Monday, November 30, 2015

10 Gifts For The Fountain Pen Enthusiast

The fountain pen enthusiast in your life may prove to be one of the most difficult people to shop for!  They already have quite the fountain pen and ink collection, leaving you unsure what to get them. We took the guesswork out of your shopping by hand selecting gifts sure to please the person in your life who loves all things related to fountain pens! Maybe you'll even find something for yourself too...

1. Cleaning and Tuning Package Set- $39.90

This set makes a great gift for someone who already owns a few fountain pens. This set includes Goulet Pen Flush, Bulb syringe, Ink syringes, Silicone grease, Brass sheets, a Goulet Loupe, Micro-mesh and Mylar paper. All of these are used to keep your fountain pens in the best shape possible.


2) GPC Nib Set- $80

One thing that most fountain pen enthusiasts love about their hobby is the ability to change things up once in a while. These nibs allow you to do just that! They're #6 size and fit in several different models of pens. The package set comes with six nibs in XF, F, M, B, 1.1, and 1.5.

3) Jinhao 159, x750- $10-12.50

The Jinhao collection is an ideal gift at a great price. They come in a handful of colors and styles, making them the perfect pen to collect. The Jinhao pens only come with medium nibs, but they accept Goulet #6 nibs that allow you to enhance and customize your writing experience.

4) Pen cases – $12-90

Do you find your friend's fountain pens all over their desk or coffee table? A pen case is a thoughtful gift that your recipient might not have bought yet. NockVisconti, Aston, and Monteverde all offer pen cases ranging from single pen holders to cases that hold 36 pens. These make a great gift for those who consistently travel with their pens.

5) Ink Sample Vial Holder- $15

The fountain pen enthusiast in your life most likely also loves ink! Ink samples are a great way to try different brands and colors of ink, but they can be hard to store. Give the gift of organization this year with the ink sample vial holder.

6) Pilot Iroshizuku Mini Boxed Set- $32

Perfect for the person who might be picky! Giving all three of these Pilot Iroshizuku inks will surely hit the spot. This beautifully packaged set comes with three 15 ml individual bottles of Kon-Peki, Yama-Budo and Tsukushi.

7) Wax seal kit- $37.50

The fountain pen enthusiast in your life is also probably a letter writing extraordinaire. Adding a wax seal to a letter communicates an extra level of thought and care. This set comes with a J. Herbin Seal handle, a J. Herbin Seal letter and J. Herbin Supple Sealing Wax, with a choice from 10 colors. Pick up this package set for a friend and you just might start receiving more letters.

8) Lamy Gift Sets- $39.99

Lamy Gift Set
Sometimes it's nice to pick up the prepackaged gift set. All these Lamy gift sets need is a bow!  With a variety of options available, you're sure to find the right gift for that special someone. Pair the Lamy Al-Star with ink cartridges in one set or a Lamy Safari/Vista with a full bottle of Lamy ink & converter in another.

9) GPC Mug-On sale for $13.50

Have a Goulet Pens fan in your life? This mug is the perfect accessory for the fountain pen enthusiast to use when sitting down to write. Fill it with coffee, ink samples or use it to store pens on your desk.

10) GPC Gift Certificate- Varying Amounts

If you're still not sure of the perfect gift, or are struggling to find something at the last minute, a Goulet Pens gift certificate will surely make the picky pen person in your life happy. Available in increments from $10- $250. The only question is, who's the lucky recipient?

Wrap one of these gifts up with a handwritten letter and you'll be the fountain pen enthusiast's favorite person this holiday season! Still searching for that perfect gift? Shop our holiday gift guides here.

Have you started your holiday shopping yet? 

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Introducing the Conklin Duragraph in Ice Blue

Hey there fountain pen friends! When the Conklin Duragraph came out around this time last year, we were really excited. It boasts a classic vintage design, comes with a standard international converter, and takes a #6 nib, making it perfect for those who like to swap nib sizes. It's screw-cap, push to post, and is at an affordable price point, especially with the cast acrylic resin which is typically only seen on more expensive pens. You can see a full review of the Duragraph including unboxing, comparable pens, and how it writes here.

This newest version, Ice Blue, is in Brian's favorite color and a Goulet exclusive through the Holiday Season! The deep blue acrylic is flecked with icy white. Pair it with a nice blue ink (Liberty's Elysium, anyone?) and you'll be writing your blues away.  Perfectly named for the upcoming winter, this pen is available in Fine, Medium, or 1.1mm Stub. The Fine and Medium come with a two-tone nib, while the 1.1mm stub comes with polished steel.

Best Ink to match:

Best Ink to contrast:

The Conklin Duragraph in Ice Blue is available at Gouletpens.com for $52. What will you be writing with this winter?

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company

Friday, November 20, 2015

Sharing Thanksgiveaway Part II

This year's Thanksgiveaway is proving to be the best one yet! With everything that is going on in the world, it has been especially meaningful to open letters expressing thankfulness for the good and simple things in life. We've read about thankfulness for families, for cats, for fountain pens, and friends far and wide. Even if you don't send us a letter, we encourage you to take out your fountain pen, your favorite ink and paper, and write down the big or little things that make your life better. Who knows, you may find yourself expressing thankfulness for things you weren't even expecting!

That being said, you should probably actually send us a letter because you could win a Visconti Homo Sapiens. Lamy also sweetened the pot by contributing some additional prizes, so your chances of winning something just got a lot better. You still have time to get yours in before the November 30th deadline! Just another quick reminder- if you have sent yours in, but forgot to include your email, please send it to us at social@gouletpens.com. You can read all the rules of Thanksgiveaway here.

It was incredibly hard to choose a selection of letters this week, but we think you'll enjoy sharing in these excerpts from Thanksgiveaway.

Submitted by Kerry from Ontario, Canada:

Submitted by Grant from Robinson, IL (by far our biggest entry!!):

Submitted by Rene from Birmingham, AL:

Submitted by Marina from St. Petersburg, FL:

Submitted by Jose from Spain:

Submitted by Jan from Tonawanda, NY:

 Submitted by Julie from Belfast, ME:

Charles from La Place, LA writes:
i am thankful for the incredible people i've met throughout my life. i've had many travels and met so many people, heard so many stories; they are so different yet they are all the same. they all laugh & love & have heartache. they live in the uniquest of places with incredible history's and backgrounds. i'm thankful for the many good people in the world, from all walks of life. 


Jerome from France writes: 
Dear Goulet Pen Company,

I am thankful to see my kids and my wife in good health, it's the only thing that matters...To see them smile and laugh makes me happy...I am also thankful to have met my wife 6 years ago...I discovered a new culture, we didn't speak the same language she is english and i am french... Our love story has given me a lot, a different life in a different culture and two beautiful children. 

I think i can say, i am 

Thankful to just be 

Simply Happy


Curtis from Edmonton, Alberta writes:
To the Goulet Team, 

This month you've asked your fans what we are grateful for. Honestly, I have incredible amounts to be thankful for but your question really got me thinking about gratitude in the context of pens.

I am thankful to my lab mate Natalia who first exposed me to fountain pens in 2005. It was a Lamy Safari and it blew my mind that someone could get a modern fountain pen that wasn't some specialty piece for hundreds of dollars. It was only months later that I bought my first Safari a 2006 sky blue with a red clip. 

I used that pen on and off for a few years but didn't really get 'into' it until I discovered SBRE Brown a couple of years ago. This discovery led me to the people like the Pen Addict, Gourmet pens, and of course Goulet. 

I am grateful to you and the community you've helped build. I've learned from ecstatic pen fans that it is perfectly fine to be excited to learn and use "traditional" items. Fountain pens have shown me that the latest reinvention is not necessarily better. Writing by hand again has awakened an interest in art, history, and the act of making. 

I am a software developer by trade and always considered myself to be without that special spark to be creative in an artistic sense. Yet, now I am learning to draw, work leather, shoot a bow and dabble in calligraphy. 

The world of writing and pens has opened my eyes to new creative outlets and just generally improved my life. So, thanks to Natalia, Goulet and the pen community as a whole. I will always continue to write on. 


Larissa from Geneva, NY writes:
I am thankful for cookies. 

First off, cookies are delicious-- why wouldn't you like cookies? 

But cookies are more than just a wonderful treat. Growing up, I only liked cookies made the way my mom made them-- a perfect blend of crispy and soft. All other cookies were inferior (except, perhaps, Oreos--which are simply unparalleled). 

The first time I tried to make cookies myself, I couldn't even bake them. I made the dough, but then I was too scared of burning myself on the oven. My mom had to do the baking for me. 

As I got more practice, I overcame my fear and was finally able to do the whole process alone. My results were still inconsistent, but improved with time. 

By the time I entered college, I could make a stellar batch of chocolate chip cookies (almost) every time. 

Soon I decided to move beyond the old , reliable chocolate chip cookie recipe I had mastered. Somehow I got it into my head to make a new type of cookie every week for my college orchestra for a  whole semester. They were big fans of this project. In the end, I found I had learned to make 20+ different types of cookies, and had a pretty good working knowledge on how cookies "work". That was a far cry from being scared of the oven! 

Now I'm in graduate school working toward a PhD in plant pathology. Most of my days are filled with lab work. And most of the time, that lab work doesn't go as expected. Experiments fail, protocols go off track, samples get ruined. It's easy to come home from the lab feeling like a failure. 

That's when I make cookies. 

I know how to make cookies. I can always "get them to work" even when I can't get things to work in lab (plus, cookies are a much tastier result than statistically significant data). 

This is why I am thankful for cookies: 

Because they remind me of my mom. 
Because the remind me how I have grown and learned. 
Because they can be shared. 
Because they always turn out well when everything else seems to go wrong. 

I am THANKFUL for cookies.


Patty from Benbrook, TX writes:
Dear Goulet Pen Company, 

I am thankful for answered prayers. Our children are grown and away each with lives and families. We are left with our furry family. One of our furry children came to us many years ago on my way home from work. As I pulled out from my parking space I was horrified to see a kitten struck by a car. She dragged herself off the road and into some bushes. I had to stop. She hissed at me but soon I had her wrapped in a towel and off to the vet. 

The vet held out little hope. Her hips were crushed and her back legs were badly broken. He could try surgery but it would be difficult and expensive. We decided this was our kitten now so we did it. Against all odds she made it through both surgeries. We named her Bonnie.

She grew into a big beautiful charcoal coated love bundle. She walked funny and didn't jump much, but she did just fine. She slept by my head every night, her purr a big diesel engine in my ear. The year was 2001. Last October we lost her to cancer. 

No more cats, I said. There will never be another Bonnie. I was surprised at how much I grieved. I missed her. It was a along winter without that warmth wrapped around my head. 

This May we had terrible weather with lots and lots of rain. One afternoon as I walked to the mailbox after work I heard a strange bird song. I stopped and listened. It was actually a little tiny kitten. She was alone in the bushes. My neighbor said she had been there all day long. No momma cat anywhere. We took her to the vet who said she was about 5 weeks old. With all the wet weather sometimes kittens get lost or abandoned. 

Not anymore. We named her Mimi. She's the baby now. Her purr is like a Volkswagen in overdrive. She loves to held. She loves to sit on my desk and play with the pen in my hand. 

I feel like God dropped from the sky into our home. I think she is the answer to a prayer I didn't know I prayed. I am so thankful for so much in my life but little Mimi was the nicest surprise this year. 

Thanks to all of you for what you do and I hope it's a great contest.


Submitted by Amelia from Angels Camp, CA:

We hope you enjoyed reading these as much as we enjoyed receiving them. We're looking forward to seeing your submission! 

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

Goulet Q&A Episode 103, 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 episode of Goulet Q&A I'm back to answering your questions! I also tell you about all the new products we're carrying, my recent trip to Pilot USA and what's going on with the Omas brand. Enjoy episode 103!

Pens/Writing - (13:26)

1) Lucas M. - email - (13:27)
I am looking for a next level pen ($400 max) and was wondering what you would recommend. I already have a Pilot Vanishing Point and a Lamy 2000 but I recently came into some money and am looking to acquire a pen that is still suited for a daily writer but has full sized nib, unlike those previously mentioned. Any thoughts? 

2) @JerryTanta13- Twitter - ()
Are there any other converters compatible with the Pilot VP? The ink capacity is killing me.

Ink - (19:21)

3) Grant G. - Facebook - (19:22)
I’m an illustrator and a waterproof black ink is a necessity in my FP so I can watercolor over the linework. Are the De Atramentis document inks waterproof? if so, how do they compare to the Platinum Carbon Black or Super5 (which has been my favorite).
  • DA document inks are quite waterproof, though they are pretty absorbent and tend to bleed
  • Platinum Carbon Black is pigmented, which is a different formulation
  • Super5 is really similar in performance to the DA Documents 
4) Janet E –Facebook -(21:13)
I recently bought a Platinum Century 3776 (Chartres Blue) with a medium nib. I inked it up with Noodler's Blue Eel but it seems to put down a lot of ink, i.e. it's very wet! I know Noodlers Eel inks are lubricated and this could be the issue. Is there a "less wet" blue ink that you would recommend?
Paper - (23:02)

5) Winnie U. - Facebook - (23:08)
I love pretty stationery and wonder if Clairefontaine carries anything like that? I have both tablets and envelopes I get through you and love the feel of it but sometimes would like something fancier
  • Clairefontaine’s only stationery in the US is Triomphe (which is amazing paper)
  • They do have some fancier stuff (Pollen, perhaps other lines) but I’m not very familiar with them
  • G. Lalo is really cool, and is not made by CF but is in the same family of companies 

6) Kelli M. - Facebook - (25:58)
What is the difference between the Clairefontaine 1951, classic, and basic notebooks?
  • the paper in them is all identical
  • 1951 is a retro designed cover, limited options
  • Classic has bolder, brighter colors and has the most extensive offering of sizes and rulings
  • Basic has simpler, more durable colors, lined only and limited in sizes

Personal- (29:14)

7) Winnie U. - Facebook - (29:19)
I notice on your bookshelves you have multiples of certain books. Do you share them with staff or something else?
  • mainly my staff, but others if I find they could use them (family, friends, business associates)
  • QBQ!, The Advantage, EntreLeadership, How To Win Friends and Influence People, and others
  • books are very impactful for me and I want to pass on the best ones to others I know 

Business - (32:26)

8) Several people - (32:26)
What in the world is going on with Omas?
  • there have been rumors springing up regarding the future state of Omas
  • translations of Italian news articles are being circulated on FPN and elsewhere, rumors are running wild
  • official word from Kenro (Omas distributor in US) is that Omas is in the process of changing ownership and there are a couple of potential buyers
  • they are owned by a much larger Chinese company, and they’re looking to sell Omas soon
  • that’s all I know for sure about the situation
  • Kenro has assured me, everything at Omas is fully operational, pens are being made and shipped, repairs are still going in and out
  • basically, until there’s news to report, nothing has changed 

Troubleshooting - (36:54)

9) Brian S. - Facebook - (36:55)
Which feed materials are sensitive to which reagents? e.g. plastics, ebonite feeds against bleach, ammonia, soap, warm water etc. Which cleaning agent would work best for pigmented inks?
  •  slightly warm water is okay, but don’t use hot water (especially on ebonite or vintage pens)
  • soap is fine
  • ammonia in diluted form is pretty harmless
  • bleach you want to be careful of, it doesn’t play nice with steel, so only diluted and in flushing (not soaking) situations
  • don’t use any other chemicals to clean unless you know what you’re doing, honestly
  • this goes for pigmented inks too, except if you have dried ink you may want to use an old toothbrush to assist in physical scrubbing
  • ultrasonic cleaner can also be used, in tandem with cleaning solution for extra oomph

10) Sandro C. -Facebook  - (43:36)
Can a fountain pen nib be too smooth? On Rhodia paper I have a couple of high-end pens that seem to skip because the nibs are ultra-smooth - in particular, a couple of Visconti's I own.. They actually do better on cheaper paper? Any resolution to this issue?
  • yes, it can, it’s called “baby’s bottom”
  • regretfully I haven’t done my own video on this, but it can happen on lots of different pens (usually broader nibs)
  • Richard Binder has good info on this, so does Stephen Brown
  • essentially, the cheaper paper is more absorbent, which assists in the ink flow
  • resolution…honing down the nib, but you don’t likely want to do that with your Visconti
  • contact your retailer or the the company that handles the Visconti warranty (Coles of London in the US) to see about a repair/exchange
11) Lev N.  - Facebook - (47:36)
2 weeks ago I got myself a metropolitan fine. On day I tried flexing the nib. I applied the least pressure and resulted in flexing the nib too much. I of coarse fixed the alignment and it wrote again. Since then my pen has weird flow, skips, and writes we're then supposed to. What do to fix the nib and flow on my metro?
  • I hate to say it, but it sounds like you haven’t quite fixed the alignment if it’s having flow issues! 
  • repairing a sprung nib is tough
  • it’s easier if you take it out of the pen if it’s bent really badly
  • you can try rotating the tines back and forth over each other, then realign
  • likely, it’s that the tines are up too far away from the feed, they need to be bent back down again
  • you don’t really have a lot to lose at this point, give it heck and worst case, you’ll have to get a new pen (no nibs available separately) 
12) Brittany S. - Facebook - (53:17)
I recently got a TWSBI eco and the pen will no longer post due to the piston mechanism not going in all the way. Is this a problem with the pen or did i do something wrong?
  • I’m more than willing to bet it’s just reassembled incorrectly
  • it can be tough to get it right
  • check out my TWSBI 580 disassembly video, the mechanism is identical

 QOTW: What are you thankful for?  - (57:24)

Thanks so much for joining me this week! You can catch up on any old Q&A videos you missed here

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Aurora Blue: Ink Review

It's hard to narrow down what ink to use, even once you've decided on the color. We have over 100 blue inks alone on our website! It's good to start with what's most important to you about your ink - price, color, properties? Once you start there, you'll be able to narrow down your choice.

With so many blue inks out there, I haven't yet had a chance to try Aurora Blue. It's featured in this month's Ink Drop called The North Wind, so I thought now's the time! It's a beautiful shade of blue that is vibrant but not distracting. It's super wet making it an easy ink to write with. Let's take a look... 

Supplies Used:

Smear Test (Dry Time):
  • 25 seconds - This ink is super wet, so it took some time to fully dry. But by the 30 second test, I didn't see it move.

Drip Test (Water Resistance):
  • Low - This ink does not offer any water resistance. Because it's so wet, the ink smeared a lot when I rubbed the wet q-tip across the drip test grid. If you spilled some water on your journal while using this, it could get pretty messy. I'd be curious to try it as an ink wash.

  •  Medium - You can see a difference between swab 1 and 3 and you'll notice an intense shade of blue in swab 3.

Ease of Cleaning:
  • Medium - Nothing crazy, but I noticed the ink didn't come right off the nib when I went to clean it. You may need to take a little extra time when cleaning this ink out of your pen.

  • Low - Not much shading in this ink. You may see a slight difference in color in your letters, but it won't be widespread. Overall though, this color blue is gorgeous.

  • Wet - This ink is super wet! I loved the flow, and this made the writing experience super smooth. But it could easily smudge while it's waiting to dry.

Packaging and Aesthetics:
  • 45 ml bottle
  • Bottle design is tall, which could be difficult to fill from when it is near the end
Inks Similar in Color:


Overall, I think this is an awesome choice if you're looking for a blue ink. It'll flow well in all pens, and offer something a bit brighter than your average blue ink, while still being professional. I can also see this being a great ink to sketch or draw with. You can find Aurora Blue in a 45ml bottle for $18.50 and as a sample for $1.25. Aurora Blue also comes in cartridges made to fit Aurora pens for $6.50.

What's your experience with Aurora inks?

Write on, 

Thursday Things: Crystal Clear

Sometimes simple is best. Demonstrator pens are clean, clear, and utilitarian, getting the job done while beautifully showcasing your favorite ink. Not only is it mesmerizing to see the ink swishing around inside, it’s also easy to see when your pen needs to be refilled. Try pairing your pen with a light blue ink and it'll be nothing but blue skies.

Featured products from left to right:

Pilot Custom 74, TWSBI Diamond 580, Noodler's Nib Creaper
J. Herbin Bleu Azur
Monteverde Artista Crystal Fountain Pen
Pilot Iroshizuku Ama-Iro (Sky Blue)
TWSBI Diamond 580 Fountain Pen
Platinum Cool Fountain Pen
Noodler's Nib Creaper Fountain Pen

Do you have a favorite ink to put in your demonstrator pen?

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

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