Goulet Q&A Episode 5, Inks Part 1

I set this week’s Goulet Q&A theme as “Inks”, but clearly that was too broad of a topic! I ended up getting a slew of questions, so many that I had to split the video up into two parts, and even that won’t answer all the questions I received. So, I’ll give it my best shot. Part 1 here features broader, more general ink questions that touch on a host of different ink properties and recommendations. Part 2 will go a little deeper and answer some more specific questions. At least that’s what I was shooting for, it ended up really just being kind of a mix! Anyway, if you want to learn more about ink, at least what I think about ink, these videos should help you. Enjoy!

1) GimmeCookiee- Ink Nouveau (1:57):
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.

2) @fmfisdead- Twitter (3:45):
Why is water resistance not considered an important property for more ink companies besides Noodler’s?

3) GenWivern2- YouTube/Steven B- Facebook (5:29):
I thought it would be useful if you discussed iron gall inks a bit next week. Some people love them (that’s me), others won’t let them anywhere near their pens, so it would be interesting to hear your take.

4) Steven B- Facebook/Dave G.- Facebook (7:58):
Can hi-lighter ink be used in a fountain pen or is it only for use in a special hi-lighter pen?

5) etakemllac- YouTube (9:17):
I would LOVE to hear about inks that are not necessarily “workplace-friendly”. There is a lot of talk about inks that are, but no everyone needs that. Let’s hear about bright colors and especially anything that shades exceptionally well. It seems these inks are often overlooked for blue-blacks and such. 

6) Penny Simon- YouTube (11:38):
I’ve read reviews that refer to some inks, such as Noodler’s Kung Te-Cheng, as “difficult”. What qualities are they referring to when they say this? And can this tendency be compensated for with the right choice of pen? Also, when does a person require the use of a lubricated ink?

7) enado18- YouTube (15:04):
For the ink Q&A I’d like to hear about scented inks! Customer reviews seem to suggest most scented inks are bland generic flowery smells, but I’d like to find some more interesting ones like those Sanford Mr. Sketch markers I had as a kid!

8) mikehewHI- YouTube (17:15):
Are some inks more prone to clogging fountain pens than others? Is there a preference on the different kinds of ink such as Bulletproof, Eternal, Lubricated, etc to eliminate this? 

9) tanyees- YouTube (20:53):
How does diluting inks affects its properties, eg viscosity, flow, dry time, feathering etc? Is the reverse true if left in a pen for some period? Which inks are good for flexing, sbrebrown mentioned x feather? How to best bring out shading in a saturated ink, would diluting work??

10) Pascal D.- Facebook (24:59):
What’s the best way to safely store bottled ink? I’ve bought JHerbin cartridges that were half empty, and still sealed, when I started.. Is there an expiration date on bottled ink?

11) John N.- Facebook (29:06):
With Ink prices ranging from $30 to $9 on your site, what is the difference between the inks? I understand the “bullet proofness” may be a factor. But are things like viscosity and other factors a factor in the range in pricing? Or is it just the manufactures price that they can get for it?

12) Stefan B.- Facebook (31:03):
What happened to CdA (Caran d’Ache)?

Since this is a two-part Q&A theme, I’ll still be taking questions on “Inks” for next week’s video. I’ll be doing Part 2 next Friday, and then I’ll change up the theme after that. I know in the video I said I’d rapid-fire Part 2 out mid-week, but it’s looking like my schedule isn’t going to accommodate that. So I’ll plan to make Episode 6 on September 27th be “Inks Part 2”. Be sure to check out previous Goulet Q&A videos here.

Have a great week, and thanks for asking great questions and for showing up to see me!


Write On,
Brian Goulet
2017-10-11T14:04:53+00:00 September 20th, 2013|Goulet Q&A|36 Comments
  • Ben Howard

    Great article. Keep writing and shower your readers with such useful information. Keep it Up!!!

    http://planetink.com.au

  • What color “ink” is that in the ooze tube timer on your desk that you still haven’t told us about? 🙂

    • haha, that’s a good question! Obviously not FP ink in there….maybe PR Foam Green?

  • What color "ink" is that in the ooze tube timer on your desk that you still haven't told us about? 🙂

  • Martin

    Your response to the question about CdA inks wasn’t very clear. You used to carry the previous line. Do you plan to carry the new line?

    • Ah, you are correct. That would be because I am unlcear about the inks. I’ve gotten a lot of mixed info about it from CdA. I don’t believe that it is available in the US yet, the last I was told it was ‘indefinitely suspended’ from releasing. Though I did see someone who bought a set overseas somewhere (can’t remember where), so they’re out there somewhere. If/when they do come available here, we intend to carry it. But as for when that would be, I haven’t been given any info. Sorry for the confusion.

      • Jason

        I too have been wondering about the availability of CdA in the US. I actually have a bottle of CdA’s Ultra Violet ink, which I bought from amazon.co.uk. I think the ink is pretty widely available in Europe now. I saw a stationery shop in Munich carry the entire line a couple of months back.

  • Martin

    Your response to the question about CdA inks wasn't very clear. You used to carry the previous line. Do you plan to carry the new line?

  • haha, that's a good question! Obviously not FP ink in there….maybe PR Foam Green?

  • Ah, you are correct. That would be because I am unlcear about the inks. I've gotten a lot of mixed info about it from CdA. I don't believe that it is available in the US yet, the last I was told it was 'indefinitely suspended' from releasing. Though I did see someone who bought a set overseas somewhere (can't remember where), so they're out there somewhere. If/when they do come available here, we intend to carry it. But as for when that would be, I haven't been given any info. Sorry for the confusion.

  • Jason

    I too have been wondering about the availability of CdA in the US. I actually have a bottle of CdA's Ultra Violet ink, which I bought from amazon.co.uk. I think the ink is pretty widely available in Europe now. I saw a stationery shop in Munich carry the entire line a couple of months back.

  • Miss Thundercat

    Are there any plans to carry Organics Studio Inks in your store? And if you do a Q&A about paper, I hope you’d consider selling onion skin paper and sell them in sheet quantities (like 30 to 50 sheets). It seems like you can only buy a pack of 500 or 5000 at manufacturor paper mill store. It’s just too much esp.if you’re from overseas like me and want to try a new kind of airmail stationary paper. These sheets hold fountainpen ink very well so they would appeal to a large letter writing audience.

    • No plans at the moment, for either of these, I’m sorry!

  • Josh

    Answer to Question 1: Yes there are inks that will work on even the most glossy paper. Pelikan 4001 inks such as Royal Blue, Brilliant Black, and Blue-Black will dry within about 5 second even on extremely glossy paper. These are the only inks I have found so far that I can use to sign such paper.

    • Joshua

      I wonder if the Noodler’s Blackerase / Bluerase would work on them too, since they are meant for non-porous surfaces.

      • Hm…I don’t know. Even if they did, it wouldn’t bode well for staying there! They’re meant to wash off with water…though interestingly, the inks are bulletproof, so if it does actually make contact with the cellulose in the paper, it’ll stay!

    • I haven’t tried these inks, they do write pretty dry normally, so perhaps there’s something about them that causes them to work a little better on glossy paper?

      • Josh

        I’m not sure. It seems whatever they are using dries incredibly fast regardless of the surfice though. I sign glossy postcards every week, and it’s the only ink that will dry on them.

  • Josh

    Answer to Question 1: Yes there are inks that will work on even the most glossy paper. Pelikan 4001 inks such as Royal Blue, Brilliant Black, and Blue-Black will dry within about 5 second even on extremely glossy paper. These are the only inks I have found so far that I can use to sign such paper.

  • Joshua

    I wonder if the Noodler's Blackerase / Bluerase would work on them too, since they are meant for non-porous surfaces.

  • Nicky

    I have a couple of ink questions: I have a crazy plan to have at least one ink in each colour of the rainbow. All other colours have been easy enough but for some reason, I can never seem to find a green or orange ink that I like. The greens are always too dull and the oranges too light for me to see on the page. What colours do you recommend?

    • Good question, some of my favorites are Diamine Pumpkin (orange) and Diamine Apple Glory (bright green) or Noodler’s Gruene Cactus. I’ll elaborate in the next Q&A if I have time.

      • Nicky

        Thanks Brian! I’ll check those out. The Apple Glory is certainly bright!

  • Nicky

    I have a couple of ink questions: I have a crazy plan to have at least one ink in each colour of the rainbow. All other colours have been easy enough but for some reason, I can never seem to find a green or orange ink that I like. The greens are always too dull and the oranges too light for me to see on the page. What colours do you recommend?

  • snedwos

    Since I don’t have a habit of running my notebooks under the tap, don’t tend to write stuff I’m going to need in 30 years’ time, and the world is moving away from physically written cheques, no, permanence is not an important property… I will buy one permanent ink just to make sure I have something to address envelopes with, afterwards permanence is just something I won’t consider when buying ink. I. Think it’s also to do with the fact that the fountain pen isn’t the world’s primary writing instrument any more. They’re more for fun and show these days, except for us few geeks that actually choose to use them every day. Practicality is no longer most pen makers concern — and where it is, it’s all about teaching children to use a pen — and you don’t want to give permanent ink to a nine year old!

    • Very valid points, I think you’re absolutely right. That’s why an individual like Nathan Tardif working in a boutique ink company with a personal interest in ink permanence produces so much of it, when others don’t. No doubt, it’s also more expensive and complicated to produce, as I’m sure the permanence dyes are much more expensive.

  • No plans at the moment, for either of these, I'm sorry!

  • I haven't tried these inks, they do write pretty dry normally, so perhaps there's something about them that causes them to work a little better on glossy paper?

  • Hm…I don't know. Even if they did, it wouldn't bode well for staying there! They're meant to wash off with water…though interestingly, the inks are bulletproof, so if it does actually make contact with the cellulose in the paper, it'll stay!

  • Very valid points, I think you're absolutely right. That's why an individual like Nathan Tardif working in a boutique ink company with a personal interest in ink permanence produces so much of it, when others don't. No doubt, it's also more expensive and complicated to produce, as I'm sure the permanence dyes are much more expensive.

  • Good question, some of my favorites are Diamine Pumpkin (orange) and Diamine Apple Glory (bright green) or Noodler's Gruene Cactus. I'll elaborate in the next Q&A if I have time.

  • Guest

    Q #10: The only inks I use with an expiration date are the Montblanc brand–four to five years when purchased from retailers who turn their inks over rapidly. But that’s a very conservative date–I recently opened up one of their bottles which was well beyond the expiration date and it performed perfectly. Plus, my pens are always cleaned well before filling so there’s no mixing of ink brands/colors to contaminate opened bottles.

    I also store my inks in a dark cabinet in a room where the temperature swings are minimized. I have a feeling proper storage conditions extend an ink’s longevity.

  • Guest

    Q #10: The only inks I use with an expiration date are the Montblanc brand–four to five years when purchased from retailers who turn their inks over rapidly. But that's a very conservative date–I recently opened up one of their bottles which was well beyond the expiration date and it performed perfectly. Plus, my pens are always cleaned well before filling so there's no mixing of ink brands/colors to contaminate opened bottles.

    I also store my inks in a dark cabinet in a room where the temperature swings are minimized. I have a feeling proper storage conditions extend an ink's longevity.

  • Nicky

    Thanks Brian! I'll check those out. The Apple Glory is certainly bright!

  • soniasimone

    I hadn’t seen the Kung Te-Chen before, it looks so interesting. On my wish list now.

    Both R&K Alt Bordeaux and Alt Goldgrun are good for flex pens, if you like the colors — lots of shading and good flow.

  • soniasimone

    I hadn't seen the Kung Te-Chen before, it looks so interesting. On my wish list now.

    Both R&K Alt Bordeaux and Alt Goldgrun are good for flex pens, if you like the colors — lots of shading and good flow.