Monday, August 31, 2015

Monday Matchup #63: Platinum Carbon Desk Pen with Noodler's Rome Burning

Jenni, our videographer, was the artist behind this week's Monday Matchup. She chose to match a Platinum Carbon Desk Pen EF with Noodler's Rome Burning. Rome Burning is a unique ink- it changes from a yellowish brown to purple when water is added. It proved a challenging project, as her initial inspiration for the piece didn't work with the vellum sketch paper, pen and ink combination.

Inspired by the art work of Giulia Bernardelli, she started off the work trying to recreate a drawing from spilled ink. To create a textured background, she put down a base layer of ink using a paint brush and then ran it under water to change the ink color.  She then added another layer, spilling ink and spreading it out with the pen. The paper was water logged and unfortunately, the ink feathered terribly. She did not like the results and decided to start again.

In the final version (seen here), Jenni used the same method of applying the base layer. This time, she allowed more dry time, leaving the paper overnight. She then added water drops and flicked the ink from a paintbrush to create the impression of stars. To create the trees and writing, she filled an ink syringe and made long lines of thick ink. Using the pen and syringe, she spread out the ink and created the tree branches.

Jenni advises that if she redid this project, she would definitely use a different type of paper. The vellum sketch paper was purchased by a big box art supply store and didn't work for the techniques she was experimenting with. A more ink resistant paper may have been a better choice, like Rhodia or Clairefontaine. She enjoyed the springy nib on the Platinum Desk Pen and enjoyed the challenge presented by such an unique ink!

You can find the Platinum Desk Pen at Gouletpens.com for $12. Noodler's Rome Burning is available in a 3oz bottle for $12.50 or a 2ml ink sample for $1.25.

Write on,

The Goulet Pen Company Team

Friday, August 28, 2015

Goulet Q&A Episode 92, Open Forum

I missed last week due to some technical issues with several of our cameras, but we found a workaround for this week! I cover what it was like at the 2015 DC Pen Show, how to pick the best Vanishing Point nib, what a "Zoom" nib is, and some great starter pens that aren't always talked about. Enjoy!
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.

New/Upcoming Products - (3:13)
- Emerald of Chivor - Samples
- Edison Black Rose

Pens/Writing - (4:38)

1) Alex S.- Facebook - (4:43)
So I'm still trying to decide what I want for my first Pilot VP, I mean which nib. I haven't had a stub nib yet, but after hearing so much about the writing experience of a VP I'm curious which would be the better first writing experience with a pilot VP, a medium nib or the new 1.0mm stub?
  • the VP stub is really really new, and it’s actually a pretty nice stub! 
  • in general though, stubs are not quite as universal as medium nibs
  • stubs are a little less forgiving when writing with them, in terms of pen rotation
  • go medium if you want to be ‘safe’, stub if you want to live a little :) 
  • honestly, neither is a bad choice, and worst case you can exchange it or get a replacement nib unit and switch them out

2) Sam F.- Facebook - (7:22)
Do you have any tips for filling a piston filler from a sample vial, when the nib is too long to get the filler hole submerged in the vial? 
  • there are a couple of ways around this
  • feed saturation method video
  • some pens you can remove the nib unit and fill directly into the pen with a  syringe (or even right from the vial)
  • tilting the vial can often help
  • worst case, just saturate the feed by dipping, or try in another pen
  • it’s not often there’s a pen that simply cannot be filled from a sample vial in any way

3) Jason L.- Facebook - (11:53)
In general, will the ink cartridge from ink manufacturers work with all fountain pen? Specifically, will a Diamine ink cartridge work with a Pilot Metro?
  • no, this particular combo won’t work
  • some pen manufacturers have proprietary filling mechanisms, and Pilot is one of them
  • only Pilot/Namiki cartridges/converters will fit on their pens
  • some exceptions, in the EU, Pilot calls the Metropolitan the MR, and is has a standard international fitting on it that will fit Diamine cartridges
  • we have a Cartridge/Converter Compatibility Guide for cartridges/converters on our site, not exhaustive but it covers all the pens we carry at GouletPens.com 
‏4) @smadayrrek- Twitter - (15:09)
What is up with 'zoom' nibs? 
  • they’re really only made by Sailor, that I know
  • they’re a Japanese company
  • it’s a nib that’s meant to replace the use of a brush, writing with a finer line when held at a steep angle, a broader line when held at a lower angle
  • I have no personal experience with them, and they’re not widely available
  • I wouldn’t worry about them too much, unless you do a lot of writing in characters 
5) Ricky J.- Facebook - (16:48)
We hear a lot about top 5 pen lists that include Metropolitan and Safari..etc etc. What are some cheap pens that are not mentioned in the list but are top worthy? (Platinum Plaisir, J.Herbin Fountain penJinhao, Noodler's, etc etc).
  • most popular Goulet video to date: Brian’s Top 5 Fountain Pens for Newbies- 140k views
  • Platinum Preppy
  • Pilot Varsity
  • Jinhao X750
  • Pilot Metropolitan
  • Lamy Safari
  • I still stand behind all these pens, they’re all fantastic starter pens and I explain why in the video
  • There are definitely other good pens, just not maybe as universally appealing and easy to use as these ones:
  • Platinum Plaisir, sure, same ‘guts’ as a Preppy with a nicer body, not nearly as popular
  • J. Herbin fountain pen is really pretty new, and is cartridge only so it’s not my go-to, but it could certainly work
  • Noodler’s…certainly the best intro flex pen, flex in general is not something I push for newbies because they are really diving in the deep end in terms of learning to use them well
  • Jinhao, absolutely, I put the X750 in that video, but the X450 would work well, and the 159 is huge but also works well (and now is in more colors), all take #6 (Goulet) nibs, too
  • Kaweco Classic or ICE Sport, cartridge/eyedropper only, but is loved by many
  • Pilot Parallel, great for practicing calligraphy
  • TWSBI Eco, fantastic pen for the price, is relatively new and limited availability, but great starter pen
  • Lamy Logo or Al-Star would be a great alternative to the Safari

Ink - (24:16)

6) ‏@JerryTanta13- Twitter - (24:18)
What are some colorful inks (aka not black), that perform well on school quality paper and shade well? 
  • by school quality, I’m going to assume you mean absorbent and generally terrible paper, at least that’s mostly what we have in the US because it’s not a ‘fountain pen’ culture, especially for schools
  • you basically won’t get shading on this type of paper
  • you’re really just going to be fighting for not having terrible bleed through and feathering
  • going with as fine a nib as you can stand will be helpful here
  • my go-to’s for good ink on bad paper are Noodler’s Heart of Darkness and X-feather, both of those are black though
  • I haven’t found most other colors to be as good as these on bad paper
  • Conventional inks like Waterman, Sheaffer, Pelikan seem to do fairly well
  • Pilot Iroshizuku do well, but are pricey for most students
  • I’m open to feedback from the community on this one! 

7) Anne C.- Facebook - (28:03)
Can I mix Dostoyevsky with any other Noodler's ink (I'm thinking Heart of Darkness)? Secondly, I'm looking at the Noodler's comparison chart on your website: what are your thoughts on mixing Noodler’s inks that are labeled "No" for every category, with inks that are labeled "Yes" for many categories? Lastly, can I safely mix all Noodler's inks with Diamine's? (I'm dreaming of a black-red dragon...) smile emoticon (excluding the Baystates from this conversation) 
  • the only big no-no is mixing Baystates with non-Baystates, as far as Noodler’s goes
  • You can mix inks with varying properties, as long as you realize you are diluting whatever those properties are by how much of the final ink contains those properties
  • mixing Noodler’s Black (bulletproof) with Noodler’s Purple (conventional), the black portion of the ink will be the only part that remains if you wash it away, the purple will disappear
  • You can play around with it, that can be really fun!
  • mix in small batches (a couple ml at a time) and always outside of the pen first, let sit for several hours to see if you get crazy reactions
  • check out FPN Ink Recipies subforum

Business - (33:11)

8) Gary W.- Facebook - (33:16)
Will we get to see more of Rachel in the video blogs and Q&A's in the future? I always enjoy hearing about the business aspects of Goulet Pen Company and pen products from a woman's point of view.
  • Rachel is definitely the ‘special sauce’ behind the inner workings of GouletPens.com
  • I love her and love doing videos with her, and she is really great on video
  • her time is very split here and it’s tough for us to coordinate shooting a lot together
  • she’s also actually rather introverted, and doesn’t enjoy hearing herself talk as much as I do :)
  • She’ll continue to pop in here and there, but not much more than she does now
  • where we’re doing a lot more together is on Periscope, it’s much more informal and she can just add things in here and there
  • follow us there if you want to see more of her

9) Brad M.- Facebook - (37:08)
Almost every time I place an order, I also order a "Surprise Me" random ink sample, and I'm always delighted that I never receive an ink that I've previously ordered. I've ordered a fair number of sample packages and individual samples, so it seems a little surprising. When issuing a random sample, do you check it against the customer's order history and make sure to send something new? Or have I just been lucky? Just curious! 
  • as much as I’d like to say we take that much consideration into it, you’re just getting lucky :)
  • We do prepare the “random” samples ahead of time just for that purpose, and we are conscientious of pulling something interesting/different in that particular order
  • we do not look up your past history and try to pull something different, I’m sorry to say, that would be kind of a logistical challenge
  • maybe in the future we can build in something like that just to make sure you’re getting something new every time!
  • with close to 600 colors, odds are good you’re getting something new anyway!

10) Mikey M.- Facebook - (39:49)
Did you make any new business connections at the DC pen show?
  • sure did! talked a lot with Brian and Andrea Gray of Edison pens (before and during the show)
  • certainly we want to continue to cook up new stuff with them
  • spent good FaceTime with Brad Dowdy and Jeff of Nock pen cases
  • they’re not yet ready to ramp up to wholesaling through retailers but are working hard on getting there, we talked a lot with them
  • we made good contact with Visconti and the cat’s out of the bag there, we will be carrying Visconti really soon
  • our initial order is in, we’ll be starting out with the Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Homo Sapiens, all inks, and traveling inkwell
  • also happy to take special orders on all other Visconti pens, we can get the full line, email Rachel at specialorders@gouletpens.com 
  • the Divina really has my eye, but we’re pacing ourselves!
  • got to talk to other reps like Yafa (Monteverde, Conklin, Delta, Stipula)
  • spent some time watching Richard Binder grind nibs for about 2 hours
  • lots of connections with other bloggers like Pen Habit, Leighpod, NoPenIntended, Dan Smith, Cary of Fountain Pen Day, and several others, Instagram fans (Man and Tan)
11) Kevin L.- Facebook - (56:38)
Are there any plans to add some basic handwriting tips to your continuing fountain pen education and information mission?
  • loose plans, yes, but nothing specific yet
  • honestly, I’m not coming from a background of having a lot of knowledge in this area
  • I’ve had loose aspirations to learn to improve my handwriting, but haven’t made it a “SMART” goal yet, the runnings of my business and life in general have taken priority for me
  • I’m certainly open to it and recognize the opportunity for someone in my position in the fountain pen world to be able to help teach handwriting, I will likely need to link up with someone who’s already an expert in this area rather than learn it from scratch myself, it’s just too much to learn 

Troubleshooting - (1:00:53)

12) Christina A.- Facebook - (1:00:58)
I let a friend try out my Lamy Safari (medium nib), but neglected to watch her... She held it straight up and perhaps at a sideways angle and probably used a fair bit of pressure. I've been having trouble with this nib being scratchy since then, and I think I'm not making it up - I have two Safaris with M nibs and only one of them writes that way. Any idea what happened or how to fix it? 
  • ahhhh yes, this is pretty common
  • coming from ballpoints/rollerballs, it’s very typical to write at a high angle and use too much pressure
  • fountain pens are meant to be held lower (45 degrees) and write with only the weight of the pen
  • probably, they bent the nib or threw the tines out of alignment
  • depending on how severe they wrote with it, it could be an easy fix, or not
  • check out my video “Goulet Loupe Tutorial”, I show how to inspect and align tines there
  • worst case, a new Lamy nib is $13 so it’s not a total loss, and you can always bill your friend (jk, or maybe not!)

QOTW: What’s the one thing you would go back and tell yourself on your first day using a fountain pen? 

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, August 27, 2015

Introducing Diamine Shimmering Ink Collection!

We're excited to announce the new collection of shimmering inks by Diamine! There are ten inks in the collection, some with silver and some with gold shimmer. They will come in 50ml bottles. We haven't had a chance to try them yet but we can't wait to fill up our pens! They are expected to arrive in October. We're still waiting on pricing, but we'll let you know as soon as that information comes in.

There are reviews up on the Fountain Pen Network. Click on the links below to get an up close look of each of these awesome inks!

Magical Forest
Night Sky
Blue Pearl
Brandy Dazzle
Purple Pazzazz
Golden Sands
Sparkling Shadows
Blue Lightning 
Shimmering Seas
Red Lustre

What ink do you like best? Let us know in the comments below! 

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

Monteverde Green: Ink Review

Adam used Monteverde Green in the latest Monday Matchup. I was pleasantly surprised at the depths of this ink. Despite its name, it seems more like a blue/green jade-like color to me. I loved the shading and flow!

Supplies Used:

Smear Test (Dry Time):
  • Slow- This is a pretty wet ink with a long dry time. You may want to set this aside to dry before turning the page!

Drip Test (Water Resistance):
  • Low- This ink pretty much disappears when you add water to it.

  • High- This is a highly pigmented ink! You can see that it stays strong through the three applications.

Ease of Cleaning:
  • Easy- Low water resistance makes this ink an easy clean. A simple rinse of the nib and it disappears!

  • Medium- It shades really well for this color. Darker greens tend to give a bit more shading which is why I gave it a medium rating.

  • Medium- While wet, it flows nicely from the pen.

Packaging and Aesthetics:
  • 90ml bottle that comes in a well designed box
  • The bottle has a wide opening, easy to fill 
  • Pleasing design, but not a show stopper

Monteverde Green was a pleasant surprise! It has great shading, is wet, and is very pleasant to look at. I can see this being a great ink for writing letters or doing ink washes. It's also at a very reasonable price point!

Monteverde Green is available at Gouletpens.com in a 90ml bottle for $12.50 and in a 2ml ink sample for $1.25.

What do you think of Monteverde Green? Do you have a favorite green ink?

Write on,

Thursday Things: Emerald

J. Herbin's newest ink, Emerald of Chivor, has been one of the most anticipated inks this year! With this ink in mind, we created a collection of emerald pens, inks, and notebooks to compliment its shimmery gold and emerald green. If you're interested in checking out Emerald of Chivor for yourself, pick up a sample and let us know what you think!

We were inspired by the following products:

What is your favorite featured product from this week's arrangement?

Write on, 
The Goulet Pen Company Team

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Fall Preview: Parker Sonnet Great Expectations Special Edition

**Update as of September 2016 - we're currently only accepting special orders on certain Visconti and Namiki pens. Email info@gouletpens.com for more information.**

We got excited when we saw these brand new finishes for the Parker Sonnet fountain pen coming out this fall. We haven't decided yet to carry the line, but wanted to get your feedback first before making a decision. We started carrying the Parker IM and Parker Urban in their new finishes last year, and the Sonnet would be a big step up in our Parker offering.

So as you look over these colors and prices, please let us know what you think! We'd love to know if you'd like to see us carry these, as well as any past experience you've had with a Parker Sonnet fountain pen. All of these new finishes are cartridge/converter pens with gold nibs.

Without further ado, here is a quick preview of the 6 new colors coming out for the Parker Sonnet this fall, as part of the Special Edition Parker Sonnet Great Expectations line....

Subtle Pearl & Grey

An understated color palette of greys and pearl whites for a chic, feminine finish. It features a pearl lacquer barrel, grey pearlescent lacquer cap, pearl anodized aluminum grip section, rose gold trim, and an 18kt solid gold nib with a rose gold finish. Available in fine and medium, at an MSRP of $320 (our price would be $256).

Subtle Big Red
Revisiting the iconic Big Red, Parker’s emblematic symbol of the roaring 1920’s, this design gives a subtle hint of this familiar color against a black gloss finish. This fountain pen features a deep black lacquer barrel and cap, black anodized aluminum grip section, ruthenium clip, anodized red aluminum finished accents, and an 18kt solid gold nib with a ruthenium finish. Available in fine and medium, at an MSRP of $320 (our price would be $256).

Secret Shell Black
A refined, black exterior surprisingly reveals a striking chevron pattern inside. It features a black matte barrel and cap, a ruthenium laser etched stainless steel grip section, ruthenium finished trim, and an 18kt solid gold nib with a ruthenium finish. Available in fine and medium, at an MSRP of $320 (our price would be $256).

Secret Shell Blue
A sophisticated blue exterior surprisingly reveals an intricate interwoven pattern inside. This fountain pen features a blue matte barrel and cap, a ruthenium laser etched stainless steel grip section, ruthenium finished trim, and an 18kt solid gold nib with a ruthenium finish. Available in fine and medium, at an MSRP of $320 (our price would be $256).

Contort Purple Cisele
A carefully crafted cap with matching, purple brushed-look grip is a new, stylish take on the classic pearl lacquer. This tasteful design is luxurious yet sophisticated. It features a pearl lacquer barrel, unique chiselled and lacquered sterling silver cap, purple anodized aluminum grip, rose gold finished trim, and an 18kt solid gold nib with a rose gold finish. Available in fine and medium, at an MSRP of $510 (our price would be $408).

Contort Black Cisele
A contorted square cisele on the cap brings an authoritative yet stylish design. The finely crafted cap and elegant, smooth body introduces a new look for the Sonnet black pen. This fountain pen features a black matte barrel, black matte cap with laser chiselling, stainless steel grip, palladium finished trim, and an 18kt solid gold nib with a ruthenium finish. Available in fine and medium, at an MSRP of $510 (our price would be $408).

So tell us what you think! If you KNOW you want one of these now, you can email specialorders@gouletpens.com and we'll go ahead and pre-order you one, regardless of our decision to regularly stock the line. And if you're not ready yet, would any of these pens be on your must-buy list this fall?

**Update as of September 3** We've decided not to stock these as a regular item and they are not available via special order. Sorry!

Write On,
Rachel Goulet

Monday, August 24, 2015

Monday Matchup #62: Lamy Vista Fountain Pen with Monteverde Green

Walt Whitman, the bard of democracy, was a journalist, abolitionist, and poet.  Whitman worked on his famous anthem, Leaves of Grass, for about forty years. The original publication consisted of only 12 poems, while the final volume contained over 400. Despite his passion for his poetry, it never reached the fame in his lifetime that it did after his death. It is only in the 20th century that his free verse style was embraced by the poetry community at large.

Adam was inspired by a bottle of Monteverde Green to use the Lamy Vista EF to create this gorgeous portrait of the poet. Like many artists of the past and even present, Whitman continued creating despite having to make ends meet through teaching or journalism. He continued to write despite criticism and across decades to complete his life's work. The final version was published 1892 and has inspired thousands of poets in the ensuing decades.

Take a hint from Whitman- if you believe in what you're doing, keep doing it! Your work may be inspiring others, even if the world isn't quite ready for it yet.

You can find the Lamy Vista in EF at Gouletpens.com for $29.60. Monteverde Green is available in  90ml bottle for $12.50 or 2ml ink sample for $1.25.

What do you think of the Lamy Vista and Monteverde Green? Is this a perfect match?

Write on,

The Goulet Pen Company Team

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

Disqus for Goulet Pens Blog