a!
    -vicki

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  3. Giovanni's RoombaJune 26, 2015 at 2:47 PM

    Quick-dry inks are useful for left-handed people like my husband, who uses mostly Bernanke Blue and Bernanke Black (but also, carefully, Skrip Red and Diamine Bilberry for variety).


    Papermate makes an erasable pen that doesn't work with heat, as the Frixion does, and so the pens have an actual eraser on the end: but the ink is so thick that the pens have to be pressurized for the ink to flow, so that would never work for a fountain pen. Another company made a pen containing ink that was rendered invisible with a chemical, so their pens were double-ended, one the pen, the other the "eraser" (looked like a white highlighter). That might be doable for fountain pen ink, unless the ink is corrosive in some way, and even if it worked you'd have to carry around another pen that contained the erasing fluid.

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  4. My 7-yo Lamy Vista was my first fountain pen and it's still my go-to daily writer (to the disdain of the other five pens I carry with me).

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  5. Some royal blue inks can be chemically erased (Lamy Blue, Waterman Serenity Blue, to name a couple). Lamy makes a pen called Ink-x that has a colorless eraser pen on one end and blue pen on the other (because you can't write on top of the erasing chemical with the ink you erased, the ink will just disappear again).

    Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ink_eraser#Chemical_ink_erasers
    Video by SBRE Brown: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irmnJURd-3c

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  6. QOTW: I don't have any high-end FP yet, but I use a Waterman Kultur a lot, a clear demonstrator. I really like the design and the nib performance. It is really a pity that is not longer made.

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  7. I have a question for a future blog entry. I will go to Japan for holidays and I was planning in buying some Pilot FP and inks. I will possibly buy one (or two) Pilot Custom 74 but I'm unsure about the "soft" nibs. I read that the Soft Fine-medium nib is great. I also read that Custom 74 tends to be dry but I prefer wet pens (I'm fast writing). What is your opinion about soft nibs and Custom 74 dryness? Thanks!

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  8. Regarding Question #12 (scratching the barrel): Try putting a little ink on the treads of the cap and then posting. When the cap is removed the ink spots on the pen should indicate where the cap is seating itself onto the pen. Those areas can be checked once in a while to see if there is any damage to the pen during posting.

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  9. ...if you go over to the dark side (ballpoints), don't worry, we will still love you!
    re QOTW: i started very late so I started with more expensive pens...my Edison Herald tortoise is my first love.

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  10. Frixion pens are pretty cool, and they have them in awesome colors from Japan. RE: ink erasers...when I went to school in Germany - yikes, almost 50 years back - we had something called a Tintenkiller for our fountain pen ink. Worked really well.

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  11. I'm noticing a new and more conventional spelling for your listings of Private Reserve's excellent green "Avocado" ink. It's a gorgeous ink, very well behaved, but it used to be spelled "Avacado". Is there a story there? [No answer desired if it's the usual mundane knuckling under to convention.] Just curious.

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  12. Re Q. 7: Brian, I don't know the brand name of the pens (Bic?), but 50 years ago or more you could buy ballpoint pens with black ink that could be erased with an ordinary pencil eraser--IF you erased them fairly soon after writing. After some time passed, however, the ink "set up" or cured and became fairly permanent.

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  13. The brand is Papermate and the company still sells a similar product today.

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  14. Brian, your shirt is kind of thematic with the Supreme Court decision today. I am sure you did not plan that but I had to mention it.

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  15. QOTW: I'd have to say the pen I always keep going back to is the pen with which I draw: the Platinum Cool.

    re VickNish..... The Sheaffer No Nonsense IS still made, it's just been rebranded. They're sold simple as Sheaffer Calligraphy. I have several from the 1980's that I used for calligraphy. I even have two regular writing nibs. And the ink is still sold, though, as always, it is very fugitive.

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  16. I am totally with you on Pilot pens -- their overall quality is so consistent, and you get a lot for your money. I even like that "squid pen" (aka Plumix) -- weird looking but actually feels good in the hand and lightweight so you can write for hours. Plus the stub nibs make my writing look great! :)

    QOTW: One of the first pens I bought from Goulet was a Pilot Metropolitan Violet Leopard, and it is still one of my favorites. I've purchased a lot of pens since then, including brands like Pelikan and Visconti (which I love), but the nib on that $15 pen is as smooth as some gold nibs on pens costing 20 times as much. I think I was extremely lucky with that pen, as my other Metropolitans have a tiny bit of feedback, though they too are remarkably smooth. But that one Violet Leopard is an absolute joy to write with -- filled with De Atrementis Aubergine it just skates across the page like butter in a hot skillet.

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  17. QOTW: I have to agree with Scott. Almost all my pens are probably intro-level (all under $50), but I am very impressed by the feel, sturdiness, economy, and flexibility (via Goulet nibs) of the Jin Haos. My first was a x750, and then of course I had to try the 159 (the colors sell themselves) and most recently I bought an x450, which is a beautiful pen. And they are so easy to maintain and change the nibs based upon your mood. ;-)

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  18. QOTW: After buying a number of pens that have become favorites (Pilot, Platinum, Lamy, TWSBI) with prices ranging from $4 to over $200, I FINALLY got a Pilot Metropolitan (F nib). I was amazed at how good it feels in my hand and I write very well with it. I expected a wonderful nib, as Pilot and Platinum nibs are all great, and I was not disappointed at all. This pen has become part of my every day using pens. If you want a great writing instrument that is reliable, the Metropolitan is that for many people.

    Ann T. - I also love writing with my Platinum Balance and Cool pens. The grip is just a little wider, the weight is a little lighter, but wonderful writing pens like the Metropolitan. Both pens have easy to remove nibs and feeds if you ever want to do a thorough cleaning.

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  19. Kathy, where did you find stub nibs for the Kaweco Sport pens? I too love stub nibs. I refilled cartridge pens back in the 90's (starting with my '65 graduation Sheaffer pen that I finally cleaned out); more because it seemed like the best thing to do but I knew it was cheaper and I could select the ink I wanted. In the 50's we used student cartridge pens at school.

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  20. Brian, I have a suggestion for a promotion you could do. You could have golden tickets like Michael Scott tried to do for Dunder Mifflin. If you find a golden in your box, you get ten percent off your next order!

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  21. Re your QOTW...I always go back to my Safaris with stub nibs. Reliable, love the grip, lightweight, no complaints at all. Re. the ideas about discounts....I am a good, loyal customer and likely would benefit from a loyalty program. However, I am also a retired bank chief credit officer and attorney. Over my career I worked with a lot of small to large businesses. Loyalty programs are useless. They are expensive to administer, cut into your profits and don't do much to keep or increase business. You will keep your customers and add new ones by the quality of your products and services, and by keeping your prices competitive. You don't have to be the rock bottom cheapest. I order from other online pen shops if you don't carry what I want. These shops send me free shipping or discount cards. That's nice. But if you carry the product, I don't look at another site before ordering. I appreciate your service, quality of information from descriptions and photographs/videos. That's what's important to me, and what distinguishes Goulet from other pen stores. Just my non-discounted two cents worth.

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  22. Tom, I ordered the replacement stub nibs from jet pens.com. (Not sure I can write that here...). It's an easy change because it's a nib unit. No problems with them. I grew up with the Sheaffer school pens as well. Thought I was hot stuff because I had both the green and blue pens. Sometimes I could get the peacock blue cartridges, too! I used cartridges for a long time, probably because my father had a Sheaffer Snorkel that I could not figure out how to fill! Guess I thought all pens were that crazy. Switched to bottle fills as an adult.

    Brian, I wish you carried the Kaweco stub nibs replacements...really all of the replacement nibs. I love my Kawecos, and the stub nibs are great. Not MB smooth, of course, but they're $13.50, I think.

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  23. I'd never heard of the Tintenkiller so I googled it. It's a Pelikan product that is still available on Amazon's German site. It would be fun to try!

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  24. Hi Mitchell! I'm a huge fan of Kawecos as well. What ink are you using with the Poquito? Switching to a wetter ink (like Diamine) could help with the skipping issues. :)

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  25. Hey Jonathan! A Metropolitan would make a nice addition to this list. I've never heard of scraping off the paint. Sounds really nice. Can you share a picture?

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  26. Hey there DrPenfection! A Loom would be a great travel pen as well. We're generally more bottled ink friendly around here (but we're also in an office!) but for travel, cartridges are a bit more convenient. I'll have to check out those Nalgene bottles! Sounds like an interesting solution. :)

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  27. Hi Otter! So exciting!! Where will you be going? I was in Fukuoka a few years ago and LOVED it. If I were going back, I'd definitely try to do some more sketching and go to some stationery stores. The Poquito will be a great pen to take with you. :)

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  28. Mitchell WeinbergJune 29, 2015 at 10:07 AM

    I have a black Monteverde cartridge in my Poquito.

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  29. Hi Scott! I'm with you here. I have a Jinhao that I use regularly. I like the feel of it a lot. The Goulet Nib can make a big difference in the smoothness of the writing experience, so give that a try if you haven't! :)

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  30. Nice to hear how you started out, Calligraphy Nut! What's your favorite pen at this point? :)

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  31. Hey Vicki! The search for the perfect flex nib is a long one! I've got a Konrad that is definitely my favorite, but my Pilot Custom 743 is up there! I'd like to see the Sheaffer you are talking about writes though. I've passed your question along to Brian for the next QA! :)

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  32. Brian, is there an ink that will clean the pen as I use it or is this thought too good to be true?

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  33. Love the shirt Brian. I grew up watching Reading Rainbow, glad to see it's back :)

    Same question as last week: I'm thinking about buying my first gold nib pen to celebrate graduation/first career job. I'm between the Pilot VP and the Lamy 2000. The click action of the VP feels like it's the more practical choice, but I just love the look of the Lamy 2000. The VP seems like the right head decision, but the Lamy feels like the right heart decision. Which one is better for every day use? Thanks Brian!

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  34. From a calligraphy standpoint the Pilot Parallel 3.8 and 6mm are amazing but I really love my Copper Orange Al-Star for writing (and having the 1.9mm nib is a bonus).

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  35. thanks for the info, kate! i've seen the current sheaffer calligraphy pens and they have that big ink level hole in the body. i believe the nibs are still the same though. i actually just bought a vintage one on ebay without the hole and a translucent body with the intent of converting it into an eyedropper. the one i already own has sprung a hairline crack across the threads that leaks so i have to use a cartridge with it.

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  36. madigan,
    here's a pic of how the no nonsense writes... just a typical .9mm italic/stub. nothing special, just nostalgic.

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  37. I agree, I think the best thing the Goulet pen company can do increase business is to continue offering great customer service and the same products at competitive prices.

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  38. I also use the Nalgene bottles (2 oz) when traveling so I can use my bottled ink. It is a great way to be able to use bottled ink on the road.

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  39. Many of the $50 and less crowd are my favorites. The Metropolitan is an amazing pen for the price. It writes and feels like a $50. I'm so glad it's not as I'm getting a few more in the new colors when they come out. I have the white and black now and I bought my daughter (14) the purple one. In my rotation is the mets, Lamy Safari Coral (love it), Lamy Copper Orange Al-Star and the TWSBI Mini. As for the gel pens, love it. And that Friction Pen was way cool.

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  40. What product on your website does not get the attention or sales that you believe it deserves? Are there any particular diamonds in the rough that you wish to polish for us all?

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  41. I love it!! You have gorgeous handwriting. :)

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  42. I still haven't figured out how to write with the 6mm! You make that pen sing though. :)

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  43. Hey Giovanni! This was fascinating to read. I'm going to have to do some more research, especially on this double-ended pen. Thanks for sharing!! :)

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  44. Hi Sarah! I know what you mean... I have a Noodler's pen that I got my first week of working here. Despite my very full pen cup, I keep going back to it! :)

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  45. Hey Thecla! Thanks for sharing this. Super interesting! :)

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  46. The only issue with the 6mm is that if you use inks other than Pilot's cartridges it tends to write pretty dry - Apache Sunset never really gets beyond yellow - been thinking about playing with the feed but I think the real issue is that wide nib and the minimal distance between those plates are going to restrict ink flow regardless.

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  47. With Inkapalooza this month, what suggestions do you have for a pen that works especially well with sampling many inks? I like the pens I have (Metropolitan and Vac 700), but filling the Vac 700 from a sample vial can be a challenge, and the metropolitan dries out if I forget about it for a couple days. Any suggestions?

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  48. Hey Brian! Love love love your Q&As and all the other blog posts and videos you put up for us all! :)
    A birthday discount/something else like that would be nice, but honestly, your customer service is what keeps bringing me back when I need new ink/pens/paper (okay...maybe not NEED, but definitely WANT!)

    Question for you, our company just did a huge promotion/raise for all of its staff as part of a switch over to a new owner, and as a celebration, I'm looking at getting a new pen (insert happy dance here). I'm really thinking about a gold nib pen, I've never owned one before, the most expensive pen I've ever bought is the Monteverde Invincia Nighthawk, which I love from a design standpoint but is just a little heavy for extended writing sessions for me :\ and my absolute favorite go to pen is my TWSBI 580. What kind of pen would you recommend (gold nib or not) that's good for long periods of writing (especially around NaNoWriMo), that works well with shading inks? Something with maybe a little flex? The TWSBI is the perfect size in my hand FWIW and I love demonstrators.

    QotW : Intro-level pens? ::hides massive collection of Safaris and Al-Stars:: gosh, I wouldn't have the slightest clue. :) I carry an Al-Star or Safari with me at all times. I'm a courier, I have a lot of people signing manifests, and for me, a Lamy just feels nice in the hand, and for people who need to 'borrow' my pen, the triangle grip keeps them from trying to write upside down or sideways with the nib since there's only one way to hold it. (I may also just enjoy seeing the uninitiated get a little inky...) And I usually have a Metropolitan with me, more to swap out for the Al-Star if a nurse wants to keep the pen. Metros are a lot cheaper to replace LOL

    Other than that, I've always got my TWSBI 580 with me no matter where I go, but does that qualify as an intro-level pen? :)

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