Friday, January 24, 2014

Goulet Q&A Episode 19: Open Forum

This week's Goulet Q&A is an Open Forum, where I answer 16 questions of various topics. I got questions about buying a second pen, greasing pistons, my biggest pen disappointment, and managing using 30+ pens at once. I really enjoyed today's questions, and if you watch you'll get to see me in a baller suit (I had a business lunch to go to right after I shot the vid!). 

Here are this week's questions:

1) Luis M.- Facebook (3:03):
Which fountain pen would be ideal after my first fountain pen? I've used a (Goulet) Lamy Safari with a Fine nib for the past 6 months or so, loved it. What would be the next tier?? (any brand/nib goes) What are your thoughts on this?
2) Sherah Epic- Facebook (5:09):
How do I grease the piston of piston pens that cannot be disassembled (eg. the Pelikan M200)? [PS. My name is pronounced as share-rah, but you can call me Epic ]
  • Video coming soon!
  • remove nib, silicone grease on q-tip, swab inside of barrel 
3) Tristan N.- Facebook (6:36):
What is your biggest pen disappointment?
  • Pelikan m800 1.5mm italic
4) Hal H.- Facebook (11:23):
1. Please tell me those Goulet Pens t-shirts will be for sale in the future. 2. For any ink drops, have you done your kids' favorite colors? That seems like it'd be a cool drop!
5) @dbwoo61- Twitter (12:58):
With 30+ pens I find it hard not to ink up more than I can reasonably use. Anyone else have same problem & suggestions?

6) @TNPnation- Twitter (14:26):
Hey Brian, could you tell us about the cool looking papers that line the walls of your desk area in a vid?

7) Steve B.- Facebook (16:29):
Is there a converter that can be used for the Monteverde Poquito?
8) Donovan O.- Facebook (17:35):
Is the Lamy Safari better than the Pilot Metropolitan?
  • Yes and No
  • Lamy pros: 
    • interchangeable nibs
    • awesome colors
    • durable as heck
    • light weight
  • Lamy cons:
    • more expensive
    • converter not included
  • Pilot pros:
    • awesome value
    • converter included
    • durable
    • great writer
  • Pilot cons:
    • limited color options
    • medium nib only
    • converter isn't clear

9) Sabina T.- Facebook (20:11):
I put Diamine Ancient Copper in my Ahab, used it, then left it nib up in my pen holder for a week or so. When I came back to it, it had bubbled up and crusted over, out of the nib, feed and around the edges of the nib section, onto the nib. It looks like solidified lava after an eruption. The ink inside the pen had turned to sludge. Is this normal? Will this damage the pen? Is it because the Ahab is meant to be letting out a lot of ink, and is now letting the Ancient Copper evaporate from the pen? Is this the dreaded ink mold? I will clean the pen, and hopefully it will be okay. Is this something I should expect from this ink, in general, and only use it in small doses and clean it right away, or is it a particular problem?
  • extremes of pen and ink
  • relative humidity
10) Bec M.- Facebook (23:06):
I'm looking to pick up an italic nib for the TWSBI Diamond 580. Would you recommend the 1.1 mm or 1.5 mm for my first italic nib?
  • 1.1mm usually best, esp. with 7mm ruling or smaller
  • goes for all pens, not just TWSBI
11) Kevin L.- Facebook (26:19):
My spies have just reported that Platinum has changed their ink bottles to allow all the ink to be used more easily with the addition of a small plastic well of some sort. It harkens back to what Parker did with their Penman bottles, if memory serves.
  • Platinum regular line from 30ml to 60ml with bottle insert
  • will take time to come available, old 30ml will need to sell out first
12) Matthew C.- Facebook (29:06):
Are there any distinct advantages to using a converter/inkpot over cartridges? I think I prefer the ease of cartridges and how much cleaner the whole process is than filling from a pot. 
  • cartridges
    • convenience
    • transportability
    • flow?
  • bottled ink
    • more economical per ml
    • vast color/property selection
    • store longer
13) Nancy U.- Facebook (33:08):
Hi guys, I would like to know if the caps of the Jinhao X750 are interchangeable.
  • yup! between 750 colors
14)@jtdavis- Twitter (34:02):
What’s the difference b/t a Pelikan M600 & M605; M800 & M805, etc.?
  • X00- gold trim
  • X05- silver trim
  • 600, smaller than 800
15) Joe S.- Facebook (36:46):
Just curious, how big is the Goulet Crew into vintage pens? Being in retail, your constantly around brand new pens, so I can see how vintage pens can take a back seat. Regardless, are there any favorites among the staff? Any pens do you wish were still in production?

16) Todd L.- Facebook (40:05):
Recently, it has come to my attention that I am using my Flex pens 95% of the time when writing letters or practicing my penmanship. Right now I use a Noodler's Ahab and Konrad. I really love Noodler's pens and inks but I'm wondering if I should be looking elsewhere for a different writing experience. I don't have a lot to spend on pens currently. Usually my budget is $50 and under. What would you suggest I acquire for my next flex pen? Some day I'd like to own a soft nib Namiki Falcon, but right now they're out of my price range. Any help is appreciated. I love the Q&A keep up the good work.

Next week will be January 31, 2014, and I'll be answering questions about Pen Maintenance. Go ahead and ask me whatever questions you have about cleaning, storing, using, or maintaining your fountain pens and I'll answer them next week. If you missed any previous Q&A's, be sure to catch up on them here. That's all for now, have a great week!

Write On,
Brian Goulet


  1. Yay, the ink is okay! Thank you. :)

  2. A brown/orange Ink Drop would be fantastic!

  3. For the guy looking for flex I would suggest looking at Greg minuskin. He sometimes has some great deals for some vintage flex.

  4. Nice suit. Seriously. On to pens...

    On the Metropolitan/Safari issue, it might be noted that versions of the Metropolitan outside the North American market are offered with more nibs than just the medium. While maybe waiting for Pilot marketing to adapt, the Metropolitan can use the same nibs found on at least the 78g, Plumix, Penmanship and Prera. Which mean you have options ranging from and extra fine to a reasonable stub (on a 78g Broad nib).

    Might not make the greatest economic sense, but the Metropolitan feels so good in my hand, and the 78g fine nib writes very nicely in it.

  5. Nice post! Here's a question for a future vid: I've hear Noodler's inks literally eat through pen sacs. Is that true? Have you seen any problems with Noodler's ink on Pilot con-20 sacs?

  6. Thanks Brian for another great Q&A. I always learn a lot from them. And thanks to everyone who submitted questions to Brian.

  7. Great Q&A! Thanks again for the advice on the italic stub nib, it came today and I'm in love already! I've also had the problem with my Ahab Flex and Diamine Ancient Copper, I just cleaned it up and stored the pen nib-up. It starts a bit slower, but doesn't need cleaned every time.

  8. Man, I love Brian's videos! I always learn so much. Thanks to all of those who submitted great questions.

  9. Great Video, as always! Are you not afraid of damaging your beloved Lamy 2000, carrying it like that? And how do you use it in your Midori Pen Holder; do you also take the cap off and post it, when you write?

  10. Thanks for another excellent Q&A. You look great in the suit, too. Now for my question for next week. A friend brought two very old pens to show me that belonged to her mother. They probably date from the 1930's. Looking at links found on FPN, I think this is a "visulated lever type" I found this instruction, but it's a bit obtuse.
    This is a vintage pen question but I wonder whether you have any insight or suggestion about how to fill it.

    Here is a link to a photo of the barrel with what looks like a lever. http://redharp.smugmug.com/MKB/Other/i-wbrvz4d/0/M/Scheaffer-M.jpg

  11. Beautiful pen! Before trying to fill it it will most likely need servicing, especially if it had ink in it the last time it was used. The rubber sac is just that-- rubber and as it ages rubber becomes quite brittle and breaks. To see if it has a functioning sac lift the lever... GENTLY. If it doesn't want to lift don't risk bending the pins! (However even if it does lift and the sac is still there I would never fill a pen without replacing the sac)

    This link below shows the different ways vintage pens fill and the site has some repair tips.


  12. Oddly enough, the Jinaho X750 black and silver models have slightly different caps. You can switch them and they will snap on fine, but the silver cap feels slightly loose on the black pen--it rotates more easily than normally. Somehow though, the black cap works fine on the silver pen body.

  13. I have a question: Can winter weather dry out nibs faster? I'm having a huge problem with my pens drying out, and there's zero moisture out here in Illinois. This seemed to just start very suddenly a couple of weeks ago. I'm finding that my pens will write for a few seconds, and then dry out and skip around. My Vac 700 and my Nemosine Singularity are the worst about it, but my wetter-writing Pilot Metropolitan and Platinum Preppy seem to handle this well. Is it just weather, or is something wrong with my pens?

  14. Brian said in a recent Q&A to someone in Arizona that low humidity can make a pen hard to start when they have sat for a while. I would first flush them out with clean water or pen flush and see if the problem goes away. Consider keeping them in a sealed snack bag when not being used. But, if your pen starts writing and then skips that may be something different. The Vac-700 will stop if the filler knob has been screwed in for a while. Check out Brian's video on needing to unscrewing the filler knob: http://www.inknouveau.com/2013/03/screw-them-vac-fillers.html. I don't know if the Singularity is a vacuum pen or not. Pen nibs can pick up fibers from paper and start skipping, flushing out the nib and feed should correct this. If your filler knob on the V-700 is retracted a little like Brian shows and it is still stopping and skipping, I would take the whole grip section off, take it apart, and clean the nib, feed, and section. Brian shows how to do that here: http://www.inknouveau.com/2012/12/twsbi-vac-700-nib-swap.html. In this next video, Brian addresses the dry humidity problem at 13:41. http://www.inknouveau.com/2014/01/goulet-q-episode-17-open-forum.html. Good luck.


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