Friday, April 29, 2011

First Look: Brand New 85g Ivory Quo Vadis Habanas



Link to the vid and my YouTube channel.

It's been nearly six months since it was announced that Quo Vadis Habanas would be changing from 90g white paper to 85g ivory paper. It caused quite a stir over on Quo Vadis blog! I think everyone's biggest concern was that the quality of the paper would suffer with the switch, and I'm going to just say outright that the paper quality is very much up to par with the old 90g paper. It's ever so slightly thinner, but I don't think you will notice the 5g difference.


The paper is off-white, very similar in color to the paper in the Rhodia Webnotebook, if you're familiar with them. The most drastic change that I wasn't quite expecting was the ruling change. The large Habana in the old 90g version used to have 8mm ruling, which is pretty wide (the small 64g Habana had 5mm ruling). All of the new 85g Habanas, large and small, have 5.5mm ruling. It's quite a drastic change from 8mm to 5.5mm, which I suspect will be a welcome change for most of you.

One cool thing is that the lines themselves are made up of small gray dots, so the overall appearance of the line is much more subtle. Compare the 90g white paper with 8mm lines to the new 5.5mm 'dot' lines:


What is most important to me in any journal is the paper quality. If the paper won't hold up well to fountain pens, then I don't care if it's the perfect size, shape, color, ruling, whatever else....it just has to hold up to the ink. And this paper does, just like the 90g did. I did a comparison between the old and new with a whole slew of ink and pen combos that I had on hand, and I didn't see any noticeable difference between the two.


No bleedthrough on the back, even using wet-writing pens like the Namiki Falcon, Platinum Music Pen, and broad nib Edison Hudson.


The Habanas are available in 4 colors: black, anis green, red, and raspberry, in both lined and blank versions, large (6.25"x9.25") and small (4"x6.25").


My impression of the new Habana paper is positive. I'm still mourning the loss of the white paper versions, as I personally had a preference for both white paper and larger rulings, but I will survive. I'm finding that I'm coming around to the new version. I do like the more subtle line, and the color of the paper is pleasant to the eye. I have to wonder if perhaps there is a place in the writing world for both a white paper Habana and an ivory Habana....but that is a discussion for another day. Today, I welcome the new Habanas. They are respectable journals that I think will stake their claim in the fountain pen world.

***Since the original posting, the sleeves on the Habanas have changed, which I blogged about here. Here's a pic comparing the old ones to the new ones:



In case you were wondering where to get them, we have them over at Goulet Pens, available now. They should be available at retailers across the world soon.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Feed Saturation Pen Filling Method




Link to YouTube for the feed saturation video.

The feed saturation method of filling a fountain pen is something that's not always the most practical thing, but it is helpful in certain situations. It's particularly useful if:
  • The ink level in your bottle is too low to fill directly into the pen
  • Your pen is too big to fit your ink bottle opening
  • Want to use ink from a cartridge that doesn't fit your pen
The video shows the method better than anything else I can type. Have you ever heard of this method before?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Write Time at 9: 4/26/11



Link to YouTube for the Write time vid.

Today was a rollercoaster for Rachel and me! Our website was shut down today, which was some drama. But everything's back to normal, and Rachel and I are back to our normal (if you can call us that) selves ;) Thanks to everyone who came live, and for everyone else, enjoy the recording and we hope to see you next week!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Write Time Topics 4/26/11

We're following up a pretty big act with Nathan Tardif of Noodler's Ink last week on Write Time! This week will be back to just Rachel and I, and we've got a few topics to discus:
  • Timeline of Noodler's Flex Pens
  • May Ink Drop theme!
  • Reason for GouletPens.com downtime today
  • Namiki Falcon first impression
  • Ink syringe uses
  • Our thoughts on the Edison Hudson, having used it more now
  • New Habanas (coming this week!)
If you have some time tonight, you should stop by and see what we're up to at 9pm Eastern US time :) 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Namiki Falcon First Impression



Link to YouTube for more viewing options for the Falcon vid.

This video is my true first impression of the Namiki Falcon, the first time I've ever inked it up! 

A pen like the Namiki Falcon is one that I had heard much about but never seen for myself, until we become Namiki retailers. Of course, I wanted to see right away what all the fuss was about. It's a pen that's quite unique in its nib design, and is one of the few modern flex nib pens made today. It is classic in its design, but quite modern in its use.


Flex nib pens have been getting a lot of attention lately since the rise of the Noodler's Flex Pen. Prior to the Noodler's, the Falcon was really the only modern flex pen that I'd heard about with any consistency. Granted, the Falcon costs about 10 times the price of the Noodler's Flex Pen, it is admittedly, a much nicer looking pen, with a 14k nib to boot.


It's a fairly light pen, with good balance both posted and unposted. The degree of flex on it is not as great as the Noodler's flex, or some vintage flex pens. But in my opinion, this isn't such a bad thing. It's a pen that can flex, but also writes incredibly well as a 'normal' pen. It writes nicely with normal use, and flexes when you want it to. Here's a writing sample:



The coolest thing to me is the nib, it's just such a unique design it really grabs my attention! As soon as I saw the nib, I knew why they named the pen the Falcon, the nib looks like a beak! It's a 14k nib, which is the ideal metal for after-market nib grinding to add additional flex, should you choose to go that route.


So I hope you enjoy my first impression of the Falcon. My overall impression of the pen is positive. It's not a 'wet noodle' pen, and I wasn't expecting it to be. It's a nice-feeling nib that writes smoother than I thought it would, and flexes more than I thought it would. I had set my expectations fairly low, and they were exceeded. If you're on the market for a gold-nib sub $150 pen with some flex, the Falcon is worth a look.

How about you? What's your take on the Falcon?

Friday, April 22, 2011

How to Use Ink Syringes



Link to YouTube for the Ink Syringe video.

If you've never used ink syringes or seen them used before, then you're missing one of the essential tools in your fountain pen toolbox. They serve a multitude of uses, including:
  • Filling empty ink cartridges/converters
  • Cleaning empty ink cartridges
  • Filling/emptying ink sample vials
  • Getting the last of the ink out of a glass bottle
  • Filling an eyedropper pen
  • Measuring ink for mixing
  • Filling pens with 'feed saturation' (like I do in this post)

Though ink syringes can essentially be any syringe you find (unused), it's really best if it has a blunt-tip, so you don't hurt yourself or your ink cartridges. The ones I use in the video (and the pictures) are my own syringes I've sourced out specifically for the purpose of using them for fountain pens. Mine have more than a 5ml capacity, which is enough to fill even the largest of eyedropper pens. The 1.5" long needle is long enough to reach into the deepest ink bottles, even to the bottom of a 4.5 ounce Noodler's bottle!

Ink syringes are also ideal for refilling ink cartridges or converters. If you refill your ink cartridges, it means you don't have to necessarily buy a converter, but you can still use bottled ink. That, and some ink cartridges hold more ink than their matching converters do.


There are a few retailers out there that have their own ink syringes, and most of them should work in a very similar fashion. Though I've used my own syringes for the video and the details will be specific to Goulet syringes, the basic concepts are the same with any syringe. If you're interested in the Goulet ones, you can find them here.

Have you ever used any? What other interesting uses have you found for them?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ink Drop Easter Egg Hunt Colors Revealed!

This month's Ink Drop has been a torturous wait for some of you, and absolute joy for others. We sent out inks to over 300 people labeled anonymously, so you could all test them without brand bias for the chance to guess the colors and win free ink :)

We've kept you waiting long enough! Without further ado:

Special Write Time 4/19/11- Guest Nathan Tardif of Noodler's Ink






Tonight is going to be a very special live Write Time broadcast, because we'll have Nathan Tardif of Noodler's Ink joining us live by phone! He is the 'Willy Wonka' behind everything that goes on with Noodler's ink and pens, and is a fascinating man to listen to. I'm extremely excited to see what unfolds during the broadcast.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Last day to enter the Easter Egg Hunt contest!

Last week we announced a contest for Ink Drop members to guess the colors in this month's drop. In case you missed it, here's the post with the details. The contest closes after today, so make your final pics and vote here today!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My Ink Journal


Ink journals are a great way to keep a reference of the way different inks look in different pens. They can be especially helpful if you enjoy sampling inks, so you can refer back to them later if you're going for just the right ink for a particular writing project. I had ink scribblings in several different journals before, but never really in one place for me to use for comparisons in the future. At least until last week.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Easter Egg Hunt is On!

It's the Ink Drop Easter Egg Hunt!

This month for Ink Drop, we did a theme unlike anything we've done before. Normally we send out 5 labeled samples related to whatever the month's theme is. This month, we selected Easter Egg Hunt as the theme, and sent out 5 samples labeled only as Easter Eggs #1-5. Like small children hunting for plastic Easter eggs, we wanted YOU to search and find and guess what colors they are! Which brings us to our contest....

Today launches the Ink Drop Easter Egg Hunt giveaway contest. If you're an Ink Drop member, we want you to guess what 5 colors you think you got this month. For each one you guess correctly, you'll be eligible to win a free full-size bottle of that color. We'll be randomly selecting each winner from the correct guesses and will announce it on the blog.

"How do I enter?"

Enter in the contest by answering a short survey. The survey link is posted below. It's pretty simple - we just want your five guesses for the colors (be sure to include the brand too!), then your name and email so we can contact you if you win!


Please be sure to complete the entire survey and only enter once. The contest begins right now, and ends on Monday (4/18) at 11:59pm EST. Enter anytime between now and then.

The winners and the answers will be announced live during our Write Time at 9 broadcast on Tuesday night (4/19) at 9pm EST, and posted up on the Ink Nouveau blog on Wednesday morning (4/20). Once we've announced the colors, we'll be making the discounted bottles available for sale to members on our site too.

"How on earth am I supposed to figure out these colors?"

First of all, use the inks! Swab them, write with them, get a feel for how they perform. Compare it to inks you already have. Then probably the best thing to do would be to look at our Swab Shop and compare colors. Obviously there may be slight differences in how things appear in person versus on a computer monitor, but it should help. You can look by color group, by brand, or pick and choose to compare colors side-by-side. You can also browse forums like the Fountain Pen Network, or other blogs that have ink reviews. We have quite a few of our favorite blogs listed to the right under Blog List. If all else fails, just take a wild guess!

"Why did you do this? It's driving me crazy not to know!"

We thought it'd be fun, and something different. A lot of people form opinions on brands and colors before they've ever tried it for themselves. This is like doing a blind taste test, but with pen and ink! We think you may be surprised by the answers.

Don't worry, next month we'll go back to regularly labeled vials. ;)

"What if I'm not an Ink Drop member?"

There's still time to sign up! You have until the 14th of the month to sign up and receive that month's colors. We have an ongoing membership (where you are automatically billed each month), or a prepaid version where you can select how many months you want to do and pay up front. You can even just do one month to try it out and see how you like it! And you don't just get the 5 samples, but you'll get discounts on the full bottles and other items on our site.

If you decide that you're not interested or can't financially swing it, no problem. We'll have other giveaways on the blog in the future.


What did you think of the theme this month... fun or frustrating? Which inks do you like best?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pilot Custom 74 First Impression



Link to YouTube for more my channel and more viewing options.

So I'm trying out this new type of video that I'm calling 'First Impressions'. Essentially, I want to capture the excitement and enthusiasm that I have when I try out a new product for the first time. When I'm doing thorough reviews, I tend to be so focused on remembering my facts right and making sure I cover all of the important points before I finish that it can put a damper on the excitement I would normally show.

I want to capture just some of what goes through my head when trying something for the first time. In this case, it's the Pilot Custom 74. Now, I have to be honest and say I did ink this pen up and use it for a few lines before I got the idea to do a first impression vid, so this isn't literally a first impression. But it's a pretty good idea of what you could expect, I suppose!

Another great benefit to this style of video is that it takes significantly less time for me to produce, so I'll be able to do a lot more of them! My goal would be to do a first impression vid for every new product we get in (especially pens).

So let me know what you think! If it sucks, just tell me so. If you love it, tell me that to. Just post what you think about my video or the Pilot Custom 74 in the comments...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Write Time at 9: April 5, 2011




Link to YouTube for the recorded vids (there are 4 parts, totaling 2 hours!).

This week we moved to Justin.tv instead of UStream, and we think it worked out really well! Steady video streaming, good chat. We really had a laugh towards the end!

A few highlights from the broadcast:
  • Showed off the new limited edition Black Matte Vanishing Point by Pilot.
  • Discussed the new Sailor Jentle inks
  • Briefly discussed the April Ink Drop theme and the upcoming blog contest
  • Talked about upcoming video blogs
  • Brian Gray joined us on the phone, and we revealed the new Edison Hudson pen, and decided to list it for sale! Why not?! :)
Here are a few pictures of the new Edison Hudson. It is now available for purchase from The Goulet Pen Company, and from other retailers soon. It is available in Ruby, Emerald, and Black:






Join us live next Tuesday at 9pm EDT.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Write Time Topics 4/5/11- JustinTV test!



Link to YouTube to view the vid and our channel.

We admittedly weren't very 'lively' in the video, it was pretty much just a test to make sure JustinTV actually works, and test out the YouTube upload feature. We had to be quiet because the test was late and our son was in bed! The video quality should be much better with our proper lighting that we'll have for the real broadcast.

If you've seen Write Time lately, you know we've been plagued with technical issues on Ustream, which has been the live video hosting service we've used for almost a year now. These issues caused us to start shopping around for a new broadcasting service, and we found JustinTV.

There are some great features that we have with JustinTV:
  1. It works. Audio and video. Big plus there.
  2. It has a chat, just like Ustream did. We're still learning the features, but it has a chat.
  3. Direct YouTube uploads. This is a big deal for our fans who can't watch live. Justin automatically records the entire broadcast and holds it for 7 days, and we can do a direct upload to YouTube and keep it there forever (theoretically), which will share Write Time with our ever-growing YouTube fanbase, as well as give you more viewing options than before.
The only downside is that JustinTV is (obviously) a different service than Ustream, so you'll have to create a new account there if you want to participate in the chat. We're sorry for that, but creating an account is free and easy to do.

So Write Time will keep trucking along at it's normal time, 9pm EDT tonight, Tuesday April 5th. You can either watch it on the Write Time at 9 Broadcast page here on Ink Nouveau, or on our JustinTV channel (it's a little bigger vid and chat on JustinTV).

Our topics for this week:
  • New Sailor inks (set to arrive today, hopefully!)
  • Special edition matte black Pilot Vanishing Points
  • April Ink Drop 
  • Talk about videos posted on Ink Nouveau in the last week
  • Questions for Nathan Tardiff of Noodler's Ink on a future Write Time broadcast (TBA)
So come join us and let us know how you like the new (working) broadcast!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Updated Edison Nouveau Premiere Video



Link to YouTube for my channel and more viewing options.

If you saw any of my previous posts on the Edison Nouveau Premiere (like this one or this one), you know that I only had working prototypes at that time. Well, now I have one of each of the final pens in my hands, so I thought I'd give you an update. I'm showing off the engraving on the nibs as well as the subtle engraving on the pen body as well. It's a real nice end result, I must say!

Congratulations to Brian Gray for now having both his gold and steel nibs with custom Edison logos on them. As a former pen maker I can honestly say that having engraved nibs was always something I viewed as having 'made it' in the pen world. Brian's been a legit pen maker for years, but having his logo on his nibs, to me, is just a great accomplishment.

The Premieres are no longer on a wait, they'll ship out within a couple of days after you order one. Let me know if you have any other suggestions for things I can show about the Premiere. I've covered them pretty thoroughly and I don't want to beat you over the head with Premiere stuff, so just let me know if I've missed anything. Thanks!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sharing Your Lamy Nibs on the Studio, Accent, Logo, CP1



Link to YouTube for my channel and more viewing options.

The Lamy Safari/Al-Star/Vista/Joys are probably one of the more popular fountain pens for those just getting into the hobby for many reasons, but that's not really my focus here. Many of you out there already have at least one of these pens, and possibly a variety of different nibs as swapping them out is so easy. That's one of the best thing about the pens, in fact.

I've talked before about how the nibs are interchangeable between the Safari, Vista, Al-Star, and Joy, in our Lamy intro post. But what's even cooler is that the same nibs you already have will also fit in the Studio, Accent, Logo, and CP1. They're all swappable!

Here's the Studio:



Here's the Accent:



Here's the Logo:



Here's the CP1:


Here's the Safari:



Here's the Vista:



Here's the Al-Star:



And the Joy:



The nibs swap out easily with just your fingers or the tape method like I have here. So if you had your eye on a Studio with a fine nib, and you already have a fine nib Safari, maybe you'll want to get an extra-fine or a broad Studio instead. Since you can swap the nibs out, just look to get something you don't have and you can broaden your collection of Lamy nibs.

It also means you can take that sweet 1.1mm italic nib and put it on your Studio or Accent (which normally aren't available with italic nibs)! You can really vary it up.

This is good news for Lamy fans. You can get a whole assortment of nibs and share them between your pen. You can have one pen and 7 different nib sizes, greatly increasing the function of your single pen. Or, if you wanted to add another pen, you have the option to use all of the nibs already in your collection!

Just to recap, the Lamy pens that all have swappable nibs (there a few others, but these are the ones available in the US):
  • Safari
  • Al-Star
  • Vista
  • Joy
  • Studio
  • Accent
  • Logo
  • CP1
And the nibs that you can use in them:
  • Extra fine (black or steel)
  • Fine (black or steel)
  • Medium (black or steel)
  • Broad (black or steel)
  • 1.1mm italic (steel)
  • 1.5mm italic (steel)
  • 1.9mm italic (steel)
It should also be noted that you can swap out Lamy gold nibs on these pens as well, but they aren't readily available separately (only directly through Lamy). You'll need to purchase a Studio or Accent with a gold nib on it to get one if you wanted to swap it out.

What Lamy nibs do you enjoy in your collection?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Ink Drop is out today!

I was going to do some kind of silly April Fool's joke about Ink Drop being cancelled or something dumb like that but decided not to. Meh.

Ink Drop is going out as usual today...the theme is Easter Egg Hunt. We'll be explaining a lot more what that means in the coming days once people start to get the drop ;)

What do you think it means?