Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Matchup: Caran d'Ache Delicate Green & Monteverde Intima Neon Green

Happy Monday, pen lovers of the world! This week’s Monday Matchup up is brought to you by Caran d’Ache Delicate Green fountain pen ink and the Monteverde Intima in Neon Green. Sometimes you just need something bright and vibrant to liven up your Monday. The piece that Joe O. created with this matchup is beyond impressive. We gave him artistic freedom to be inspired from the ink, and while he technically didn't use the Monteverde pen to create his artwork, we still wanted to showcase it as a great complementary color match for this ink.


When Joe researched the name 'Caran D'Ache', he discovered that it's a pseudonym for a Russian-born French satirist/cartoonist, Emmanuel Poire. Caran D'Ache is a modified form of the Russian word karandash, meaning pencil. One daring cartoonist popped into Joe's mind immediately — an American cartoonist named Bill Mauldin. Mauldin’s characters, Willie and Joe, drudge through the often frustrating, yet, surprisingly funny, reality of life as grunts in WWII.

Since Bill Mauldin was such an effective purveyor of "grit" in both his images and in the nature of his characters, Joe chose to make his portrait in his own messy way using a 5mL syringe instead of a pen or brush. The unpredictable nature of the syringe allowed for unexpected results. Too much pressure on the plunger would cause a gush of ink to pool on the page. But just enough pressure would turn the syringe into a make-shift fountain pen. There was no preliminary drawing for this portrait, so the likeness is off a bit — a result from wanting to build the image with marks rather than using something predetermined.


Joe really had a blast making this portrait of Bill Mauldin. Ever since he received his book Up Front from his father when Joe was deployed overseas, Joe has been fascinated by how skillfully Mauldin was able to capture the distinctive soldier's brand of levity that manifests itself in the face of armed conflict.


For another take on this pen and ink combination, we also invite you to check out this pen review and ink review by our friend Ana at The Well-Appointed Desk blog.

Hope you enjoy this Monday’s Matchup as much as we do! :)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Goulet Q&A Episode 41, Open Forum



This week's episode is a little shorter, just a little! I am flying solo today but still have a bunch of fun questions in the Open Forum. Enjoy!

1) Vivian S.- Ink Nouveau (1:28):

I'm not a physically strong person, so having to take apart a pen is really tough for me; I always feel like I might break the pen because I find myself applying as much force as I can. Any tips on how to loosen pen parts (such as nib and feed, piston filler) to make it easier on myself to assemble and dissemble the pen? Thanks.
  • it depends on the pen
  • some aren’t made to be taken apart and applying that much force could break them
  • do your research first, see if others have taken apart your particular pen before trying it yourself (YouTube’s great here)
  • some special tools may be available from pen repair people, you’ll have to hunt (check FPN)
  • rubber gloves, rubber bands, rubber strips help give a better grip
  • stuck nibs help to rock back and forth instead of just straight pulling out
     
2) Patrick D.- Facebook (7:12):
What pen brand would you like to carry that you don't today?
  • Faber-Castell
  • Visconti/Mont-Blanc don’t want us
  • others we’ve considered:
    • Nemosine
    • Acme
    • Giuliano Matzzuoli 
    • Diplomat
3) Nichole B.- Facebook (9:27):
I am trying to get my friend interested in fountain pens but she is used to gel pens and I've had a hard time finding the right one for her. Can you recommend a pen and ink combination that would "float" across the page but won't break the bank?
4) mikhasan2- YouTube (13:29):
Hi, Brian. I was wondering why many fountain pen aficionados prefer resin over metal. I know one argument is that metal sections are a bit slippery or cold to the touch when compared to resin, but I think the durability and weight of metal pens are desirable traits to many that make up for these. Despite this, they seem much more popular with the corporate crowd than with hard-core fountain pen users. Of course, as is the case with most things, it has a lot to do with personal preference, but is there an alternative explanation you can offer? Thanks, and keep up the great work!

  • I’d say your assumptions are generally pretty accurate here
  • this is something I learned coming over from making rollerball pens for corporate gifts in my pen making days
  • for longer writing sessions, lighter pens are less tiring in the hand
    • metal grips feel slippery after a long writing session (10+ minutes straight)
  • metal just feels less personal, colder
  • metal can be more durable, but resin is pretty darn durable too
  • really, it’s all about preference


5) anonymous- Facebook (18:51):

I have the 4 Pilot Parallel pens that I play with and have had them for about a month but I don't go through ink very fast. I want to flush them out but I still have half the cartridge left. Is there a way to save the cartridge for a flushing of the pen then reinsert the cartridge? Or should I toss the cartridge and insert a new one each flushing/cleaning? Or should I just finish the cartridge even if it postpones the flushing/cleaning another few weeks? 
  • you can definitely do that, if you’re putting the cartridge right back on
  • over a long time, the ink in the cartridge may dry out/become more saturated as water evaporates
    • can be reconstituted
  • you just won’t be able to save a partially used cartridge apart from the pen
  • bulb syringe works great to flush if sung cartridges (no converter), though Parallels come with a  ‘cleaning cartridge'


6) Steven B.- Facebook (23:17):

Two parter: 1) what is the single best selling item at Goulet? 2) since you all get to "play" hands-on with everything as it comes in, is there an item you carry which you feel SHOULD sell better - something under the radar maybe, that you think deserves more attention than it gets? (Not necessarily just about numbers: I'm sure you don't move a ton of M1000s but that doesn't mean they don't already get plenty of attention!)

7) mike- Ink Nouveau (29:35):
Would you consider having some nibs like your Goulet nibs or Edison’s, TWSBI's, etc. preground by nibmeisters and then keep them in stock? the way Franklin-christoff does with Mike Masuyama nibs? Or have an option where one can add "stub grind" or something to his cart and then take care of it for the customer, through a nibmeister, along with a warning that you are voluntarily giving up your warranty and that it may delay shipment by 2-3 weeks or whatever the wait time maybe. I think it would be a great service that many would love to take advantage of. I know that you have to keep good relationships with your distributors but binder, mottishaw, and pendleton, are all authorized retailers of pens like pilot, platinum, pelikan, etc. so I think at least some companies must be okay with it. 
  • this is complicated
  • warranty issues: if the pen is faulty, where do you send the pen? depends on the issue? 
  • markup: for us to handle the logistics/post-sales support/warranty void of that pen, we have expenses to cover. We’d have to mark up the grinding substantially from what a nibmeister might charge
  • transit time: we’re not near any nibmeister
    • would have to ship to them, wait, have work done then shipped out
    • what about other items in the order?
    • what about international orders?
  • supply/demand: most nibmeisters are busy as heck as is, little bandwidth
    • nibmeisters are in short supply, don’t need our business to stay really stinking busy
  • it certainly is an appealing concept, but I feel the logistics would make it unfeasible
  • I’d be open to exploring, but would be ‘cautiously pessimistic’ it would work out
8) Tom S.- Ink Nouveau (35:57):
I have an odd question, I am already budgeting to get a Pilot Metal Falcon, I love my standard SF Falcon, but want a Con-70 sized Falcon. My question is does anyone know if the sections or nibs are swapable between the two models? As that will help me decide if I should get the SEF on the metal or stay with the nib that works... I am a left hander and nibs are often either very nice to me or the worst thing ever. I am constantly shocked by number of people that assume, the nibs I actually favor won't work for me :)

  • swap away! You can share them, yes. 
  • SEF is noticeably scratchier than SF though
  • I typically wouldn’t recommend it for a lefty, but you seem to know what you’re doing so caveat emptor  
9) Christopher N.- Ink Nouveau (40:00):
Have you looked into carrying any products by Staedtler. They have a good selection of products, ranging from drafting tools to some nice fountain pens. 
  • no, not really
  • mainly pencils and ballpoints
  • some FP’s, but not enough to get me excited
  • pens seem like Sheaffer calligraphy set, Pelikan Pelikano, Lamy ABC, stuff we don’t do well with

Second, if you and your family were to dress up as fountain pens for Halloween, what pens would you guys dress as and why?
  • Noodler’s pen
    • Nib Creaper, Ahab, Konrad, lots of fun could be had with those

Thanks for the great videos and running an awesome business!

p.s. When will the TWSBI 580 USA arrive? 
  • we’re currently being told end of August, we’ll see once that gets closer if the date is pushed back at all 
10) William S.- Facebook (42:39):
Hehe...What paper is best if you are writing with an invisible ink?
  • Seems like you were intending to ask a silly question, but there’s a real answer!
  • the specific type doesn’t matter so much
  • off-white paper shows invisible (UV-reactive) ink so much better!
  • greater contrast 

11) Chad V.- Facebook (43:52):
So what does make the Aztek an awesome car?
  • probably the wrong week to ask me that! ignition issues
  • lots of great things about it though
    • cheap to acquire, though they have gone up rather significantly in value in the last couple of years
    • Walter White’s car!
    • clearly designed ahead of its time
    • fantastic turning radius, easy to park
    • SUV, but drives like a car
    • comfortable for both me and Rachel, which is rare to find
    • sits high up
    • is small on the outside, big on the inside
    • AWD
    • fabric inside is great for kids nastiness
    • so utilitarian, seats fold down/come out so easy
    • hooks and stuff everywhere
    • always super-easy to spot in the parking lot! 
Thanks for watching this week and thanks to everyone who asked awesome questions. Next week will be another Open Forum, so post any question you have in the comments below. Be sure to check out any Q&A's you might have missed here. Have a great week!

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Lamy Logo: Quick Look



The Lamy Logo is a pen that doesn't normally get a whole lot of attention, and that is surprising to me because it is fairly unique. It is straight all the way down, and kind of futuristic in its design. It’s pretty thin like the CP1, so those of you who are into thin pens will dig it. It also has a pretty flexible spring clip that’s inset into the cap a bit, I don’t know why I think that’s cool but I do. It has a snap cap, and pushes to post. 



Even though it’s made of metal, it’s aluminum so it’s still pretty light (18g), about the weight of a Lamy Safari. Its nibs are interchangeable with all of the stainless steel Lamy nibs. It only comes available from Lamy with fine or medium, but it’ll also fits the Lamy extra-fine, broad, 1.1, 1.5, and 1.9mm stubs. The matte stainless steel version starts around $35, and the brushed around $40. They’re cartridge converter pens that take Lamy proprietary cartridges or the black and silver Lamy Z26 converter which is NOT included with these pens, so you’ll need to pick one of those up separately.

These pens also come in a unique box, different than all the other Lamy pens. It breaks apart in the middle and the pen lifts up like Han Solo.







The Safari and Al-Star get so much attention in the Lamy brand, but the Logo should definitely be on your radar if you’re shopping for a $40ish Lamy. For more details and up-to-date specs on the Logo be sure to check it out on GouletPens.com

Write On,
Brian Goulet