Goulet Q&A Episode 26, Nathan Tardif Interview

In my last Goulet Q&A, I did my best to answer the slew of Noodler’s questions I received. There were a few that I thought would best be answered by the man himself, Nathan Tardif! He’s the founder of Noodler’s Ink, and the one-man-show who designs and coordinates the manufacture of all Noodler’s pens and hand-mixes all of the Noodler’s ink in the world. He’s an incredibly, incredibly busy man, and I am honored to have been able to spend an hour with him!

These questions were all originated from fans, but I have edited them to broaden or narrow the scope:

Q1) Kevin L.- Facebook (5:36):
Why do some pen experts seem to have a problem with Noodler’s Ink or its maker? There are some pretty bold statements made out there about the safety of Noodler’s that doesn’t seem to match up with the experience that the vast majority of pen users are having.

Q2) David- InkNouveau (20:13):
You (Nathan) encourage tinkering with the flex pen nibs and feeds, yet the nibs and feeds themselves are not available for purchase apart from the pens. I know some people are frustrated because they’ll do some adjustments to their feeds and if they mess up at all they’ve essentially ruined the pen because they can’t get any replacement parts. do you have any plans, or would you be open to considering offering those parts available separate from the pens?

Q3) Tom J.- email (30:41):
When you develop an ink like Black Swan in Australian Roses or 54th Massachusetts that has a special story around the ink and it’s properties. Do you come up with the story first and then develop the ink, or do you develop the ink and find a story to match it?

Q4) Wesley S.- Facebook (37:43):
I’ve read various posts comparing Noodler’s blacks, but I would love a definitive comparison. What are the differences and why are there so many different black inks?

Q5) Scott B.- Facebook (45:42):
At this point you’ve crated 2 higher-end Konrads, the Ebonite and the Acrylic, have you considered doing that for the Ahab? Is that even anything feasible?

Thank you everyone for asking such good questions, and a special thanks to Nathan for your time! Next week’s Q&A will be going back to an Open Forum, so any questions can just go right in the comments. I hope you enjoyed this interview, we’ll have to do it again!

Write On,
Brian Goulet
 

2017-10-11T14:19:56+00:00 April 4th, 2014|Goulet Guests, Goulet Q&A|31 Comments
  • Marco

    This just makes me want to purchase more Noodlers ink!

  • Marco

    This just makes me want to purchase more Noodlers ink!

  • Tom Johnson

    I believe Nathan Tardif to be a genius and a visionary. I have loved fountain pens for years but limited my use because even inks called permanent smeared badly with a tiny drop of water. That all changed when I discovered Noodler’s bulletproof ink in December 2008. He has the courage to take on windmills and change the ink and pen landscape. To create great fraud resistant inks, specialty inks like Blue Ghost, lovely inks with all kinds of properties and fitting wonderful themes is Genius!

  • Tom Johnson

    I believe Nathan Tardif to be a genius and a visionary. I have loved fountain pens for years but limited my use because even inks called permanent smeared badly with a tiny drop of water. That all changed when I discovered Noodler's bulletproof ink in December 2008. He has the courage to take on windmills and change the ink and pen landscape. To create great fraud resistant inks, specialty inks like Blue Ghost, lovely inks with all kinds of properties and fitting wonderful themes is Genius!

  • Rori Lieurance

    I think Nathan Tardif is bright, funny, and honest– and I think he makes a damn fine product. There is a pen store in Albuquerque that refuses to carry Noodler’s Ink based on false negative hype–I haven’t shopped there in years. Thank you Brian for doing this, and please thank Mr. Tardif for his time. Noodler’s has been for a long time, and remains, my favorite ink. (Including the infamous BSB, I love that stuff) Ok, off to buy some more Noodler’s now…LOL about Bill O’Idiot

  • Rori Lieurance

    I think Nathan Tardif is bright, funny, and honest– and I think he makes a damn fine product. There is a pen store in Albuquerque that refuses to carry Noodler's Ink based on false negative hype–I haven't shopped there in years. Thank you Brian for doing this, and please thank Mr. Tardif for his time. Noodler's has been for a long time, and remains, my favorite ink. (Including the infamous BSB, I love that stuff) Ok, off to buy some more Noodler's now…LOL about Bill O'Idiot

  • Tas

    Scribbling with my Ahab’s as I listen. I could listen to his voice and views all the live long day. Love him. Thanks Brian. Thanks Mr Tardif . . .

  • Tas

    Scribbling with my Ahab's as I listen. I could listen to his voice and views all the live long day. Love him. Thanks Brian. Thanks Mr Tardif . . .

  • Henry

    Nathan talked about the importance of having your written words stand the test of time and I would agree with it. His suggestion about using Noodler’s Bad Black Moccasin to make my writing as secure as possible is a great idea. I would also love to find an ink that can be used as a way of authenticating the final written words, such as a celebrity signing an autograph. It’s not only important to have my words be available in the future but to also have those words attributed to me and not someone else. Nathan… any thoughts, ideas or suggestions?

    • Tom Johnson

      Henry, my thought is to blend your own personal custom mix of Noodler’s inks to produce an ink unique to you that no one else would have. In addition to a unique color it could also be given UV fluorescent components. If you keep the ratios secret, no one else could duplicate it without a lot of effort. Just don’t mix any Baystate inks with any others! And be sure to start with a small quantity (just a few mililiters at a time) to see how stable each iteration is and how well you like it before you mix a whole bottle full. And keep a log of your experiments as you progress. Whitness of the Whale is designed to be used to dilute dark inks and also provide a fluorescent component. Blue Ghost is one of several fluorescent bulletproof inks in Noodler’s arsenal. Is this the kind of thing you had in mind?

      • Henry

        Yes, that is what I had in mind and I’ve tried a few different combinations. The fluorescent component is easy to mix into but tough to visually see using a fluorescent light. Basically, the darker the ink the more Blue Ghost ink you will need to be able to identify your brand of ink.

        • Tom Johnson

          I thought that might be the case, especially with Blue Ghost and WotW. Might work better with one of the colored fluorescent inks like the Dragon Catfish inks. With the rich color and brighter fluorescence of these inks you may not need as much so you can keep the mixture darker. Since the eye is most sensitive to green, I suggest starting with the DC Green. Some of the darker fluorescent inks like Hunter Green do not fluoresce very brightly, but I have used DC Orange in Fox and the combo really popped under UV. This would a real challenge to pull off!

  • Henry

    Nathan talked about the importance of having your written words stand the test of time and I would agree with it. His suggestion about using Noodler's Bad Black Moccasin to make my writing as secure as possible is a great idea. I would also love to find an ink that can be used as a way of authenticating the final written words, such as a celebrity signing an autograph. It's not only important to have my words be available in the future but to also have those words attributed to me and not someone else. Nathan… any thoughts, ideas or suggestions?

  • Tom Johnson

    Henry, my thought is to blend your own personal custom mix of Noodler's inks to produce an ink unique to you that no one else would have. In addition to a unique color it could also be given UV fluorescent components. If you keep the ratios secret, no one else could duplicate it without a lot of effort. Just don't mix any Baystate inks with any others! And be sure to start with a small quantity (just a few mililiters at a time) to see how stable each iteration is and how well you like it before you mix a whole bottle full. And keep a log of your experiments as you progress. Whitness of the Whale is designed to be used to dilute dark inks and also provide a fluorescent component. Blue Ghost is one of several fluorescent bulletproof inks in Noodler's arsenal. Is this the kind of thing you had in mind?

  • Henry

    Yes, that is what I had in mind and I've tried a few different combinations. The fluorescent component is easy to mix into but tough to visually see using a fluorescent light. Basically, the darker the ink the more Blue Ghost ink you will need to be able to identify your brand of ink.

  • lesslighter

    Been meaning to ask this but Brian once brought up the fact all Noodler’s Ink are and still handmade by Nathan does that affect the consistency of the Ink’s performance like being a hit or miss or they are all okey with quantity purchases IE (every batch since their inception has been very consistent?)

  • lesslighter

    Been meaning to ask this but Brian once brought up the fact all Noodler's Ink are and still handmade by Nathan does that affect the consistency of the Ink's performance like being a hit or miss or they are all okey with quantity purchases IE (every batch since their inception has been very consistent?)

  • Allen

    Brian, it was a bit difficult to follow Tardif’s description of “taping” the nip to prevent railroading. Any thoughts about showing the method in a video – it would be appreciated. Thanks.

  • David

    Thank you Brian for asking Mr. Tardiff to clarify the issue of spare nibs and feeds. Now it looks like it is a waiting game. But at least he intends to try and offer spare parts. If we don”t see the spares in a reasonable amount of time, please give him a gentle nudge 🙂

  • William Eagleburger

    I used to think the Dos Equis guy was the most interesting man in the world, but this clearly shows that Nathan Tardiff is!!

  • tp

    I came back to fountain and dip pens after more than 25 years away. I was never really happy with the ink choices for my cartridge pens back then–both in quality and color. The moment I felt Noodler’s glide over the paper, I knew it was time to stop searching.

    I see a fundamental change in people–at least among those who are paying attention. It’s better to have only a little of what is exactly right rather than an overabundance of the mundane.

    It will be a sad day when Mr. Tardiff hangs up his hat, but dinosaurs have to remember that they don’t get smaller with the times–they go extinct.

  • snedwos

    The Konrad/Ahab feeds are available in the UK. Probably as a compensation for the limited supply of the pens — less easy to replace a broken pen on tat side of the Atlantic.

  • Reynard

    Interview starts 6 minutes in… “aaargh!” for those of us listening in the car. Trying to figure out who’s name rhymes with the English word for Derrière. I know of two guys in CA, J.M. and G.M. (the latter is probably who he’s talking about), but neither rhymes. Anyway, great to hear some more from The Man (of Ink). Also nice to hear what is different between Black and HoD (HoD dries faster, might feather more).

  • vam59

    Did I miss it? Did Nathan say when the Neponset pen would be coming out?

  • Mopen

    love Noodlers inks! Baystate blue is the reason I started to revive my fountain pens.

  • Michael

    I wish I hadn’t missed this. I would have loved to have gotten my question in about Nathan’s accidental Periwinkle Violet Vote and if he had any thoughts about making that a replacement for his current Eternal Periwinkle.

  • Tom J.

    I love Noodler’s inks and am waiting for my 12th Noodler’s ink scheduled to arrive from Goulet Pens tomorrow. Favorites: Black, Black Swan in Australian Roses, El Lawrence, and Blue Ghost; I expect I will also love Bad Black Moccasin when it comes tomorrow. This was a great interview. I could listen to Brian and Nathan for hours!

  • bpburns

    So what ink are they alluding to that Borealis Black is intended to replicate?

    • TJ

      Aurora Black. Apparently it has a reputation among some as being a good but very expensive ink. Noodler’s came out with Borealis Black that duplicates all the properties of Aurora Black at nearly 1/3 the cost. It is like a joke but it makes a very serious point. Nathan Tardiff is a frugal New England Yankee who hates products that sell for a lot more than they should. His philosophy is that the customer should get the best quality and quantity possible for the price paid. That is why he uses lower price plain Jane glass bottles for his ink and fills each bottle to the very top, giving people one of the best buys for any inks available. He also manufacturers some of the finest inks ever made. Some of us feel that he offers the highest quality inks in the world. I have used Noodler’s inks since 2009 almost exclusively in my pens.

  • $29304501

    Thanks for doing this! Mr. Tardiff tends to be quite loquacious, do I’m impressed with how well Mr. Goulet managed to rein him in. Even so, Mr. Goulet got a lot of great information out of Mr. Tardiff.

    I’ve been a fan of Noodler’s since I discovered it, and I love the creator’s philosophy of providing a low-cost product, even at the cost of his own personal wealth.

  • marguerite brainerd

    Absolutely excellent! Thanks to both of you for doing this chat.