Friday, October 30, 2015

Introducing the Kaweco Skyline Sport Purple!

Purple never looked so pretty! The new Kaweco Skyline Sport Purple is the perfect purse or pocket pen. It posts easily and is extremely portable. Pop in some standard international cartridges for easy writing or eyedropper your pen, to up your ink capacity.

The Skyline Sport collection features stainless steel nibs with matching trim and finial. The bodies are made of plastic, which feels warm and light. When posted, these pens fit in your hand but the small stature when closed make them perfect for transport.

This Skyline Sport is a special edition and limited in quantity. It is available in nib sizes Extra-Fine, Fine, and Medium. With purple pens being extremely popular, we don't expect it to last long! The Kaweco Skyline Sport Purple is available at Gouletpens.com for $25-27.

Wondering how to do that eyedropper conversion? Grab your pen, Goulet Silicone Grease, and an ink syringe and convert your pen along with Brian's video below!

For those of you who like to match your pen and ink, here are our top suggestions.

Diamine Imperial Purple Cartridges
Private Reserve Ebony Purple Cartridges
Pilot Iroshizuku Murasaki-shikibu - Japanese Beautyberry
De Atramentis Magenta Violet

Side note: there is another Kaweco Skyline Sport in Metallic Purple that we plan on carrying soon. This new metallic purple color (which honestly looks more fuchsia than purple) was previously only available exclusively to a UK retailer, but limited quantities are coming to the US market soon. Watch for that announcement in a few weeks.

Do you have a favorite purple pen and ink? Let us know in the comments below.

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

Goulet Q&A Episode 100, Goulet Shop Tour!

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.

Back on August 23, 2013 when I published my first Q&A, I really didn't think about ever hitting episode 100. A lot has happened since then, for sure! But here we are, and I and my team wanted to celebrate by answering the one question I've repeatedly side-stepped...showing you a tour of our GouletPens.com headquarters!

In this video you'll find:

  • Some interesting Q&A stats
  • An in-depth tour of my office where Q&A is shot
  • Why the stuff on my bookshelf is important
  • My pen storage cabinet
  • An in-depth tour of the GouletPens.com office/warehouse
  • A walk through the "life of an order" when you order from us
  • Bloopers and outtakes 

This episode is a little shorter than usual, but it's quality over quantity today. I hope you enjoy the celebration of 100 episodes of Goulet Q&A!

QOTW: This one will be a free-for-all, I'd love to hear your reactions after seeing this video!

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Diamine Golden Sands: Ink review

Hi there! Madigan here. For Monday Matchup this week, I chose Diamine Golden Sands, an ink from their Shimmertastic collection. I've been a fan of sparkly inks since I started at Goulet so I was super excited when Diamine came out with these 10 new shimmering inks. Golden Sands was on the top of my list to try since there aren't any truly gold inks available for fountain pens. I think that Diamine nailed it with this one- it's not opaque like calligraphy gold ink, but it is certainly above and beyond anything else out there. I hope you enjoy this review!

Supplies Used:

Smear Test (Dry Time):
  • Slow- This ink dried very slowly. Diamine ink tends to run a bit wet, but this one seemed particularly so. Additionally, to really see the shimmer, you'll want to use a lot of ink extending the dry time further. If you are writing in a notebook, you'll want to set it aside before turning the page.

Drip Test (Water Resistance):
  • Low- Because the underlying ink is a yellow tone, the ink very quickly dissipates when water is applied. You can see that it virtually disappears in the drip test!

  • Low- You can definitely see a difference between the first and third swipe of the swab. That probably has to do with the suspended particles of sparkle in the ink as much as with the ink itself. You see a lot more shimmer when more ink is applied.

Ease of Cleaning:
  • Medium- The light color of the underlying ink makes it disappear rapidly, but because the ink has that additional shimmer added to it, you may want to take a little bit of time to clear that away on the feed. Just use a toothbrush on the fins and it should come away quickly.

  • High-This ink has lovely shading, even with a Lamy nib! It sparkles most where the ink is the darkest.

  • Medium- This ink flows well! From the Lamy to the Ahab, it was a steady writer with minimal issues. 

Packaging and Aesthetics:
  • 50ml glass bottle with special box and label.  2ml ink samples also available. 
  • The bottle has a similarly sized opening to that of the normal Diamine bottles. It would work well even if the ink were low.
  • Thin but deep. I really like the label and box. They are very festive!

This is the best golden ink I've ever used for fountain pens! Bright, sparkly, and a great shader, this ink would serve well for letters or fun art projects. It's definitely not a work appropriate choice, but it'd be perfect for writing Christmas cards.

Golden Sands is available at Gouletpens.com in a 50ml bottle for $20 or a 2ml ink sample for $1.50. We are currently sold out (as of this post) but are expecting another shipment of Diamine Shimmertastic inks next month. Don't miss out on this glamorous golden ink! 

Do you have a favorite gold or yellow ink? Let me know in the comments below.

Write on,

Thursday Things: Does it Come in Black?

When searching for new sleek gadgets, an undercover bat-winged hero once asked, “Does it come in black?” If you find yourself needing to write incognito or you simply need a new pen in your arsenal while saving the world, you don’t have to search far. This week’s Thursday Things is inspired by stealthy and discreet products that pack a punch.

Featured products from left to right:

Caran d'Ache Cosmic Black (50ml bottle)
Pilot Metropolitan, Lamy Safari, Visconti Homo Sapien Midi, Jinhao 159
Faber-Castell Ambition, Black Resin
Diamine Jet Black (80ml bottle) and Omas Black (62ml bottle)
Pilot Metropolitan, Lamy Safari, Visconti Homo Sapien Midi
Kaweco Skyline Sport Fountain Pen- Black

Do you like your fountain pens to be inconspicuous or do you prefer for them to draw attention?

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

4 Reasons You'll Love Writing in November

Hey there fountain pen friends! November 1st ushers in a new month that includes daylight savings, Thanksgiving, and a ton of fantastic programs for the fountain pen enthusiast. It's the beginning of NaNoWriMo, Fountain Pen Day is on the 6th, and here at Goulet we have some really fun things planned. November is the perfect month to celebrate writing!

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It's a challenge to write 50,000 words of a novel in the month of November. We did a whole blog on the best fountain pens, paper, and ink to use if you decide to do complete this work by hand. Whether or not you are handwriting your book, using your computer, or a typewriter, this is a fantastic challenge to get you writing!

Fountain Pen Day
Fountain Pen Day takes place the first Friday in November. It started in 2012 and is celebrated by enthusiasts worldwide as a time to embrace, promote, and share the use of fountain pens. We have some good stuff in the works for this, so stay tuned.  

Free Monteverde Ink!
During November and December we'll be giving you a free bottle of Monteverde ink with the purchase of a Monteverde pen that accepts bottled ink. You even get to pick which color you'd like! Monteverde Green is particularly nice... you can read a review of it here

Shhh... It's a secret! 
Maybe you've participated in our November giveaway before? We'll be announcing all the details on the best giveaway in November this Sunday. We're rearranging some of our weekly blogs to make room for this contest but don't worry- they'll be back in December. We think you're really going to love what we have planned. 

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

Monday, October 26, 2015

Monday Matchup #71: Noodler's Ahab - Carniolan Honey with Diamine Shimmertastic Golden Sands

Hello fountain pen friends! Madigan here. I chose this week's Monday Matchup of a Noodler's Ahab in Carniolan Honey with Diamine Shimmertastic Golden Sands. I, like many members of the fountain pen community, couldn't wait to try the new shimmering Diamine inks. My favorite so far is Golden Sands, hands down. I love to accessorize with yellow (I've carried a variety of yellow purses over the past few years) but I've found that most yellow ink is difficult to read on paper. I was so excited to see an ink that is not only legible, but also sparkly and gorgeous!

From working with the J. Herbin 1670 anniversary inks, I knew that to get a lot of shimmer I was going to need to put down a lot of ink, which is why I chose the Noodler's Ahab. I chose Clairefontaine Triomphe A4 Tablet paper for that same reason, as it is quite ink resistant. I grabbed my brush pen, a q-tip, and a paint brush and got to work.

First, I drew a very light rough outline of the outside of the pineapple and then filled it in with criss-crossing lines with a pencil. Using the Ahab, I went over the inner lines. Since I didn't have a lot of experience with this ink, I decided to see how it would look spreading the ink out with a brush pen. I went over it and was disappointed with the results. While the yellow ink spread out, the gold shimmer was lost. I tried laying down more with the pen but got similar results. I shook the bottle up and dipped the water-filled brush pen directly in the ink and applied it. Finally, I could see some shimmer!

With the Ahab, I drew in the leaves and filled them with contrasting patterns. I really liked how it gave a textured look. I decided I wanted one bright gold leaf, so after shaking the bottle up I took the q-tip and dipped it directly into the ink. I filled in the top leaf and was excited to see how much it shimmered. I decided I wanted to add even more shimmer to the criss-crossing lines so I went over them again with the ink soaked q-tip, dipping it back in the ink as I went along. Finally, I saw the golden look I wanted for the pineapple.

I wrote the quote in pencil, changing up my fonts to make it look more interesting. I then went over the quote with the pen. I was disappointed to see some feathering when the pen really flexed. I took the paint brush and after shaking the bottle, dipped it in the ink. I flicked the ink across the paper to give that splatter affect.

I loved working with this pen, despite the feathering. It worked beautifully right out of the box and was able to show off what this ink is capable of. Noodler's pens in general give a fair amount of feedback which I really enjoy. However, it is not for everyone so keep that in mind if you are considering this pen.

This ink exceeded my expectations. I've never seen anything like it in fountain pen ink! It truly does give you a golden option. It isn't opaque so it won't work on dark paper, but on white or cream it will look beautiful. Maybe not the most professional ink, but certainly fun.

If I were to do this piece again, I'd try it on Tomoé River paper. This was a really wet writing pen paired with a wet writing ink, and an even more ink resistant paper would have been a better choice.

You can find the Noodler's Ahab Carniolan Honey Demonstrator at Gouletpens.com for $23. Diamine Golden Sands is available in a 50ml bottle for $20 or a 2ml ink samples for $1.25. 

Do you have a favorite shimmering ink? I'd love to hear about it. Leave a comment below. 

Write on,

Friday, October 23, 2015

Goulet Q&A Episode 99, 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.

Can you believe it's almost episode 100? Number 99 coming at you today, and I'm talking about how cold temperatures affect pens, eyedropper converting metal pens, biocides, and how many pens I get for free.

What we've been up to at GouletPens.com the last week:

Pens/Writing - (10:24)

1) Raymond H. - Facebook - (10:26)
I live in a small, walkable town. I carry my fountain pens in my nylon messenger bag. The temperature can get down into the low teens during the winter. I'm concerned about my pens cracking. I carry 2 Pilot CH 92's and 1 Custom 74. I'm never out in the cold more than 30 minutes. Should I be worried? Thank you, Brian!!
  • you’ll probably be okay, it’s pretty rare I hear of pens freezing and causing any real harm
  • teens temperature is not THAT cold, when get to -10 to -20 it becomes much more of a concern!
  • to be safe, you can put it in your inner coat pocket, your body heat will keep them warm 

2) Michael T. - Facebook - (13:03)
I've noticed some pen reviewers, when performing writing samples, will write with a piece of plastic under their palm. I can only assume that this is to prevent the oils from their hand transferring to the paper. Is this really that big of a worry in respect to fountain pens? Or are these people just very particular as to what gets put on paper? Will oils from hands affect ink in a noticeable way?
  • is this a trend with a lot of reviewers?
  • I know Stephen Brown does it
  • yes, hand oils can affect your writing a bit, for me it’s only an issue in the summer when I’m really warm
  • it’s honestly probably more of a habit for most reviewers, since they’re likely wanting to eliminate hand oils as a factor in affecting the way an ink dries on the paper
  • when I’ve seen it as an issue it’s that the pen could skip or the ink not dry as quickly on the page
  • it’s more of an issue with really smooth papers
  • I wouldn’t worry about it too much, unless you’re noticing any skipping/smearing issues with your pen/ink, especially towards the bottom of your pages

3) Samuel J. - Facebook - (16:23)
I'm currently in the market for a gold nib pen in the around $150 range and am considering a Pilot VP or perhaps a Lamy Studio Platinum Grey/Palladium. Are there any other recommendations that you have in this price range? On another note, how does the 1.0 stub of the VP compare to something like the Lamy 1.5 or 1.1 stubs (I have a Studio so I'm thinking of trying the 1.1 before committing to a gold stub)?
  •  these are both great choices
  • alright #GouletNation, go ahead and fill in the blanks for me! I’d recommend the Pilot Custom 74 and Lamy 2000! I also really like the Pilot E95s, as a very different pen
  • I do like the Pilot 1.0mm, it is different than the Lamy steel italics…I like the VP better, but the 1.1 Lamy would be an easy way to see if you like it before committing to the VP stub (which is out of stock now anyway)
4) Lev N. - Facebook - (24:17)
And how do the Pilot metropolitan fine and Platinum preppy EF compare in line variation on cheap paper?
  • They’re actually not all that different from each other, the Platinum is a tad finer
  • On cheap paper, which will be more absorbent, I doubt you’ll notice a drastic difference between the two
5) Sterling W. - Facebook - (26:16)
Why are pens with metal bodies/threads not recommended for converting to eyedropper use? Is it concern about potential corrosion? After all, nibs are metal, and those are definitely one part of the pen we want to contact ink!
  • it is a concern about corrosion, yes
  • nibs are metal, but not all metals have the same corrosion resistance
  • most metals used in pen bodies are made of brass, nickel, (non-stainless) steel, or aluminum, which are all going to corrode with prolonged exposure to ink
  • gold, stainless steel, titanium, palladium, and other metals used in nibs are more resistant, but too expensive to use for other pen parts 

Ink - (29:07)
6) Dee Dee – YouTube -(29:09)
I would like to know which modern inks contain biocides to prevent the growth of mold. Are there any precautions I should be taking when filling pens from full bottles of ink to make sure the inks don't get contaminated?
  • a lot of modern inks contain biocides, though I honestly don’t know which ones and what they use, as it’s all proprietary
  • some I know are “all natural”, like J. Herbin (and no biocide is used there), and I am 98% sure De Atramentis doesn’t either
  • you don’t really need to take any precautions, just make sure you’re cleaning your pen out every now and then so you’re not flushing junk back into the bottle
  • if you really want to play it safe, decant your ink into a vial and only fill your pen from the vial, that way your bottle remains untainted
7) Beth S. - Facebook - (35:24)
Regarding the shimmering inks, while I love my new J. Herbin Emerald of Chivor, I don't see myself using it often enough to merit filling up a pen and risk gumming it up, or wanting to go through the trouble of washing it every time I use it. A glass dip pen seems a great solution to utilize those inks for small projects. Can you tell me more about how the glass pens you carry differ in feel and grip etc? Also, I know you have discussed previously how some inks are a little more ""sticky"" than others, I would expect that from the shimmering inks, will I need to clean the glass pens differently when using shimmering inks to get all the glitter and gunk out?
  • glass pens are pretty neat, though they’re definitely not the same writing experience as fountain pens
  • they’re very wet, typically, which makes them actually really good for shimmering inks
  • we carry two J. Herbin pens and Rohrer and Klingner pens
  • They’re not vastly different in terms of feel and grip
  • the smoothness of the tip varies a lot from one pen to another, and they can be smoothed with really fine sandpaper (just don’t overdo it, you can’t undo it!)
  • the shimmering ink itself isn’t sticky, but the glitter does tend to hang around
  • it’s super easy to clean off a glass pen though, a little dish soap with an old toothbrush and you’re clean in seconds
  • the sooner you clean the glass pen the better, it’ll be harder to clean if you leave it to dry up on the nib completely 

Business - (42:36)
8) Jodi M. - Facebook - (42:41)
About how many products that are yours (Brian's) personally do you pay for/how much do you spend, and how many have you received for free?
  • It’s pretty rare actually that I get products for free, though it does happen from time to time
  • a lot of preview-type products you see me with (Ogiva Cocktails, Metropolitan Retro Pops) are samples that are on loan and I have to send them back
  • I spend my wholesale cost (which varies from one product to another), which definitely makes it easier for me to justify a purchase (and enables my addiction!)
9) Donovan P. - Facebook - (47:11)
Is there a way I can get Q&A in a audio format, or a way to download the videos? I am watching them all from the beginning but it would be helpful if I could watch them when I am out and about and don't have WiFi
  • absofrickinglutely! We already have it!
  • We have an audio podcast for Goulet Q&A on iTunes or you can do a direct download from the link on our blog post each week
  • We have a video podcast for all our videos (including Goulet Q&A) on iTunes
Troubleshooting - (48:37)
10) Carolyn H. - Facebook - (48:40)
I have a Kaweco Classic Sport Demonstrator Pen that I have converted to an eye dropper fill. My first fill of ink went great, but with my second fill, I have leaking from the section (toward the nib). The section is also FULL of ink. I have tried everything I know of to clean it out, but can't seem to get the section to empty out. Any advice?
  • This pen is clear, and you can see ink coming into the grip of the pen around the nib housing, which is normal (you just don’t see it on most pens)
  • I can’t tell from your question if it’s literally leaking out of the pen, that’s not normal and would indicate an issue
  • try pulling the nib and feed out, and resetting it, this can work sometimes

11) Ben C. - Facebook - (52:32)
I have a friend who is having the (in)famous Baystate Blue ink leak from his converter through the section of his Pilot Metropolitan. The only diagnostic I can think of is to try a different converter, because there must be air leaking in somewhere. What diagnostic recommendations would you make?
  •  I don't think this has anything to do with the fact it's BSB
  • check the converter, it may not be seated on all the way, you have to really push it on to seat it
  • it's rare there's a defective converter out of the box... try a cartridge and see if it does the same thing
  • you can pull the nib/feed out and push it back in, sometimes that'll help, too
  • try another ink, see if that makes any kind of a difference
  • worst case, reach out to whomever your friend bought the pen from and initiate an exchange    

    QOTW: What would you like to see in the 100th Q&A? - (55:59)

    That's all for this week, thanks so much for watching! Be sure to catch up on any old Q&A videos you missed here

    Write On,
    Brian Goulet

    Thursday, October 22, 2015

    Diamine Silver Fox: Ink Review

    Hey guys -  Jenni here, and I hope you are having a wonderful Thursday! Today I am very excited to share my review of this week's Monday Matchup ink, Diamine Silver Fox. I'm so used to filling my pens with vibrant hues and great shaders that I never really realized how much I liked grey ink. Diamine Silver Fox seems like it would be a plain jane grey ink, but it really won me over with its color variation and accessibility. Sometimes all you need is a simple ink that you can use in work settings, but also makes you feel uniquely you.

    Supplies Used:

    Smear Test (Dry Time):
    • Slow- This ink has a dry time of a little under 30 seconds. This proved challenging when creating my Monday Matchup as I was drawing lots of overlapping lines that needed time to dry. I inevitably had lots of smear marks and smudges but if you were using this to write it may not be problematic. 

    Drip Test (Water Resistance):
    • Medium- I wouldn't say that this ink is water resistant but it does leave some evidence of writing behind. Depending on the nib you are using, the ink can appear pretty light. Even though you can still see the ink when water is applied, you can tell the ink is faded and hazy.

    • Medium- In thicker nibs this ink comes off as a deep grey, but it can also come off pretty light in thinner nibs. Looking at the swab test you can definitely see a distinct color change between swabs. This leads me to believe that this ink has a medium saturation. 

    Ease of Cleaning:
    • Easy- I had no problem whatsoever cleaning the ink out of this pen. I was a little surprised considering the darkness of the grey, but it seemed to be just as easy to clean as other conventional inks. 
    • Medium- You can absolutely see a bit of shading in the letters of my writing when using a medium nib. However, I found that when using a broad nib I couldn't see much shading at all. I found that when using finer nibs it was easier to show the shading because the ink tended to pool up in the areas around the bottom of letters. It makes me wonder if you would be able to see more or less shading if you were to use a flex pen.  

    • Medium- When I started writing with this ink in a Jinhao 159, it flowed pretty smoothly. I did notice that some of the lines I put down were darker and more saturated than others. I found that when writing with a Lamy medium nib it was fairly dry at first but flowed better the more I wrote with it. I felt a little more feedback when writing with the Lamy than I did with the Jinhao but both felt fairly effortless.   

    Packaging and Aesthetics:
    • 40ml triangular glass bottle with box and a 2ml ink sample
    • The bottle has an interesting triangular shape. It is easy to fill from when ink is plentiful but when ink gets low I could see the bottle being harder to maneuver because of the shape.  
    • The shape of the bottle displays the ink gorgeously. More than that though, it also shows off all of the inks in the anniversary collection together. When you have a few of the anniversary inks together it creates a beautiful circular image that is very visually appealing. 

    Inks similar in color

    Diamine Silver Fox is a great ink to use in any situation. The subtle hue of grey ranges from light to a deep dark grey that reminds me of sketching with a pencil. Whether it's for work, or play, this ink will give you just the right amount of shading and flow to make your writing experience enjoyable. I highly recommend trying this ink out in one of your favorite pens today!

    Diamine Silver Fox is available at Gouletpens.com in a 40ml bottle for $15.95 or a 2ml ink sample for $1.25.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts about this great ink. Do you have an ink in mind for our next Monday Matchup?

    Write on,

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