Friday, April 11, 2014

Goulet Q&A Episode 27, Open Forum

It's the 27th episode of Goulet Q&A, and this week it is an Open Forum. I took random questions that you had, ranging in topics from scratchy nibs, flow issues, Organics Studio ink, crappy paper, and fighting Nick Cage. It's a good mix!

Here are this week's questions: 

1) Tyler A./Tristan N.- Facebook (2:27):
I would really like to know how to make a scratchy nib less scratchy.

2) Serah E.- Facebook (4:11):
Is it possible for Goulet Pens to use different shipping companies instead of USPS? Love the company and people there, and would really love to support it more often, but the shipping to Singapore is really scary…

3) Travis W.- Facebook (5:53):
What's the deal with the Organics Studio? What's special (or different) about the brand?

4) Alan L.- Facebook (8:14):
What is the best notebook to mix with school and fountain pen use? Right now I like to use a Moleskine but they are too pricy to be used with school. But I also don't want to subject my pens to cheaply made notebook paper.

5) Kathy V.- Facebook (9:27):
How do you pick the right paper? Some are thick, some are colored, and some soak up the ink and bleeds.

6) Ben H.- Facebook (11:27):
What is your process for coming up with the Ink Drop colors every month?

7) Ethan J.- Facebook (15:41):
Could you beat Nick Cage in a fight?

8) John J.- Facebook (16:48):
Do you still make pens for fun, or have you retired from that?

9) Geoff P.- Facebook (19:43):
2 of my Kaweco pens (an EF clear Classic Sport and an M blue Ice Sport) both filled as eyedroppers are leaking out ink through the nib. When I start writing I find the feed saturated and ink pooling at the sides underneath the nib. My BB orange Ice Sport doesn't seem to be doing it. The Blue is worst and often spills out ink onto the paper unless I notice it first and blot it away. Any suggestions? It happens at all ink levels.

10) Jody D.- Facebook (22:07):
I'd like to know if I bought a more expensive Lamy than my Safari & Al-Star would I get a "better" nib? Don't get me wrong, I love their EF nibs but why spend more? (This also applies to pricier Pilot or Platinum pens as opposed to their entry level pens.)

11) Rhonda S.- Facebook (26:31):
Is there a customizable notebook with Clairefontaine looseleaf paper, or does Clairefontaine make a customizable spiral notebook? I love their paper. The French lined notebooks are a great price.

12) Rose H.- Facebook (27:54):
I'd love to know an ink that will go well with the new blue-green Lamy.

13) Carmen C.- Facebook (28:37):
I love Clairefontaine's paper. Any chance they'll make the clothbound notebooks (or any of the others, really) with a dot grid? Seriously, who do I have to beg to make this happen?

14) Loraine B.- Facebook (30:47):
What is the most affordable Japanese fountain pen that I could get with an extra fine nib? I have a Lamy Safari with an extra fine but I would like a finer nib. Any suggestions?

15) Michelle L.- Facebook (32:07):
Can you explain the differences between all these higher end Pilot models. I am so confused. I am speaking of : Pilot Custom Heritage 91/ Custom 74, the Custom 823, and the Custom Heritage 92., etc. I'd love a discussion on prices/looks/ nibs (are they all gold?). 

16) Michelle Y./Matt Z.- Facebook (35:38):
What to do if your new pen has poor ink flow (Lamy Safari)

17) Michael L.- Facebook (39:22):
what empty inkwell would you say has the widest opening? is there any ink bottle you would recommend that would completely fit an oblique dip pen holder?

18) Emily P.- Facebook (40:31):
Are all fountain pen users hobbyists or are there some random users? Someone in a class of mine was using a fp to take notes. I wanted to talk to her about everything fountain pens, but I worried that she might not be involved with the whole hobby of it, or if she was just using one randomly.
A special thanks goes out to everyone who asked me questions this week, it was a great mix! I'm really sorry if I wasn't able to answer yours, just keep asking and I'll do my best to cover it in the future.

Because of a business trip, I will have to skip next week's Q&A (April 18th). I will come back April 25th, where the theme will be brand-focused again, this time: Pilot/Namiki. Ask me any questions you have on Pilot and Namiki pens and ink in the comments below and I'll answer as best I can! Have a great next couple of weeks!

Write On,
Brian Goulet 


  1. Brian, a good and rather inexpensive notebook for fountain pens are Piccadilly Journals, which can be found at Barnes and Noble under $10. They have worked well with my Lamy Vista, Pilot Metropolitan, and Platinum Preppy as well as a variety of inks. I use them for everything now, and they are pretty sturdy (I have only had one break down...but that was due to a nice awkward drop. The paper is so much better than Moleskine.

  2. 1, Michelle L., This page shows size comparisons, nib types, and converter options for all Pilot Custom series pens, print and/or bookmark it:


    The soft semi-flex FA "Falcon" nib (Not to be confused with the Pilot Falcon pen) steals the show; but for some reason is only available on the Custom 742, 743, and 912 pens. The Pilot Custom 743 with an FA nib is the pen to seek IMO.

    2. Brian G., You think USPS is reliable Internationally? I DARE you to ship to me in Indonesia directly by USPS, especially without the hugely overpriced tracking option. When I buy from Goulet I have to trans-ship in the U.S. via DHL at great cost and hassle. USPS is a tax eating inefficient lumbering behemoth.

  3. I was intrigued by the question about people using fountain pens as 'hobbyists'. I've been using a fountain since high school (50+ years) and although even in the 1960's they weren't an everyday use thing for most people my age, I've never thought of myself as a 'hobbyist'. In fact, I get vibes from that word like 'superficial' 'cute but odd' and definitely condescending. It's not a hobby (though I admit to owning 10 or more fps) -- it's a habit, a fun tool, and after all these years, a very personal thing. Interesting how words strike people so differently.

    Or maybe what I really want to say is, 'Emily -- it's not weird. It's REAL. Go ahead and chat 'em up. I bet they are interesting people. I know I am...... You go, girl.'

  4. I bought a pen from an Italian dealer (a pen goulet does not carry) and the intl shipping to US via fedex was only 10 euros with tracking. It arrived after a week or so. So the high cost you mentioned doesn't sound right...various shipping options are definitely worth looking into. For a small package $10 domestic and $20 intl sound about right.

  5. Lorraine: I got a Pilot Metro and (from Jetpens since Goulet didn't carry) a Penmanship EF. Swapping nibs was super easy and now the hybrid Metro EF -- which really is very fine -- is my main carry, working very well. My first pen was a Safari F, which is almost as wide as my Pilot Metro M.

  6. Serah E. was asking about shipping from the US to Singapore, NOT international shipping to the US. The costs would be very different depending on which country the shipping from the US goes to.


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