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Goulet Q&A Episode 270: Pen Materials, Inks for the Colorblind, and Enthusiast Gifts

In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about interesting pen materials, inks for colorblind people, and what to gift an experienced pen enthusiast. Enjoy!

This week:

Pens/Writing

1) @_BatMN_- Twitter (05:28)

What are some new and interesting materials you would like to see pen bodies made out of? I’d like to see a canvas micarta or maybe a sandcast pen.

  • I still think there’s a lot that can be done with cast resins, there’s so much to explore there with various pigments, ribbons, etc
  • canvas would be interesting, maybe denim?
  • I’d love to see some modern celluloid (cellulose nitrate) alternative, I guess resin is that
  • stone is cool as heck, granite would me amazing (all heavy and expensive, but I’m just dreaming here)
  • ceramic or porcelain, I have one Lamy Lady made of that, and I like it though it has drawbacks as a material
  • lots of cool things I’ve seen done with carbon fiber, like Pineider’s Forged Carbon Fiber
  • Mammoth tusk is pretty crazy
  • Aerogel would be cool….I have no idea how feasible in a pen, but google it, it’s sweet
  • 3D printed diamond (why not)
  • G10, popular in knives
  • damascus steel
  • surely there’s other cool stuff out there

2) Alan D- Facebook (14:15)

Fountain pens are a bother. Cleaning, tuning, nib decisions, misbehaving inks, burps, leaks, stained desks, stained fingers, expensive, etc. Yet we love them. Why do we love them anyway? Is there something psychological going on?

  • Undoubtedly there’s something psychological going on
  • Fountain pens aren’t the mainstream anymore for just these reasons, most people don’t care enough about their writing experience in order to put up with all the fuss
  • Those of us who really appreciate that experience are willing to spend the extra time and money to get it, and as it turns out, the more you invest into the hobby the more rewarding it is!
  • I could make a similar argument for many hobbies, there are often so many easier ways to generally accomplish the things you can do
  • I was into car audio when I was younger, and would go to rather extreme measures for sound quality and volume in my car, taking the whole thing apart, replacing speakers, amps, even reinforcing door panels to insulate the sound better
  • For most people, they just want music, and if they can hear it, that’s fine, but a select few will go through a lot of trouble to improve their sound, it’s similar with pens
  • How many people get really into cooking, getting knives or pans that are more maintenance but that brings them more cooking pleasure?
  • I don’t think it’s any type of disorder underlying it here, I think it’s just that we all have our weird things we’re into, and for some of us, that’s pens!
  • These things you mentioned are all a labor of love, and are just part of the fountain pen experience that is a right of passage for us all

3) sanctuary_agg_eldin- Instagram (21:17)

Is the Noodler’s Triple Tail pen only available in clear? Can the nib fit in other Noodler’s pens?

  • Drew and I talked about this in Write Now
  • Yes, for now it’s only in clear
  • I am rather willing to bet we’ll see more colors (resins, maybe ebonite) if the pen is popular, if the other Noodler’s pens are any indicator!
  • The nib can fit in a Neponset, Ahab, and Konrad, but the shape of the feed is a little different
  • I’ve tested for general fit, but not thoroughly ink tested it for flow, etc

4) pieceofcraft_leather- Instagram (26:12)

Which pens would established hobbyists not likely have? (Gifting to fellow hobbyists is hard!)

  • this TOTALLY depends on what someone’s already into, there isn’t a universal answer
  • Niche hobbies like this are notoriously hard to buy as gifts for someone who’s really into it, because the choices are SO personal and they likely have a lot of what they’ve already found an interest in
  • I’m this way with all my interests…fountain pens (of course), puzzles, woodworking/tools, photography gear/technology, Lego Technic…I’m impossible to buy for without my being very explicit
  • ask for a list of 10+ pens they have their eye on, and see what connects with you as the giver…they may not be totally shocked, but they’ll still get a surprise
  • sometimes you can find there’s a fairly staple pen like the Pilot VP, Lamy 2000, TWSBI 580, Conklin Duragraph, Diplomat Magnum, etc that they just don’t have, maybe they skipped it/missed it, or thought they might not like it so didn’t want to buy it for themselves
  • that’s a bit risky, but they’re pretty tried and true, so your odds are good they’d like them
  • buy a duplicate pen you know they love in another color, or another nib size (or both)
  • custom pens like you’d get commissioned from Edison, Herbert, Carolina, etc maybe (but they could take a while, so plan way ahead!)
  • something vintage perhaps? Parker 51, Esterbrook J, Waterman 52, Sheaffer Snorkel, could but fun to add to their collection
  • You didn’t ask about these, but peripherals make great gifts too, like pen cases, sealing wax, ink, paper, blotter, pen books
  • ask them to share their wishlist!
  • fallback…giftcard!

Ink

5) Vee F- Facebook (38:21)

What are the main ink qualities? Are there objective/quantifiable ones, or are they all subjective? I find that I like thick, saturated, wet inks. Or is that even a possible combination? Can ink properties be independent of the pen one uses them in? 🤔 My recent musings fueled by my unorthodox preferences. 😅

  • like all things fountain pen, ink qualities are a blend of objective and subjective!
  • there are certainly objective things about ink like pH-level, viscosity, dye content, permanences, dry time
  • the more subjective aspects, saturation, shading, flow, feel, etc
  • the challenge is, there are too many factors for these things all to feel consistent, such as the pen being used, writer’s speed and angle, paper type, relative humidity, etc
  • even if we objectively were to rate them or test them in a controlled way, they wouldn’t perform similarly with all the “real life” ways that people use them, so it’s largely unquantifiable and has been since the creation of pen ink
  • Some people find a specific pen and ink to pair perfectly, and they don’t prefer to use that specific pen or ink apart from the other
  • I think part of what makes this hobby so intriguing is the endless combinations and discovery you get to have with it

6) @RPoetic- Twitter (44:09)

Inks for colorblind people! What would you suggest for someone who can’t see 90% of reds and greens, or for one of the other kinds of color-deficiency?

  • this is honestly difficult for me to answer! I think colorblindness is so personal, it’s hard to really get a recommendation because of the different types and severity
  • apparently 8% of men and 0.5% of women have some form of colorblindness
  • there’s red-green, blue-yellow, or total
  • my recommendation, as it would be for anyone, is use whatever makes you happy! whatever looks good to your eyes, go for it
  • I recommend you use what ink excites you whatever the color
  • that said, I’d probably avoid reds and greens in the scenario you proposed, and stick with blues/yellows that might jump out more
  • I’m a bit ignorant on this topic but it’s come up before, and I’d love to know more. If you have any experience as a fountain pen user with colorblindness, do please share!

Business

7) Miguel R- Facebook (49:27)

Which company do you wish you would see more from? In your opinion which company isn’t using the momentum they build to their advantage?

  • I pretty much wish I could see more from everyone 🙂
  • I’d love to see more from Pilot, Namiki, or even just seeing more into the US that they have in Japan (more raden please)
  • I don’t know if anyone has underutilized momentum in my view, I have such a pragmatic view on what it takes to manufacture now having toured 8 factories
  • Actually, I think some of the brands we actually don’t even carry anymore like Waterman, Parker, Sheaffer, and Cross all have established names with some relevance left that just aren’t lighting up the pen world (at least in the US)
  • Esterbrook is an iconic brand and I’ll look forward to seeing more from them
  • honestly, probably the biggest one is Goulet! we have so many ideas and aspire to create our own products, but it’s not what we do everyday and so it takes away from our core so we only do it in our slower times
  • Of all the companies with momentum, I hold myself most accountable!

QOTW: If you could have a pen made out of any material, what would it be? (59:21)

Write on,
Brian Goulet

October 18th, 2019|Goulet Q&A|0 Comments

Introducing the Pineider La Grande Bellezza Forged Carbon!

New from Pineider, the La Grande Bellezza Forged Carbon is the latest unique design from Dante Del Vecchio. Traditional carbon fiber is fabric of thin fibers held together by a resin. It is lightweight and resistant but quite difficult to mold into a fountain pen body. Forged carbon forgoes weaving, making this pen truly unique. It’s formed in a heated press at high pressure, making the material reliably strong in every direction.

The forged carbon was designed in collaboration with Carbon Dream, a material manufacturer that has worked luxury and technology leaders like Ferrari, Formula 1, Bugatti, and many more. Ten engineers and technicians working with Carbon Dream have helped produce the mold and technology needed to create the forged carbon material.

The Pineider La Grande Bellezza Forged Carbon is a limited-edition fountain pen, limited to 888 pieces worldwide. It is joined by two other models that use the Mystery Filler filling mechanism: Black/Rose Gold and Demonstrator. The Mystery Filler features a proprietary mechanism exclusive to Pineider that allows the user to hide the activation button needed to utilize the piston filler.

Also featuring the flexible Quill nib, twist magnetic lock, and Goose Quill clip, the Forged Carbon is a marvel of design made entirely in Florence, Italy. MSRP for this fountain pen is $998. Which one is your favorite? Leave a comment below!

Write On,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

October 17th, 2019|Pen News|0 Comments

Noodler’s Manjiro Nakahama Whaleman’s Sepia: A Goulet Inksploration

Hi, guys! Andi here, bringing you the October edition of Inksploration. This month, I got to test out Noodler’s Manjiro Nakahama Whaleman’s Sepia. I found it to be a nice, earthy brown with some great sought-after features, like fast dry time and water resistance. Want to hear more? Read on!

Drawing Inspiration and Technique

While searching for inspiration for my drawing, I was looking up things about October and came across this month’s flower; Marigold, Tagetes, and Calendula. I really liked how the Calendula looked so I took inspiration from that.

I wanted it to flow so by adding multiple sizes of them and come leaves I think I was able to pull off a nice fall vibe. I felt this piece should look more like a sketched piece than a really polished image, something you might see if you were just sitting outside enjoying the crisp fall air and doodling in your notebook.

First, I started by drawing the center of the flower as just a circle. Then drawing connecting ovals to create the petals and filling them in even more to make the flower appear fuller. I just repeated this step until I got all my flowers. I wanted to fill the space a little more so I also added some vines with leaves attached as well.

To color in the flowers and leaves, I filled a brush pen with water then dipped the tip into an ink sample. I brushed off the excess ink (the first dip makes the ink a really dark brown) till it got to a light brown and did mostly outward strokes from the center of the flower to make the petals. I continued this throughout the whole piece even on the leaves of the drawing.

I really like earth tone inks so I like this ink. I wish it had some shading to it but I was able to get that a little with the brush pen and water.

Ink Review

  • Flow- Medium
    • A mix of wet and dry
    • wasn’t so wet that I was waiting around for it to finish drying.
    • I would pick this up if I was a student and wanted to take lecture notes.
  • Dry Time- <20 secs.
    • The dry time was a little over 10 seconds, but not as long as 20.
    • Very quick.
  • Water Resistance- High
    • A little disruption in the lines where pigment bleeds blue making the lines more of an orange color
    • If you were writing something and you spilled water, you would be able to recover what you have.
  • Shading- Low
    • No real shading
    • You’d have to fake it using different nib sizes or a brush pen
  • How did the ink behave on other papers?
    • Definitely some ghosting on all the paper types
    • Some feathering on Leuchtturm1917 paper, use a fine nib on this paper
    • I highly recommend using the Tomoe River paper with this ink. This ink is a beautiful deep rich brown and it really shows that on the Tomoe paper. On all the other paper types, it gets a little muddy and more of a muted deep brown/black color.
  • Special Features Worth Noting?
    • The 4.5oz bottle with an eyedropper is great. It also comes with a free Charlie Pen.
    • Noodler’s inks always have fascinating backstories. Click here to read this ink’s story on the product page.

Quote

GIVEAWAY October 16-23

  • Entries must be posted by October 23, 2019 by 10am ET
  • Answer the following question: What is your favorite flower?
  • One entry per person please
  • Winner will receive a bottle of Noodler’s Manjiro Nakahama Whaleman’s Sepia and a TWSBI ECO in their choice of nib size

I hope you enjoyed this overview of Noodler’s Manjiro Nakahama Whaleman’s Sepia. Hopefully, you’ll give it a try!

Write On,

Andi

October 16th, 2019|Inksploration|0 Comments

Goulet Q&A Episode 269: Arco Pens, Stacked Nibs, and Myers-Briggs

In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about Arco pens, stacked nibs, and Myers-Briggs. Enjoy!

This week:

Pens/Writing

1) @dalstondoll- Twitter (6:54)

What’s an arco pen? I know lots of companies make them- is it a colour, style or material?

  • it’s a type of celluloid, made popular by the company OMAS
  • It wasn’t as revered as it is now, it became sensationalized when the company went under 5 years ago
  • Amando Simoni Club acquired their remaining stock from what I understand, which is why you still see it
  • the material isn’t being made anymore, it’s my understanding that the last remaining celluloid manufacturer stopped making it around 5 years ago due to safety and environmental regulations
  • Pineider made an Arco pen, but it was an acrylic resin material that Dante designed, not the same celluloid
  • There isn’t a strict definition of what “Acro” means, but I think it’s generally a layered dark brown pearlescent material made in a pen

2) Dian T- Facebook (13:27)

Recently I watched some videos on pens (shocking I know) and I came across someone using what looked to be stacked nibs. What is the purpose of stacking nibs? Is it something worth pursuing?

  • This is something that Sailor really led the charge with decades ago, with Mr. Nagahara (and his son) designing many different layered nibs
  • Ralph Reyes has been a young nib guy experimenting with layers lately, very much inspired by Sailor’s nibs
  • The main purpose of stacking is two fold, it allows for a larger tipping area for dramatic tip shapes that write very wet/wide, changes thickness based on writing angle, etc
  • You can get close to this with just a huge glob of tipping, but basically, those nibs aren’t available unless it’s tipped from the factory like that (and most pen companies aren’t tipping their own nibs)
  • There’s a whole other level of aesthetic artistry to layering nibs, which has its own appeal that isn’t entirely functional, but more form
  • Is it worth pursuing? that’s very much up for debate…you’ll pay a premium because it requires so much skill and time to make and very very few are doing it
  • It’s more of a novelty, really, and something you should only consider if you’re wanting to essentially buy functional art, and support a nib craftsman

3) osmancandatr- Instagram (18:19)

Why are the EF nib fountain pens more expensive than the same m nib fountain pens?

  • This often isn’t the case, but it is sometimes, especially on lower priced pens
  • the lower the price of the pen, the harder it is to absorb cost variances across different products (like tip sizes)
  • Some is probably supply and demand, there’s been an increase in EF demand in the last few years (mostly in China, I believe)
  • EF nibs are a little more challenging to write well, it’s less forgiving so requires a little more attention and hand work, likely has a higher defect rate in manufacturing
  • that’s basically it…slightly higher demand, harder to meet supply, hence, higher price (sometimes)

4) @lorentzframe- Twitter (21:20)

I tend to daub a tiny bit of silicone grease on all threads in all pens. Is that a bad idea? Are there materials that react badly to silicone grease? What about vaseline / petroleum jelly? Is that a safe alternative to silicone grease? In all cases? In some cases? In no cases?

  • if it’s pure silicone grease it’s pretty inert, which is why it’s so great for fountain pens (rubber, plastic, metal)
  • Petroleum jelly is generally not advised…it can be used for a time with seemingly little ill effect, but it is a petroleum byproduct, so will not play well with rubber like on o-rings and piston seals (can turn them gummy), ebonite (hard rubber), some plastics and maybe other materials (like celluloid)
  • it also will liquify with heat, so carrying a pen around in your pocket could warm it up and cause it to leak out of threads…it can make for a lubricant, but not so much a sealant
  • bottom line is yes, it can work in a pinch, but it’s not the best tool for the job, silicone grease is really the way to go

Business

5) bradthebear1- Instagram (28:18)

How does Goulet handle its own QC when it comes to stuff like their JoWo Goulet nibs?

  • it’s on a case-by-case basis, our QC methods vary based on what the product is
  • nibs are a lot different than pen flush or ink samples or brass sheets!
  • nibs we’re very fortunate, as JoWo does a fantastic job with them
  • we initially checked EVERY nib when it came in, which took a massive amount of time and we basically lost money with all the labor it took to check them, but we wanted to be certain they were good quality
  • we would use loupes to visually inspect, thread tines with brass sheet, and put nib to paper for feel, smoothing as required
  • as time went on we lightened up on this approach, mostly because we saw very adequate quality from JoWo and found the checking we were doing to be redundant
  • now we’re on more of a spot-checking basis for tine slit and tip smoothness, with visual inspection on each nib as we’re packaging them
  • So for something like JoWo-made nibs where we know the manufacturer has a really high quality control rate, we are spot-checking at this point
  • For our own made goods, we’re much more diligent, basically testing and inspecting every single item

6) Ashley W.- Facebook (32:40)

Every time I figure out what ink I want, it’s out of stock on your site. Is there a best time of the week or month to shop on gouletpens.com for maximum availability of products for those of us who struggle with picking a color?

  • Every time? Dang, I’m sorry, that’s just bad timing
  • With around 700 or so ink colors across 19 different brands, we have ink coming and going constantly, daily
  • there really isn’t a “best” time, unless you have signed up for an email notification on a particular color and you get that email that it’s back in stock, then it’s the faster the better!
  • that said, we’re closed on the weekends, so generally speaking we have more in stock during the week when we’re receiving shipments
  • we try to keep accurate stock levels, but it’s always a moving target, and some brands we can only get stocked every few months (like De Atramentis)
  • lots of times we order things, it gets delayed, we’re shorted, it could break in transit, all kinds of things can cause issues!

7) kittykatkatelovesespresso- Instagram (39:03)

Hi Everyone at Goulet! I am a small business owner (a specialty coffee roastery) and I find that my Meyers Briggs personality type has a LOT to do with how I interact with my employees and solve conflicts (I am an INFP, a mediator who listens to everyone!). I just saw the 8 month old video where Brian asks everyone what pen and ink they are using and it made me wonder.. Brian and Rachel: what are your Meyers Briggs personality types and how do they affect your leadership style?

  • great question, MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) was huge years ago in business, now I think it’s still relevant but maybe a little less in vogue
  • one site that’s really good for it is 16personalities.com (no affiliation), the test is free and they have plain-speak summaries of each personality type
  • personally I have a hard time remembering 16 different combinations with nearly 40 people in our company, so it’s not something that’s as useful on the fly for us
  • We’ve also done DISC, StrengthsFinder, and Languages of Appreciation, so we’re big on trying to understand individuals here
  • We have done specific MBTI training with our leaders, and that’s been helpful
  • I’m an ENTP (“The Debater”), so I will often challenge and question as a means of exploring options or bringing out the best ideas in others…generally improvisational, big picture-oriented, risk-tolerant, procrastinates and disorganized but energetic, fun, and self-improvement oriented
  • Rachel is an ISTJ (“The Logistician”), she’s the one who manages details and keeps the wheels on the bus (in my life, especially!)…detailed, organized, structured, honest, productive, and fact-driven
  • Rachel and I end up making up a pretty dynamic team, especially because we both cover each other’s weaknesses really well
  • As the business has grown we’ve specifically sought to hire and raise up others on our team that either emulate or complement our strengths, and this kind of stuff is something we often think about
  • I wouldn’t tout MBTI as the sole system to use in your company, but it’s absolutely beneficial to use on small teams where you’re really spending time together, as part of a portfolio of other personality/communication-oriented assessments

QOTW: What’s your Myers-Briggs? What has it done for you to know it? (47:58)

Write On,
Brian Goulet

October 11th, 2019|Goulet Q&A|0 Comments

Bargain Hunting: Pen, Ink, and Paper for Under $30

Hate refilling your pen? Get all you need to keep writing with this combo! This latest Bargain Hunting episode offers one set with great recommendations for a pen, ink, and paper to use, all for under $30:

Pen: Platinum Preppy EF – $5 [Accessories: Silicone Grease ($3) + O-Rings ($2)]

The Platinum Preppy is probably the finest nib available for the price at $5. Featuring a Japanese Extra-Fine nib, this pen will lay down less ink than most pens requiring even less refills. In addition to that, you can eyedropper convert it to expand the ink capacity to over 4ml of ink! Just need a little silicone grease and o-ring. Check out our Fountain Pen 101: Eyedropper video for more information!

Ink: Noodler’s 3oz Bottles – $12.50

Price per milliliter might mean nothing to you, but trust me, Noodler’s rocks it. 3oz of ink for under $13 is a great deal for the price conscious and features some of the most popular inks around like Apache Sunset, Noodler’s Black, or the Goulet-exclusive Liberty’s Elysium.

Paper: Rhodia No. 16 Dot Grid – $5.75

Round out the group with a notebook that’s perfect for quick notes. The Rhodia No. 16 notepad with dot grid paper is one of our favorite paper options. Each notepad features amazingly smooth 80 gsm paper and the dot grid ruling provides an alternative to traditional lines which is a favorite for graphic designers and artists.

Total: $28.25

What do you think? Can you build a better combination for under $30? We’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments below!

Write On,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

October 8th, 2019|Shopping Guides|0 Comments

Will It Write? Coffee, Tea, and Red Wine

When disaster strikes and you find yourself out of ink entirely, what can you do? In “Will It Write?”, we’re here to answer that question and see what else you could use to start writing! Drew (Customer Care Team Manager) and Micah (Receiving Specialist) will be your guides as we navigate the waters of potential fountain pen ink alternatives.

In our first episode, we’re exploring some of the more common liquids we’ve been asked about as potential inks: Tea, Coffee, and Red Wine. Both coffee and red wine bring a real rich tone that could work as a fountain pen color. There’s already inks named after both of these! Tea might be a bit trickier with its lighter look. Watch the video above to see how they held up!

What did you think of this new video series? Do you have any recommendations on what we should try writing with? Leave them in the comments below!

Write On,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

October 4th, 2019|Will It Write|0 Comments