Friday, May 2, 2014

Goulet Q&A Episode 29, Open Forum

It's Friday, which means another Goulet Q&A! This week is an Open Forum, and I got a lot of great questions on various topics like Diamine ink supply, special order Pilot pens, Goulet 'Prime' membership, Noodler's flex, TWSBI ink capacities, and more.

I start off recapping the Pilot/Namiki pen questions from last week. My 30th birthday was a couple of days ago, and if you recall I did set a goal for myself to lose 30lbs by my 30th birthday (on April 30th) in my 30x30x30 video last summer. I achieved this and beyond, having lost and kept off more than 45lbs since last June.

I also recap some new products that have come in this week, like the Lamy Neon Coral Safari and the Pilot Metropolitans in a fine nib.

Here are this week's questions:

1) Cleber Mori- YouTube (6:37):Hey Brian, thanks for the awesome videos! A question regarding Diamine Inks. Diamine Oxblood has been out of stock everywhere for a while. Can you shed some light on what's happening with Diamine, and when you expect it to be back in stock. 

2) Nick- email (8:53):
I'm a huge Pilot fan because the Japanese nibs support my unintentionally microscopic handwriting, but am always searching for interesting stuff (a la the Custom 743). How do you keep up with the different pens that aren't available in the US like the Kakuno? 

3) Kevin L.- email (10:54):
Imagine that you are somewhere between rookie and veteran of the fountain pen experience and you have a finite amount of money , say $1000, to spend on your purchase of pens only. You already have the ink and paper that you prefer. You choose what you buy based on writing performance regardless of price, brand, reputation, or place of manufacture. Do you buy 1 pen or buy many for your budgeted amount?

4) Tristan N.- Facebook (14:09):What is your personal maximum spending budget on a fountain pen you really like?

5) Marco R.- Facebook (16:14):Have you guys ever thought of doing something like "amazon prime" for goulet pens? I envision a membership that you pay yearly for ink drop, free shipping, and nib tuning for any new pen purchased.

6) 林瑋琮- Facebook (19:14):
I've heard that somebody put Brause Rose nib in to Noodler's pen, is it practical?
7) Leslie H.- Facebook (20:38):
Where are Noodler's Acrylic Flex Pens made? in the US or elsewhere? Thanks.

8) David T.- Facebook (21:30):
Maybe this is a writing question, but is there anything I can do to make my writing with a medium nib look better? I normally use fine or extra-fine, and I do well with an italic nib, but writing with medium or broad is just unpleasant and ugly. This limits my choices to Japanese pens which offer the smaller sizes.

9) NoFuture NoHope- Facebook (23:39):
Is there any special way how to hold pens with very broad, stub or italic nibs?

10) Tristan N.- Facebook (24:53):
I have a MO on my Lamy 3 Dialog but I don't seem to get the most out of it. I guess, I'm not  sure what to expect out of it.

11) Alison H.- Facebook (26:58):
Here are my questions for this week's Q&A.
1. Can I fill my TWSBI Vac 700 by taking off the top part(with the nib) and filling it via syringe? What would I use silicone grease for? You keep mentioning it, and some even came with my TWSBI? All of my Platinum pens (Cool, Preppy, 3776) seem to unscrew a bit when I write - what's going on?
thanks so much. I think it's fantastic that you do these Q&As.

12) Joseph Q.- Facebook (30:14):
Please compare the ink capacity of the TWISBI 580 to the 700 Vac.
13) Andrew W.- Facebook (31:20):
Is there any chance of you carrying restoration supplies like shellac, sacs, and talc in the future? It'd be pretty cool if that did happen in the future and convenient, considering the chance of hit and miss on getting the right parts through eBay.
14) Francisco G.- Facebook (32:51):
Are you thinking about expanding your Lamy line? 

15) Richard F.- Facebook (33:48):
When do you expect to receive the new Stonewashed Kaweco Al-Sport pens in Blue and Black? Right now they are only available in Europe. 

16) Shane H.- Facebook (34:30):
Why do all orders contain a tiny tootsie pop? 

17) Steven C.- Facebook (35:49):
Will Goulet Pens stock Private Reserve: Candy Apple Red, Tangerine Dream and Hot Bubble Gum? I used Tangerine Dream in summer 2000 and missed it when it was taken off the market. So glad it's back, scent and all. 

18) Jimmy F.- Facebook (38:23):
Hello, Goulet Team! I have been a fan of your site for quite some time now, and I love all the things you guys do for your customers. I was wondering, would it be possible to special order an Imperial Blue Lamy Studio with a extra-fine gold nib? I was disappointed to find it was not offered this way. I LOVE the look of the Studio, and I would like to that pen my first foray into gold-nibbed pens.  

19) Jason S.- Facebook (42:01):
Any recommendations for a pen that can take some abuse? My Harley vibrates with the best of them and I'd love to take a FP with me but worry about the constant vibrations damaging something in the pen or causing ink to spill out. I would obviously carry it Upright in some sort of pen holder or case. Any other considerations I should think about?

Thanks to everyone for asking such great questions this week! My apologies to anyone who asked that I didn't get to. These days I'm just getting more questions than I can answer in a single video. Next week I'll be talking about Using Your Fountain Pens at Work, so be sure to ask any questions you have in the comments below!

Write On,
Brian Goulet


  1. I can tell you why most people's handwriting looks a lot better with a medium or broad than with a fine or extra-fine: the larger width of the line covers up the small variations from shakiness in holding the pen. If your line is only .3 mm wide and you shake .1 mm to the left, you've shifted the center of your line over quite a bit. If it is 1 mm wide and you shake .1 mm to the left, it's a very small change, comparatively.

  2. I think the videos are better if you answer more questions in less depth.

  3. Thanks for another good Q&A. Today I enjoyed listening while sketching with my just-received Kaweko Ice Sport, Platinum Carbon Black ink and watercolor. I was sitting in my own yard sketching irises so the wi-fi router was close enough to stream your video:

  4. For Andrew W. Here is a great source for pen sacs and all kinds of repair/replacement accessories: http://www.vintagepens.com/catill_nibs_parts.shtml#18018%29 . They have latex and silicone pen sacs and good information on using them, shellac, and replacement components for vintage pens. Plus a large selection of vintage pens. Good luck.

    For Allison H. The TWSBI Vac-700 has quite a few O-rings. It is a good idea to lightly coat them with a tiny bit of silicone periodically. If I disassemble the plunger assembly at the back of the pen I will use a bit of silicone before re-assembling. I also use a little on the O-ring that the cap seals against when it is screwed down. I have filled my 700 with the grip section removed using a syringe. When I did this I backed the seal down into the enlarged section and let the ink slowly flow around the rubber seal plug, there is room when it is in this position. Usually I use the Vac-20 bottles, but I have been known to use an ink not in one of my bottles. Love the Vac-700!

  5. For Jimmy F: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Lamy-Safari-spare-single-14-c-gold-nibs-in-different-sizes-in-Silver-Gold-/151125041467?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item232fc1213b

    14K Lamy nibs for your Studio

  6. I don't mind the tootsie pop but I would rather have a healthy snack while I struggle to open my well sealed package. There is actually an easy solution to the problems that most people have trying to find the end of a taped package and that is to dog-ear the end of the tape to allow for the person to quickly find the end and pull on it to remove the tape. It does involve adding about two inches of tape but the convenience is worth it.

    Also... regarding using pens in the office: What should I do when others see me using a fountain pen and get jealous? Some coworkers have been rude and offensive. How would you deal with people who won't give fountain pens a try?

  7. Question #5 inspired an idea in me. :)

    What about an ongoing promotion of buying say 10 ink samples
    and then get one free (of the customer’s choice)? Or buy twenty ink samples and
    get two free, etc. (to be used at once or at a later time)? It could be all in
    one order or (even better) accumulating within a certain time range (say within three months, or expires in a year, etc.)

    This could also be great for bottles of ink, instead of get
    one free, perhaps get 10% off one bottle when you buy 10 bottles.
    (Again, I am thinking accumulating purchases, not all at once, as many people
    probably can’t get 10 bottles at once regularly, but they can buy one or two
    frequently and this can help reward those faithful customers who repeatedly
    shop with your company.)

    I like the idea of some sort of rewards for loyal customers
    who keep coming back time and time again.

  8. How about buying several Pilot Varsity pens to keep on hand and offering one of these to your coworkers saying "Don't knock it until you try it". I used fountain pens in my office for some 16+ years and never saw any rudeness, jealousy, or offensiveness; just curiosity. One bought a Lamy Al-Star after trying one of my pens. Just be sure to warn then not to press down hard. That is a common tendency from someone who never used a fountain pen.

  9. I have purchased from Goulet Pens a bunch of times and I have Never received a Tootsie Pop with my shipment. But due to the lack of International shipping options from Goulet Pens, I have to trans-ship through the U.S. to Indonesia. So that means either: 1. Someone is stealing my Tootsie Pop along the way, or 2. Goulet Pens is messing with me, and only me. Hmmm... Likely No.-1.

  10. Hi, Brian, this is Lu from Australia. I've been following your youtube videos for a while, they are awesome, and have a question if you could help. I'm looking to buy a montblanc starwalker carbon fountain pen, but see the instruction as a "cartridge pen" that montblanc does not have its converter. And I'm really a converter fun, even if not for changing colours, since I usually stick one pen to one ink anyway. I've heard romours that it can fit converters from other manufacturers, but don't know for sure. Is there any help that you may be able to assist? Really appreciate it, mate. Thanks a lot!

  11. Hi Brian, long time lurker on your great blog but first time poster with a question for next week. I love my using my pilot custom 823 for work but have been nervous about flying with it on business as I've read pens could explode. I know that I can seal the ink feed on the 823 but should I also empty the ink in the feed (like you do on one of your videos) before flying as well to prevent leaks and ink explosions. Also should I completely fill the ink chamber or is it ok to leave some air if I seal the pen and leave it upright?

    Thanks and keep up the good work

  12. Bertie, pens don't explode from the very slight change in pressure in the aircraft cabin. It puts a very slight vacuum on the pen and can expand air in the pen which may force a little ink out of the reservoir up through the nib and feed, leaking into the cap. The ink could dribble out of the cap and get messy. Seal the ink feed and the only ink that will come out will be the small amount in the grip section. But, if you seal the feed before you fly, and open the feed while the plane is at altitude, ink could come out of the pen. If you want to write with your 823 in the pressurized cabin, I would hold a tissue, napkin, or rag under the pen and slowly release the seal, just in case. Or, hold it over a cup. I flew with my Vanishing Point on 4 or 5 flights with ink in it and never got a drop come out.

  13. Hi All,

    Regarding the hit and miss of restoration supplies. Here are a few sites I deal with. All of the people behind these sites are legends in the restoration business and will do right by you when you order from them.

    http://www.richardspens.com/ Richard Binder's site. Super nice people
    http://www.richardspens.com/ John Mottishaw' site. More new pen sales but carries some restoration supplies

    Of course the holy grail is the fountainpen network

    http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/ Just ask around the forums and you will find many people able to supply you.

    Brian, talc is used to keep the sacs used in older pens supple and prevent abrasion/cracking ;) Just thought you might like to know.

  14. Hi Lu,

    I have the ruthenium plated MB Starwalker. I use a faber castell. you can check here for others:


    Got mine from http://www.fahrneyspens.com/

  15. Why does it bother you if they get jealous? :) I'm the only one in my office, family and circle of friends who use a fountain pen. I get lots of silly comments, but .... once they see how much better my writing looks compared to theirs they shut up real quick, hehe

  16. Thanks Neels! I'll look this up! Alternatively, I've got the syringe set from here to fill up the cartridges, lol. Lu


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