Friday, November 15, 2013

Goulet Q&A Episode 13, Open Forum

This week, I went back to an Open Forum, taking any questions that came along through Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, Ink Nouveau, YouTube, and email. I ended up with more questions than I had time to answer, but I was able to squeeze in 19 before I had to run. I had at least 10 other good questions that I'll save for a future Q&A.

The questions this week are a bit all over the place, asking me about flex pens, my faith, inks for artists, smoothing nibs, freezing inks, and product lines at GouletPens.com. Be sure to also check out any previous Goulet Q&A videos to see if there are other questions I've answered already. Here are this week's questions:

1) Kate B.- Ink Nouveau (0:44):
While I do write with a Lamy Al-Star, I mostly use FP's to draw. I have Lamy Safari's in F and EF nibs and Platinum Cool and Plaisir, both in EF. Is there anything else you would recommend in the under $100 range? Though please not Ahab Flex as I tried it and just can't get it to work right (gave it to a fellow artist who loves them!)
2) Anonymous- Ink Nouveau (2:59):
Is there any way Drew could make a guest appearance in the next video and talk about those two daily carry package sets I see in the new arrivals section? In particular - his thoughts on why he chose the Lamy 2000 for the writing set and the Platinum Modern Maki-E for the drawing set. These are 2 pens that have been on my radar for a while, so I would love to hear more about them from someone who writes with them all the time.

3) Audrie M.- email (7:48):
Could you share something about your faith? In some of your videos I see that you've taken notes on Bible scriptures. I'm assuming you're Christian but would definitely like to hear more about your faith. I always appreciate seeing families that are linked together with God in their lives. You seem to make an extra effort to be honest and impartial even though you sell the pens. I'm assuming that effort has something to do with your faith.

4) Travis Walker- YouTube (10:40):
I want to use a fountain pen to ink comics. I will likely have to use dip pens for most of the work, but for when I am lazy and don't feel like dipping over and over, I bought a Noodler's Ahab. I was wondering if there are any black inks that hold up well to erasing. I read a lot about which black inks are the blackest, but what is more important to me is that they remain black after erasing the pencil under the ink.
5) Steven B.- Facebook (12:02):
You mentioned in your platinum cool review that it is not advisable to use that pen as a converted eye dropper due to the metal inside...however, the TWSBI vac 700 has a metal rod as part of the piston...wouldn't this also pose an issue (or is the rod in the vac a specially treated metal or a special metal in general)? If metal contact with ink over a long time is bad, why do nibs stand the year of time?

6) DrStephenFalken0- Reddit (14:12):
Would you ever branch off and start manufacturing your own line of true Goulet branded pens or inks? Not mixing ink up in the shop per se' but having a 3rd party manufacturer make or mix them for you. As far as the pens goes I suspect something like how Nathan Tardif does with his pens being designed here but manufactured in India.

7) Junee L.- Facebook (16:11):
I sometimes found ink on the back of the feed. If I left it alone the ink would accumulate. If I use the pen, I found that the accumulated ink would get lesser. This is in a matter of hours. Is this normal or something weird is going on? Pen in question is a Kaweco ICE Sport, my first fountain pen.
8) ryzellon- Reddit (17:45):
I'd like to hear about unconventional tips & tricks, especially household items that can be used as tools for general repair/tweaking, or generally making fountain pen life easier. The rubber band on a pencil trick for removing/holding cap liners is a great example. (Though this may be more useful if you all collect tips/tricks and then present a compilation in a later episode.)

9) Justin S.- Facebook (19:43):
Is it possible to grind/smooth a nib too much (to the point where the alloy tipping is ground right off)? If so, can anything be done about it? And if not, will the lack of tipping affect writing or will the nib itself be the same shape as the tipping by that point? I love Goulet Pens Please continue being amazing.

10) Leslie H.- Facebook (21:57):
Now that freezing temperatures are here in Ontario, Canada, can I still order ink? Will ink freeze as quickly as water since it is water based?

11) yipely- Reddit (24:44):
Are the Pilot/Namiki cartridges the same as the Mixable Color cartridge multi-pack?

12) jmerrick75- Reddit (25:42):
What are some other pen brands that you like where you may be trying to become a reseller? We already know that Mont Blanc is out of the picture for small pen dealers. Pelikan? Parker? Waterman?

13) songandrew- Reddit (28:09):
Related to this, will Sailor be coming back anytime soon or is their policy still "all our pens or none" ?

14) Luis M.- Facebook (30:16):
I am new to Fountain Pens, (last Friday I got my first FP from you; jaw dropping customer service by the way), however, I've never seen on your videos addressing, guiding or advising new FP users on how somebody learns how to write cursive (only small tips here and there). I know how to write cursive, but now that I am using a FP, I wish to improve it so much more. From videos, to online guides, and books is what I am looking for, solid tutorials or guides. What would you recommend me (us)?
15) Elizabeth L.- Facebook (31:33):
Will we see the TWSBI Diamond 580 in white as rumored or will it remain an urban pen myth?

16) 24nm- Reddit (32:02):
I'd like to know a bit more about Goulet's relationship with Mr. Nathan Tardif. I'm a big fan of Noodler's inks, and would also like to know if there are any plans for more joint projects like Liberty's Elysium? It's fantastic when companies can work together to make new and interesting products.

17) americanaluminium- Reddit (34:32):
Will you be able to get another interview with Nathan Tardif? Its been a while since your last interview and I would really love to hear of all the up and coming developments.

18) axissilverhand- Reddit (35:15):
Can you recommend some inks (or properties thereof) that would do well with EF & Accounting nibs? Some inks I've tried aren't... dense? opaque? something? enough to be dark enough when using a EF nib. I'm using a Kaweco Sport EF on moleskine notebook.
19) lordrdx666- Reddit (35:56):
Mrs. Goulet any chances of starting a New old stock vintage or semi modern pens section? Or any chances of starting a semi vintage pens section?

Next week, I'll be discussing "Traveling With Your Fountain Pens". A lot of us will be traveling to see family around the holidays this year, so be sure to ask me whatever questions you have about how to prepare, clean, store, and carry your pens and inks. Leave a comment here, or email me at gouletQA@gouletpens.com to submit your question. Have a great week!

Write On,
Brian Goulet


  1. I would have thought, for resisting erasing, would surface drying inks be susceptible to smudging? I would have thought chemical bonding would resist friction better. My first thought was the quick-drying inks, but I have no experience with them.

  2. Excited about next weeks episode about traveling with your pens. I take multiple pens to work everyday and I'm still figuring out the best way to do it. I recently got a Aston five pen roll (I wish you carried them so I could've bought it from you!) that looks really nice so I hope that works out.

    Any general tips on traveling? I go from cold to hot a lot too (upstate NY), how much will that affect the way my pens write?


  3. Brian,

    Could you elaborate on flying with fountain pens? I have heard you reference tips in several videos but I don’t think you have a comprehensive video with this information. I know that a vacuum filled pen is typically best, but what are some other tips for piston and converter fillers? Do you need to bleed some of the ink from the pen to keep it from oozing out the nib? Is the chance of ink bleed increased when in the air or once back on the ground? Would you suggest writing with a fountain pen while in the air? Please advise.

  4. Hey Brian.

    How do you suggest carrying your pens? You don't necessarily need to be traveling very far, or even at all, but some people go places without carrying anything with them other than what they have in their pockets. I'm fine with just keeping my cheaper pens clipped to my pants pocket, but I'm concerned about some of my more expensive ones that I would love to take with me all the time. I don't want to just clip those to my pocket for fear that they could fall out or get damaged somehow. Any suggestions on what to do? I understand there are some options like keeping a single pen sleeve and just keeping that in your pocket without clipping them to anything at all. Just curious on what you would have to say about that.

  5. Hi I live in the UK and would love to shop with you. I was wanting some brass sheets for £4 which is fair, but the cost of them with shipping was £16 which is far too much for a small item. Is it possible to minimise shipping costs internationally because if you did I think you would have more orders from outside USA as £12 for shipping is ridicoulous.

  6. Comparison: Pilot/Namiki IC-50 cartridges vs. Pilot Mixable Colour Cartridges:

    1. The Mixable Colour ink cartridge box has written on it: "Special formulated ink", and "Exclusive for Parallel Pen", and "This cartridge is exclusive for PILOT Parallel Pen. Don't use it for other writing instruments."

    That said, I have tested Blue-Black and Sepia Mixable Colour ink cartridges long-term (many months) in a Pilot 78G with B (stub) nib and found no issues with the pen or the ink at all.

    But the warnings on the box must be there for a reason, YMMV. I would NOT stick Mixable Colour ink in an expensive pen, especially a vintage pen.

    2. The Mixable Colour cartridges contain a small (what looks like) stainless steel ball that is free to roll around. The ball is presumably there to mix the ink and/or aid in flow. The IC-50 cartridges do not have the ball, or any other object inside (other than ink of-course).

    3. In all other ways the IC-50 and Mixable Colour ink cartridges are identical. Both hold 1.0mm (the Mixable Colour cartridge slightly less due to the ball), both have plastic end seals whose color roughly matches the ink color, both are translucent pliable white plastic (polystyrene?). Both cartridges may be re-purposed for syringe refill. To remove the seal disk and/or steel ball, just squeeze the end of the cartridge so the disk can fall out.

    4. For two cartridges with similar/same ink colors, there is no way to tell an IC-50 cartridge from a Mixable Colour ink cartridge. To make sure I don't mix them up, I make a small mark on the end of the Mixable Colour cartridges with an indelible felt pen.

  7. Oh! I never knew that you had carried Sailor before. Well, I know one other retailer that is VERY popular in the GENERAL pen world that is carrying Sailor and they don't even carry the Sapporo!

  8. Brian, thank you so much for your not using the Buy From Me Because I Have Accepted Jesus Christ As My Own Person Savior answer to question #3. I admit I approached listening to your answer to this question with trepidation -- because as a person who is tired of hearing people talk the talk but not walk the walk as members of a particular faith, I was really dreading hearing this type of thing come out of your mouth. I should have had more faith! ;) Though I am not a Christian or member of any name-brand religion, I try to live my life as you have expressed: with honesty and respect for my own talents and the choices of others -- helping other people, contributing to the common good as best I can, and generally doing the 'right' thing as a matter of my everyday life. To me that is the essence of an honorable, upright, successful life -- regardless of how one arrives there!

  9. Brian! Thank you so much for answering my question! Your site and family are truly awesome!

  10. Have you seen the FP101 episode "FP101- Flying With Fountain Pens"? It's at http://www.inknouveau.com/2012/08/fp101-flying-with-fountain-pens.html and should answer most of these questions.

  11. I have a suggestion for #14 Luis M, and that is to take a live calligraphy class from someone in your area. I have always had excellent penmanship, both cursive and print, but taking a one term non-credit calligraphy class at our local community college in my late 20's taught me a tremendous amount about basic principles of form, shape, and a deep respect for the (hand)-written word. As a result, I have evolved my own writing style which is a sort of blend of italic print and cursive, still very legible but fast and satisfying to use for everything from my journal to writing checks to writing out student assignments and letters. Even using a regular non-italic nib, I have a conscious awareness of line and flow that gives me great pleasure when writing the simplest shopping list. Our teacher quoted her teacher, Lloyd Reynolds, one of the fathers of the 20th Century's calligraphy renaissance, as saying "Don't be a Sunday writer. Use italic for everything." I strive to do that, and I urge you to pursue that excellent desire to learn a more beautiful hand!

  12. One thought to add about freezing inks, I had someone email me about Noodler's Polar inks. I haven't had any instances of a Noodler's Polar ink freezing in shipping, but honestly I don't have all that many inks freeze in general. Aside from about a dozen Diamine inks or so each winter (which is not that many, based on what we ship), I don't feel there's enough of a freezing-in-transit problem to influence which ink you should buy (with rare exception). Now, if you're using the ink every day in sub-freezing temperatures, that's another situation, but that wasn't quite what I got as the issue from the question I was asked, which is why I didn't think to mention the Polar inks. If I'd thought about it, that would have been a good thing to mention in the video, so I thought I'd just add it here.

  13. My experience with the Noodler's black inks is that they take a looooong time to fully dry on ink resistant paper like what one might use for comics, so what ends up happening is that some of the ink soaks in (as it should) but the rest of it stays wet on the surface, sometimes for days. Erasing over this would most certainly smear. Even though pigmented ink like Platinum Carbon Black all sits on the surface of the paper, because it's made to do so (and dry there), I would give it the best chance or withstanding an eraser...though I'll be honest, this isn't something I've tested extensively myself.

  14. I was going to recommend that one, this video covers it all as best I know! :)

  15. Hey Brian with uni exams coming up and note making for them being important I was wondering if you could recommend a high lighter safe ink I could use to write my notes in so that the ink note wouldn't be smudge. My favourite ink is J.herbin Bleu Nuit however it smudges with a high-lighter

    Thanks Doug

  16. Hi Josh - I'm from the UK and have shopped have with The GPC before and, yes, shipping works out a bit steep (not to mention potential import duties over a certain value etc.) - but all that isn't their fault. Shipping even small items across The Pond always seems to cost an arm and a leg!

    One way round: I had a friend visiting the USA earlier this year and had my order delivered to where he was staying and he kindly brought it back to the UK for me. Needs a bit of planning and patience, but works out less expensively if you can arrange it.

    (Not wishing to do Brian out of business, but i discovered that brass sheets can be be obtained from a UK supplier through Ebay).

  17. Hello!

    fairly new with owning and troubleshooting fountain pens, but so far, I
    love them& I'm not sure how I got along without them before now.

    I won't know for sure until February, but as of right now, I'm lined up to serve in the Peace Corps, Sierra Leone, Africa.

    of the climate change from the Upper Midwest to Sierra Leone, I would
    like to continue to write with my fountain pens while I'm in Sierra

    What can I do to counteract the climate change and keep my pens in perfect working order?

    Thank you& I love your website (AWESOME resources!)!
    Kristina Kleinow


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