Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Visconti Homo Sapiens Overview

Video Outline:

Unboxing - (:56)
Materials - (2:35)
Trim Options - (4:09)
Features - (4:59)
Nib Options - (7:40)
Filling Mechanism - (9:37)
How It Writes - (11:58)
Additional Features - (15:50)
"My Pen" System - (17:51)
Price - (18:46)

The Visconti Homo Sapiens is often considered to be a "holy grail" fountain pen among many fountain pen enthusiasts. The Visconti brand as a whole felt this way for us, so we're beyond excited to be an authorized Visconti retailer, allowing us to offer this particular fountain pen to you. The Homo Sapiens is the only fountain pen that we know of that is made of actual volcanic rock! There's lots to talk about relating to this pen, so enjoy this in-depth look at the Visconti Homo Sapiens! 

Brand overview/history:
  • Founded in 1988 by Dante Del Vecchio
  • A lot of innovation, artistry, and design goes into Visconti pens
  • Crafted in a 15th century villa in Florence, Italy
  • Homo Sapiens has been around for a few years now
  • Made of volcano!

  • Leatherette box (feels great!)
  • tray underneath for instruction booklet
  • bronze finishes include polishing cloth (raw bronze)

  • Type of material: hardened basaltic lava from Mt. Etna in Italy mixed with resin
  • Slightly hygroscopic (absorbs moisture), much like ebonite
  • Virtually unbreakable, slightly warm to the touch
  • Very, very organic
  • You can have any color Homo Sapiens you want, as long as it’s black
  • Two sizes: Regular/Maxi (larger) and Midi (smaller)
  • Available finishes:
Visconti Homo Sapiens Maxi Bronze Age

  • It feels a lot like ebonite (rubber), slightly grippy feel
  • It’s heavy but not as heavy as you might expect being that it’s made of rock
  • grip: nice contour and won’t slip around in the hand
  • step: threads are a big chunky, but that’s because of the Hook Safe Lock

  • Very well-balanced when unposted, cap-heavy when posted
  • Cap sits fairly far back on the pen so it’s very long posted
  • Midi size is perfect for Rachel, Maxi size is perfect for Brian

  • Maxi: 42g overall, 26g body, 16g cap
  • Midi: 37g overall, 23g body, 14g cap
  • Definitely some heavier pens, comparable to Jinhao X450/750, Monteverde Invincia, Visconti Divina

Nib Options: 
  • Nib Material: 23k Palladium “Dreamtouch"
  • Design on nib: Visconti name with flourishing, very attractive
  • Two-tone for bronze trim, silver-color for steel trim
  • Feed design: narrow fins, little Visconti “V” on the feed
  • Available sizes on the Midi: fine, medium, broad
  • Available sizes on the Maxi: extra-fine, fine, medium, broad, double broad, 1.3mm stub italic
  • Some sizes are only available via special order through GouletPens.com for now

Filling Mechanism: 
  • Midi: piston with 1ml ink capacity 
    • similar to Visconti Divina, smallest ink capacity of just about any piston pen
  • Regular: “Power filler” vacuum with 1.5ml ink capacity
    • components made of titanium to resist corrosion
    • same capacity as Mont Blanc 149
    • more than Lamy 2000, less than Omas Ogiva

How They Write:
  • Ink used: Noodler’s Black
  • Nib smoothness: VERY smooth
  • Flow: incredibly wet, generous flow
  • Nib stiffness: very springy, good line variation
  • Line width is broad for most nib sizes, and very wet. One important thing to consider, especially when thinking about the extra-fine nib, is your individual writing pressure. While they do write generously wet, it may be possible to get a thinner line depending on your writing pressure.
  • You will need to refill more often with these pens

  • Hook Safe Lock threading to close, push-to-post
  • Clip: signature Visconti “bridge” spring clip with the name on the side
  • Grab the clip to put it into your pocket
  • Centerband: says “Homo Sapiens”
  • Visconti logo in the finial on the cap, can sometimes spin around because it’s attached magnetically
  • “My Pen” system built into the top, magnetic jewels or letters can be put in the top

Comparable Pens:

  • Regular: $695 MSRP
  • Midi: $550 MSRP
  • Authorized Visconti retailers advertise full MSRP. You can see our best price at GouletPens.com once you add the pen to your cart!

We're extremely excited to be adding this one-of-a-kind fountain pen to Goulet Pens! For more pictures and technical specs on the Visconti Homo Sapiens, check out Gouletpens.com If you have any questions, be sure to leave a comment below. 

Write on, 
Brian Goulet 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

New to Goulet Pens! Visconti Dreamtouch Pen Holder

As many of you are aware, Goulet Pens recently started carrying the brand, Visconti! Visconti is an Italian brand with Italian made products. So far, the products we've seen from this company demonstrate incredibly thoughtful design, astute attention to detail, and unmatched workmanship.

The Visconti Dreamtouch Pen Holders are no exception! They use Florentine leather-working techniques to create their leather. This technique allows for the leather to maintain some of the original features, including small blemishes that add to the appeal. The leather is soft and supple, stretching over the hard-bodied pen case beautifully. The hard structure of the inner casing has dividers covered in soft material to keep each of your pens apart. This ensures that your pens stay scratch-free and thoroughly protected, outside and in. 

The pen cases come in several sizes. Be sure to check the product pages for the exact dimensions of each pen holder.
Visconti Dreamtouch Leather 1 Pen Holder
Visconti Dreamtouch Leather 2 Pen Holder

Visconti Dreamtouch Leather 3 Pen Holder
Visconti Dreamtouch Leather 6 Pen Holder
Visconti Dreamtouch Leather 12 Pen Holder
What sets these Pen Holders apart is the luxurious leather exterior with the hard cased interior. The dividers really add an extra element of protection for your pens. They won't rub against each other or get crushed while in transit. The interior space between the dividers will fit almost any pen.

So, what do you think? What is your favorite on-the-go pen carrier?

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

Monday, September 28, 2015

Monday Matchup #67: Monteverde Limonada Roma Gold with Diamine 1864 Blue Black

Hey there fountain pen friends! Madigan here. I chose this week's Monday Matchup of a Monteverde Limonada fountain pen in Roma Gold and Diamine 1864 Blue Black. I went with this pen because I  liked the design, the color, and the fact that it came with a Medium nib. I picked the ink because I've grown to love blue black inks. When using them in art, you can get a surprising amount of color variation from light blue to almost black. I knew I wanted to do a super hero and moonscape, so it seemed like the perfect ink to accomplish this work.

I started out drawing my flying man, or hero, in pencil. I find drawing people a little difficult, especially faces and hands, but since I was going for a cartoon effect I thought it was a little easier. Then, I sketched out the moon and clouds. I quickly realized that my proportions were off so I erased the man and redrew him a bit bigger. Using the pen, I went over everything I'd drawn. I loved the thickness of the line the Limonada produced. However, it did have a couple of hard starts, especially when I first started using the pen. After working with it for awhile, the nib seemed to loosen up and it wrote much better.

I had my outline of each of the major parts of the work finished so it was time for the shading! I wanted to make the hero stand out by making sure he was crisp against the softened background of the moon and clouds. To add shading and soften the appearance of the moon and clouds, I took a brush pen and dabbed it in cap of the ink. I added in the lighter parts first, layering on more ink to create a textured effect. I allowed time for it to dry between each layer. To get the darkest parts, I used the pen to go over the softened outlines of the clouds and moon. Using an eraser, I got rid of the pencil marks.

I set the piece aside for awhile. When I came back to it, I wasn't really loving it. It looked a bit blank -- just not as dynamic as I'd envisioned. I decided to darken the background to make the moon and clouds stand out. I dipped the brush pen directly into the ink and soaked in some ink. I brushed the ink out in a fan around the moon. That definitely helped! I realized my poor hero was looking a little lame, so using the Limonada, I gave him some nice checkered pants. I sat back, finally satisfied with what I'd accomplished.

I love the look of this pen! I like the weight of it, the thinness of the grip section, and the sassy gold finish. On top of the look, it gave a nice thick line and fit perfectly in my small hands. The downside is that it took some breaking in and the nib isn't swappable, which isn't ideal for everyone. The ink performed exactly as I hoped. It had gorgeous depth of shading! I'd use it again in a heartbeat.

You can find the Monteverde Limonada Roma Gold at Gouletpens.com for $28. Diamine 1864 Blue Black comes in 40ml bottles for $15.95 or 2ml ink samples for $1.25.

Do you have a favorite blue black ink? What do you think of the Monteverde Limonada?

Write on,


Friday, September 25, 2015

Goulet Q&A Episode 96, 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.

This week I'm talking about why modern flex nibs just don't compare to vintage ones, the future of cursive writing in schools where it isn't being taught, and how you should approach going to your first fountain pen show!

New/Upcoming Products - (1:20)

Pens/Writing - (6:53)
1) Garrett O. Facebook - (6:58)
Modern flexible nibs are always compared (poorly) to vintage flexible nibs. The vintage nibs are really the only way to get good, consistent flex, from what I can tell. Why is this? What changed? Did we forget how to make them? Since flex is such a highly sought after feature, why don't modern pen companies just make them the same way they used to?
  • they’re definitely not the same as they used to be
  • writing back then was much more scripty (Spencerian, Copperplate, etc) in the early 1900’s
  • flex is highly sought after in the FP world today, but not at all “highly” in the grand scheme of the writing that’s done today
  • flex nib making the way it was done way back in the day required very specialized skills and specialized equipment, which isn’t around today
  • no doubt, the technology is there today to make really flexible nibs, but it would be too cost-prohibilitve for a company to invest in it (they’d never pay it back)
  • it seems like it’d be such a no-brainer to make really flexible nibs today, but it does not appear to be the case (otherwise someone would be doing it!)
  • the way to get them today is to get custom-ground nibs by an experienced nib tuner, which will cost you $100+ probably for a true flex (plus the cost of the pen) 
  • one of the best modern flex nibs I’ve used today is the Omas 14k extra-flexible
2) Trent V.-Facebook - (19:32)
I am currently a junior in high school in the DC suburbs. The new curriculum for all students does not require students to learn cursive anymore however I was taught in a different state. My cursive is very good I think, and other cursive people think so as well. However, my teachers and my friends can not read cursive so I usually have to write in print or my teachers get mad at me. What should I do?
  • this breaks my heart! 
  • schools cutting out teaching cursive is surely a difficult task for those of us who still want to write in cursive
  • Cursive Logic: interesting kickstarter that makes it easier to learn cursive, I heard they’re campaigning to get this taught in school 
  • I’m really torn about this…clearly you need people to read what you write, but if you stop writing cursive, will it die??

Ink - (27:17)
3) Ted Lee- YouTube - (27:20)
I have a few bottles of ink that I haven't used in ten years or more - such as a bottle of Private Reserve 2003 DC Super Show Blue. Is it still safe to use? What would you do to test it?  Thanks!
  • it all depends, ink can certainly last that long
  • was it previously used? how was it stored?
  • if it was opened before and partially used, the chance of it not being good anymore increases due to contamination and exposure to “the elements”
  • storing it well sealed and in a cool place that’s out of direct sunlight is key
  • open it up, does it smell moldy/funky? it shouldn’t
  • do you see anything weird going on, is it sludgy or chunky?
  • take a toothpick or popsicle stick and swirl it around in the ink, see if there’s anything weird going on like sludge or flakes/chunks sticking to the stick
  • if everything checks out, maybe try it in a glass pen, dip pen, or a cheaper pen that’s easy to clean, see how that goes
  • use your discretion about what pens you’re comfortable putting it in 

4) Bart Grossman-YouTube - (32:05)
I really appreciate the ink reviews and knowing the drying time is quite helpful but I wonder why nobody seems to use a blotter these days. I have a couple of very nice vintage rocker blotters and I know you sell J. Herbin desk blotters. Is there any reason not to use one? Do they effect ink sheen, shading etc.?
  • some people use them, but not many at all, I’d say
  • it’s just not as common today, it was a staple desk piece back in the day
  • they are handy, though they can affect shading/sheen because it’s soaking up excess ink
  • it’s probably not affecting it enough to avoid using it, though
  • they’re certainly handy and I would recommend using them, I do have a video on the J. Herbin blotter 

‏5) @La_Lynne – Twitter - (35:40)
Ink bottles - some aesthetically very pleasing, but are some more practical than others? Which ones best?
  • this is really going to depend on personal taste, and you’ll see brands all over the map on this
  • ideally, you want both!
  • Pilot Iroshizuku, Pelikan Edelstein, Visconti, Caran d’Ache all have beautiful and very functional bottles
  • Ones that are less beautiful but very functional are Noodler’s (especially temporary plastic), Private Reserve, Sheaffer, LamyRohrer and Klingner 
  • Ones that are beautiful but not very functional are J. Herbin 1670, J. Herbin 30ml, Faber-Castell
  • the #1 reason why ink bottles wouldn’t be functional is because the neck of the bottle isn’t wide enough to fit some pens, next it would be that they’re too shallow to fill before too long
  • it’s a challenge to design bottles that are functional and beautiful
  • the bottles themselves are a significant expense for ink makers
  • this is why you see a huge price gap with those that have large, beautiful, heavy bottles and those with very bare-bones bottles
6) Chris W. -Facebook - (44:09)
We all know you love blue inks, what are your top 10 blue inks?

Paper - (47:55)
7) Alexander L.- Facebook - (47:57)
How does the Maruman Mnemosyne paper compare to the Rhodia Premium Paper?
  • great question! they are somewhat similar, though Maruman is more like the regular Rhodia paper
  • I find Rhodia Premium to be more ink resistant, slicker, and thicker
  • Rhodia Premium is very off-white, almost yellow in color
  • Maruman has a lot of different line/format options, Rhodia Premium is just blank or lined, and only in top-staplebound tablet form
  • Rhodia Premium is really more of a note-taking or correspondence paper
  • Maruman Mnemosyne is more as a traditional notebook/sketchbook
Business - (49:47)
8) Jay K. -Facebook - (49:49)
Going to my first pen show this weekend (Dallas). What should I expect to see, and are there any rookie mistakes to avoid?
  • oh boy! that is exciting!
  • I’ve never been to Dallas, so I don’t have specific guidance for you on that particular show (though I hear it’s good, even though it’s fairly small)
  • check out their website, see who will be there that you may want to see
  • see if there’s any kind of meetup group from FPN or anything
  • check out any classes they might have, account for those in your schedule/budget
  • go with a plan, if you want to get something specific, go on the hunt for that first (especially if it’s vintage/rare) and get that, then browse
  • if just checking it out, take a lap around the whole show, don’t stick around too long at any one place, but make a note of the interesting tables to come back to
  • have a budget in mind, it’s going to be impossible not to want to spend more than you intend!  
  • wear good walking shoes, you’ll be on your feet a lot and you don’t want to get tired out
  • bring some pens! you may meet up with some interesting people and want to ‘talk pens’
  • Go in, take a lap, go to the restroom/sit down and take a break, go back in and start buying stuff/talk to people you want to talk to
  • it will always be busiest the morning of the first day, so it’s good to scope out the scene then
  • you’ll have more time to talk to vendors once the morning rush is over
  • have fun! take pics

Troubleshooting - (57:27)
9) Lauren M. -Facebook - (57:32)
Last week you showed how to disassemble a Lamy Z24 converter. Can you also dissemble the Z26 converter?
  • same principle! I should have mentioned that in the Z24 vid! 
10) Prachi L. -Facebook - (1:00:54)
My TWSBI 580 <EF> writes exceptionally dry. Do you have any suggestions for improving the writing? Thanks!
  • clean it out, even if it’s new, that’s always a good practice when a pen isn’t flowing well
  • check your ink, some inks are dry writing and may not be a great pairing (inks with particulate in it like pigmented inks, shimmering inks, etc), especially if left in it for a week or more
  • Sometimes the tines are tight on these, a simple pressing of the tines on the paper can spread them out and make it flow much better
  • if none of this is helping, you may want to reach out to TWSBI at twsbiinc@gmail.com to see if they can troubleshoot it

QOTW: What do you see as the future of cursive writing and can/should anything be done to try to save it? - (1:04:18)

Be sure to leave me any comments or questions below, and check out any of the previous 95 episodes of Goulet Q&A here. 1,400 questions or so have already been answered, so it's worth checking out!

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Thursday, September 24, 2015

J. Herbin Rouge Caroubier: Ink Review

Calling all ink lovers! It's Jenni, Goulet's videographer here. I am super excited to be writing my very first ink review on this week's Monday Matchup ink, J. Herbin Rouge Caroubier. I had a great time using this ink and learning different techniques that would help the color shine. Rouge Caroubier does have a few quirks that can make this ink a little tricky to use, but I am excited to share my thoughts with you and hope my experience helps you in your ink endeavors.

Supplies Used:

Smear Test (Dry Time):
  • Medium - This ink drys pretty quickly. On Rhodia paper it was dry within 20 seconds.  When using Clairefontaine paper in my Monday Matchup I found that it was also able to dry pretty quickly without smearing. With Tomoé River it took a little longer to dry with a higher risk of smearing but it's definitely one of the quicker drying inks that I have used. 
Drip Test (Water Resistance):
  • Low - I found that the ink responds differently depending on the method of water application. In my Monday Matchup, I found that the ink had a pretty high water resistance. When I was trying to create an ink wash I found that the ink was not affected by the water because it had already dried. However, when doing the drip test on freshly applied ink like in the test above, I found that the ink virtually disappeared and all that was left was an ink halo where the water was dropped. 

  • Medium/Low- Overall the ink has a pretty low saturation. The color isn't super vibrant and it can easily come off more of a pink than its intended red. You can see a definite line between the swabs but the vibrancy of the color doesn't change.

Ease of Cleaning:
  • Easy- Since this ink isn't super saturated it can easily be cleaned from the nib and pen. I dropped the nib into a cup of water and it was pulled out completely ink free.

  • Medium/Low- With a wetter/flex nib you can notice a bit of shading, but not enough to call it a good shading ink. With the Lamy I noticed a bit of shading throughout (especially on the downward stroke of my letters) however when I used the Edison Nouveau Premiere with a 1.1 stub I didn't see much shading at all. 

  • Medium/Dry- This ink seemed to be pretty dry when using it in both pens. It almost made the pens feel a like they had a little feedback. That being said, I didn't find that it showed any signs of skipping or cause flow reductions. The ink seemed to flow pretty regularly from the pen giving it a consistent writing experience. 

Packaging and Aesthetics:
  • 30ml glass bottle with box, and ink samples available.
  • The bottle is shallower than other bottles, so getting the nib submerged can be tricky. If the ink was low, it could be problematic. You might need to tilt it to be able to fill. 
  • Interesting label design with a nice flower graphic on it. I wouldn't consider the bottle to be a desk centerpiece but because it is a short bottle it would fit nicely in a drawer.

Inks similar in color:


Personally, I could only see myself using this ink with a broad, stub, or flex pen. When the ink is used in a extra fine, fine, or medium nib the color can come out looking a bit watered down. I don't think you'd get the full effect of how gorgeous the color is with finer nibs. If you want a rich vibrant red, this probably isn't the ink for you. But if you are interested in trying an ink that has the ability to go from a bright red, to a muted red, to a blush pink you will get exactly that. I had a great time using this ink this week! I hope you give it a chance because when used to its full color potential, the outcome is very elegant.

J. Herbin Rouge Caroubier is available at Gouletpens.com in a 30ml bottle for $11.00 and in a 2ml ink sample for $1.25.

Thanks for spending some time with me today and have a great rest of your week!

Write on, 

Thursday Things: Indigo and Gold

This week we're getting a little brassy and bold! We've selected our favorite indigo and gold products for your viewing pleasure.

Featured products from left to right:

Parker Urban Premium - Golden Pearl 
Apica CD-7 - Assorted Bold Colors
De Atramentis Indigo Blue (35ml)
J. Herbin Sealing Wax Sample - Gold
Platinum Plaisir Fountain Pen - Gold
Edison Replacement Nibs- Two-Toned Steel, Medium
Kaweco Brass Sport Fountain Pen - Raw Brass, with Kaweco Deluxe Fountain Pen Clip - Gold

Which pen is your favorite?

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Edison Nouveau Premiere Midnight Thunder Fall 2015 SE Fountain Pen

Today marks the first official day of Fall, which means it's time to announce the Fall 2015 Edison Nouveau Premiere
, Midnight Thunder! The Edison Nouveau Premiere has been one of our most popular fountain pens at GouletPens.com ever since we introduced it 4.5 years ago. About two years ago, we came up with the idea to start doing seasonal Premieres, changing color every season. We've had a lot of wonderful seasonal colors so far, but Midnight Thunder is one we've had our eye on for some time. We've just been waiting for the right time to bring it out!

Midnight Thunder, aside from being a slightly ridiculous name that we all love around the Goulet shop, is the 8th seasonal Premiere we've done. We've been on a run of brightly colored resins, so we wanted to darken things up a bit with this one. It's a navy blue acrylic resin with some subtle pearlescence, with red and white striations throughout that will be unique to each pen.

How the seasonal thing works:
  • Pens will be made from now for about 3 months, or until material runs out
  • Once we hit the 3-month mark, no more will be made
  • Will switch to the Winter edition around December 
  • Edison pens made in Ohio by Brian and Andrea Gray
Available stainless steel nibs are:
  • Standard International cartridge/converter pen
  • Accepts standard international short cartridge (not long ones, unfortunately! We were mistaken in the video...)
  • Converter (included)
  • Eyedropper conversion with a little silicone grease on the threads

Inks that match Midnight Thunder: 


The Edison Nouveau Premiere Midnight Thunder is available for $149 exclusively at GouletPens.com from now until sometime around December 2015. The storm is here but not for long! Be sure to pick yours up before the sky clears. 

Write On,
Brian Goulet

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