Friday, September 13, 2013

Goulet Q&A Episode 4

This week marks the 4th Goulet Q&A, and to mix things up a bit I decided to focus on the topic "Getting into the fountain pen hobby". I've done a number of Fountain Pen 101 videos intended for the beginners in our fountain pen world, and my motivation for them was to make it easier to get a start than what I experienced when I was trying to figure it all out myself years ago. This Q&A is intended to 'fill the gaps' of anything I might have missed in those videos, and answer any questions you have that I didn't think to include.

Here are this week's questions:

1) VallivueLaxPlayer- YouTube (2:45):
What are some of the best ways to convince people that fountain pens are worth it?
  • Judge your audience
  • Romatic appeal
  • Passionate/unique community
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Color/fun ink selection
  • Personality
  • Environmental consciousness
  • Status

2) DjentleDjiant- YouTube (6:24):
What would be some decent inks (blue, black, etc) for people who are getting into fountain pens to check out?
  • Brian's sampler set: 
  • Noodler's Black
  • Noodler's Black Swan in Australian Roses
  • Diamine Ancient Copper
  • Diamine Majestic Blue
  • Diamine Red Dragon
  • Noodler's 54th Massachusetts
  • Noodler's Liberty's Elysium
  • Rohrer and Klingner Scabiosa
  • Noodler's Apache Sunset
  • Noodler's Blue Ghost

3) The Pen Pixie- YouTube (8:12):
I just got a gift of $500. What fountain(s) pen do you suggest? For reference, I like the Pilot Metropolitan for an everyday writer. I also like a bit of an italic nib and prefer a smooth writing experience. I like a smaller grip section and find the Lamy Safari grip fatiguing. What fountain pen(s) do you suggest?

4) Foxclass- YouTube (10:57):
I'm new to fountain pens, and just grabbed a medium nib Pilot Prera (absolutely love it). For next week's video how about some suggestions for a good follow up purchase to expand my stationery collection? What would be a good way to continue the hobby - a notebook? Some ink? Things like that!
5) Brian Fourroux- Facebook (14:09):I'm just getting started in the hobby and one of the things I love is the diversity and variation that exists in the FP world. What 5 relatively inexpensive (<$75) pens would you recommend a newbie work towards to get a good, overarching experience of all the fun things fountain pens can do? Maybe talk about different nibs and inks to go with those pens if you have time.
6) Dionne C- YouTube (17:14): 
I am so new to this hobby that I just bought my first pens, a Pilot varsity, Platinum preppy and a Lamy Safari. I was wondering can you store ink in the converter and then just change that out when you want a new color? Looking forward to playing with my pens when they get here.

7) @fmfisdead- Twitter (19:19):
Is it bad to use up an ink completely in a pen? Overheard at DC you shouldn’t let it run completely to the end.

8) PapaKuma- Ink Nouveau (20:48):
What would you recommend to someone who would like to use a fountain pen but is left handed? What makes a left handed nib a left handed nib and do they provide a dramatic change in usability for lefties? (p.s. any chance of getting the lamy LH nibs back in stock, they have been unavailable for a long time now)

9) Matt Lasley- email (24:33):
What are the Permanent &/or semi-permanent inks in stock? Noodlers' line is clear. What are others that are permanent. Most of the other inks I like are just not permanent, and maybe I'll get over permanence as a criteria. Knowing, say for Diamine, what inks are permanent would be good. Even if it's only partially permanent, I've noticed there's rock-solid permanent, then there's the ones that will smear but still leave a permanent line (gets ugly when wet, but does not lose the writing) and then there's the non permanent that washes away and does lose what was written. I can see myself compromising to accept a mid-permanent ink for one that I really like.
  • Gouletpens.com- water resistant inks here

10) Hans Packer-Facebook (28:40):
Have you ever commented on how someone might decide on a nib size? I have always bought medium, but I am considering a Delta Fusion 82, and I am feeling like being daring and getting a broad nib. I just was wondering your thoughts on pros and cons for different nib sizes.

For next week's video on Friday, Sept. 20th I'll go with the theme "Ink". You can ask me anything you want to know about fountain pen ink, ink brands, properties, how to choose the right ink, anything along those lines. You can ask the question in the comments on this video. You can also check out previous episodes of Goulet Q&A here.

Write On,
Brian Goulet


  1. Question #6 reminded me of an issue I have with the Lamy Joy calligraphy set. I use the calligraphy pens get used infrequently and sparingly (pretty much just messing around) so I'm left with multiple inked feeds & nibs that probably won't get used again for a couple weeks. The set comes with caps and a tin for storage, but is it safe to leave these with converter or cartridge on? Seems like I'd be wasting more ink than using if I had to flush them after every use.

  2. In question 2 I would appreciate a european version. Noodlers are almost impossible to get here.
    Keep going with this new format.

  3. Brian, you have in the past mentioned ink colors and at least alluded to brands you like, but what are some of the inks you don't like and that could be on account of color, nib creep, poor flow in your pens, brand, etc.

  4. I nearly fell off my chair when you mentioned the words 'middle-aged' and then went on to say that you are only 29. If you consider yourself middle-aged at 29, I am probably early Jurassic at 41. Very smart look. LOL.

  5. I'll see your 41 and raise you by ten. (What was before Jurassic?) 29 is - um, not exactly middle-aged.

    I do like the polo shirt. I have to admit when you say collared shirt to me, though, I envision something like an Oxford button-down, not a polo shirt, on which the collar seems a mere technicality to me. (See above in re: age...)

  6. LOL. I too would expect maybe a more formal, collared shirt.

  7. Hi Brian, I would like to see a few ink sampler packages by ink property. For-example, bullet proof, good shading, lubricated, maybe one or two more. What do you think?

    'MIddle Aged' at 29, pffft... You're just a baby ;-)

    Regards, David in Jakarta

  8. Q about inks: Are there inks that are suitable for writing on slightly 'glossy' paper like those commonly used for greeting cards? The paper doesn't seem to absorb water based inks and I would have to resort to gel inked ball points on them.

  9. I really like the shade of red used in the Pilot Varsity/V Pen. Can you tell me which bottled ink most closely matches this colour?

  10. Brian,
    Love the collar!
    But how about an episode where you take us on a tour of your warehouse and operations.
    That would be a cool factory tour.

  11. If you're using them that seldom, it's probably best just to ink them up part-way when using a converter. If you know it'll be a while before you'll pick it back up, clean it out. This is easier for me to say than do, I can't tell you how many pens I have with dried ink in them right now ;)

  12. I was just naming some of my favorites, and Diamine should be pretty easy to come by in Europe. What brands are readily available to you? I'm happy to make recommendations.

  13. To be fair, I didn't say I am middle-aged, but that I can feel middle-age creeping up on me. I had 35 in mind for nearing middle-age, but Google is telling me that middle-age is typically associated with 45-65, so clearly I'm way off! Sorry about that. For what it's worth, Rachel and I have crammed a lot of life into our 29 years so far...I think I'm due for an early mid-life crisis ;)

  14. Yeah, that definitely isn't happening anytime soon. Our team here is literally wearing tank tops and baseball caps, so I would stick out like a sore thumb in my own company wearing an Oxford shirt! Plus, two toddlers would be sure to ruin any nice shirt I'd attempt to wear for a full day...

  15. That's a good idea. We're currently brainstorming a lot of package ideas right now, I'll be sure to add these into our discussion.

  16. Haha, thanks! I'll have to give the tour thing some thought. It might not be a Q&A episode but I could see doing more of a behind the scenes of Goulet type video.

  17. I honestly don't know! Does anyone else?

  18. Actually almost everything but Noodlers and maybe Private Reserve is available. Well Organic Studio is another one not readily available.

  19. Not to worry; 10/10 for effort. it wasn't the shirt that concerned me as much as the fact that you mentioned the words 'middle-aged' and '29' in almost the same sentence. Congratulations on the weight loss; you're looking good.

  20. Well, according to Google; I am only 4 years off the onset of middle age - I can heave a slight sigh of relief. If you feel yourself heading towards that mid-life crises, just make sure that you aren't walking past any Harley Davidson showrooms. LOL.

  21. Hey Brian,
    Great shirt! But, I'm with you - wear what you want. Wish I could wear a t-shirt and jeans to work all the time.
    Ink question - I've recently developed an interest in red inks. What would be a good red ink - a little on the darker side (dark red, red-black, etc.) that would be the least likely to stain a pen?
    Thanks Brian!

  22. Hi Brian, thanks for these Q&A videos - a really great idea! I have a few (mostly Noodlers) ink questions, if you can squeeze them in - though the first is the most pressing for me:
    (1) I have two TWSBIs (a 580 and a Mini, both with EF nibs) that I use quite a bit for writing - oh, and a Noodler's flex pen I just purchased from Goulet pens! I really want permanent / bulletproof inks, that will 'behave' nicely in these pens, and on the copier paper I write on most of the time. I'm guessing Liberty's Elysium would be your go-to blue ink, but which of the Noodlers blacks would best suit my needs: Black, X-Feather, or Heart of Darkness, or... something else again? [I currently use Diamine Jet Black, which is pretty good - but not quite colourfast enough if I spill something on it!]
    (2) If I also wanted to 'splash out' on (semi-)permanent green or red inks, what would you recommend?

    (3) If I could only afford one (additional) ink that was guaranteed to produce interesting shading effects with the Noodlers Creaper flex pen... what should I look at trying out?


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