Friday, July 31, 2015

Goulet Q&A Episode 89, 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, Brian talks about his most disliked inks, good pens for 10-year old piano students, how often inks break in Goulet packages, and the Goulet social media strategy. It's a good one, enjoy!

New Products this week: - (3:10)

Pens/Writing - (5:33)

1) John S- Email - (5:36)
I'm a FP newbie. Just getting used to my Pilot Metropolitan, Lamy Logo, TWSBI Mini, and Lamy Al-Star Copper Orange. I'm using different inks in each pen but have 25-30 ink samples I want to try. Could you recommend another pen for me to use as an 'ink sampler' that would be easy to clean between samples? 
  • glass pen
  • Lamy Al-Star (or Vista/Safari) with medium nib (or your preference)
  • easy to clean is key for lots of sampling

2) Bippie S- Facebook - (12:17)
I have elementary piano students who have become fascinated with my fountain pen and want to save up their "practice points" to get one of their own. What would be a good starter pen for a 10 year old? I suggested a Pilot Varsity, but they want the experience of inking their own. 

3) @JerryTanta13- Twitter - (16:34)
Is it possible to tighten a screw cap too much? I'm always tightening them a lot because I dont want my pen to dry out. (specifically TWSBI 580)
  • it is definitely possible
  • plastic can crack under too much pressure
  • plastic or metal threads can strip
  • 580 has the propensity to crack under pressure, contraband is reinforced to help with this but it can still happen
  • ink insert in cap will help keep it from drying out, over tightening won’t help anything

Ink - (18:41)

4) Brendle L- Facebook - (18:44)
Where can i find discontinued inks? Like the Caran dache saffron very much. 
  • our discontinued stuff doesn’t usually hang around long
  • this has been gone for about 2 years
  • some retailers might have old stock sitting around, you’ll go hunting though
  • eBay or FPN will be your best bet

5) Fernanda B- Facebook - (21:43)
About inks, and only about their colors, in your opinion:
- What's the most beautiful one, other than blue (got you there)
- What color you can't stand to use/hate
- What is the most different/unique you've ever seen?
And about scented ones, do you like them? Use them? Which ones are your favorite/least favorite, in terms of smell?
  • I don’t really use them, just not my thing

6) Kevin L- Facebook - (28:58)
I recently saw a video presentation by the other Brian( of Edison Pens ) dealing with nib smoothing and tine adjustment. It was very informative but there was no mention of any ink factor with a nib that does not function as one would like. Do you consider the ink being used before reaching for the loupe and smoothing materials for a persnickety nib?
  • I know Brian, he is a great guy
  • definitely knows his way around some pens and nibs, will admit himself he doesn’t use a lot of different inks
  • ink has been much more my thing
  • as far as a nib writing smoothly, that’s mainly a nib tuning issue
  • as far as flow, the nib affects it the most, but the paper and ink used can influence flow pretty well
  • from a pen/nib maker point of view, you start with tuning the nib right first, then you get the ink you want to accommodate flow from there

7) @pvshamloo-Twitter - (35:44)
Does increased wetness increase line width? I know it will on cheap paper, but what about on Rhodia?
  • usually, yes, especially on cheap paper
  • on ink resistant paper like Rhodia, not always
  • it does depend on the ink though, some inks spread more than others (especially fast-dry inks, and certain permanent ones)

Business - (41:06)

8) Megan Nichol- Blog - (47:08)
Maybe I'm going crazy, but I could have sworn there was a blurb on the product pages for paper on the old site about a bulk ordering discount, is that something you still do? I go through paper pretty quickly and should really just stock up and save you guys some effort instead of ordering one or two notebooks at a time. 
  • you’re not crazy, this used to be a built-in feature on our old site (pre-Nov 2014)
  • we don’t have it auto-built-in to our new site, yet
  • we can make adjustments though, if you email us
  • it’s a manual process and I get that it’s not very convenient, we are working on getting it back but it’s more complicated than it seems

9) Dale R- Facebook - (42:45)
With the "slightly ridiculous amount of care" you take in wrapping the inky contents of our little boxes, how many inks break in transit? 1%? 5%?
  • less than that, it’s unbelievably low
  • I didn’t pull every single instance, but I would say we have only ever had a handful break in transit, so something like .03% have legit broken in transit
  • sometimes there’s a leak due to a cap that isn’t tightened all the way coming from the manufacturer
  • often there’s ink that freezes and breaks in winter when being shipped to really cold areas, can’t do much about that
  • there’s a reason we pack the way we do!

10) Merry P- Facebook - (46:04)
Would it be possible for you guys to have a flat shipping rate over a certain price point for your international customers in the future? Shipping tends to add up and make things more expensive than ebay/amazon sometimes and we would love to buy from you guys!
  • we’d love to have something like this, but the prices for international shipping vary wildly depending on where it’s going, the shipping class, and how much it weighs
  • it’s less about price point and more about weight, as that’s the biggest variable of cost

11) Brandon D- Facebook - (49:50)
What previous social media experience does your team have and do you stay so proactive on so many different platform? You guys kill it with everything you post. Being someone going into social media after school I would love to know!
  • thanks!
  • professionally or academically, little to none
  • we’re all grassroots here
  • we’re all millennials so we’ve grown up with social media rising to the forefront
  • it’s less about having a lot of experience and more about understanding who our audience is on each platform
  • that’s something we’ve come to care about a lot in the last two years, especially
  • we’ll curate different content on only certain platforms based on who tends to hang out there
  • we’ll focus more educational and utilitarian content on YouTube, more whimsical and inspirational stuff on Instagram
  • Periscope is super-informal, Facebook is much more conversational and question-driven, Pinterest is much less timely and “window-shoppy”
  • This has come from me and Rachel’s experience, we’ve taught a lot of this to our team, they take it and run with it, engage well with everyone and bring their own insights

QOTW: What is the single most beautiful ink to you? - (59:06)

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

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Diamine Soft Mint: Ink Review

Jenni showcased Diamine Soft Mint in her beautiful Monday Matchup this week. Her drawing showed how this ink can appear green when used in certain nib and paper combinations. My review shows the lighter and brighter side of the same ink. That's one thing to note about ink, it can change quite a bit with different pens, nibs and paper!


Supplies Used:
Smear Test (Dry Time)
  • This ink took 30 seconds to dry. 

Drip Test (Water Resistance)
  • Low. It really didn't hold up at all during the drip test. I'd be worried about losing my writing if any water came in contact with the page.
  • Medium. Soft Mint is pretty mild, but appeared fairly light when I was using it in my pen, especially with an extra-fine nib.
Ease of Cleaning
  • Easy. I find most Diamine inks to be pretty easy to clean and this was no exception!
  • High. This ink definitely offers a lot of shading, which you can see most when using a broad, stub or flex nib.
  • Medium. Flowed well in the Lamy Al-Star. However it was faint, and sometimes hard to read on the page.
Packaging and Aesthetics 
  • 80 ml bottle
  • Comes in a protective box.

Inks Similar in Color
It's important to note that there are not a lot of inks super close in color to Soft Mint, which makes it a really unique offering in the fountain pen ink world!

Honestly, I was hoping to enjoy this ink more, but the fact that it showed up so light on the page made it difficult for me to see myself using it. I prefer inks that will stand out a bit more. However, if mint is your thing, I think it'd be worth picking up a sample to decide for yourself! For what it's worth, this is one of Rachel Goulet's favorite inks, so to each her own ;)

You can pick up a 80 ml bottle of Soft Mint for $14.95 or a 2ml sample for $1.25 (or less with our Inksamplepalooza this July 2015) at GouletPens.com. If you've got any thoughts on Diamine Soft Mint, be sure to let me know in the comments below!

Write on,

Thursday Things: Summer Sunset

August is almost upon us, so now's the time to sit outside and enjoy a Summer sunset before it's too late! This week's Thursday Things is inspired by the colors that fill the sky that make you want to stop and stare.

Inspiration came from the products below:

What summer-inspired fountain pen products have you been using lately?

Write on, 
The Goulet Pen Company Team

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Cross Century II Fountain Pen: Quick Look

The Cross Century II is the last of our newly offered Cross brand of pens at Gouletpens.com for this summer, and this Quick Look video should give you a pretty solid overview of the model. Cross pens in general are for the working professional, the brand name is recognized by many in the corporate world. Even beyond the status, these are nice writing pens that legit fountain pen users will enjoy.

There are 6 finishes available in the Century II:

Classic Black (steel nib), $120

Lustrous Chrome (steel nib), $95

Medalist (steel nib), $120

Royal Blue (steel nib), $110

10k Gold (18k nib), $310

Sterling Silver (18k nib), $320

The Century II is on the thin side, identical in the grip to the Cross Botanica. The pen is metal except for the grip which is plastic and fluted in texture, which gives it an interesting feel that will be a matter of personal preference whether you like or not.

It weighs around 22g give or take a couple of grams depending on the finish, with about 8g in the cap. This makes the pen pretty light when unposed, and when you post it the pen feels slightly backlighted due to the lighter plastic grip near the nib and metal cap. Honestly though, it's not that significant, I didn't find it to be troublesome. 

Nib options are both stainless steel and 18k gold, depending on the finish you're buying. Both nibs are offered in fine and medium, and they actually write fairly similarly to each other. The Cross Townsend that I reviewed previously had a much wetter 18k nib, but these 18k nibs on the Century II are slightly smaller than the Townsend's, similar in size and writing width to the steel nibs on the Century II. Both nibs are fairly generous with ink flow, and will write consistent to most other wet European nibs like you'd see from Parker, Waterman, and Lamy. I didn't feel a lot of spring in the 18k nibs, they're fairly stiff, and all of the nibs are quite smooth with just a touch of feedback. 

The cap is a snap cap, push to post. There's a bit of a stopping point you hit when capping the pen, it needs just a little extra "oomph" to get it on all the way. It's not hard to do, just something a tad unexpected. After doing it once or twice I got used to it right away

The Century II takes Cross proprietary cartridges or a Cross screw-in converter. Cross does not normally include a converter with any of their pens, but we just felt that a pen in this price range should have one, so we're including it at no charge at our store.

The prices vary a bit for these pens due to the difference in cost of the steel and gold nibs, and the variety of finishes. You'll pay $95-120 for finishes with stainless steel nibs and $310-320 for 18k nibs.  You can find all of these available at GouletPens.com, along with additional pictures, technical specs, and product reviews. 

Thanks for checking out the Cross Century II, I'd love to hear your feedback and questions in the comments below! 

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Anatomy of a Fountain Pen

Picture of a pen with labels defining all of the parts of a pen

There are a lot of parts and pieces to a fountain pen, and sometimes it's confusing which parts are called what, especially if you're newer to the hobby. Depending on who you're talking to, there are different names for different parts, and it can be tough to try to troubleshoot when you're calling parts different things to someone else! We've noticed this when trying to help our customers over phone or email, so we put together this infographic to show some of the most commonly talked-about pen parts.

This pen is the Platinum 3776 (in Chartres Blue), which is a cartridge/converter pen that is a fairly representative of what you'd expect to see on most cartridge/converter pens. There are many parts that can have multiple names, and depending on the manufacturer/model of pen you're handling, there might be different terms that are typically used. We've chosen the most common terms that we've used and heard others in the fountain pen community use. Hopefully this can help you out!

The Cap:
Cap: the part of a pen that covers the nib and attaches to the pen body.
Clip: the metal doohickey usually attached to the cap that holds your pen in your shirt pocket and also keeps it from rolling off your desk and landing nib first on the ground (why does it ALWAYS fall nib down??)
Finial: the top of the cap, sometimes decorated with the maker's logo.
Insert: the plastic liner on the inside of some pen caps that help seal the nib and keep it wet when capped.
Centerband: the metal decorative ring that is usually placed near the bottom of the pen cap for decorative purposes, or perhaps to provide reinforcement to the cap threads.
Lip: the open end of the cap, where the threads of the body fit to close the pen.

The Barrel:
Barrel: the long part of the main body of the pen which houses the ink reservoir.
Threads: thin grooves cut into a pen to hold parts together, especially pen caps to the pen body.
Step: the part of the barrel where the threads 'step up' to the body, which can matter when holding the pen.
Body: the length of a pen barrel that typically houses the ink reservoir.
Trim Ring: ornamental accents that serve an aesthetic purpose.

The Nib:
Nib: the metal tip of a fountain pen that actually touches the paper.
Tipping Material: a small bit of hard-wearing metal (usually some sort of iridium alloy) that is welded to the end of a nib and ground to a specific intended size.
Slit: the very thin cut running from the breather hole to the tip of the nib that carries the ink from the feed to the tip.
Tines: the two front parts of the nib that taper to the tip.
Shoulder: the widest part of a nib, where it starts to taper towards the tip.
Breather Hole: a hole in the nib, at the end of the nib slit, that allows air to assist in the ink flow, also called a vent hole.
Imprint: the engraving or impression left on the face of the nib that shows the brand, model, or nib size.
Body: the part of the nib that is typically imprinted.
Base: the bottom end, or reverse end of the tip, where the nib fits into the section of a pen.

The Feed:
Feed: the piece of plastic or ebonite (usually black) that hugs the back of the nib and acts as a vehicle for ink delivery from the reservoir to the nib.
Wings: the widest part of the feed that matches up to the nib shoulder. Sometimes nibs will slide on and grab onto the feed wings.
Fins: the small, thin pieces on the feed that allow ink to saturate into the air channels. These act as an ink regulator for consistent flow when writing speed varies.
Ink Channel: a very thin slit in the feed that hugs against the back of the nib and provides a route for the ink to travel through the feed. This is what helps to provide the necessary capillary action required for ink flow.
Post: the back end of a feed that goes into the ink reservoir and feeds ink into the channel.

The Section:
Section: the part of the pen where the nib fits in and attaches to the pen barrel.
Grip: the front of the section where you hold where the nib fits in, sometimes called just a 'section'.
Trim Ring: ornamental accents that serve an aesthetic purpose.
Threads: thin grooves cut into a pen to hold parts together.

The Converter:
Converter: a small filling mechanism (usually a screw-piston type) that fits onto a pen that also accepts a cartridge. This allows you to use any brand's bottled ink instead of relying on limited proprietary ink cartidges.
Mouth: the opening that fits onto the feed post to hold the converter in place.
Ink Reservoir: a cavity inside a pen that holds ink.
Seal: the 'working' part of the converter piston that creates a vacuum in order to draw ink into the reservoir.
Rod: the threaded portion of the piston mechanism that causes the seal to move up and down when the knob is turned.
Shroud: the metal covering that holds the piston mechanism onto the back of the ink reservoir.
Knob: the part of the converter that you turn to move the piston seal up and down (and thus fill the converter).

Be sure to check out more fountain pen terminology in our Glossary of Fountain Pen Terms, and ask for any clarification in the comments below! Be sure to share/link/Pin this graphic to your heart's content, we created this to help educate the fountain pen community. Enjoy!

Write On,
Team Goulet

Monday, July 27, 2015

Monday Matchup #58: Faber-Castell Ambition Fountain Pen - Aqua Op Art with Diamine Soft Mint

Humans have been trying to predict the future for eons with crystal balls, tarot cards, and Doppler radar. There is a definite upside to the future predictions - weather forecasts help keep our heads dry and fridges stocked. How many times have future predictions been proven wrong?  Even the best laid plans- or plants - can sometimes throw us for a loop.

In Virgina, Hydrangeas start blossoming in May and continue to flower until September. The Hydrangea Macrophylla is the first to sprout but depending on the pH of the soil, its flowers can blossom in a variety of colors. Starting with creamy white, they can go from pink to blue to an eventual green if the conditions are right. While some gardeners enjoy knowing the exact color concept of their garden, others rejoice in the unpredictability of this chameleon plant.

Jenni was inspired by the Faber-Castell Ambition- Aqua Op Art in medium and Diamine Soft Mint to draw a rare green Hydrangea. How will you celebrate the unpredictable this week?

The Faber-Castell Ambition Fountain Pen - Aqua Op Art is available at Gouletpens.com for $100. Diamine Soft Mint is available in 80ml bottles for $14.95 or 2ml ink samples for $.99 (on sale right now through the end of July 2015).

Write on,

The Goulet Pen Company Team

Friday, July 24, 2015

Goulet Q&A Episode 88, 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, I talk about my ink swab process, my fanciest pens, and what I learned from working with my dad. 

Here's some of the recent products and videos we've been 
working on at GouletPens.com: - (:43)

Pens/Writing - (5:03)

1) Inlovewithjournals –YouTube - (5:12)
I like to post my caps. Can you tell me which pens have caps that actually screw to the barrel when posted?

Ink - (7:25)

2) Travis W. - Facebook - (7:32)
What are your favorite inks available in cartridges - preferably grouped by color and/or proprietary design.

3) @clazbill –Twitter - (10:09)
For swabs, or written ink tests, how often do you redo them to check for fading?
  • really no need, I keep them filed away in temp controlled and dark storage on acid-free, pH-neutral paper
  • sunlight is what causes fading

4) Brian H. -Facebook - (12:47)
I use love using Noodler's Bad Blue Heron in my Pilot Metro, but the nib creep is so bad that it gets on the grip when capped (even when stored tip up). From what I understand this could be caused by the saturation of the dye that's in the ink. Is dilution an option to help/stop the nib creep? Or does this sound like its a pen issue?
  • It sounds like something else is up
  • Ink really doesn’t creep so hard it crawls out of the pen when it’s nib up
  • could be getting in the cap when carried around and dripping down when you put it away
  • could be leaking, maybe improperly seated converter
  • I recommend a thorough cleaning, cap included and try again
  • maybe try switching inks and see if it still does it, that’d help rule it out

5) Ferraraphotographics- YouTube - (19:30)
What's the big deal about mold?  How easy is it to have a pen infected. What is the long term damage to my pen? Is it just a good cleaning and I am back to normal?  I have bottles of ink that are 15+ years old. No sign of mold. Is this more common in very humid climates?
  • mold isn’t super common, but it does happen
  • most inks have biocides to fight mold growth
  • if it gets moldy in your pen, you can disinfect it with a bleach solution, how much it needs depends on how bad it is
  • I don’t know if it has anything to do with humid climates, it has more to do with mold in your environment 

Business - (24:33)

‏6) @roguishknave-Twitter - (24:39)
How exactly do you make your swabs? In particular the large swab. Do you make multiple passes with the Qtip or just one?
  • Standardized on Clairefontaine Pollen cardstock, 210g
  • cut up into 2”x2.25” cards
  • write ink name with a glass pen 
  • completely saturate the q-tip, swab a single, intentional swab
  • let dry, scan in 

7) Shubhranshu D. Facebook - (28:53)
Is the introduction of the Cross Townsend a change in GPC strategy to include some of the more expensive brands or FP ranges? Costs for selling a 20$ and 300$ FP would remain fairly similar... Except inventory carrying costs etc maybe slightly higher.... Would GPC move up the premium ladder?
  • It’s not really a change in strategy
  • we’ve been carrying pens in this price range for a while, like Platinums, VP Radens, Omas, etc
  • carrying rollerballs was really more of a tangent than carrying Cross
  • I don’t really consider Cross to be a “premium” brand, not like Pelikan, Delta, Montegrappa, Visconti, Mont Blanc, Cartier…
  • We dabble in the higher end stuff, but it’s not so much our focus, we’ll go there as people ask us for it

8) tgrant5 –YouTube - (36:14)
What are your ""staple"" books ( or other resources) that has helped shape ""The Goulet Pen Company "" that we know today? What are the top 3 lessons that you learned while working with your dad?  As a frequent customer, I thank you and your wife for running a great company and (from my view) a positive place to work for your team members.
  • Some top books: Gary Vaynerchuck’s Crush It (why I do videos/social media)
  • Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership (hiring, culture, mission/vision)
  • Simon Sinek’s Start With Why (purpose)
  • Patrick Lencioni’s The Advantage (organizational health)
  • Top three things my dad taught me: Work Hard, Be Honest, Be Flexible (no joke)
  • working with him though, he taught me to figure things out, even if stuff broke down and I didn’t know what to do, I had to figure it out

Personal - (49:42)

9) AJ Mangino –YouTube - (49:47)
Brian, I know you really like your Custom 74 (as I do mine) because it is beautiful and reliable. I have to wonder though, with a collection of 300 pens, you do not have any higher end pens that have some special 
value or just write like a dream? I know you are a new pen retailer but I have to imagine that you have some awesome pens that would knock the Custom 74 or Lamy 2000 out of your top 2.
  • They’re not my top pens because they’re “the” best ones I have, though they are pretty awesome
  • Big fan of the Omas Ogiva (Cocktail will be coming out this fall)
  • Waterman Carene in  fine
  • Pelikan pens are great (pricey but write really well)
  • Parker Duofold writes nicely, VERY wet
  • Lots and lots of Edisons are very special to me
  • Other special pens, ones that have been a gift like my Namiki Custom Impressions
  • My special ones I don’t write with as often, only on occasion, same goes for my premium level pens
  • I am very utilitarian and have a value mindset, so I love the Custom 74, Lamy 2000, VP, and other pens like this for the value aspect and I don’t have to be too careful with them

Troubleshooting - (55:03)

10) Leah K. -Facebook - (55:08)
I'm fairly new to fountain pens, although I used one many years ago.  Recently, I was using my fountain pen to take notes during a webinar on my computer.  With the ceiling fan on, it may have dried out the pen a bit, as I noticed it didn't seem to flow well.  I wound up actually putting more ink in it, even though it probably still had a decent supply left.  How could I have prevented this or what should I have done in this situation?  
  • ceiling fan may have been somewhat of a factor, not as much as you think
  • probably just the pen was uncapped too long
  • this is common for anyone switching over to FP’s from ballpoints/rollerballs
  • new habit to cap pen when not using it
  • some pens are easier to cap than others, this can help in making capping more of a habit
  • some pens/inks dry out quicker than others

QOTW: What are the 3 most impactful books that you’ve read? - 58:28

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

Thursday, July 23, 2015

De Atramentis Magenta Violet: Ink Review

In case you missed Monday Matchup this week, we're giving you a second look at the ink that was featured! Adam's use of De Atramentis Magenta Violet really impressed me, so I'm excited to review this ink myself. Several customers have recommended this ink to me over the last few months, but this was the first time I've had a chance to give it a try.

Supplies Used:
Smear Test (Dry Time)
  • Medium. This ink is not a fast drying ink. It was dry after about 25 seconds.  
Drip Test (Water Resistance)
  • Low. This ink offers no water resistance, so if you were to spill coffee or water on your paper, it won't hold up well. 
  • If water resistance is something you're looking for, this may not be the ink for you. However, when the ink gets wet, you see more of the pink stand out which could make it fun to use as an inkwash!
  •  Medium. It's pretty mild, but when the ink is used in a pen, you'll still see a vibrant color.  
Ease of Cleaning
  • Easy. I found this ink super easy to clean out of my pen, which is a major plus for me! 
  • Low. This ink has minimal shading, however it is a rich purple with a hint of pink. This makes it unique among other purple inks.
  •  Medium. I really enjoyed the flow of this ink. It was wet and easy to write with, without gushing all over the page. 
Packaging and Aesthetic
  • 35 ml bottle
  • Nice bottle, but does not come with a box  
Inks similar in color

I really enjoyed using this ink! I can see myself using this ink when I'm journaling or when I'm writing notes to friends. If you're looking to add a rich, low maintenance purple ink to your collection, I'd definitely recommend checking out De Atramentis Magenta Violet. 

You can get a 35 ml bottle of De Atramentis Magenta Violet available regularly for $12.95 ($9.75 currently on sale through July 2015) or a 2ml ink sample for under $2 (under $1 currently, with Inksamplepalooza going on!) at Gouletpens.com. (Note: the ink label on the bottle may read "Purple Violet, but this is not a scented ink.)

Have you tried De Atramentis Magenta Violet before? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Write on,

Thursday Things: Grayscale and Gold

This week's Thursday Things is inspired by all things Gray and Gold. We think these colors are timeless, sophisticated and look good on everyone!

Learn more about each product featured this week:

Do you have any of these products in your fountain pen, ink, or paper collection?

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Answering your TWSBI Eco Questions

The TWSBI Eco was announced....oh a while ago, and it's been long awaited. Previously, the TWSBI 580 was the value TWSBI pen (and still is really, at $50). But with the $28.99 TWSBI Eco coming out, and with the same ink capacity as the 580, it almost seems too good to be true. 

I just got the new TWSBI Eco in my hands yesterday and I have seen a ton of questions coming in about the pen. It’ll take a bit for me to be able to get you a video to answer your questions, so in the meantime I wanted to assemble this Q&A style blog post to answer your most pressing questions:

What nib does the Eco use? Can it take a nib from another TWSBI?
  • It appears to use the same nib as Classic and Mini, and they’re interchangeable but you have to physically pull the metal nib from the housings of the Classic or Mini to fit it into the Eco.
  • There is no nib unit to swap, must pull the nib (REALLY hard on the Classic)
  • Not many options for spare nibs in this size from other brands (none at Goulet), buying multiple Eco pens may end up being the most practical (if you can).
  • That all being said, the fins on the TWSBI feeds are extremely fragile. Removing the feed is not recommended.
Is the grip triangular like a Lamy Safari?

  • No, it's not. Looking at the front of the grip, you can see three protrusions that stick up to help keep your fingers from sliding off the end, but they're very small and don't carry up the length of the grip. The majority of the grip is cylindrical.

What parts are swappable with other TWSBI pens?
  • The piston can swap with the 580, but then you can’t post either pen. But the guts of the piston mechanism appear identical.
  • The nibs swap with the Mini and Classic, but you have to pull just the metal nib out, the grips don’t swap.
  • The feed appears identical to the Classic
  • The cap of the 580 can kind of fit onto the Eco, but it’s not a perfect fit. I wouldn’t recommend it, and they don’t swap the other way around. 
  • The o-ring at the grip threads appears the same on the Eco as the 580.
How does it compare to the 580 and Mini?
  • Piston mechanism appears identical to 580.
  • It’s about the same overall size as the 580, longer than the Mini.
  • Ink capacity is similar to 580, larger than Mini, pushing close to 2ml.
Where does the name come from?
  • Eco = Economical…more affordable pen.
  • It doesn’t mean eco as in “eco-friendly”. Y'know, any more than a normal fountain pen is eco-friendly (cuz they all kinda are).
How do you disassemble the pen?
  • Exact same as 580, with different wrench (that I like better!)
  • Check out the 580 disassembly video I have, it’ll be the same method. 
The wrench is different, can they be used interchangeably with the original metal one? 
  • Yes, they work interchangeably. The red wrench isn't super-tight on the Vac-700, but it works well on the Eco, 580, Mini, and Classic. The metal wrench works on the Eco. 

Can you use a TWSBI bottle to fill it?
  • Yes and no, grip does not remove, so it fills just like a normal pen would.
  • You can fill like any other pen from the cone insert directly in the bottle, but not from the cap of the bottle like the 580, Mini, and Classic.
How is it filled?
  • It’s a piston pen that operates just like all of the other TWSBI pens.

How much ink does it hold?
  • Appears similar to 580, just under 2ml at its max.
What are the dimensions?
  • From GouletPens.com:

How is the fit and finish?
  • Really nice, clean, better than I expected for this price point!

How does it post? Does the cap sit on the filler knob like the 580?
  • It does not post on the filler knob, no worries about blurting ink due to twisting the knob inadvertently. It has an o-ring on the barrel of the pen, just before the filler knob, that the cap sits on to hold it in place. Posted it’s a tad long, but light so it’s pretty usable even if you don’t have giant gorilla hands like me. 

What about the cap sealing?
  • It has an insert to help keep the nib wet. 
  • An o-ring around the grip threads helps seal up the cap.

When will you get more? 
  • Almost certainly we’re going to sell out of these pretty quickly, even as I've been drafting this post they're flying out the door. It’s going to be into the first or second week in August before we expect a second shipment. I don’t have a firm date on the next batch, but you can sign up for an email notification on our site for a specific nib size you want so you know right when we have more. 
If I left anything out, just ask in the comments below and I’ll answer! I expect stock to be somewhat intermittent on GouletPens.com. Thanks so much :) 

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Maruman Mnemosyne Notebook Overview

We're pretty picky when it comes to paper around here at GouletPens.com, so when we pick up a new line of notebooks it has to be pretty exciting for us to go for it. Maruman Mnemosyne fits that bill for us. Maruman is a Japanese paper company that has several lines of notebooks, one of which is this Mnemosyne, named after the Greek goddess of memory.

What's usually the big hangup with notebooks is the paper quality, because if you are primarily a fountain pen user like we are here, you need something fairly ink-resistant so you don't end up with fat lines of fuzzy-looking writing. This Mnemosyne paper definitely holds up, almost comparable to the ever-popular Rhodia brand.

We shot this rather comprehensive video giving an overview of the Mnemosyne products we're carrying at GouletPens.com, with some timestamps here to make it easier for your reference:
  • Features Overview – 1:19
  • Inspiration and Imagination – 3:52
  • Side Wirebound – 7:09
  • Memo Notebook – 9:27
  • Top Wirebound Notepad – 10:09
  • Paper Performance with Ink – 12:45

Common features across the Mnemosyne line:
  • 80gsm white paper
  • Perforated pages
  • Grey lines
  • Double-wire black spiral binding
  • Black plastic covers

Creative Style Notepads:

N180, $13.00
  • A4 size (11.69" x 8.86")
  • Top wirebound
  • 5mm graph paper (blank on back side of each sheet)
  • Landscape format
  • 70 sheets

N181, $13.00
  • A4 size (11.69" x 8.86")
  • Top wirebound
  • Blank paper
  • Landscape format
  • 70 sheets 

N182, $7.40
  • A5 size (8.23" x 5.94")
  • Top wirebound
  • 5mm graph paper (blank on back side of each sheet)
  • Landscape format
  • 70 sheets 

N183, $7.40
  • A5 size (8.23" x 5.94")
  • Top wirebound
  • Blank paper
  • Landscape format
  • 70 sheets

Basic Style Notepads:

N192, $2.40
  • B7 size (3.03" x 5")
  • Top wirebound
  • 5mm lined paper
  • 50 sheets

N193, $2.00
  • A7 size (2.32" x 4.33")
  • Top wirebound
  • 5mm lined paper
  • 50 sheets

N196, $4.40
  • B6 size (5.04" x 7.09")
  • Top wirebound
  • 7mm lined paper
  • 50 sheets

Basic Style Notebooks:

N194, $6.60
  • B5 size (7.17" x 9.92")
  • Side wirebound
  • 7mm lined paper
  • 80 sheets 

N195, $6.00
  • A5 size (5.94" x 8.23")
  • Side wirebound
  • 7mm lined paper
  • 80 sheets

N199, $13.00
  • A4 size (8.86" x 11.69")
  • Side wirebound
  • 7mm lined paper
  • 70 sheets

N197, $5.00
  • A6 size (4.25" x 5.83")
  • Side wirebound
  • 7mm lined paper with vertical line for checkboxes (blank on back side of each sheet)
  • 80 sheets 

The Maruman Mnemosyne Word Cards have been discontinued and are no longer available.

We're excited to add this new paper brand to our lineup. You can check out more details at GouletPens.com. If you have any questions please ask in the comments below!

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Don't miss anything! Subscribe to our Weekly Email Newsletter!

Disqus for Goulet Pens Blog