Goulet Q&A Episode 277: Aluminum Nibs, Blindfolded Pen Testing, and Parting Ways with Brands

In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about aluminum nibs, blindfolded pen tests, and how we part ways with brands. Enjoy!

This week:



1) nitnelav1994- Instagram (22:25)

When people talk about “tuning” a fountain pen, what does that mean?

  • This refers to the nib, and means a couple of different things
  • One purpose of “tuning” is to allow the nib to write smoothly, it has to do with the feel on the page as you write
  • the other has to do with ink flow, consistency and wetness
  • reshaping the nib is generally referred more as “grinding”, which falls into repair or customization, generally a step beyond “tuning”
  • tuning is a term the community uses in a couple of different ways, either referring to getting a nib to work well when it doesn’t, or just adjusting it to meet a personal preference, such as writing smoother or wetter
  • this is something that at the simplest levels can be done by anyone, but more complexity is added the more specific you try to get

2) frijoldelsol- Instagram (25:50)

Why aren’t there any aluminum nibs? There seems to be a large number of aluminum alloys but no aluminum nibs.

  • aluminum has about the same bending strength as gold, significantly less than steel, so that could possibly work
  • aluminum won’t rust but corrodes in particular with salt, which is a component of ink
  • corrosion hugely increased with basic or acidic contact, which many inks are
  • this is the exact reason why you don’t want to eyedropper convert pens with aluminum-lined bodies inside
  • more difficult to weld, so likely would have more issues keeping the bond with the tipping material
  • Vintage pen experts may know of some pen companies that tried aluminum nibs (surely this was something tried in the past) but there’s a reason you don’t see them around, I’m willing to bet

3) angkevinli- Instagram (31:05)

If you were blindfolded, could you tell the difference in writing between a gold and steel nib?

  • that’s a fun question! I don’t know, surely with some pens, but maybe not with others
  • some gold nibs are rather stiff, like Platinum, Lamy 2000, etc
  • some steel nibs are softer, Omniflex, Diplomat Magnum
  • I’m sure I could likely tell the difference far more than your average person, but I’ve never tried this so I honestly don’t know how I’d do!
  • This sounds like a fun idea to try, I’ll think on it some more and maybe test it with Drew in Write Now 🙂


4) @mchapman18- Twitter  (33:01)

Do you feel that the ink market has become over saturated? I feel like there’s been an explosion in manufacturers and special editions since I first started paying attention. This is good for the consumer but are people buying enough ink for retailers and manufactures to profit?

  • It definitely has exploded in the last several years
  • We’ve increased our offering a lot (and dropped a lot, too)
  • existing brands have increased their lines
  • new companies have come on the scene
  • pen companies with existing lines have come out with whole new ones (Lamy Crystal, Pilot Iroshizuku, Pelikan Edelstein)
  • more companies are doing ink with LE/SE pens
  • more special edition inks in general
  • shimmer inks, sheening inks
  • this has been something really over the last 20 years that’s grown so much, really ramping up in the last 5 years
  • it’s great to see, but yes, I would say certainly we’re starting to hit some walls, similar colors cannibalizing each other, entire lines losing marketshare, it’s becoming much more competitive
  • it’s supply and demand, I do think there’s enough room for everyone right now (especially globally), but certain markets will surely do better or worse for some brands

5) akorb1987- Instagram (38:44)

Are Diamine InkVent Calendar inks going to be on sale individually?

  • good question, I don’t know yet
  • certainly if there are colors that really rise to the top, they’d consider it, so keep that feedback flowing!
  • what should we vie for?


6) unjuanequis- Instagram (40:14)

Can paper lose its coating? I have some Fabriano pads that feather a lot, unlike previous pads, same line

  • I’m sure it can somehow, but I don’t really hear of this regularly
  • sometimes hand oils or other environmental factors can obscure the coating impacting how the ink is absorbed
  • more likely, you’re dealing with batch variation from pad to pad, that is much more common
  • I don’t know anything about Fabriano’s production process, or how consistent they are
  • I do know that consistency of paper is most noticeable with fountain pen ink, and is an issue with many notebook brands who aren’t absolutely adamant about the paper’s consistency


7) andrej.rusakov- Instagram (43:54)

How’s it going?!

  • good, I’m really good. Pretty busy, but I like that. Trying to manage my stress, balance a lot of priorities, but I’m just super grateful for everything I have and get to do. Thanks for asking


8) journaltimesimagination- Instagram (44:28)

When you guys stop selling a brand, do you sell it until you run out or do you get rid of it in other ways?

  • it can depend on the circumstance:
    • the manufacturer changes their distribution strategy, stops retail and wants to sell direct, or drops their pen line altogether
    • the manufacturer goes out of business
    • it’s a poor seller for us and there’s not enough customer interest to support the brand in our store, so we drop it
    • it’s an okay seller and there is demand, but the logistics are so challenging we just can’t justify it
  • there are a couple of different ways we could go about it all
  • we are authorized retailers for all our brands, so we always want to be on good graces with our brands, even on the way out
  • most of the time we’ll just sell through what we have until we run out, offering as much support as we can, and not making a big stink about it out of respect for the brand’s impact
  • we’ll offer for the brand to buy back our stock if we have enough to justify those logistics, so we don’t sit on it forever or flood the market with discounted product
  • if they don’t want it back, we’ll try to move it along with a clearance price discount, but then ongoing support/returns aren’t feasible on our end
  • we haven’t tried anything much more creative than that, like selling to another retailer directly or dumping it on a marketplace under a different identity
  • we want to stay on the up and up, try to be graceful on the way out with any brand we are parting ties with
  • this industry is small, and you never know when a brand you’ve part ways with could come back around

QOTW: What are your thoughts on the current state of ink offerings? Is it oversaturated? Where are there gaps in ink offerings? (51:50)

Write On,
Brian Goulet

December 13th, 2019|Goulet Q&A|0 Comments

The Pineider Homage to Arman Collection

Pineider Arman Fountain Pen Set

Pineider is often pushing the limits of design with its fountain pens and their latest fountain pen release is no different! The Homage to Arman collection is inspired by famed Nouveau Realisme painter/sculptor Arman who is known for his use of everyday objects to create his art. The Pineider La Grande Bellezza Homage to Arman fountain pens are designed to invite new forms of expression and innovate the art of writing.

Many of Arman’s works called out society’s movement towards mass production and a loss of craftsmanship. In the spirit of returning to craftsmanship and distinction, the Homage to Arman fountain pens breaks the mold of traditional design. They showcase intentionality in every feature of the pen, cutting away sections to reveal new frontiers of pen technology and providing a singularly enjoyable writing experience.

Three pens are available in this very limited collection. First is the Night & Day, which is made from a lightweight aluminum alloy material, with color-shifting iridescent finish. Each comes with a unique circular wooden stand that holds the pen securely upright when not in use and offers attention-grabbing, yet functional, showcase display.

Pineider Arman Night & Day Pineider Arman Night & Day Pineider Arman Night & Day

The second pen offered is the Trilogy. This eye-catching pen is fashioned from Marine Bronze and features a triple cut design, and comes in a unique stand as well. All of the Arman fountain pens feature Pineider’s 14kt soft gold “Hyperflex” quill nibs.

Pineider Arman Trilogy Pineider Arman Trilogy Pineider Arman Trilogy

A set, called Multiples, is also available, which features the Trilogy, the Night & Day, and a third pen, only available in the set. The Doppler Titanium features multiple cuts with gold trim and a gold nib. This set comes in a beautiful stand that can hold and display all three pens together.

Pineider Arman Fountain Pen Set Pineider Arman Fountain Pen Set Pineider Arman Fountain Pen Set

This collection is a limited edition set and only 100 of the Multiples set has been made worldwide. There are 300 of both the Night & Day and the Trilogy.

What do you think of this new collection from Pineider?

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company

December 11th, 2019|Pen News|0 Comments

5 All-In-One Gift Sets

Packaged in boxes and ready to be wrapped, our gift sets are an easy way to finish your holiday shopping early. Whether you want to give a selection of inks or a reliable pen, these pre-assembled sets will make this year’s shopping a breeze.

Monteverde Bottled Ink Sets

Being able to choose which ink you want to use is one of our favorite parts of using fountain pens. If you’re not sure which color to give someone, why not gift them an entire rainbow of ink colors? Monteverde Bottled Ink Sets include multiple bottles of their wet-flowing ink packaged in an attractive gift box.

Pilot Hand Lettering Sets

For the friend who endlessly talks about loving hand lettering, but never gives it a try, our Pilot Hand Lettering Sets are the perfect gift! Each one comes with multiple pens, ink cartridges, and a guidebook with step-by-step instructions.

Jacques Herbin Ink Mini Set

Jacques Herbin has been making ink for over 300 years, so this brand is a tried and true choice for fountain pen lovers. The Jacques Herbin Ink Miniature Sets make beautiful gifts with their color-coordinated vials that are displayed in vibrant amber-colored gift boxes.

Visconti Van Gogh Gift Set

The Visconti Van Gogh is made from resin that’s carefully mixed to match the color palette of Van Gogh’s paintings. A selection of these gorgeous pens are available as gift sets, each includes a pen and a bottle of matching ink.


One of our favorite pen brands, TWSBI, impressed the fountain pen world this year by releasing a  line of inks. Try all six colors with the TWSBI 1791 Combo Color 6-Pack.

Which gift set would you like to receive this year? Comment below to let us know!

Write On, 
The Goulet Pen Company

December 7th, 2019|Holiday Gift Guides|0 Comments

Goulet Q&A Episode 276: Setting Up A New Fountain Pen and Defining Exactly What Makes Nibs Scratchy

In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about what he does with my fountain pens the most, step 1 when getting a new pen, and how we can objectively state which nibs are smooth or scratchy. Enjoy!

This week:

  • Thanksgiving
  • Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Weekend, etc
  • Write Nows this week with new product roundup on Monday, Goulet Grab Bag on wed, lots of fun
  • Let’s jump right into it!


1) christian.prentice93- Instagram (4:21)

What is the thing you do most with your fountain pens? Do you have a favorite activity involving your pens? (Journaling, Calligraphy, etc.)

  • With most of MY pens? Honestly, I reference them more than anything else
  • I write with them daily, but I’m not writing novels or anything, just meeting notes and stuff like that
  • I do journal, though I’ve fallen hard off that wagon recently
  • My favorite thing is just to pull them out, compare, reference, photograph, talk about them, show them in videos…I really love sharing about the pens and learning about them, that’s probably my favorite activity!

2) mindthebodynl- Instagram (8:57)

I have a Platinum 3776. I have been considering expanding my gold nibbed fountain pen collection by getting a Lamy 2000 or a Pilot VP. But later realized that getting one of these pens would not necessarily widen my collection in terms of writing experience that much perhaps, given that all three of them have relatively stiff gold nibs. What would be some options you’d recommend for a relatively affordable gold nibbed pen that has a more flexible nib than the Platinum 3776 (the Lamy 2000 and the Pilot VP)? #gouletqa

  • solid question, “deep track”
  • firstly, all the pens you mentioned here are rock solid, I’d recommend them any day of the week as they’re some of the best value and workhorse gold nib pens around
  • You can, on some of the 3776’s get soft nibs, and those are going to be a pretty different feel than the non-soft 3776
  • Shoutout to the 3776 Carnelian, dropped in price recently to $192, has a soft-fine nib
  • Lamy 14k two-tone gold nibs (basically everything but the 2000) is soft, wet, and great as an experience, you can get these on some Studio, Scala, CP1, Dialog 3, and individually and put them on any Lamy (but the 2000)
  • Pilot Custom 74, this is where it really stands apart from the VP, it’s got a spring to the nib
  • Pilot E95s, also a nice springy nib with even a little line variation
  • Pilot Falcon, the OG soft nib

3) Kimiko C- Facebook (21:22)

“What is step one when receiving a new pen? Flushing entire nib? With what? (I read there can be residual oils left on them!?) Do I then have to let it dry for 24 hours?”

  • Make sure you got the right stuff in your order
  • Give it a quick visual inspection, make sure there’s nothing damaged, not craziness going on
  • Every manufacturer will recommend cleaning the pen first
  • There are some manufacturing oils/residue/dust/swarf that happen in the making of a pen, and many many of them do clean the pens as they’re being made, but still, it’s a good idea to clean them first
  • Just flushing with water is okay, maybe add a little dish soap, then flush with clear water after to be certain if you wish
  • ink up, be patient as the feed saturates and begins flowing, assist it with a paper towel to wick ink from the nib
  • don’t tap it on the paper, you can “shake the ink down a bit”, but that can get messy
  • No, you definitely don’t need to let it dry for 24 hours, that’s something I really only recommend if you’re going to be storing the pen unused for a while (months)

4) Amy A- Facebook (34:42)

As a person fairly new to the fountain pen world, I find myself extra anxious about the cycle of filling the pen and cleaning it. Any advice on how to get over this anxiety/fear?

  • Watch our FP101 Pen Maintenance and other videos showing tips about how to do it
  • Cleaning them is one of the best ways you get to know them, how they work
  • Anytime you know something better, it demystifies it and you get more comfortable
  • Unless you do something crazy, you’re not going to hurt your pen filling and cleaning it!
  • Then just do it…they’re pens, don’t be afraid of them
  • The more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll get, so you just have to sort of dive in and try it

5) Rung W- Facebook (39:13)

What are the pros and cons of heavy vs light-weighted pen? Why a person might prefer one over another?

  • They’re definitely a personal preference thing, so my pros/cons will not be set in stone, just generalizations
  • Heavier pens are good because:
    • Bigger pens are usually heavier, can be good for people with bigger hands
    • Some people associate weight with quality
    • Often made of durable materials like metal, stone, etc
  • Lighter pens are good because:
    • Less tiring for your hand when writing
    • Weighs down less in your pocket, less likely to fall out of a pen loop


6) Caroline F- Facebook (48:44)

Tell me about options for a red shimmer ink! There are a handful on Goulet and I’d love to know which one you like best.

  • The OG and my favorite is Jacques Herbin 1670 Rouge Hematite, nice red/green/gold color
  • Diamine Red Lustre is up there in popularity too, red with gold shimmer
  • Diamine Wine Divine if you wanted a little more of a burgundy color, again with gold sheen
  • There are others if you go on our site, navigate to ink in the top navigation, then the sheening category, filter by reds on the left side of the page
  • These will be fun for holiday cards if you’re into that, but be aware some cardstock won’t show the shimmer so well, the more absorbent the paper, the less shimmer you see.


7) Curt A- Facebook (52:53)

I keep seeing complaints about “scratchy” nibs. It’s a term that needs some definition (and a discussion of causes) because there cannot be THAT many terrible nibs out there. What some people see as a “terrible, scratchy nib” might just be feedback to others. And of course, there’s the whole issue of writing angle and pressure.

  • yeah, this is tough! It is not a universally understood term
  • scratchy pretty much means “not as smooth as I want it to feel”, and often that can just be sort of normal feedback
  • our fingers are actually quite sensitive, I found the article A Handy Guide to Touch from Elise Hancock from Johns Hopkins Mag:
    • the human hand contains around 100,000 nerves, of 20 different types that serve different functions
    • twelve receive various touch sensations, including pressure, high and low frequency vibrations
  • I came across a multitude of scientific studies I didn’t really comprehend fully that essentially say the same thing, our fingertips are some of the most sensitive things in the animal world
  • so basically, it doesn’t take much for something to “feel” scratchy, especially with high frequency (is a scratching nib high frequency? I think so?)
  • as for exactly what point we can definitively say a nib is “too” scratchy, that’s up for debate, and not scientific, unless we’re talking about it creating some measurable degree of vibration in our hands…and that’s where my brain breaks
  • there is no perfectly smooth surface with a perfectly smooth nib, there is friction happening at some level, and scientifically, we would need to collectively agree at what point that amount of friction is causing enough vibration to cause discomfort
  • writing angle impacts it, the paper being used, writing pressure, writing speed, ink used (lubricant in it), and of course the nerve sensitivity of each individual would be wildly impactful
  • Bottom line, there is a scientific way to measure it, but I’m not qualified to do it! So until then, it will remain somewhat subjective and qualitative…

QOTW: On a scale of 1-10, 1 being really scratchy 10 being really smooth, where would you rate an acceptable level of nib smoothness for yourself? (1:06:38)

Write On,
Brian Goulet

December 6th, 2019|Goulet Q&A|0 Comments

Introducing the Edison Ascent!

A collaboration between Goulet Pens and the Edison Pen Company, the Edison Ascent is inspired by our love of music and the different styles of classical composition. Handmade in Milan, Ohio, this exclusive model is available in three lyrical colors and is similar in size and shape to our Nouveau Premiere model but has rounded-off ends.

The Edison Ascent Aria is a bright combination of red, fuchsia, and a light cotton candy pink. This vibrant pen has silver trim and a polished #6 JoWo steel nib that’s available in EF, F, M, B, and 1.1mm stub.

Edison #6 JoWo Writing Samples

The resin of the Edison Ascent Nocturne reminds us of shadows growing long as the sun dips behind the horizon. Each of the Ascent models is lightweight pens that fill using a converter, or they can be converted to an eyedropper filler with a bit of silicone grease.

The blue and purple resin of the Edison Ascent Sonata makes it a playful choice. This fun ombre pen pushes to post and features a comfortable grip section.

What do you think of the new Edison Ascent? Let us know in the comments below!

Write On,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

December 5th, 2019|Pen News|1 Comment

Jacques Herbin Vert Amazone: A Goulet Inksploration

Hi there! My name is Katie, I am a fulfillment supervisor here at Goulet. I am delighted to share with you my Inksploration journey with Jacques Herbin Vert Amazone, a fun, playful ink that brought me back to my happy place during the busy hustle of the day. Read on to hear why you should get some of this ink for yourself!

Drawing Inspiration and Technique

Jacques Herbin Vert Amazone

Vert Amazone reminds me of a walk through the woods, which is one of my happy places! I also love rich, vibrant inks and this one checked off both of those boxes for me. The color flowed really nicely from the TWSBI ECO in Broad that I was using. For my drawing, I knew that I wanted to draw something inspired by nature because that’s where green inks naturally take me. As far back as I can remember, I’ve always enjoyed doodling flowers: in the margins of my notes at school, with sidewalk chalk, or in a foggy window. Even though poinsettias aren’t exactly flowers, they are a classic symbol for the winter months and the layers of leaves looked very enticing to draw. So that’s what I went with for my drawing.

A drawing made using Jacques Herbin Vert Amazone ink

I started at the center, with the berries, and filled out my poinsettia adding several lush layers of leaves. I am excited to say that was my very first time using a brush pen! I enjoyed using it to fill in the color of the outer leaves, allowing a bit of dry time before adding the finishing details. This Jacques Herbin color helped bring life into my doodle and I was very pleased with the finished product.

Ink Review

Jacques Herbin Vert Amazone

  • Flow- Medium
    • It felt somewhere in the middle for me but leaning slightly more towards dry.
    • The ink flowed easily from my pen but I still experienced some feedback when writing.
  • Dry Time- 30+ Seconds
    •  When I did the smear test, it was still wet at the 30-second mark.
  • Water Resistance- Low
    • After the drip test, there was very little ink left on the areas that got wet.
  • Shading- Low to Medium

    • I noticed some mild shading while I was writing and most notably during the swab test
  • How did the ink behave on other papers?
    • Vert Amazone appeared more vivid and intense on the Tomoe paper
    • It appeared a bit more even-toned on the Leuchtturm paper.
    • I couldn’t detect any sheen on either but I did notice the slightest bit of ghosting.
    • I was pleased with the way it behaved on the range of papers I tried.
  • Special Features Worth Noting?
    • The Jacques Herbin bottles are gorgeous!
    • They have a timeless but modern feel and I love the square shape of them.
    • I could see them making a bold statement in any ink display.

Jacques Herbin Vert Amazone ink on Tomoe River paper

Comparable Inks

Jacques Herbin Vert Amazone compared to similar inks

Our Inksploration giveaway will kick off next week. We’re changing things slightly, and we’ll no longer be running the Inksploration giveaway on our blog, but you can still enter on our various social media channels. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for more details!

What ink are you using this month?

Write On,

December 3rd, 2019|Inksploration|0 Comments