Goulet Q&A Episode 228: TWSBI GO in Ink Samples, Overcoming Pen Intimidation, and Boutique Pen Brands!
In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about filling a TWSBI GO from a sample vial, overcoming pen intimidation, and boutique pen brands!
- John Lane visiting, epic Pilot set
- New products:
- Coming soon:
- Pilot 100th anniversary set, Emperor
- Pilot Explorer
- Pineider Arco, snorkel, pen filler
- Pelikan m800 Stone Garden
- Conklin Duragraph Turquoise
- Visconti Mirage
- Lamy Gift set
- Diplomat Aero in Violet, Aeros in 14k nibs
- Aurora Optima 365 Oliva
- Franklin-Christoph pen cases
- and more more more! It’s gonna get crazy!
1) j_francis_imagery- Instagram (8:36)
What would you say is more popular nowadays, in the current fountain pen climate? A classic black, cigar-shaped, understated pen? Or one that makes a louder design statement?
- we’re a little skewed because as a FP boutique we tend to attract the more enthusiastic individuals
- for us, the classic shapes and colors are usually up there as top sellers, they’re consistent
- we do really well with wilder colors though, especially in special editions as it allows manufacturers to experiment
- so the answer is sort of both? But a lot depends on brand and price point too
- I think in general the industry has leaned a little more towards contemporary, but people still like classic
2) logan_varney- Instagram (11:12)
More tips and tricks on how to fill from an ink sample, because it can be hard in aero metric fillers and mechanisms like on the twsbi go
- tilting the vial makes a huge difference
- ink syringe is your friend!
- you can remove the nib and fill right into the pen, or use the “syringe filling method”, which is super easy with the GO!
3) studioapilatessa- Instagram (17:15)
I have a few beautiful fountain pens from Goulet Pen Co and a few that were given to me as gifts. I want to learn to fill them and clean them. However, I am hesitant to teach myself through YouTube videos because I don’t want to damage them. I would prefer to learn from someone in person. I’ve researched but haven’t yet found anyone in my area who can teach me. Do you have any recommendations?
- I can understand that hesitation, but honestly, you’re just gonna have to get in there
- I knew nothing, and learned it even without helpful videos, I had to just figure out what the heck I was doing
- start with something inexpensive, and just go for it
- if you REALLY can’t start on your own, reach out to the community though FB, IG, YT, or wherever else, go to a pen show and mingle at the bar with people, try to find or start a local pen meetup
- go to a pen store if there’s one near you
- ask around your family and friends and see if anyone knows fountain pens at all, they might!
- honestly though, just don’t be afraid to try
4) __inkskein__- Instagram (21:39)
I’m one of those in love with almost anything rose gold. Will we ever see a pen with a rose gold nib?
- um yeah….we have 8 of them in stock right now
- go to GouletPens.com, click on the Fountain Pens_All Fountain Pens in the top navigation, then select “Nib Color” in the side bar on the left, there’s an option for Rose Gold
- Visconti Ocean Breeze Rose Gold
- Visconti Medici Rose Gold
- Platinum 3776 Nice, Nice Lilas, Nice Lavande
- Visconti Portofino
- Nettuno 1911 Chrono Rose Gold
- Aurora 88 Satin Black/Rose Gold
- All not cheap pens, these are all gold nibs, but they’re there!
- We may get more, just check back regularly on the site for pens with rose gold nibs
5) Linda S.- Facebook (23:22)
Firstly, Brian, it was great to meet you and Drew at the DC pen show- my first! My question is for pen maintenance, especially piston-fillers. As new to FPs, I am cautious about dismantling, but it takes forever to clean a piston filler. I miss the bulb syringe speed I can use on converter pens. Any suggestions?
- yeah, if you’re new don’t worry too much about taking pens apart, unless you really just love to do that (me)
- my best suggestion? Use C/C pens and bulb syringes for ink testing, and stick with the same or similar ink colors for your vac and piston fillers
- large capacity, built-in filling mechanisms really aren’t designed for changing out inks as much, so it’s a process to clean them
- This is where C/C pens really shine!
- Some piston pens you can at least remove the nib housing, but that might be too much for most beginners
- use your judgement, but basically you have what you have and you’ve gotta deal with the laws of physics!
6) Eric P- Facebook (29:28)
Any plans on carrying any small operation boutique pens?
- oh sure, we love boutique operations!
- we have several in the works, but none that we can talk about at the moment
- it’s tough, boutique operations often just aren’t geared up to handle retail distribution they have to really have their ducks in a row
- we have no less than 30-40 outstanding smaller brands that are speculative and on our radar, but many of them just wouldn’t be successful if we launched them right now
- it takes so much to get it all right, and distribution through any retailer, let alone one like us with a fairly large reach, could do more harm than good if a boutique company isn’t ready for it!
- My heart is with craftsmen, upstarts, and boutiques, so it’s worth the hassle but it does take a while! Often 2-3 years of working together before they’re ready
7) @8IpNeKn8- Twitter (36:19)
How does Goulet decide what pens to have on hand or keep in stock? For example: Faber-Castell makes an Essentio in Black Aluminum. There is also version of the Essentio in Black Carbon (which I’m interested in). Goulet only has the aluminum listed as an option. Thx.
- this is as much art as science!
- Me, Rachel, and our product team debate and decide
- manufacturers or distributors can guide us on what’s most popular, that can help
- sometimes we just want to dip our toes in the water, so we carry what we think will be most popular
- sometimes we try to carry more, but for whatever reason not all options are available at the time we’re trying to carry it
- your feedback means a lot, so ask my team when there are colors/options for existing brands/models you want to see us carry!
8) Robin T.-Facebook (42:37)
What do you say to somebody who says “oh I could never write with a fountain pen.”?
- “well, let’s find out” – and I hand them my pen and talk them through it
- fountain pens feel intimidating, but honestly once people get it in their hands and you coach them through it a little bit, they get used to it really quickly
- I don’t tell them the cost of the pen (bc that can weird people out at first)
- I say the angle to hold it, that the shiny part of the nib points towards the sky, and that they don’t need any pressure at all to write, and then I just observe
- half the time people try it, have moderate success and then just hand it back
- the other half, people light up and are amazed and ask many more questions
- it’s all about personal invitation, and making people understand it’s not magic, and it really is quite natural and organic to write with a fountain pen!
QOTW: What boutique fountain-pen related brands are out there right now that you’d love to see us carry? (46:39)
Writing Prompt: Write out a positive memory from your childhood. (47:27)
We’re taking a trip back to yesteryear in today’s Thursday Things. Inspired by the reintroduced Esterbrook line of pens, Thursday Things: Nostalgia features an assortment of modern products with that unique vintage appeal that transcends time. Put on a vinyl record, settle down at your roll top desk, and write your way back in time with the classic designs featured in Thursday Things: Nostalgia.
Featured products from left to right:
- Traveler’s Notebook- Brown, Passport– $40.16
- Diamine Sepia (80ml bottle)– $14.95
- 3 Oysters Gogung (38ml bottle)– $18
- Esterbrook Estie Fountain Pen- Tortoise/ Gold– $156
- Pilot Vanishing Point Fountain Pen- Crossed Lines– $206
- Diplomat Excellence A2 Fountain Pen- Marrakesh Gold– $180
- Pilot E95S Fountain Pen- Black– $136
- Robert Oster Gold Antiqua (50ml bottle)-$17
- Pelikan M200 Fountain Pen- Smoky Quartz (Special Edition)- $148
- Rohrer & Klingner Sepia (50ml bottle)– $11.95
- Diamine Golden Brown (80ml bottle)– $14.95
- Kaweco AL Sport Fountain Pen- Night Edition– $120
What’s your favorite vintage-inspired fountain pen?
The Goulet Pen Company Team
Goulet Pens has recently started carrying #5 size replacement nibs. Are you curious which pens we currently offer with our #5 nibs? Here is our list!
DISCLAIMER: Swap nibs at your own risk! Swapping nibs on your pens will void the manufacturer’s warranty on the pen and you will be responsible if anything were to be broken or damaged during the swapping process. Repair from the manufacturer will not be available.
Here are the pens we currently offer (As of October 2018):
Jinhao 882 Shell
Karas Kustoms Fountain K
ONLINE Switch Plus
Opus 88 Koloro
Opus 88 Picnic
Opus 88 Fantasia
While this is not a complete list of all the options that’ll be able to swap with a Goulet nib, it is a very thorough list of some of the most popular options available. We hope this helps provide a good starting point for anyone looking to change up their writing experience. Not sure how to go about swapping those nibs? Check out Brian’s tutorial on swapping Jinhao nibs!
The Goulet Pen Company Team
We often get asked to compare different fountain pens especially across price points. We’re all curious if the higher price tag is worth it? So we wanted to delve a little deeper on that. We’re looking at 3 different pens; one that is around $10, one that’s $800, and lastly one that costs a whopping $2,800! Each of these pens has a unique shimmering aspect to them as well.
First up is the Jinhao x750 Shimmering Sands! This pen features a steel nib, medium only. It’s a reliable writer and good value at $10. The pen itself is made in China, but little is known about the process or the people behind it. There’s no exotic materials, just a glittery and sparkly pen! This particular pen is popular because the nib is #6 sized, so you can swap on a variety of nibs (like our Goulet nibs, or even upgrade it to a gold nib from Edison). The packaging is pretty bare-bones though, with no box for the pen.
Next up, we take the big leap into the $800 MSRP range with the Pilot Vanishing Point Raden Stripe. It comes with an 18kt gold nib with a medium nib, but there are separate nib units available as well. In terms of writing experience, it’s a step up as you move to a gold nib from Pilot. Like other Vanishing Points, this does feature a retractable click nib that is still a pretty unique feature in this fountain pen world! The main price difference between this version and other Vanishing Pointss is due to the Raden. It’s abalone shell crushed, hand placed, and sealed with Urushi lacquer by artisans that train in the Maki-e technique for years to do this. The increased cost is due largely to the cost of the materials and time it takes to produce.
Lastly, the Namiki Yukari Nightline Moonlight checks in at $2,800 MSRP. It features a larger (#10) 18kt gold nib, and writes like a dream! The design is similar to the Vanishing Point Raden, but expands upon that with more abalone shell and a more intricate design that can vary slightly from pen to pen. The price tag is what it is again due to the amount of abalone shell and more time involved in manufacturing. Also, factor in that these fountain pens aren’t mass produced, so scarcity does feed into the price. Beyond the pen, the packaging is part of the experience with a real wooden box which also contains a bottle of Pilot Namiki ink!
No matter which pen you consider, each can be justified in its own right; from a great starter pen with the Jinhao x750, to an everyday writer with the Pilot Vanishing Point Raden, to a collector’s item in the Namiki. They are all fantastic pens in their own right!
Let us know what you think! Is the Namiki Yukari Nightline Moonlight worth it to you? Do you have other pen comparisons you want to see? Let us know in the comments below!
The Goulet Pen Company
**WINNER: Congrats to Joseph S. (Entered on Twitter). Check back next week for another awesome Monday Matchup Giveaway**
Hi there, friends! It’s Lydia, bringing you my latest Monday Matchup. This week, I had the pleasure of using the new Kaweco AL Sport Rose Gold and Diamine Twilight. This dusky muted blue ink felt perfect for a rainy day sketch. Read on to hear more about my inspiration and what I thought of this pen and ink.
I really wanted to do a baseball themed drawing and quote for this Monday Matchup, especially because my Red Sox are currently playing the Yankees in the American League Division Series and I’m fired up. When I got this pen and ink though, I just couldn’t shake the feeling that I wanted to do something sweet and sentimental. Twilight is a magical time of day and this ink lends itself well to a dreamy kind of post. I love how Twilight can be light enough to do an ink wash but dark enough to draw over that same ink wash and it has some much depth and variation of color. To start, I outlined the couple and their umbrella. Then, I took a waterbrush pen filled with water and dipped it into the cap of the ink. I spread the color across the page and tried to get an even wash while leaving the area under the umbrella untouched. I left the page to dry overnight and touched up any spots that needed more color that next morning. I love how this ink spreads. I laid it on darker at the top for the sky and spread it from there. I then colored in the couple and used the brush pen to blend the color. I drew in the clouds and rain drops after that. I messed up on the raindrops a bit, which was frustrating. I didn’t feel like starting over, so I turned them into heart shapes and I’m actually pretty happy with that decision. I think it adds a cute extra meaning to the quote. I blended the inside of the hearts a bit with the brush pen. Then I wrote out the quote from the Billy Joel song (originally written by Bob Dylan) using the pen. These lyrics have always felt very romantic to me and anytime I am weathering a storm with a loved one or they are going through a rough time, this is the song that comes to mind. I just love the idea that someone’s love can get you through all kinds of times and love is the most powerful support you can get.
I am surprised how much I liked this pen. I have an affinity with long, well-balanced pens and don’t usually enjoy pocket pens. The AL Sport has a good weight to it though and it fits nicely in the crook of my hand as I was writing. The Kaweco converter was different to get used to with its slide mechanism but it worked very effectively. The ink was great as well. I love the little 30ml bottles of Diamine. I don’t think I’d ever paid attention to them but they are such a wise investment if you don’t want to commit to a huge bottle you may never finish. I could see them being difficult to use with large pens, but with an ink well, like the Ink Miser, you shouldn’t have any filling trouble. I am a sucker for dark, deep blues and Twilight did not disappoint. If you know much about me, you may have heard me extoll my love of De Atramentis Sherlock Holmes before and compare every navy blue ink to it. I dare say, Diamine Twilight might be a close second. I love the depth of color I got and hints of purple when I did the ink wash. The dry time is a bit longer, but that may have to do with the Tomoe River paper in the Goulet Notebook I used. Overall, this pen and ink are a great pair for any occasion. The pen is a great statement piece for the office, as well as a sturdy, well-made purse pen. It can go anywhere and do anything, and the ink is appropriate for all occasions.
You could win this pen and ink! In an effort to make entering Monday Matchup a little easier, we’ve done away with the Rafflecopter widget and will be randomly selecting a winner from a randomly chosen platform each week. The entries methods will still be the same: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and a blog comment, but you’ll no longer have to complete your entry through Rafflecopter.
How to enter Monday Matchup Giveaway:
- Match a pen and ink together. They don’t have to match in color, any fountain pen, and ink works.
- You can choose to enter only one way or submit up to 4 different entries if you’d like. Feel free to use the same picture for all 4 entries.
- Here’s how to enter:
The contest is open Monday, October 8, 2018, at 12 pm EDT until Tuesday, October 9, 2018, at 12 pm EDT. One winner will be randomly selected and announced tomorrow once the contest closes. The winner must live in a country that Goulet Pens currently ships to. Click here to see the Official Contest Rules.
In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about Italy, pen peeves, and Inktober!
- Italy! Lots of questions about it this week
- Already did Write Now on it, so I won’t cover all of it again here
- Monteverde Ink Deal, now through end of the year!
- Free 90ml bottle of Monteverde ink with any Monteverde, Conklin, Stipula, Diplomat, Nettuno, ONLINE, or Pineider pen!
- Conklin Empire
- Pilot Custom 823 in smoke
- Pilot Custom 74 EF
- Pineider pen cases
- Kaweco AL Sport Night Edition
- Pilot VP Crossed Lines
- Pelikan m805 Raden Royal Platinum
- Esterbrook Esties
- Field Notes End Papers
- Edison Fall Premiere Galaxia
1) Stuart J- Facebook (10:46)
In your experience do different cultures or countries have differing attitudes when it comes to fountain pens or writing implements in general?
- yes, for sure, just like there are different attitudes towards a lot of things!
- My experience is both with manufacturers and suppliers, as well as customers on social media
- manufacturers and suppliers tend to be concentrated in areas of the world where fountain pens are more utilized and part of the culture
- Japan, Italy, Germany, France, UK, China, Taiwan, and India mainly
- Social media is skewed from my interaction bc we speak English so it skews towards English-speaking nations based on my interactions, but that doesn’t mean that’s only where the interest is
- some countries it’s more rooted in the culture, in tradition or romance and craftsmanship
- other countries it’s purely utility and function
- others it’s purely curiosity, status, or niche appeal
- No matter what county, everyone’s facing changes in utility of writing instruments with the change in technology, so there are global shifts happening in the writing world that’s affecting things
- Pure utility-driven interest is going down thanks to alternatives like texting, but other niches (like fountain pens) are actually seeing an increase, due to more social sharing and product education
2) pls_artiest- Instagram (15:28)
With all the nib options that are currently being produced(EF/F/M/B/Stub/Flex) do you think there will be another regularly offered nib option that doesn’t have to be a custom grind?
- I don’t see anything on the horizon as imminent, as much as I’d like
- other options that are currently custom grinds are usually to obscure or time-consuming to offer without custom work
- I could see more stub options, like cursive italics or smaller size stubs coming into fashion, but even that might be a way’s off if at all!
3) @TankCruisin- Twitter (19:23)
What effect, if any, does Inktober have on the Goulet Pen Company?
- honestly, I don’t know! It can’t hurt!
- it started in 2009, the year we started
- it’s mainly artist-driven, which isn’t our primary market, I see a lot of non-FP entries there
- there are surely people that get amped about ink and want to shop with us, but we don’t have a way to track it as we’re not a sponsor or anything with a traceable coupon code or anything
4) Martijn K- Facebook (22:33)
Are there any special plans for the company’s 10th anniversary next year and can you shine some light on them?
- I’ve gotten asked about this, and it’s still a way’s out so I wouldn’t tell you about anything if I did have it planned
- I’m very open to ideas! That’s why I wanted to take this question, really 😉
- Could certainly consider some exclusive LE pens or ink, special video or series? Not sure!
5) pens.and.puppers- Instagram (25:29)
What was the most surprising fact you learned from your trip? (About pens or otherwise, even art, etc.) I loved all the pictures of the cathedrals, by the way! Absolutely stunning.
- There was a lot of good stuff on my trip!
- The history and culture wasn’t so much a surprise, but it really hit me just how abundant that is, especially in Florence
- I studied things like the Renaissance in school, but I could really see it happening in Florence!
- I learned some interesting stuff about Michaelangelo and the David
- I was surprised just how different the cultural influences were in each city even though they weren’t that far apart
6) Merry C- Facebook (31:52)
How did Rachel do with the travel! She was in my thoughts since I am the same way!
- Rachel did great! It was definitely a trial for her, with lots of potential triggers
- It really showed just how far she’s come, and the work she’s done
- we did a lot, and it would be tiring for anyone
- she did great at moderating (I didn’t!), and she spoke up when something was too much or she needed a break
- it was as ideal as it possibly could have been, and it was great to make those memories together!
- Let there be hope for anyone with anxiety, or who cares for someone with anxiety, it can be overcome!
7) darcieglam- Instagram (35:53)
What was your favorite meal? Last time I was in Italy I bought all the things and had gelato every day!
- just about every meal we had there was so good…
- a standout for me was super super fresh buffalo mozzarella, which was an entire meal for us!
- great pizza
- caprese salads were delicious
- gelato for daaaaaaays! Nutella flavor was my fav
- Florentine T-bone was unreal
8) Kimberly G- Facebook (40:03)
What is one of your biggest pet peeves you’ve seen someone do to a fountain pens?
- when people just yank on pen caps assuming they’re snap cap! They don’t realize there are a lot of screw caps!
QOTW: What’s your biggest pen peeve? (42:10)
Writing Prompt: Write your least favorite word in cursive 25 times! (42:22)