Friday, September 23, 2016

Goulet Q&A Episode 139, Open Forum

Goulet Q&A is now available as an audio podcast! Click here  for the RSS feed to use in your podcast app of choice, or click here for a direct download.

In this episode, I talk about thick ink, troubleshoot a lot of different issues, and I am giving away a Pilot VP Guilloche!

This week:
  • 50k giveaway! VP Guilloche on the line
  • To enter, leave a comment on this week's Q&A (139) on YouTube with your favorite GPC YouTube video and why
  • Only 1 entry per person
  • Entry window closes on Monday morning (9/26 at 8am EDT)
  • I'll be announcing the winner the following Friday (9/30) at the beginning of Q&A (140).
  • Winner will direct message Goulet Pens through YouTube with their email, we'll get the info we need from there
  • Winner will have a week to reach out to us
New/Upcoming Products - (4:39)

Pens/Writing - (11:41)

1) Marcus C.- Facebook - (11:43) 
Several videos ago you recommended a Platinum carbon ink pen to someone who was looking for a very stiff nib "Hard as Nails" I think they referred to. I tried out the Platinum and really like the way it writes. But it is not the most good looking pen. Is there a way of combining this pen with another maintaining the nib, but making it look better? A "Franken-pen".
  • Nope, not this particular pen (that I know)
  • Platinum makes all their own nibs, so they're fairly proprietary in terms of how they fit in there
  • I did see a blogger hack the end off the pen with a hacksaw (a literal hack!) to make it more portable
  • the one exception might be the 3776, which uses a #6 size nib but still I wouldn't have high hopes that would swap well in many pens
  • you're pretty much stuck with what you have

2) Mike C.- Facebook - (16:21)
I have a Nimiki VP I purchase new in July of 1996...I have never used it...should I ink it now or keep it pristine as a small investment? Yes I put it away and forgot about it.
  • that's pretty cool to still have that, honestly
  • I can't really tell you the right answer, you'll have to look inside your heart
  • it's not going to be a huge value bump though, honestly
  • they aren't particularly valuable, maybe $100 or so more than a modern VP if that (though special editions and stuff might be worth more)
  • I'm really not a vintage expert, and you could probably hold on to it forever and get someone someday who desperately wants that pen for their collection and get a good price
  • it might be worth posting it on FPN just to get an idea what it's worth
  • if you use it, the value will surely go down a bit, but that's up to you
  • personally, I might be inclined to just leave it as is, it's been this long!!

Ink - (21:00)

3) Silvia C.- Facebook - (21:03)
Would you use the word THICK to describe the properties of an ink? I've used both Diamine's Apple Glory and Lamy Turquoise in my Lamy NexxM with steel fine nib, and noticed that the same quantity of both ink does not last for equal amount of time/writing. Have you also experienced the same with different inks?
  • Oh sure, the viscosity of an ink is definitely a factor in how it performs
  • unfortunately, that's not something the ink makers advertise at all, really
  • now there are a LOT of factors for how quickly your ink will be used up
  • viscosity is surely one of them, though your sample size here is pretty small and non-scientific
  • I wish I could even generalize to say which inks seem thick and which are thin, and I've even contemplated doing viscosity testing on all our inks to come up with some objective way to share this info, but I don't know that I could translate results from a test to an actual attributable performance
  • any scientists out there have experience with this? I'm curious

Paper - (27:05)

4) Kevin G.- Facebook - (27:07)
Are there particular papers that are especially prone to skin oil? My Apica basic notebooks make all my pens from Jinhao to Visconti skip, and only my Japanese and nibmeistered pens managed to survive perfectly. Since the paper is not super glossy, I'm suspecting that oil may be the problem.
  • This is interesting because I usually hear of complaints of this on slicker paper like Rhodia or Clairefontaine
  • the oils are just keeping the ink from absorbing into the paper, and the more ink repellent the paper is to begin with, usually the more issues you'll have with it
  • honestly, I don't hear of this happening allll that much though, on any paper (though it definitely does)
  • this really varies person-to-person
  • slicker paper with oil on it will really test the fine tuning of your nib, because it won't be assisting in the capillary action of the ink flow
  • it'll be a trial and error thing
  • you can keep a piece of paper or blotter card under your hand as you write on the top of the page to help keep the oils at bay

Troubleshooting - (33:08)

5) Melissa H.- Facebook - (33:10)
I used J Herbin Rouge Hematite in my new clear Ahab and had a devil of a time getting it all out. I took it completely apart then used the first thing I always reach for when I have a stain on a hard surface, a magic eraser. About the time I was finishing up scrubbing that tiny plunger piece it dawned on me I might be wearing away at the vegetal resin. Should I avoid using the magic eraser? I know they are made of the stuff used for automotive sanding, but super, super fine. Thanks so much!
  • Red inks are sometimes tough to clean out of demonstrators, especially this one!
  • the clear Ahab is clingier with inks anyway, just that material
  • you are basically polishing the pen surface with a magic eraser, which is okay from time to time but you wouldn't want to be doing that on too regular a basis
  • it is an actual abrasive, so save it for special occasions
  • you can drive yourself crazy keeping demonstrators clean, really
  • try using pen flush, and other less abrasive things like toothbrushes or q-tips as a first resort

6) Mike W.- Facebook - (39:06)
Is it ever necessary to heat set a plastic feed? If so how is that best done? Thanks!
  • it's usually not necessary, but it can sometimes help
  • it's not for the faint of heart, as it takes more work to heat set it than ebonite
  • the plastics used in different feeds varies, so you may have a differing amount of time to heat set one feed over another
  • it's not as standardized as ebonite
  • the process is more or less similar though
  • I sat with Mike Masuyama as he showed me what he does
  • he removes the feed, heats it in water, then bends it up, lets it cool
  • he inserts it back into the pen, then sticks the feed/nib into warm water to heat set it again
  • the pressure from the nib sets the feed in the right place
  • the risk is if you heat the feed too much, it can melt it and then it's shot
  • you usually can't get a spare feed easily, which is a bummer
  • do at your own risk

7) jmcollis- Instagram - (45:50)
How standard really is the International Standard cartridge system. I have some (admittedly cheap) pens that are supposed to take international cartridges that a cartridge will not stay put in, i.e. they easily fall out. I have similar results with converters for them.
  • generally it's pretty standard, but if you have a really cheap pen it could definitely not be manufactured up to par
  • I haven't seen issues with this in any of the "cheap" pens we've carried (Jinhao/Daiso), but they're out there
  • definitely one thing to check is to make sure it's inserted all the way, sometimes they actually click into place
  • if the tolerance is too small it could just fall out, but if it's too great, then you might have to kind of force it on there
  • if you get one that just won't accept anything, then you're kind of up a creek...just eyedropper convert it if you can (even if it's metal...what choice do you really have at that point?) or toss it

8) @brianhodgepodge- Twitter - (50:46)
Any tips on swapping the nib on pens w/a nib unit? I'm worried I'll damage the feed as I swap them because the fit is so snug.
  • you definitely need to watch out when doing this, it's easy to damage some feeds out there
  • TWSBI feeds I find are particularly fragile
  • a lot of #6 size feeds are pretty robust, like Monteverde/Conklin, Noodler's, Edison
  • using a grip can definitely help
  • gently rocking back and forth as you pull helps
  • gentle twisting as you pull can help too

Business - (57:09)

9) Sue M.- Facebook - (57:11)
I miss the overhead views that you used to have in your older videos. Is there any chance of you bringing those back for the Q and A when you are showing something up close?
  • For Q&A, not really, we never really did overhead for Q&A
  • It's really just way too much footage to manage, and the camera we normally used for overhead shots is what we'd use for Q&A face shots
  • this is a technique Jenni and I have sort of moved away from lately in general
  • just for our own workflow, it's worked out better doing more scripting/planning of what I'm going to say in order to keep the video length much shorter
  • in the "old days", I'd ramble more in one continuous take, mainly because that was faster and easier to edit back when I did it all myself
  • Jenni allows us to keep it shorter and more concise, and she's helping me shoot a lot of b-roll/hand shots now that we've been working together a while (and I'm getting pretty dang busy)
  • I admit, it'd be pretty cool but it'd just be too much for us to handle with multicam in Q&A

QOTW: What has been your favorite Goulet Pens YouTube video, and why? - (01:05:03)
**Be sure to leave your comment on YouTube for your chance to be entered into our 50k Giveaway**

Thanks so much for joining us this week! You can catch up on any old Q&A videos you missed here.

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Thursday Things: Autumn Embers

An autumn inspired flat lay of fountain pens, notebooks, and ink, with navy blues, browns, and yellows.

A mug of hot cider, a roaring fire in the fireplace, and your best and favorite pens, inks, and paper in front of you. Is there a more perfect setting to do some inspired writing? There is something about autumn, above all other seasons, that gets the creative juices flowing for us here at Goulet. For this Thursday Things, we're honoring the first day of Fall, as well as the release of our Edison Nouveau Fall Premiere, with all of our favorite autumnal picks. Take a look at Thursday Things: Autumn Embers!

Featured products from left to right:
Kick off your fall writing by shopping these great products on the Thursday Things: Autumn Embers shopping guide.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Top 10 Wet and Dry Inks

 Choosing the right ink for your fountain pen can be daunting, especially when there are so many inks on the market. If you're a lefty or exploring using flex pens for the first time, it can be especially frustrating as these situations require a much more precise ink choice to avoid complications like smearing or hard starting. People will tell you try "wet" or "dry" inks... but what does that mean? Isn't all ink wet? They are liquid after all! Fret not, we are here to set it all straight for you.

First off, most fountain pen ink is water based (with a few exceptions of iron gall), but, yes, they are all liquids. The majority of the ink on the market, including the wet or dry ones we will mention below, are safe for fountain pens and will work in fountain pens. However, certain fountain pens and ink seem to play together better than others. Finding the perfect pen and ink match is part of the fun.

Secondly, the wetness or dryness of an ink is a matter of personal opinion just as much as it is the perfect symphony of pen, ink, and paper all working together for a beautiful writing experience. An ink that flows graciously and lusciously from a pen nib and results in very smooth, saturated writing would be considered a wet ink. Whereas, an ink that flows rather conservatively and lightly out of a pen and does not leave a great deal of ink on the page when writing is considered dry. If you're using a flex pen or have a pen that seems to write dry, you can try filling it up with a wetter ink to help with the flow issues. Left handed writers may naturally gravitate towards a drier writing ink as well, as they will be less likely to smudge it when pushing the pen across the page. But each fountain pen writer has their own features they look for in a good ink. Here is a brief overview of our favorite wet and dry ink brands overall and a few suggestions you can try to get the full wet and dry ink experience.


When thinking about wet inks, Noodler's is, by-and-large, most people's first answer. Nathan Tardif creates his stunning inks with a healthy dose of lubrication and pigment, resulting in a wet, juicy flow. Another brand worth mentioning for its wet inks is Diamine. With a rainbow of great ink shades, Diamine has an ink for everyone.

Here are our top 5 Wet Inks:

Diamine Apple Glory
Bright green and gorgeous, Diamine Apply Glory has a generous flow wet enough for even the most tight nib. It is available in a 30ml bottle for $7.50, an 80ml bottle for $14.95, or a 2ml ink sample for $1.25.

De Atramentis Gold
Sample of De Atramentis Gold fountain pen ink
Our Community Coordinator Madigan loves using De Atramentis Gold in her flex pens. She says it behaves nicely and has a great, generous flow. Try it in a 35ml bottle for $12.95 or a 2ml ink sample for $1.30.

Rohrer and Klingner Alt-Goldgrün
The saturation of Alt-Goldgrun can't be beat. Everyone in our office that uses it finds it very pleasing and smooth and the flow very nice. Pick it up in a 50ml bottle for $11.95 or try a 2ml ink sample for $1.25.

Noodler's Air-Corp Blue-Black
Noodler's Air-Corp Blue-Black is a fascinating color, somewhere between blue, black, and green. It flows wet and juicy. Try it in a 2ml ink sample for $1.25 or a 3oz. bottle for $12.50.

Noodler's Apache Sunset
Noodler's Apache Sunset Ink Splatter
Hands down the king of shading inks, Noodler's Apache Sunset is a heavily saturated, great flowing wet ink that many fall madly in love with upon first use. It is available in a 3oz. bottle for $12.50 or a 2ml ink sample for $1.25.


When asked about some good dry ink options, our Customer Care team unanimously responded with the Pelikan 4001 inks. This inks are great for anyone looking for a dry ink that won't spread greatly when writing and will have a conservative ink flow. It is generally thought that dry inks are not as vibrant as their wetter cousins but the 4001 inks put that notion to the test. Susan, one of our Customer Care team members, notes that the Pelikan Violet is especially gorgeous and is a favorite of hers. Royal Blue is another bright and brilliant choice. However, for the more professional, subdued needs, Brilliant Black is the way to go. Another fantastic option for dry writing are the Lamy inks. These fun inks with the built-in blotting paper roll on the bottle are smooth writing while still dry flowing.

Here are our top 5 dry inks:

Pelikan Violet 4001
Pelikan Violet 4001 Fountain Pen Ink
This ink is bright and lively, while still maintaining a minimal flow that makes it a dry writer. Available in a 2oz. bottle for $13.80 or a 2ml ink sample for $1.25.

Lamy Black
Lamy Black Fountain Pen Ink
Lamy Black is a great go-to for work or school appropriate ink. It's a basic black that won't saturate the page when you are trying to take notes. Pick it up in a 50ml bottle for $10.50 or a 2ml ink sample for $1.25.

Monteverde Brown
image of Monteverde Brown fountain pen ink bottle and swab
This rich brown is gorgeous but still maintains the conservative flow of a dry ink. It's a nice departure from a standard blue or black and gives writing an old world feel with a color reminiscent of aged leather. You can find it in a 90ml bottle for $12.50 or a 2ml ink sample for $1.25.

Pelikan Royal Blue 4001
Pelikan Royal Blue 4001 Fountain Pen Ink
Another bright and fun option in the dry inks, Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue adds a pop of color to the dry inks category. Try it in a 2oz bottle for $13.80 or a 2ml ink sample for $1.25.

Lamy Blue-Black 
Lamy Blue/Black Fountain Pen Ink
Lamy Blue-Black is a great conservative but still interesting choice for ink. Not the reserved black, but still work appropriate, this blue-grey ink has a limited flow but writes very well. This great ink comes in an 50ml bottle for $10.50 or a 2ml ink sample for $1.25.

There are other factors outside of the ink itself that can affect ink flow. Being mindful of the paper you're using will help immensely in having a desirable writing experience. Writing on cheap printer or notebook paper can make even the driest inks feather and bleed in the right circumstances. Also, using a flex or stub nib, both of which put down a great deal of ink all at once, requires an ink that can keep up with that ink flow.

What are your preferences: wet or dry? Let us know in the comments below!

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

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