Friday, January 29, 2016

Goulet Q&A Episode 110, Open Forum

Goulet Q&A is now available as an audio podcast! Click here  for the RSS feed to use in your podcast app of choice, or click here for a direct download.

This week I talk about affordable stub nibs, my favorite demonstrator pens, and the most tragic pen dropping story I've had! 

New/Upcoming Products - (1:39)

Pens/Writing - (5:21)

Ryan U.- Facebook - (5:24)
In a past Q&A, you talked about using italic/broad nibs when you first got into fountain pens, and it made your handwriting look decent. I've never had an italic nib, but would like to try one. Could you recommend one around $100 or less? I've got a TWSBI 580 and pilot VP from you, so I'm also open to just getting a replacement nib for theses. Also thanks for the free shipping to military members overseas.

Nicky.- Email - (10:32)
Thanks for the great videos about the 2 new Karas Kustoms pens. They definitely look like a good unique addition to Goulet Pens, and I especially like the addition of a new, small American manufacturer. You compared these pens to some Kaweco pens, but can you please tell us how they compare to the Lamy Al-Star and Studio, Monteverde Invincia, and Faber-Castel Loom? How does the weight, durability, grip, and writing experiences compare? I think it would be helpful to compare those other popular all or mostly metal pens to the Karas Kustoms line.
  • Al-Star, lighter and thinner grip, more nib options, somewhat similar contemporary design, snap cap is nice, lower price
  • Studio, much more corporate looking, slick tapered grip, fewer color choices, snap cap is nice
  • Invincia, fatter than Fountain K, more polished look to them, more embellishments
  • Loom, finer EF nib, more polished look, snap cap is nice, much cheaper

Connor C.- Facebook - (17:41)
I am a student Pilot and typically use the fisher space pen in the cockpit, mostly because of the durability and reliability, are there any fountain pens that are made for pilots or would be better? thoughts on the Kaweco sport for this use? Thanks for the videos and entertainment.
  • Biggest issue will be ink spatter, on ascent (just don’t write while you’re taking off if you can help it)
  • cartridge pens are way better in this regard
  • Kaweco would definitely be an option
  • Platinum Preppy I’ve heard works well

@physicsvalkyria- Twitter - (20:19)
What are your favorite demonstrator pens? 

Ericsson T.- Facebook - (22:27)
I'm anticipating working in some more rugged settings, be it a foundry, construction sites, or machine shops. I always carry a fountain pen with me even if I don't anticipate using it. I already plan to get a Karas Kustom Fountain K, but I wonder if there might be more affordable options, particularly those that might come with a fine or extra fine nib.
  • Karas Kustoms will definitely be the most durable option I have
  • Nothing as durable will cost less, but some will come close
  • Pilot Metropolitan
  • Jinhao
  • Lamy Safari (plastic, but durable)
  • Faber Castell Loom

Ink - (25:10)

William S.- Facebook - (25:14)
What inks glow in the dark, I can't seem to think of any or find any. I find some that require a black light, but none that just glow when you turn the lights off it seems. Any ideas?
  • The only fountain pen inks that glow in the dark require a blacklight (Noodler’s Blue Ghost, for example)
  • The only inks I’ve seen that truly glow in the dark are pigmented calligraphy inks, J. Herbin used to have one

Paper - (28:56)

Ty W.- Facebook - (28:58)
I love cream/ivory color paper instead of white. I love the dot set up. Is there a staple bound notebook that has ivory colored paper, or just white? I'd even compromise on dots for regular lined.
  • you’re asking for something I don’t have! mostly….
  • the only staple bound non-white notebook I have is Rhodia Premium, and only in lined
  • There is Midori refills, in lined
  • There is an off-white dot grid in Leuchtturm journals, but they’re not stapled...

Business - (31:04)

Sam F.- Facebook - (31:06)
Have you guys heard anything about the rumored Visconti Homo Sapiens Dark Age? Dan Smith shared a picture of it, and it's got me drooling.
  • You bet! It’s public knowledge at this point
  • I did get samples of each size for a couple of days, so we could photograph/video it
  • they are awesome, same price as Bronze and Steel Age
  • Black oxide trim, ruthenium nib
  • Blog post and video will be coming out monday
  • We’re told they’ll be available in March, so there’s a little bit of a wait yet

Troubleshooting - (33:19)

Kate B.- Facebook - (33:25)
I've dropped a couple pens on sidewalks when out sketching and bent the nibs. How might I try to repair them? 
  • Ouch! this is a super general answer, but basically, you can’t
  • You can sort of, with a lot of skill and practice, but generally it requires a professional and that costs as much or more than many new pens
  • The best thing is to use pens that are inexpensive or have replaceable nibs
  • Pilot Metropolitan
  • Lamy Safari
  • Kaweco Sport

QOTW: What’s your most heartbreaking pen dropping story? - (37:29)

Thanks so much for joining me this week! Stay warm all of you who are getting hit with the big snow storm! You can catch up on any old Q&A videos you missed here

Write On,

Brian Goulet

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Thursday Things: Think Pink

Frequently known as the universal color for affection and charm, pink is both stunning and polarizing. The striking hue carries messages of sentimentality, springtime, and romance. And with so many shades in the Pink family, it's an easy color to enjoy. Fun fact: the color earned its name after the flowers called Pinks, from the genus Dianthus, which is actually an ink we carry. Somehow everything seems to circle back to fountain pens, right?

Featured products from left to right:
Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Faber-Castell e-motion Pure Black Giveaway!

We're not afraid to let our emotions show- we're incredibly excited to be offering the Faber-Castell e-motion Pure Black at Gouletpens.com! This stealthy, all black fountain pen is made of black anodized aluminum and boasts intricate guilloche engraving on the barrel.

The e-motion is one of the heaviest pens we carry weighing in at 57 grams. The heavy weight, and all black details will appeal to working professionals who are looking for a tactical fountain pen. This would be ideal to use while taking quick notes at your desk or in a meeting. The clip is spring-loaded and very functional should you have a need to take the pen on the go with you. The e-motion accepts standard international cartridges or a converter which is sold separately.

The e-motion comes with a stainless steel all black nib and is available in fine or medium. If you've written with another Faber-Castell pen, you can expect the same smooth writing experience.

Our Faber-Castell distributor has generously gifted us one e-motion Pure Black fountain pen (your choice of nib size) to give away to one of our blog readers! Here are all the details:
  • To enter, leave a comment with your name letting us know why you love writing with a fountain pen. Contest is open now through 11:59PM EST on Friday 1/29/16.
  • Only one entry per person is allowed, and we will use a random number generator to select the winner from all qualifying entries. 
  • Winner must live in a country that we are able to ship to. For more details on this, check out our FAQs.
  • Winner will be announced on our blog on Tuesday 2/2/16 using the name/nickname that posts the winning comment. If you win, you'll have 3 days to contact us at social@gouletpens.com to claim your prize. If we don't hear from you in that time, we will award the prize to a runner-up. No purchase is necessary to enter. 
  • We can't wait to read your comments about why you love fountains pens! :)
You can find more details about the Faber-Castell e-Motion Pure Black on the product page under the "technical specs" tab. The e-motion is available at Gouletpens.com for $175.

Write on, 
The Goulet Pen Company Team

Introducing Rhodiarama Webnotebooks!

The Rhodia brand is widely known for their range of paper rulings and notebook sizes, all full of exceptional paper. The entire line includes notebooks that are a fountain pen fanatic's friend, since the paper is ideal for writing in a variety of nib sizes and inks with minimal feathering or ghosting. Traditionally, their notebooks have only come in iconic black or orange. If you aren't a particular fan of those colors, or would just like to add an extra pop to your notebook while still enjoying the paper you've come to love, we have just the thing! We're excited to add the Rhodiarama webnotebook in 6 colors to GouletPens.com, and think you'll have no problem finding a use for these fun and functional notebooks.

The Rhodiarama webnotebook features an Italian leatherette cover allowing you the freedom to bend it as needed. It boasts 90gram lined paper making this a great option for journaling or note taking. The notebook also comes with an orange outer elastic band, an inner pocket and a ribbon bookmark. You can also see the colorful inside design that's featured in each notebook in the photo below.

The medium webnotebook is available in the 6 colors below:

Poppy Red




You can find the Rhodiarama webnotebooks, as well as the classic Black and Orange webnotebooks  at Gouletpens.com for $19.95.

Are you a fan of Rhodia notebooks?

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

Monday, January 25, 2016

Karas Kustoms Fountain K Blue Medium Nib with Diamine Night Sky: Monday Matchup 79

Happy Monday friends! Margaret here for this week's Monday Matchup. I was so excited to get the chance to use the new-to-Goulet Fountain K pen from Karas Kustoms. We just launched this brand last week, and I couldn't wait to ink it up with Diamine Night Sky!

With the new year upon us, I've been thinking on all the things I want to do this year. When you actually list out some of your dreams or plans, it can be pretty intimidating as some seem too big or too impossible. But I found this quote from Lemony Snicket that reminded me to go for them this year. The quote reads, "If we wait until we're ready, we'll be waiting for the rest of our lives." Maybe you're waiting until you're ready to buy a house, move to a new city, or apply for your dream job. Whatever it is, don't let fear stop you! I tried to capture this in my matchup this week. Now onto this gorgeous pen and ink combination...

I started by writing the quote in pencil, and went over it with the pen and ink. I went back and outlined the words "ready" and "waiting" again to make them stand out a bit more on the page. I then began to work on the city scene. I went for a pretty basic drawing of city buildings, and to me this represents the idea of trying something new. I sketched each rectangle in pencil first, allowing some to overlap with one another, and then went over the outline with a brush pen. I wanted to make each building different so I sketched some windows, some horizontal lines and some vertical lines. I wasn't going for perfection here, but more of a sketch. I finished by using an ink syringe to splatter the ink above the buildings representing the beautiful night sky.

Let me tell you - I loved using both this pen and ink! The Fountain K has an industrial feel to it, different than the the Pilot Metropolitan or Lamy Safari I'm usually writing with. The medium nib was super smooth and the right amount of thickness. The threads were noticeable but not uncomfortable, and I loved the durability of the pen as well. I definitely wasn't scared of damaging this pen in any way. I also really liked the look of the speckled raw grip - it paired so well with the blue aluminum body.

And this ink! Diamine Night Sky can be layered to create tons of different effects. The silver shimmer showed beautifully even with the medium nib. What I loved being able to do was layer the dark black ink with a brush pen, let it dry and come back with the pen and draw over it. The silver shimmer really popped on top of the dark ink, but don't forget to give the bottle a good shake to get the shimmer moving! I personally haven't worked with an ink that allowed me to do that, so I was pleasantly surprised. One thing that I encountered was a bit of clogging with the shimmer. I took a brass sheet to my nib about half way through my project and flossed the tines to clean them out, and then I was back in action.

I would definitely recommend this pen and ink to both fountain pen newbies and enthusiasts. You can customize your Fountain K color, grip and nib size to your liking, choosing different colors to match your college colors, or to make it look more professional. This ink would be wonderful to use for sketching, as well as note taking too.

Did you know Monday Matchup is also an Instagram contest that happens each Monday at noon? Follow us on Instagram, match a fountain pen and ink, share a picture of your match, and be entered to win by tagging us (@gouletpens) and using the hashtag #mondaymatchupgiveaway. Be sure to click on the hashtag to see what everyone else is matching that week!

You can find the Fountain K Blue available at Gouletpens.com for $75. (I choose to use a tumbled raw aluminum grip and think it paired beautifully) Diamine Night Sky is available in a 50 ml bottle for $20 or as a 2 ml ink sample for $1.50.

Have you ever been surprised with the versatility of one ink?

Write on,

Friday, January 22, 2016

Goulet Q&A Episode 109, 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 the necessity of tipping material on a nib, which pen was the biggest let down for me, and Valentine's Day gift ideas for fountain pen fans. Enjoy!

This week: - (1:21)

Pens/Writing - (6:50)
1) David Crohn- YouTube - (6:52)
Brian- Could you explain tipping material? What is it and how does it affect your writing?
  • it’s a hard metal alloy (iridium, usually) welded to the tip
  • it’s to keep the nib from wearing down as you write
  • if affects the feel of your writing based on how smooth it is
  • it affects how broad your line is based on how fine it’s ground
  • it can be ground different shapes, like italic, oblique, etc

2) Isabelle H.- Facebook - (11:35)
I got a vp pilot in ef from you that I absolutely adore, so I ordered another one just different body color. However the second pen's nib is really scratchy in comparison to the first one. My question is: is this a normal variance, or might this be a defect? I'm also hesitant to do anything like nib grinding, etc as I don't want to void any warranty.
  • there can certainly be variation from one EF to another, especially one THIS fine!
  • check for alignment with a loupe as the first thing
  • follow up with us if it’s still doing it then
  • these are very feedback-y, too much so for me to use comfortably, honestly
  • may smooth itself just with normal use after a bit, given that it’s so fine
  • micromesh/mylar could certainly help, but yeah, it will void warranty so do at your own risk

3) Jodi M.- Facebook - (17:01)
Do you know why Pilot sells extra nib units for the Vanishing Point, but for none of their other pens? Is it because the unit could wear out in the VP?
  • we asked this when we visited Pilot USA in November
  • they really don’t like to carry parts, just as a rule
  • they really only carry the VP nib unit because they were convinced to do it years ago, and they’ve been so incredibly popular
  • it has nothing to do with the VP nib unit wearing out

4) @ianhowlett- Twitter - (20:45)
I saw you filling a cartridge converter and something you did to take air pressure out of it. What was that?
  • there are a couple of techniques
  • just flush and fill the pen a few times, it’ll get 90% full easily
  • to get that last bit, I fill it halfway, turn it upside down, let the air out, then fill it the rest of the way

Ink - (26:13)

5) Garrett O.- Facebook  - (26:14)
My wife wants to get me something fountain pen-related for Valentine's Day. I thought a bottle of ink might be a fun way to keep it themed (because of the colors and relatively low price). Any recommendations? (Or for something besides ink?)

Business - (30:52)

6) Robert Dašek- YouTube - (30:53)
Is there any chance that I might be able to purchase a different model or color of Pelikan brand from the Goulet Pen Company in a foreseeable future? I’m especially curious because your nib nook contains writing samples of a few Pelikan models that you must have carried at some point in the past.
  • we do take special orders for most pens, if they’re available to us
  • we get asked a lot about different sizes of pens as they compare to the Pelikan Soüvrans
  • When we’ve special ordered the pens, we photographed them for the Pen Plaza and Nib Nook for reference/comparison

Personal - (33:40)

7) Bruce Sinn-Brown- YouTube - (33:42)
What was a pen that you were super excited for, but were either let down, OR you found that you just didn't like it as much as you'd think and now never use?
  • my first, the hardest…Pelikan m800 blue 1.5mm stub
  • I inked it with Pelikan Edelstein Sapphire, also a let down for me
  • it was a grail pen for me at the time, and I really reached to buy it and had perhaps unrealistic expectations

Troubleshooting - (39:03)

8) Bill T.- Email - ()
(synopsis) I noticed there was a lot of air left in my pen after cleaning and I used a can of compressed air to clean it out. Why don't I hear about using compressed air in the fountain pen maintenance process?
  • it’s good to get the water out of the feed before filling it, but you don’t need it to be completely dry
  • touch a paper towel to the nib, that’ll do it
  • you can do this, but it’s easy to shoot it across the room!
  • you can also blow on the pen with your mouth, same concept

QOTW: What should I call the Goulet Q&A interviews, and who would you most want to see me interview? - (43:16)

Thanks so much for joining me this week! Stay warm all of you who are getting hit with the big snow storm! You can catch up on any old Q&A videos you missed here

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Karas Kustoms Fountain K Fountain Pen Overview


(:56) - Materials
(1:53) - Color Options
(2:32) - Weight
(2:59) - Features
(4:06) - Nib Options
(4:47) - How it Writes
(5:22) - Additional Features
(6:45) - Filling Mechanism
(7:19) - Comparable Pens
(8:22) - Price

We recently launched the Karas Kustoms Fountain K and I'm excited to get to show you more of this pen. The Fountain K is very industrial looking, and I can see it appeal to anyone who's looking for an indestructible pen. These pens are machined here in the USA and can literally be thrown across a parking lot, or run over by a car and still write just fine. Now if you do that, just know that they may suffer a scratch or two, but they are built for durability!
The Fountain K is available in 3 different materials: aluminum, brass and copper. The brass and copper both have a bare finish, so it will be normal for them to patina over time.

Fountain K Silver Aluminum

Fountain K Brass

Fountain K Copper

There are also 13 anodized aluminum colors available in this model making 15 choices available in total. When purchasing a Fountain K, you also get your choice of 5 different grip colors, allowing you to customize your pen uniquely to you! When writing, you'll find the grip smooth on all of these colors, but not too slick. The Fountain K is smaller in size to the Ink Fountain Pen from Karas Kustoms also offered at Goulet Pens.

13 anodized Aluminum colors available

The pens range in weight depending on the material you go with. The Copper pen weighs in at a heavy 78g, while the aluminum weighs much less at 28g. You can find each pen's dimensions and weight under the technical specs tab on each pen's  product page. These fountain pens come with Bock-made German nibs, which are very well known in the fountain pen world, but do note that these nibs are not #6. You have your choice of extra-fine, fine, medium or broad. You can also purchase these nibs and grips separately if you decide to change up your writing experience.

One thing that sets these pens apart from the rest is definitely the ability to customize and literally build your own pen. Your pen body, nib and grip sections will all be sent to you separately for you to assemble yourself. Don't worry, it's very easy and straightforward to screw each section together. Each pen comes with 5 black cartridges and a converter, so you'll be able to get writing right away. There's no centerband or finial on this pen, but it does come with a stainless steel (very stiff) clip.

    We're excited to offer the Fountain K from Karas Kustoms because it's really unlike anything else we currently offer. You can find the Fountain K available at Gouletpens.com ranging in price from $75-$125 depending on the body and grip sections you decide on.

    What questions do you have about the Fountain K?

    Write on, 
    Brian Goulet

    Karas Kustoms Ink Fountain Pen Overview


    (1:16) - Materials
    (2:02) - Color Options
    (2:42) - Weight
    (3:52) - Features
    (5:17) - Nib Options
    (6:14) - How It Writes
    (6:58) - Additional Features
    (7:51) - Filling Mechanism
    (8:22) - Comparable Pens

    (8:51) - Price

    If you are looking for a rugged every day carry fountain pen, look no further than the Karas Kustoms Ink. Don't be confused by the name- the Ink, is in fact, a fountain pen. It comes in 15 varieties of colors/finishes, made of 3 types of material. All feature the same utilitarian/industrial design with swappable grip sections and nib units.

    This is a pen is ideal for the tinkerer, as the pen will require assembly. However, this is one of the best aspects of the pen means because it means you can create a pen totally unique to you! Additionally, since all of the Ink fountain pens are made of metal, they are almost indestructible.  Get ready to start your Ink education!

    There are 15 Color/Finishes available, made of 3 different materials:
    Brass and Copper are bare finish, so they will develop a nice patina over time. The Aluminum is anodized and comes in 13 different colors including:

    There are 5 different grips sections that you can swap into any of the pen bodies. They include:

    Since you can mix and match different parts of this pen, the weight will vary. The Aluminum comes in at 42g with the converter while the Copper is a heavy weight, coming in at 120g. It is by far and large, the heaviest pen available at Goulet Pens. The next heaviest is the Visconti Opera Master, which is only half that weight!

    This Ink fountain pen does not post and is ever so slightly back weighted. It sits down in the hand and is very firm. The grip is smooth but not too slick- although since the grip sections are made of a variety of materials, they will all feel a little bit different in your fingers. This fountain pen has a large diameter, but not quite as large as some others we carry. 

    All of the nibs are #6 size stainless steel Bock-made German nibs. You choose the nib unit you'd like and can purchase extra nib units to fit in you pen. The Medium nib is currently on back order but will be available in the next month. There are 4 nib sizes including:

    The cap is a triple-start screw cap, meaning you can start it at a number of locations and get it to screw on tight. It does not post, so if that is something you look for in a pen, you may not enjoy the Ink. It does not have a center band or a finial. The clip made of stainless steel and very stiff. It is machine screwed into place which adds another industrial element to this awesome pen.

    A Standard International converter is included with your purchase along with 5 black ink cartridges. This pen will also take a Standard International long cartridge if you so desire.

    You can find the Karas Kustoms Ink Fountain Pen at Gouletpens.com for $95-175 depending on the configuration of parts. The pure Brass or Copper pens are a significant jump in price so be aware of that when putting your pen together. 

    What do you think of the Karas Kustoms Ink fountain pen? Do the swappable parts appeal to you? 

    Write on,
    The Goulet Pen Company Team

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