Goulet Q&A Episode 1: Inks for Students, Nib Creep, & Maximum Fills


It’s the first episode of Goulet Q&A! I announced in my Q&A introduction earlier this week that I would be shooting a video where I answer your fountain pen questions. This is something I’m going to do weekly. It turned out going a little longer than I thought, but I answer a ton of different questions for you. I don’t know that I’m going to answer this many every week, I was really shooting for more of a half-hour length. It’ll take me a few weeks to really get a rhythm down, but I’d love to know what you think. Here are all the questions that I answered in the video: 

***Updated with timestamps!!!***

1) John- email (2:08):

Hello! As a student, I really enjoyed your recent video on suggested fountain pens for students. I was wondering if you would consider doing a video on suggested fountain pen inks for students, with the criteria being that the ink behaves well on cheaper paper, is not too expensive, and is at least somewhat conservative in color (wouldn’t want to be handing in apache sunset to a professor). So far the only ink I have found that fits these criteria is Noodler’s Black, but I would like to find others. Your videos are very educational and I enjoy watching them, thank you!
2) Doug- email (3:39):
If you had to pick 3 … only 3 RED inks, which ones would they be?  You are interested in 1) a true deep red color (not dark red),  and 2) performance/value.  I have already puchased a LAMY bottle of red which is anything but … I will be using this ink to markup papers/editing etc.  and would like it to say “READ ME – PAY ATTENTION TO THIS” …

3) Charles- email (4:41):

I have a pen that is only eyedropper fill, it wasn’t expensive but it is ebonite and I think it’s attractive, and it writes nicely too.  However, it burps every time I use it, without warning, and I don’t want blobs on what I’m writing so it’s in the case. I wondered whether eyedropper-fill pens in general are like that, or just this one?4) Steven- Facebook (6:49):
Ok…from this moment forward you can only use one pen for the rest of your life…what pen do you choose in the following price ranges: $50 or less, 125 or less, 250 or less, and finally…the sky is the limit…price is not an option. (be thankful I’m not asking you to choose only one ink…although I have a feeling it would be some shade of blue)

5) Irving Poh- YouTube (9:02):
Will you consider having a selection of dip pens in the near future?6) ThePsphakr- YouTube (9:50):
What’s the best type of ink to use with extra fine nibs? What brands of pens have the finest nibs?

7) skateboardjaw- YouTube (11:39):

Will you do a Goulet inside look video? You could show us around the office and the steps you take to send your products etc.

8) Alec Johnson- YouTube (12:22):

What is your favorite ink/pen combo that is not Liberty’s Elysium and the Pilot Custom 74?
9) Wallace Grover- YouTube (13:26):
Noodlers looks to be the most popular fountain pen ink brand, but I’ve read it’s not well behaved and high maintanence which shied me away. Have you found it to be any more problematic than other brands?10) Christopher Hulsey- YouTube (15:50): 
Is there a way to stop nib creep other than changing pens/ink? I seem to have it happen with the Noodler’s inks I try. Are there any permanent black inks that are less prone to it?

11) Brandon Crisostomo- YouTube (18:41):
What is the most well behaved blue ink besides Florida blue (preferably something more vibrant)? and what paper would you recommend to buy in bulk for fountain pen use? [since I’m heading off to college in a short time] Thank You Brian

12) Ken Quenzer- YouTube (20:24): 
I would like to know more about cleaning pens. I am never sure how “clean” the water needs to be before I stop flushing the pen and then how long it needs to sit and dry before I can reload it with ink. What are your thoughts?

13) Brett Poole- YouTube (22:38):
Why do you only sell your current selection? Do you have plans on branching out into different brands? (Read: Visconti, Mont Blanc). Also would you consider a pen refurbishing / trade-in model?

14) berkebiletim- YouTube (24:33)
What are your opinions on left handed nibs?

15) Jael Thompson- YouTube (26:51):
Will you consider making a set of Goulet pen nibs for the Pilot pens, specifically nibs that fit the Pilot Metropolitan, Plumix, Penmanship, Cocoon, and the Prera? I detest the fact that Pilot does not make their nibs available to buy separate from their pens.

16) Gordon Hudson- YouTube (28:06):
How to fill a converter to maximum while not ending up with an over saturated feed that drips into the cap. This is only really a problem when I need to refill without writing immediately, but its still annoying.

17) Kevin Elliott- YouTube (29:11):
Do the twsbi mini’s now come with jowo nibs, or are the nibs maker still unknown?

18) Walter- InkNouveau (29:29):
Question on nibs – you’ve mentioned in the past that Pilot nibs are finer (smaller) than German nibs – so a Pilot medium nib might be more like a German fine nib. So can you tell me how the TWISBI nibs fit in here and the Goulet nibs. If I have say, a Lamy medium, what would I order in TWISBI and in Goulet nib size to be equivalent?

19) pjh- InkNouveau (31:25):

I’d love to turn the Platinum Cool into an eyedropper fill. You said you didn’t recommend doing it long term because of the potential for corrosion of the metal parts in contact with ink. Is there anything I could coat the metal parts with (silicone grease, perhaps? or paint?) to keep them from corroding? Are there some inks that would be less corrosive than others?
Also, the nib shield in the Cool ruins the appearance an otherwise beautiful pen. Have you discovered a way to remove it without damaging the pen?
If you pass these comments along to Platinum, will they take customer thoughts into consideration for a redesign?20) Jim- InkNouveau (33:47):
Any info at all on the Pilot Vanishing point le for 2013?

21) Anonymous- InkNouveau (34:38):
Where did El Lawrence go? I came to your site to restock on it, and it’s gone 🙁

22) Kelly- InkNouveau (35:36):
You have Goulet nibs and joint venture pens such as the Nighthawk and Edison Nouveau. Will there be a 100% Goulet Pen in the future? And if yes, will you consider adding a flex nib to the nib family?

One more question: the 30 ml Diamine inks, is this still on your radar? Thanks.

23) Bob- InkNouveau (37:55):

What do you think is the dollar threshold where a
fountain pen’s writing performance does not get any better if you spend
more money. For example does a $100 pen write as good as you’re likely
to get regardless of what you spend. Thanks!24) Joshua Sasmor- InkNouveau (41:32):
Is there an easy way to disassemble the Lamy Vista cap? I somehow got ink between the silver inner cap liner and the clear plastic of the cap itself. I know a new cap is only $20, but still…

25) Jerry- InkNouveau (42:25):

Here are a few things that I wouldn’t mind you covering in you Q&A:
1) How do you lubricate the piston on a piston fill?
2) How do you remove the nib/feed on a Platinum 3776?
3) Does a Standard International Cartridge Converter come apart like a Platinum 3776 Cartridge Converter? If so can you show how to take one a part?26) Stephenie Owen-Tillotson- InkNouveau (44:50):
Goulet Q&A is an awesome idea 🙂 I am thinking about getting into wax seals and I noticed you seem to carry J. Herbin’s letters but not their symbols – FYI I was looking for their Star of David. My wife and I hyphenated our last names, so one letter wouldn’t really work for both of us. Is there a reason you only carry the letters?

27) Sam- InkNouveau (45:41):
What’s your favorite ink, and why? Any color that you consider “yours”?

28) Arnim Sommer- YouTube (46:50):
Which ink does the world still lack?
I really had a lot of fun doing this video, I hope you enjoyed it, too! Let me know your thoughts as well as any additional questions you have in the comments below. Have a great week, see you on 8/30!Write On,
Brian Goulet

2017-10-20T12:55:33+00:00 August 23rd, 2013|Goulet Q&A|49 Comments
  • Allan Zirlin

    There seems to a lot of questions about ink. Is that the most popular topic on pen people's mind?

  • I want to know what the hourglass thing you had was. Can you tell I like geeky things? 🙂

  • Matt Beston

    Really excellent

  • PapaKuma

    I see comments in various forums of people wanting particular bronze age pens from Visconti or first year parker 51 pens. What pen do you lust over / what is your "holy grail" pen?

  • Ted

    Question: I know that you have been complimented for the quality of your packaging, but I wonder if you have ever discussed trying to use less plastic (less packaging generally) for environmental considerations. Americans are often criticized for overvaluing packaging beyond what is actually necessary (and thus become wasteful).

  • Aman

    Which model is your Macbook? Just Wondering

  • David

    Argggh. I can't sit through the whole video to hear answers to a few of the questions I find interesting – and clicking around the video in YouTube looking for the answers is a nightmare. Maybe put the answer times in the text post? I'll try dealing with it, but I'm not warming to this format as-is Brian.

  • Brian, you said we could ask anything so, how can we get those great Goulet Pen t-shirts – especially the dark blue one?

  • Christine Witt

    I was glad to see that you answered a Q about wax seals (definitely interested in symbols here, too), but have noticed that you've been out of stock on the supple wax in some colors for quite awhile now – will you be getting more in? You're definitely my preferred supplier of pens/inks -thank you for all that you do!

  • Leigh Haggar

    Regarding Arnim's question about what ink the world lacks, WHITE ink that shows up on black paper and works in a fountain pen. How about a GOLD and SILVER too?

  • MyriamV

    I like the idea of the Q&A videos. However, I sometimes don't have the time to watch the whole thing (50 min. is a bit long for my schedule). I noticed you listed the questions below the video. How about adding at which time in the video each question starts? I've seen you do it in other videos and I think it would be a really great feature for these Q&A's. It would also make it easier to find a specific answer at a later date.

  • Sam

    What is the finest fountain pen around $25? I'm looking for a pen to take notes in school. I only have cheap paper so bleed is an issue (I would like to be able to use both sides of the page). I've heard that the Sailor Highace Neo is very fine but I don't really like how it looks.


  • Blue Moon

    Brian, I appreciate your innovation and trying to improve, but I have to agree with some of the other comments. It takes way too much time to look at the video. Also, I don't think posting the times of the questions will work either. It's way better to be able to scan the questions, skip the ones you're not interested in, and read only the ones you are. For example, in these 28 questions, I'm only interested in about 5. I don't have time to watch the video, so I'll be skipping them this week. Again, I appreciate the fact that you're trying to make things better, but unless you include both the written answers and the video, or bump the video altogether, I think this idea is a miss – EVEN with only a thirty minute video. Think about it – thirty minutes to watch a video or two minutes to read only the answers you're interested in.

  • It looks like a 13" Unibody MacBook Pro.

  • DET

    I really enjoyed the video, Brian. Is there any chance you might be able to upload future installments to iTunes as a podcast? For those of us with long commutes, it would be great to listen to them in the car. Thanks!

  • Miss Thundercat

    I make the time to watch your vids but 50 min. Is a bit on the longish side. But I appreciate you still need to get a rythm set for this format. I enjoy listening to your thorough answers on Qs they are always very helpful. Looking forward to the next installment.
    My question is about mixing ink. Are inks generally mixable with each (crossing diff. brands)? what are the groundrules/do's and don'ts for mixing up a nice color with diff. color inks from diff. brands?

  • Philip Thomas

    A very informative and entertaining video Brian. As for me I would really love you to stock the 30ml Diamine inks. For me it's the perfect volume! At the moment I source the 30ml bottles from Cult Pens in UK and because I try to keep P&P down I usually buy a few things at the same time. In that case it could be a deal breaker! On the plus side though your huge range of colours for the Ahabs and Konrads together with your wonderful nibs keep me coming back for more. All the best, Philip Thomas, Singapore.

  • write to me often

    Dear Brian,

    Although it is a pleasure to watch your videos, I have to say I do prefer the former type, regular Q&A since it is easier to catch, easier to skip the answers of the questions you really curious about and easier to find when you google it.

    I just wanted to add this as a note.


  • Hi Brian,
    I think a video Q&A is a great idea, but it's a very long video to sit through.

    Is there any way to add chapter markers within the video so that we can jump to the exact point in the video where you address a particular question for which I'm looking for your response.


  • Henry

    The world is lacking one specific ink color… white. I can't find a single white ink for fountain pens. Tons of black inks as you have stated but not one single white.

    Secondly… what are your thoughts about creating a vanishing point fountain pen with a clear body? Think about it… a vanishing point that almost completely vanishes. The only parts you can see are the nib, a wire spring and the ink.

  • ★ keri ★

    I was thinking the same thing! Actually, I want a zip-up hoodie with the Goulet Pens logo on one side 😛 (but i'd settle for a t-shirt if that's all we got)

  • I don't know if it's what's most on everyone's mind, but it's probably the most ambiguous and confusing part of fountain pens, due to the lack of standardization and information available about ink properties and performance, as well as how much an ink's appearance is affected by the pen, paper, and other factors.

  • 🙂 I was hoping you'd notice that. I didn't actually turn it over until near the end, but I hope to show you more how it works in Episode 2 😉

  • Thanks! It came together well.

  • That is a really good question, and yes we definitely have. We've looked at biodegradeable bubbles, as well as paper packaging alternatives. I think I'll elaborate on this on Friday 🙂

  • Close…15" Retina MBP. I do a lot of photo/video stuff, and this is my sole machine so I needed a heavy-hitter.

  • Done! Sorry, I'm still figuring out the format as I go, don't give up on me yet 😉 I shot the vid Friday morning, it went longer than I thought, which meant it took longer to film, longer to edit, longer to export, longer to upload, and longer to format the blog post…it wasn't until barely before I left work for the weekend that I even got the post up! In the future, I will plan to shoot on Thursdays instead, so I have time to do time stamps for the questions at the time I post them. I had a really strong feeling that it would be something that I'd have a lot of requests for, and I did.

  • We have a Zazzle store with some GPC swag on it, we don't push it hard b/c it's not our focus, we basically set it up so that we can buy swag for our team 🙂 But you're welcome to it yourself! http://www.zazzle.com/gouletpens

  • Ug, I know. We're backordered on wax stuff a LOT. We try to keep it in stock all the time, but when we're out, just know it's because we're backordered on it. Signing up for the 'email me when back in stock' notification is the best thing to do in that situation.

  • Yeah….that's just not gonna happen, any of those. Technically, there's Noodler's Whiteness of the Whale, that's kind of milky, not a pure white. It's really made for mixing. The problem with all these colors you're asking about is that they require pigments to get their colors, and that just physically won't work in a fountain pen.

  • Done! I didn't have time to do it on Friday, but I'm going to try to do it at the time I post the video from here on out.

  • You should check out my FP101 video on Fountain Pens for Students: http://www.inknouveau.com/2013/08/fp101-fountain-pens-for-students.html

    Not sure about the Highace Neo, that's a pen that's not distributed through the US Sailor distributor.

  • Well, you're basically describing Mailbox Monday, which I've been doing for almost two years now. The thing I don't like about that format is it's so hard to get my personality and excitement across, as about 90% of communication is through body language. So while I see your point, I'm not going to abandon the Q&A vid just because it's not ideal for everyone, it's meant to kind of revive the spirit of Write Time, which was a video format that we stopped earlier this year. I can fully appreciate that it's not worth your time to participate in Q&A, I know it won't please everyone.

  • Already did 😉 It took forever to export the podcast version of this video, so I barely got it up before midnight on Friday. I'll make sure they go out around the same time as the blog post in the future 😉 I could theoretically do an audio-only version as well, but it get's a little messy as I'd have to create a whole new podcast channel to do that. I wanted to do a proof-of-concept on the Q&A format first, before setting all that up.

  • Cool, thanks for being understanding 🙂 Yeah, this was pretty long, but I wanted to see just how long it would be to answer this many questions. It's pretty obvious now I won't be able to answer every question I get each week, so now I have a better idea just how many questions I will be able to answer. I'm going to shoot for 30ish minutes in the future, if I can 😉

  • Noted 🙂 Yeah, we're still debating this one, stocking 30ml's won't be cheap or easy to do, so we'll take our time to consider all factors.

  • It's entirely possible I could to both…since Mailbox Monday was only about 5-6 questions a week, and I won't be able to answer nearly as many questions in the Q&A as are asked of me, I could well keep MBM alive and just add Q&A to it…I'll have to see. I know there is value in the text form of the Q&A format, but there are some huge tradeoffs. Maybe it's worth discussion in the next Q&A vid. This is all a great experiment, after all!

  • Done!

  • I answered under Leigh Haggar's post, but a pure white ink really isn't possible for a fountain pen because there aren't any white dyes…only pigments.

    A clear VP? That would be cool, but all of the other VP's are metal, and I'm not sure how the pen design would hold up if made of plastic. It would be really cool to see though!

  • Leigh Haggar

    Well they make a white ink that goes into drafting pens, such as Rotring. Would that be thicker than regular fountain pen ink or would it contain stuff like shellac which would ruin the fountain pen feed?

  • Diane Maher

    Brian, as I was checking the ink level in my Pilot VP the other day, I noticed the outside of the nib had some ink on it and this made me wonder is it possible to clean the inside of the Pilot VP thoroughly? Does ink accumulate inside the barrel of the VP near the door where the nib comes out when you activate the click mechanism?

  • Nicky

    I have one of those! It's awesome! I actually sat it next to me while watching because I could.

  • Michelle Busse

    What happens to make an entire converter full of ink end up in the lid of my pen? Is that something I did wrong, a pressure issue, a converter-not-fully-seated or what?

  • Guest

    I hadn't realized you'd decided "Write Time" is gone forever. Last I recall seeing, it was just on hiatus until the kids were potty trained. 😉

  • Ashleigh Low

    Hey Brian,

    Really appreciate what you're doing here!

    I think GouletPen's selling point is your enthusiasm and honesty as an enthusiast. It shows in your videos. So please don't be paranoid your competitors checking out your operational/storage/shipping processes! They'd still need to step up on their PR/marketing/customer service to match your company's capabilities. 🙂

    I think you're right about cutting the length down to about 30mins. That's about the attention span of most people anyway, and you did seem yourself to get a little worn down somewhere near that point. (Or so I thought.)

    Great job. Love the idea. Keep it up!

  • Thanks for the kind words! I'm not at all paranoid about my competitors, but there's a saying that goes "just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you!". I have to be realistic that whatever information I share will be view by many, many people, so I just have to be conscientious of that.

    Definitely going a little shorter will help, I'll just have to talk faster, haha! We'll see how this week goes. Thanks for all the awesome support, I'll try to keep crushing it every day.

  • Sam

    Hey Brian,
    Which do you prefer, Lamy Al Star or Sheaffer 100?


  • Ted

    Thanks for replying in Q&A 3. I understand the trade offs, but I hope that you will continue to consider this, especially for those orders that do not contain materials likely to be damaged (not all orders are the same is this regard). At some point for all of us, the environment will HAVE to matter more in our scale of values. Only a matter of time, even if the time is not exactly NOW.

  • srokshin

    Hi Brian,
    I enjoyed the video a lot, and will try and find time for the next ones.
    You mentioned about the relative line width for nibs that you think probably the Goulet nibs should be the same as TWSBI, as they are both Jowo (probably). I wish. I have two Goulet EF nibs on Ahab pens, and while they are nice and smooth, they are far and away wider than the TWSBI EF on my Vac 700. The Goulet nibs are probably the European standard, but somehow TWSBI managed to get close to the Japanese range.