In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about Omniflex improvements, colorful Lamy 2000s, and making nibs less smooth! Enjoy.
- No Q&A next week but we will have a special video of Garth Callaghan, the Napkin Notes Dad
- still continuing some summer deals, but we’re still getting settled in on our new software so it’s been quieter this week, it’ll pick up soon
- Monteverde Sweet Life ink and DC Supershow Teal
- 10 bottle set of 30ml for $72
- individual 30ml bottles at $8
- all dessert themed, not scented though!
- Birthday Cake, Blueberry Muffin, Blue Velvet Cake, Cherry Danish, Chocolate Pudding, Iced Cookie, Keylime Pie, Mango Mousse, Pumpkin Cake, and Strawberry Shortcake
- new colors, no extreme properties, just nice saturated inks
- Diplomat Aero Turquoise with gun metal trim, slick!
- Goulet exclusive, special edition
- steel nib $156, gold nib $280
- Finally restocked Mark Bacas Cursive Smooth Italic grind Homo Sapiens, though they may be gone when this publishes…
- Pineider Hollywood journals, match Avatar (non-demo) colors, soft cover notebooks
- paper is Pineider but it’s not thick cardstock and is slightly different than what you’d get in their stationery
- 90g, offwhite, lined only
- performs well with fountain pen ink, but flex pens do push it to the limit
- $39 with 192 pages (96 sheets) of paper
- TWSBI Diamond 50 Polished AL Ink Bottles soon?
- Pelikan Maki-e Five Lucky Bats soon
- Visconti Mirage and Breeze in EF soon too
1) Donna T- Facebook (11:37)
I want to know if Goulet will sell the new Omniflex nib or nib unit replacement. In one video, he mentions the “Freedom” model, which, underneath the video it says it has the newer nib… I don’t really want ANOTHER form of the same pen… A lot of us who were disappointed in the original omniflex nib would probably like to replace their nib with the newer, more flexible nib. Will you be carrying that option, and, if so, is there a sort of time frame projection?
- There’s been some talk about a “new” version of the Omniflex, which is true, sort of
- Conklin has been making iterative improvements on the nib, and it would seem that somewhere in the iterations it reached a turning point
- Ever since the Sunstone Duraflex in April 2019, it’s gotten a lot better
- I’ve heard a lot of buzz about it since Pen Boy Roy started raving in the last couple of weeks
- The truth is there wasn’t a major redesign with an intentional version change, it’s been iterative
- Newer versions of the pens coming out should be better than they have been, but I can’t guarantee that…
- buying a flex nib there’s always a degree of patience, risk, and (pun intended) flexibility that you need to have
- there is no such thing as a hassle-free flex nib pen, and if that’s your expectation you’ll be frustrated by pretty much every pen out there at some point or another
- now with that in mind, there are certainly factors that make it less work, less frustrating, and Conklin’s been working to make the nib a better performer and it seems to be working
- what’s difficult for us is we can test and try some, but it’s largely not something we can universally say is “better” until a lot of people have tried them and used them over time
- There isn’t a specific time frame projection I can say right now, since it’s been iterative changes, and there hasn’t been a clean cutover…so nibs will likely be better performing on newer pens coming out, but they aren’t labeled or date stamped, so we have no way of knowing which pen is which one, it’s just a rolling change
- We do returns and exchanges for just this scenario, we want you to be happy with your pen, so if you really want it, get it, be patient and try it, and let us know what you think
2) bradthebear1- Instagram (22:20)
Isn’t standardized parts less fun? JoWo nibs and Schmidt converters seem unexciting.
- that all depends! Surely some people feel that way
- it’s great to have some variety, yes, but I have a different perspective on it
- with standardized parts, it’s allowed for more designs from custom pen makers, faster production of nibs, and more reliable performance so that more brands can make good pens
- it’s really only the larger, older, more established companies that have custom nibs and filling mechanisms, which I do love, but it’s a high barrier to entry
- the standardized parts have allowed for a wave of smaller brands to come on the scene, which is a really good thing!
3) itsajerrilife- Instagram (26:39)
Why does LAMY not make a 2000 in pretty colors?
- I think there are several reasons, partly it’s because they’re pretty conservative with their traditional pens, and this one is the most traditional and truest to the Bauhaus design principles
- I asked them in Germany why they don’t do other colors, they said they prototyped some and they didn’t work well, partly because of the stainless grip and the way the metal affects the material when they sand it
- boy would I love to see some of what they’ve tried!
- I don’t know how much of a factor this is, but they’ve had limited production of the Lamy 2000, so it could partly be a capacity thing (though the pen’s been out for 50+ years so that’d be a temporary reason)
- the one color they are doing is blue, you may have heard
- It’s a limited edition for the 100th anniversary of Bauhaus, and the vast majority of these will be staying in Germany
- we’ll get so, so, so few so we’re doing a lottery, look at the product page on our site for more details
- I’m going to continue to encourage them to broaden their colors, but there’s no guarantee
4) @danielsworlds- Twitter (34:04)
I personally see a rise in the attention for the architect nib. But with the grind being more complicated and the angle being fairly specific for the person do you ever see a version of the nib available from manufacturers for regular retail like other nibs?
- I would love to see that, I really would, but I highly doubt that’ll be the case
- for one, it’s time consuming to do this grind, so it’d have to be charged at a premium, which you really only see on a few pens (fancy grinds at a premium)
- it’s finicky, I mean not really, but it has to be held at a more specific angle than a stub, which someone has to kind of know what they’re getting into (though flex nibs are the same boat…)
- largely though I think it’s that the nib actually isn’t popular enough to warrant mass production, as popular as it seems it’s dwarfed completely by conventional nib sizes
- if you think about what it takes for a manufacturer shipping globally to produce, educate, supply, distribute a specialty nib, it requires a LOT of effort and customer demand
- as popular as flex nibs seem and how they are still hard to come by from most companies, and going back 10 years now, there’s not even the interest in architects now than there was in flex nibs 10 years ago so I doubt it’ll be mainstream probably ever
- that said, I’m seeing more nibmeisters doing them than ever before, so I think there is room for a custom nib option, and I could see working with some who do them to offer them in a limited capacity, at least that’s what I’m hoping, we’ll see!
- In the meantime, you’ll need to send your pens to a nibmeister to get an architect grind
5) Shrish J.- YouTube (45:01)
Hi Brian! I was wondering if there’s anything I can do to make a nib less smooth. I have a pen that’s just too slippery on the page. Thanks for your help and keep up the good work!
- yeah, absolutely, and it’s relatively simple depending on just how “less smooth” you’re trying to get
- essentially, you just rough it up (evenly) over whatever grit of rough abrasive that suits your desire
- doing this will void your warranty, for sure
- it’s possible to mishapen your nib, cause it to feel scratchy, and do some damage that might need a professional to repair
- most people find 12,000 grit micromesh (like what we offer) to be a desirable smoothness, you can go rougher, though we don’t carry anything rougher
- the next “step down’ from there brings you into “nail file” territory, if you’ve seen any of those multi-grit abrasive nail files, go with the smoothest version of that and see how you like it
- make sure you’re not sanding just in one spot, keep the nib rotating as you go over it, and don’t press hard
- stop and test it regularly, go just a couple seconds at a time
- that’s essentially the process, but of course there are nuances for sure…this is basic principle though for a conventional, rounded, tipped nib
- do at your own risk!
6) Javier D- Facebook (52:17)
What will be a good first time vintage pen?
- I’m not a “vintage guy”, I’ll be the first to admit
- there is likely a large debate in the vintage community, and I would not go toe to toe with anyone there on this
- this is purely from my perspective!
- Esterbrooks have a great fan following, they are plentiful, and they have a lot of interchangeable nib options
- they were economical at the time, and they’re still fairly affordable though in recent years there has been a lot more interest in them so they’re not as much of a bargain
- for me though the most iconic first time vintage pen would be the Parker 51
- hooded nib, simple design, reliable writer even today
- it was the most popular pen of its time so there are tons of them around
- you can restore them, you can find parts for them and good information on them for the most part
- it’s just a nice pen to use
7) Sangeeta D- Facebook (55:47)
Is it true that given the precision of technology and science today, that one can make inks of any and all colors that exist?
- I would think so, and perhaps technology exists to make this possible, though the economics and feasibility of doing so likely isn’t there
- I doubt it’s a matter of technology existing, it’s a matter of practicality
- fountain pen ink isn’t something there’s a lot of research and development in from large companies with access to the latest technology
- the innovation in the pen world comes from boutique artisans and chemists who are experimenters, and won’t be able to take advantage of bleeding edge technology
- all that said, we’ve seen more of a color explosion in the ink world in the last 10-15 years than ever in the fountain pen world, so honestly, if there’s one technology that’s pushed the ink availability, it’s been digital media and communication, sharing knowledge, spreading interest, and allowing risk-taking ink artisans to be able to promote and distribute their ink more economically than ever before in history
- while I don’t know about the future and what the upper limits on ink colors are, I’m certainly appreciating this era we’re in
8) mauricioperez5- Instagram (01:01:19)
Is there an easy way to clean a Pilot Custom 823?
- the “Pilot recommended” way is to just fill and flush lukewarm clean (ideally distilled) water through the pen over and over until it’s clean
- I wouldn’t remove the nib/feed, they recommend against that and it voids warranty but if you want to take your pen’s life into your own hands, it’s friction-fit and you can pull them out
- I TRULY wouldn’t recommend trying to unscrew the grip from the body, that’s not a good idea and definitely voids warranty
- They aren’t crazy about people taking the pen apart at all honestly, so if you want to totally play by the rules, you shouldn’t take it apart
- however, if you’re a renegade, there is an 8mm nut on the back of the filler mechanism just like the TWSBI Vac-700R, and you can unscrew the mechanism out of the back
- once that’s off, you can use a bulb syringe and flush in through the pen body like you would a cartridge/converter pen, and even use a cotton swab to clean out the barrel if it needs it
- if ink gets behind the cap insert, that comes out with a pencil and rubber band, so that’s pretty easy
- my personal recommendation is to use less troublesome inks in this pen and don’t change inks as often
- any vacuum filling pen, it’s main benefit is large volumes of the same ink, this is not a great tool for ink sample testing, for example
- Jinhaos, Lamys, Pilot Kakuno/Explorer/Metro, these are great lower-priced pens for that type of use
- make it easier on yourself and keep easier maintenance inks in your harder to clean pens like this one…but above all do what makes you happy 😉
QOTW: what’s your breakdown of vintage vs. modern (within the last 10 years?) pens in your possession? (01:09:02)
A visual look back at all of the TWSBI Mini and Mini AL fountain pens that have been available in the United States.
Coming August 2019: Mini AL Mint Blue special edition
October 2017: Mini AL Gold special edition
March 2017: Mini AL Blue special edition
September 2016: Mini AL Silver regular edition
August 2014: Mini White w/ Rose Gold special edition
Do you own a TWSBI?
The Goulet Pen Company
The world of fountain pens offers an option for everyone and a style that will suit even the most particular tastes. If your eyes immediately seek out the most glistening, gleaming ones in the bunch, this list is for you! We’ve gathered our picks for sparkling, shimmering pens you need and compiled them in the list below for your viewing pleasure. While this isn’t an exhaustive list, it’s a great place to start if you’re looking for an affordable, showstopping pen that is worthy of your pen case. Prepare to be dazzled!
This affordable beauty is a popular pick for any fountain pen fan. The black lacquered metal body of this pen holds a bounty of sparkles. No matter how you turn it, this pen will shine. This sparkle is well accented by the crisp chrome accents. Best of all, this stunner is available for under $10!
If you find yourself in a time where a fountain pen isn’t the best bet, this Retro 51 rollerball is a perfect choice. There are genuine seashells embedded in the body of this gorgeous pen, which is beautifully accented by rose gold trim. Say “shell”-o to your new favorite take-anywhere pizzazz pen!
If sparkle is what you want, BENU is what you need. BENU pens are hands down the sparkliest brand we carry at Goulet Pens, and the Briolettes lead the pack. The resins used in these models are jam-packed with glitter. There is a rainbow of colors available as well, so you’re sure to find the combo that fulfills your shimmering desires.
Jinhao makes our list a second time with a more subdued, but still sparkly option, perfect for the office. The 8802 shell pen offers the look of an expensive pen, without the cost. The black lacquered body is inlaid with panes of shining shell pieces, in a dazzling array of colors. This pen will delight your eyes and your wallet too because it’s less than $20!
If you love the look of the Maki-e pens but they’re not within your budget right now, this line of pens offers a great alternative. The Platinum Kanazawa Leaf pens feature traditional motifs, meticulously laid out in gold leaf designs. The shimmering material shines every time you pick up the pen. Like the Cherry Blossom model shown here, the designs are delightful and timeless.
There are many other great options for dazzling pens in the pen world, we simply couldn’t get them all in one list. What sparkling or shimmering pens top your list? Share your picks in the comments!
The Goulet Pen Company Team
Our latest Goulet-exclusive is a true beauty. The Diplomat Aero Turquoise is a vibrant new color that we’ve added to the Aero collection and it features a turquoise barrel and cap complemented by matte gunmetal trim.
It features a smooth writing steel #6 JoWo nib that’s offered in a range of nib sizes, as well as offered in two-tone 14kt gold options too.
Do you have an Aero in your collection? What do you think?
The Goulet Pen Company
A visual look back at all of the special edition TWSBI 580 (and AL and ALR!) fountain pens that have been available in the United States.
May 2019: Purple ALR
Jan 2019: Emerald AL
Nov 2017: Rose Red AL
May 2017: Turquoise AL
Oct 2016: Pink AL
June 2016: Lava AL
Feb 2016: Green AL
Oct 2015: Blue AL
April 2015: Purple AL
Dec 2014: Orange AL
Nov 2014: Red and Green
Oct 2014: USA
Aug 2014: Black w/ Rose Gold
Do you own any of these special editions?
The Goulet Pen Company
In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about pen collecting, if fountain pens have peaked, and the 2019 DC Pen Show. Enjoy!
- DC Pen show, 11th time running
- shipping software changes
- Platinum 3776 Rokka
- don’t have many of them, won’t expect them to be around long
- higher priced than previous Platinum LE’s, but wow are they crisp looking!
- Edison Pearlettes, new colors
- Conklin Duragraph Blue Nights, Goulet exclusive with free ink
- Conklin Duraflex Freedom, new color with OmniFlex nib that they’ve been improving
- Pineider Avatar Demos, shot Write Now on them last week
- Montegrappa Ammiraglio Malachite, new color with Sailor nibs
- Visconti Watermark Rainbow Iridescent and Blue Moon
- similar to Watermark from 3 years ago, but with different finish!
- Visconti Voyager 30
- Brown/Gold, Red/Silver
- ebonite, very nice stuff
- matching traveling inkwells
- 18kt gold nibs, new
- double-reservoir power filler
- Lamy notebooks hardcover (Al-Star) and softcover (Safari)
- 192 pages, 90g paper
- interesting grid, 4mm with bolder 8mm
- pen loop, back pocket, two bookmark ribbons
1) Joe B- Facebook (16:16)
This may seem strange, but here goes – Question: What Constitutes a “Collection?” 1 Pen, 10 pens, 100 Pens? 1 ink, 10 inks, 100 inks? Are there any pens that you would consider as “must-have” or the collection is incomplete? Am I over thinking this? LOL
- really good question actually, and it could be answered a lot of different ways
- “a group of interesting or beautiful objects brought together in order to show or study them or as a hobby”- Merriam-Webster
- WikiPedia has some interesting stuff on collecting, especially around the psychology, I’ll share and comment on that here
- Coming off the DC show I can see a lot of this play out
- “The hobby of collecting often goes hand-in-hand with an interest in the objects collected and what they represent. For this reason, collecting can have educational benefits, and some collectors even become experts in their field.”- I would probably fall into this category, if I may be so bold
- “Maintaining a collection can be a relaxing activity that counteracts the stress of life, while providing a purposeful pursuit which prevents boredom. The hobby can lead to social connections between people with similar interests and the development of new friendships. It has also been shown to be particularly common among academics.”- I see this play out a lot especially with fountain pen people, who engage in a lot of very mental activity in their jobs (IT, academics, science, medicine, research, etc) and continue in this mental activity in the pen hobby
- “Collecting for most people is a choice, but for some it can be a compulsion, sharing characteristics with obsessive hoarding.” – it talks about OCD here, I can’t comment on that really but it’s very possible there could be a compulsive aspect to pen collecting
- “It has been speculated that the widespread appeal of collecting is connected to the hunting and gathering that was once necessary for human survival. Collecting is also associated with memory by association and the need for the human brain to catalogue and organize information and give meaning to ones actions.”- interesting speculation, that in an age where we aren’t really hunting or gathering, we could be playing out this instinct in our hobbies?
- okay, backing away from the psychology of it a bit, I would say basically that if you’re buying pens intentionally beyond simply meeting a utilitarian need, even one pen could be considered a collection, it’s about the intent
- I could also make a strong argument that it’s a group, so at least two things, and they should be similar (brand, color, feature, etc with intentionality)
- I could argue that fountain pens in an of themselves are unique and similar enough to be considered a collection by their own nature (in modern culture)
- “must haves” becomes unbelievably subjective, and based on the nature of the collection (or even sub-collection)
- I think to have “must haves” you have to go a little deeper, like pens by country, filling mechanism, brand, model, etc
- Really, I think fountain pens themselves are too broad of a category to have must-haves that everyone could agree on, but if we went narrower I could definitely come up with some
- this would actually be great for content-creation: x# must have fountain pens for newbies, lefties, veteran pen users, artists, etc…I’ll think on this more!
- I personally consider myself more an acquirer than a collector, since my methodology is much more scattered and based on personal preference and not a systematic approach
- it’ll be different for everyone, do what makes you happy!
2) Carmen C- Facebook (31:13)
Do you prefer form or function when selecting a fountain pen? Or what balance between form and function do you prefer, or is it different with each pen?
- for me personally, it’s completely different for each pen
- I’m generally speaking a function over form person, the pen has to hit some basic functional use for me if I’m going to write with it
- there are plenty of pens that I’ll get more for art, design, color, to support the artisans who make them
- this is coming from a guy who largely wears cargo shorts and carries a backpack (with many pockets) because I want to be able to hold all the stuff I might need and don’t really care what people think about how I look
- if my pens make me happy and meet my needs, I’ll go for them
3) Christine K- Facebook (34:17)
Have you ever looked at an ink color and thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if I could paint my car with that?”
- oh 1000%! I mostly see the world in terms of fountain pen ink colors
- ink with sheen, totally, like Robert Oster Blue Water Ice or Organics Studio Nitrogen (with that red sheen, woo!)
- Jacques Herbin Emerald of Chivor, yes!
- those would all be really flashy and cool
- I don’t know how they’d actually look on a car, that’s kind of a different medium, but whatever, it’d probably look awesome 🙂
4) rubendhaenens- Instagram (38:53)
What is a good blue-black that’s waterproof and COMES IN CARTRIDGES? (No syringe refill)
- Your options are….limited
- Platinum Blue Black (this is basically your only option, and will only fit Platinum pens)
- Platinum Pigmented Blue, not quite Blue Black but waterproof
- Namiki Blue, pretty much same as Platinum, it’s more royal blue and proprietary to Pilot/Namiki pens
- That’s all we carry
- I think Montblanc Midnight Blue is waterproof…?
- This is all I know though, someone share if there’s others
- I don’t know if it’s the nature of cartridges or the companies that make them why the options are so limited, but basically, bottles will be the way to go if you really want options
5) Vincent A- Facebook (41:13)
Do you think fountain pens are now reaching saturation or going to keep expanding into the future?
- fountain pens peaked in the 50’s probably, and it’s a fraction now of what it was then, so it’s all relative
- as far as I know they’re growing
- there’s longer and longer lead times on nib production times, so that tells me the demand is still growing
- fountain pen shows across the US seem to be growing and getting more exciting
- our company is still growing, and we’re gaining new customers every day
- I think some brands are shrinking, some are stale, and others are thriving, but as a whole, they’re still on the rise
6) John G- Facebook (44:31)
Did you see anything at the DC pen show that made you think, “We should carry this” ?
- the DC show for me serves a few different purposes these days
- family time, Rachel’s parents live in the area and we get to see them (and our kids get good grandparent time)
- customer face-to-face interaction, we get to see people who support us
- influencer time, meeting up with other people who product content online around pens, shooting/promoting things together, meeting IRL
- vendor time, building stronger relations with the people in the industry we already do business with
- prospecting, seeing new creations or brands that I haven’t seen before, building relations with new creators/artisans in the pen world
- products, the pens, ink, paper, and accessories themselves
- for me, it’s always people first since everyone travels to be there and it’s magical to be face-to-face instead of just online
- learning about new products is almost sort of last on my list at shows, and if anything it’s just to buy something and bring it home to get to know it better, get samples, see prototypes and give feedback, etc
- that said, there are some things I saw there that were of interest, for sure
- Galen leather, nice people, great products, very cool backstory
- Girologio Grab N Go
- Additive Pens, still in startup phase but we’re talking still
- Saw samples of some things from our existing brands that are still secret but we’ll definitely carry
- Monteverde DC Supershow Teal, definitely
- David Oscarson, we’ve been talking but talked intentionally
- Considering Laban, would love feedback on them
- there are certainly more I’m thinking about, but these were some of the ones that jumped out at me the most
7) Elizabeth D- Facebook (57:03)
What are the biggest changes/trends you’ve noticed comparing your first DC pen show to the most recent?
- my first DC show was in 2009, 10 years ago (this was my 11th DC show)
- I’m in a WAY different place now than I was then, and I know a whole lot more of what’s going on than I did then
- the single most thing I notice is the youth and energy of the show, there are a lot more young people there than there used to be
- there’s no age, demographic, traffic, or sales data from the show, but my observation is there’s more vitality there now than there was a while ago
- there are also more innovators and prospective brands there, creators, people up and coming in the industry
- DC is still a very vintage-heavy show, but it’s not just that anymore, there’s a lot of newer stuff there
QOTW: Would you consider yourself a fountain pen “collector”? And do you have other things in your life you collect? (01:03:29)