Friday, October 25, 2013

Goulet Q&A Episode 10, Open Forum

Three weeks ago I asked you to take a short survey so that I could know which blog/video efforts I've tried have been most impactful for you. I received 186 responses, which is incredible! Thank you so much everyone for taking the time to give me such meaningful and thoughtful feedback. I wanted to share just a few of the results with you from the survey that I thought you'd find most interesting. 

  • When asked, "How long ago did you discover Goulet Pen Co or InkNouveau.com?", 55% were within the last year.
  • When asked, "How would you describe your Goulet fan-dom?", not one vote for "You don't know what you're talking about and I don't know why I'm wasting my time taking this survey". I thought for sure I'd have at least one as a joke ;) 
  • When asked , "What is your preferred method for getting fountain pen info?", of the choices given, 49% said videos (granted, this is surely biased since I solicited this survey through a video). 
  • When asked, "Of all the various Ink Nouveau formats that have been tried over the years, what has been your favorite?", there wasn't a clear frontrunner, it was a fairly even split with Goulet Q&A, FP101, Pen reviews, Tips and tricks leading the pack.
  • I surely caught some of you off-guard with this one, and it solicited some of the funniest responses in the part of the survey where you wrote a custom message…"Cake or pie?". 54% pie, 46% cake, much to my dismay as a steadfast "cake man" ;)

Okay, so that was fun, but on to the questions for this week's Q&A. It was an Open Forum this week, which means that I was taking any questions about pens, ink, or paper that you had. Be sure to check back for old Q&A videos, as well. 

Next week, I'll go back to a theme with "Using Your Fountain Pens", where I'm encouraging you to ask me any pen related question regarding buying, using, cleaning, fixing, transporting, or otherwise doing anything where you're actually going to be using your fountain pen as a writing tool. It should be good!

Here are this week's questions: 

1) Ron H.-email (6:51):
How does a newcomer to fountain pens determine quality? What makes a quality pen? What makes a $100 - $150 pen six to ten times better than a $15.00 pen?
  • law of diminishing returns
  • don't buy anything expensive for a while
  • main reasons for higher cost:
    • gold nib
    • filling mechanism
    • body material
    • company's reputation/name brand
    • rarity 
2) @jdanley09- Twitter (13:10):
Do you plan to carry the J. Herbin wax seal ink pad line? Do you like the look of wax ink?

3) Andrew M- email (14:49):
When writing thank you notes on orders are dip pens used? How often are the inks rotated? Who decides what colors are used? Who invented liquid soap and why?

4) Octopusbeak- YouTube (16:31):
What is the most romantic pen/paper/ink combination? 

5) Djentle Djiant- YouTube (17:55):
Is there anyway of making the back of a nib smoother?

6) Fer Nando- YouTube (19:55):
I have 3 questions! 1) What are your thoughts on collecting fountain pens? I know there are a million types of collectors (by brand, by models within brands, by filling mechanisms, and the list goes on..) 2) I've commited to one brand (Parker, mostly because in my country, it's easier to find a Parker fp than any other brand combined), so my question is do you think that commiting to one brand is worth it, or am i missing out on some other great brands/models by doing so? 3) The desert island question!. You can collect all models from only one brand. Which one?
  • Platinum- 
    • huge range
    • gorgeous collectibles
  • Lamy
    • fun and vibrant affordable range
    • attainable collections
  • Pilot/Namiki- 
    • great performers
    • diverse range of styles and filling mechanisms
    • gorgeous LE's

7) 4stringkingstf- YouTube (24:22):
Do you have plans to offer Goulet fp nibs in anything smaller than #6 size? I do very much like your nibs for use in the Noodler's Ahab and Konrad pens that are in my collection, but I wish to swap nibs in other pens that require smaller-sized nibs.

8) DaiReborn- YouTube (25:41):
Could you tell us a bit about the platinum desk pen that's kinda new on your site? Specifically what is the cap shown on the desk pen for? Does it go inside the opening of the stand? How heavy is the stand? Is the hinge on the stand hard to move or is it loose?

9) Keith- email (26:19):
I just got a sample of Noodlers Polar Blue because I like the color, but the water and bleach resistance properties of eternal inks concerns me. Is this an ink that will be difficult to clean out of a pen? If it gets on my clothing will it permanently stain? Finally, do you have any clever suggestions on other uses for ink sample vials when the ink sample is gone?
  • Vials- refill with ink from bottle
  • use for sending samples to pen friends
  • pen flush/cleaner
  • nib soaking
  • small flask
  • very small vase
  • portion control container for candy 

10) Mark C.- email (29:08):
I have found that turning to highly lubricated or very dry-writing inks is an effective way to address problems with nibs that write too dry or too wet. In fact, I have been happily surprised at how effective this approach can be. Can you give us a list of the most lubricated inks (in addition to the obvious answer: Noodler's) and the least lubricated, most scratchy, dry-writing inks? I would great appreciate knowing this.
11) coffeeflush- YouTube (30:33):
Can u suggest any notebooks that are refillable?
12) Alan L.- Facebook (31:28):
I am new to collecting and using fountain pens and found myself attracted to the vanishing point. But one thing I have noticed is it seems to be very temperamental with what inks it likes. I like my pens to write as smoothly as possible with a fairly wet ink, and I have found that the only one that seems to flow well and dry nicely is Namiki black, everything else just seems to skip, scratch and just not write to my liking. Do you have any experience with the VP, and what inks do you recommend that write the best with the VP?

13) Jean F.- email (32:58):
Did your forefathers come straight from France to the US (I doubt it!) or from Québec (with an é!), or from Louisiana, being Cajuns thrown out of Acadia just like mine were?

14) Jeanne P.- email (33:38):
I overheard a discussion about whether ink could collect under the gold piece of the new Delta Fusion 82 or perhaps the Pilot Justus 95. I am sure a pen company puts a lot of R&D into a pen prior to production. What are the possibilities on this subject?

Thanks so much for tuning in this week, and for all your great questions! Don't forget to post your questions for next week's episode, "Using Your Fountain Pens" in the comment below. 

Write On,
Brian Goulet


  1. What suggestions would you make to a celebrity who uses fountain pens, specifically a Platinum Preppy Marker as an eyedropper pen, so that when they sign autographs the ink dries fast, maybe dries on plastic coated paper (really every type of paper), is an eternal ink and has some security features for verification of the autograph years from now?

  2. I carry my fps in my shirt pocket (clipped, tip up) every day, but some times I leave them there without use for hours and they do not start so well--and under a rush need this is inconvenient. Other than the design feature of a Vanishing Point, and other than putting them in a pocket loose and cap down (I lean over a lot and don't want pens falling out), what can you suggest that I do?

  3. CAKE! And I'd rather teleport.

  4. Hey Brian,

    3 Questions for next week - all about the TWSBI.

    1. I'm interested in the medium nib. What happened in the last shipment? Everything came but that one.

    2. I read on FPGeeks (an October, 2013 article) that TWSBI is fixing the cracking issues - http://fpgeeks.com/2013/10/big-update-from-twsbi-testing-new-pens-and-fixing-cracking-issues/ - Is the shipment that you just received (and the medium that I hope you'll soon get) part of the ones that are fixed or are they from the old batch?

    3. What's the deal with TWSBI? What I mean by that is that people are crazy about them. If any other brand or model had issues - cracking or scratchy nib, people would avoid them like the plague, but I see comments like, "My TWSBI skips and doesn't have the best ink flow, but I LOVE IT!" and "My TWSBI cracked, but I'm still using it until I get a new one." So, what's the deal?

  5. Brian,

    I do have one more question, but I doubt it's appropriate for the Q&A, so you may want to answer me here. TWSBI put out this video on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0pNht6vsfE showing how to adjust a nib for line width. Would you know where I could purchase pliers like that? Thanks!

  6. I have several ones if I may :)

    1. what is the best way how to use J. Herbin Rouge Hematite? I love the ink, but hate the cleaning. To be honest, I think I did not manage to get it completely out of the convertor and nib...

    2. Parker Vacumatic - how to fill it properly, how to get as much ink into it as possible, does the lenght of the breather tube inside have some influence of the amount of ink getting into the pen?

    3. I have to Ahabs with Goulet M nibs. I took them for a walk in my pencase a both lost a lot of ink into the cap. One is an eyedropper and the second one is not converted. Is it me or do they leak more than other pens. I did not have this problem with your Nighthawk for example (love that pen).

  7. How do I prevent muscle pain when using flex pens like Noodler's Ahab? Is it normal for it to hurt after a while or should I invest in a better, softer flex nib pen?

  8. I love fountain pens and travel. I've heard that the TWSBI Vac 700 is "flight/plane safe." Is it true? How does that work? It'd be great to be able to take a pen with such high ink capacity on a long trip.

  9. I have one more: How to use the Kaweco squeeze converter. I have a new Kaweco AC Sport Carbon with the converter, but I cannot get it full no matter how many times I squeeze it. Thank you

  10. I have no idea! I wouldn't mind some myself :)

  11. Good questions, I'll try to get to them. If not, I'll answer here.

  12. Use a blunt tip syringe, it's the easiest way to fill those difficult squeezy converters.

  13. First I want to say THANKS so much for all that you do. My question is more of a plea for help, although you may not be able to answer it...and I'll understand if you don't know. My favorite all time pen is my Namiki Falcon, but the sad thing is that the top of the cap (so the area above the top of the clip) has chipped....which really dampers the experience for me. Is there anywhere you can direct me to where I can order a replacement part on-line. I don't know how to search for this, and when I try to search I just end up places to buy the pen, and/or images of disassembled Namiki Falcon's. If you can help I will be eternally grateful! - Thanks Audrie


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