Friday, May 30, 2014

Goulet Q&A Episode 33, Open Forum

This week’s Open Forum Goulet Q&A kicks off with a surprisingly personal intro, I didn’t quite expect to nearly tear up! Talking about my kids and their growing up and heading to preschool, that’s what did me in. I also have an update for some new stuff that just came in to GouletPens.com, like the Rhodia ICE notebooks, Noodler’s Acrylic Konrads, and a couple of new (to us) Sheaffer pens, the Sagaris and 300

Here are this week’s questions:

1) Mike M.- Email (11:23):

What is a good lint-free cloth to use for wiping the nib and feed of my pens? I like to take a look at the nib and feed with a loupe after a writing session in order to remove any fibers, etc., that tend to collect there. I've been using a piece of an old, clean 100% cotton T-shirt, but it seems to put down more junk than it removes. Any suggestions? 

  • microfiber cloth

2) David J.- Facebook (13:17):I noticed that Platinum cartridges have a little steel ball in them. Pilot has a similar piece in the VP converter. What is the purpose? Should I take one of the steel balls from a Platinum cartridge and put it in the Platinum converter?

  • it’s an agitator, just to keep the ink mixed up
  • similar to the small ball that rattles around inside an aerosol can
  • not entirely necessary b/c dye-based inks aren’t as likely to separate out as something like pigmented paint (aerosol) 

3) Benjamin S.- Facebook (15:04):
In a recent Q&A, you suggested not to put ink remaining in a pen back in the bottle to avoid contamination. What about refilling with the same color? If you work your converter a few times to get a better fill, you could contaminate the bottle just as if you were changing colors. So when refilling the same color, is it best to dump whatever ink remains in the pen into the sink before refilling?
  • definitely clean between ink color changes
  • decide how paranoid you want to be
  • technically, the ink is being contaminated as soon as you unscrew the cap!
  • you could get all OCD about ink contamination, but it’s likely not worth the trouble
  • just clean your pen once a month if using the same color and you’ll be fine 

4) @Will_C_W- Twitter (17:47):Will you be getting the  580RB model for July 4?
  • TWSBI is keeping all of the stock from their initial batch for their site, so likely no
  • we’re told the next batch will be late June/early July, so I’d be shocked if we had it in time before July 4

5) @Chrustak- Twitter (19:05):
Any type of nib size/ink that'd work best with carbon copies?
  • fine works well, not too fine to scratch/tear paper, not too broad to bleed 

6) @andsplat- Twitter (20:11):
Should I protect my Pilot VP matte black from scratches or let it wear? Are there damage risks besides aesthetics?
  • totally personal preference
  • Pen slip helps tremendously
  • black finish will scratch, so don’t freak out if it does
  • never heard of functional damage, just aesthetics 

7) Joshua T.- Facebook (21:32):
So many questions. Answer what you can. Love your site and your service. 1) How come you don't carry Sailor? Awesome pens; 2) I know you just started carrying Pelikan. Are you familiar with the M205 highlighter? If so, can you compare the green ink to the yellow, particularly in terms of actually writing in addition to highlighting? 3) Would love your take on Visconti, and the possibility of carrying. Keep up the wonderful work of such a great family business.
  • Sailor dropped us, check out blog post from July 17, 2013: GouletPens being dropped by Sailor
  • nib quality wasn’t up to our expectations
  • Fairly conventional highlighter ink, like Noodler’s Firefly and PR Chartreuse
  • Using in a regular pen is kind of tough to read, but works
  • Visconti has told us they aren’t selling through online-only stores, only B&M
    • they don’t know what they’re missing with us!
    • Similar push-back from Lamy and Pilot initially, but they came around
    • uphill battle with Visconti though, same with MB

8) Myke N.- Facebook (28:35):
Do you have any plans to carry the TWSBI Notebooks?
  • Not anytime soon
  • economics, just not there for us 

9) Linda T.- Facebook (29:48):
Do you find that warm or cold water makes a difference in ease of flushing a pen?
  • lukewarm, slightly above room temp
  • don’t want hot or cold
  • use whatever water you use is better than not cleaning it!

10) Stephen K.- Facebook (31:04):
The Goulet nibs are excellent, but they only come in #6 size. Any plans to carry some in #5 size. I am a pen maker and it would be nice to be able to upgrade my nibs. Thanks.
  • It’s a possibility
  • fewer pens we offer that have #5 nibs
  • huge quantities required to purchase
  • demand?
  • Edison nibs are good substitute 

11) Joseph Q.- Facebook (33:57):
Can you discuss the different models of the Pelikan Souveran i.e. What is the difference between the m200/m205 through the m1000/m1005? Aside from price point, that is.
  • All piston fill
  • m2xx, steel nib 
  • m4xx and up gold nibs
  • as pens go up in number, they increase in size of body and size of nib
  • m800/m1000 internal metal components so they’re heavier
  • m1000 really soft nib, HUGE (#10)?

12) Jessica O.- Facebook (36:47):
Hey Brian- Love the videos. When will De Atramentis Sherlock Holmes ink back in stock? Also, any plans for collaborating with Noodler again for another ink?
  • on order: (update since the video recorded, it’s back in stock!)
  • possibly, but Nathan’s busy as is just keeping regular ink/pens made 

13) Shane H.- Facebook (39:11):
Recently someone asked about returning ink to the bottle and if it would cause contamination issues. The answer was yes, but I assume it was implied that the ink was being returned from the whole converter, feed, nib unit. If you pull off the converter and only return the ink that was in the converter, is there still a contamination problem?
  • would be less of an issue
  • do what you’re comfortable doing 

14) Brian R.- Facebook (40:53):
How long can a bottle of Noodler's Black stay viable stored inside its box stored in a cool, dry place?
  • years, no exact expiration
  • how often the ink is used matters, pen maintenance, etc
  • Noodler’s is 10+ years old, and ink is lasting that long so far 

15) Emma V.- Facebook (42:12):
What are some good $20 or less pens that come in a fine point or smaller?

16) Bill M.- Facebook (43:02):
Is there a reason you don't stock the TWSBI Micarta? I love the brand and would like, over time, to complete the set. Thanks for everything you and your team do for the community.
  • it’s discontinued, get one while you can where you can 

17) Wei-Tsung L.- Facebook (43:47):
Any news from TWSBI? Vac-mini and Eco?
  • Vac-mini: we’re told within two month, final testing. Mid-summer
  • Eco: a little more final testing, late-summer/fall
  • subject to change, as always!

18) MK B.- Facebook (44:32):
More of a suggestion rather than a question: Could you include business cards with or instead of bookmarks in your packages? I do a lot of sketching with a group, sometimes as many as 30 people. I always use fountain pen(s) and ink I got from you and talk up Goulet Pens if anyone asks about what I use to draw. So do some of my friends in the group. Having a business card to hand out would be good. On the other hand, I've recently realized I can just hand out the book marks. I certainly don't need so many and they have the info needed. 
  • Could certainly do that, I’ll think about it?
  • What does everyone else think?

19) Rob B.- Facebook (45:59):
Would you folks consider offering "custom filled" cartridges? By that I mean, the option to get some of the inks only available in bottles put into standard international cartridges? 
  • No, not practical or economical
  • Not sure of that process
  • If I did figure out a good way to do it, I’d rather share/teach you to do it on your own

20) Louis I.- Facebook (48:28):
So I just bought a Metallic VP and I love it! But trying to put the Con-20 converter into it has proven difficult. It fits in loosely, even after applying a bit of pressure. Any tips? Otherwise everything about the Vanishing Point is spectacular. Thanks so much!
  • it’ll fit, I promise
  • you have to really push it on 

21) Tirstan N.- Facebook (49:30):
Last week there were a lot of questions about Tomoe River and you were hinting about news to come. Sooooooo, any news?
  • nothing yet, we’re working on it  

Thanks to everyone for such great questions, I really appreciate it! Sorry for anyone who asked a question that I wasn’t able to answer. If you missed any previous Q&A’s, make sure to check them out here. Next week’s theme will be Tips and Tricks, so be sure to ask me whatever questions you have about the pain points you have around your fountain pen usage, and I’ll see if I can give you any little hints to make your experience better! Have a great week.

Write On,
Brian Goulet


  1. Hey Brian,
    Just noticed a few open ends after reading the description (haven't watched the video yet, sorry if this is redundant). For the business card/bookmark thing, you could start a policy of providing them to non-registered users or "first order" members if there's a way to track that. I personally enjoy having them around, but realize that a lot of them probably end up in the trash for other people.
    Regarding custom filled standard international cartridges, I don't see any way you could sell them pre-filled, but if Rob B. or you are interested, a syringe works extremely well. I save the cartridge after I use it, use the syringe to flush it totally with water, then dry it out with a Q-tip or rolled up paper towel. After that I can easily fill with a syringe and reuse. Now I have a bunch of Preppy's that are writing with various samples that I've purchased from you. Hope this helps!

  2. MK B - I have been writing "gouletpens.com" on the back of the little Goulet cards (have to use a Sharpie pen, they won't take fountain pen ink :-) and keep a couple in my Midori Traveler's notebook to hand out to anyone interested.

  3. marguerite brainerdMay 30, 2014 at 6:07 PM

    I like the Goulet bookmarks that come inside an order and actually use them. I appreciate them and all the other tiny touches that make receiving an order from you so personal and "family-like"….the little notes by the packer and the Tootsie Roll Pops make me smile. Thank you, Brian and all the Goulet Family working there.

  4. Peter Buergin-WittMay 30, 2014 at 8:57 PM

    Love your business, service, this forum... and your bookmarks, especially the plain "write on" and "if your dreams.." ones. If I make an item ordered from you a gift, I always make sure to include a bookmark of yours... but I'd like to keep some myself, so an additional business card would be great (I rarely part with your stickers - by the way: I use your stickers as a stick-on "hinge" on twsbi boxes to make them more functional) :)

  5. Thanks for the tips, Mark. Yeah, tracking that kind of info (and then displaying it on the invoice for my packing team to know who's new and who's returning) would be kind of tough. There is a way to do it I'm sure, but I think our site is limited in that respect right now. Great thought though!

    Regarding the carts, yeah, syringe filling them is a great idea and I do have that in this video here: http://www.inknouveau.com/2012/07/fp101-refilling-ink-cartridge.html

    But I think the nature of the question was more about offering filled (and sealed) cartridges and distributing them from here, and that's just not something I can see doing.

  6. Thanks for doing that, Tom! Which cards are you talking about? The bookmarks all already have the website on them, do you mean the sticker? We've actually just recently realized the sticker didn't say our website, so we've changed that moving forward.

  7. Awesome! I'm glad you like all our little touches, Marguerite :)

  8. Awesome! Yeah, I'll have to think of some other really cool quotes to do for the bookmarks :) Glad you're enjoying everything Peter, and that's a fantastic idea for the TWSBI box!

  9. Brian, I feel dumb! I never looked closely at them and thought they were little cards! But, I've only placed 38 orders with Goulet Pens. I keep the stickers and the bookmarks in a drawer. Having the website on the sticker will be great. Goulet Pens is the best! Thanks Brian and everyone at GPC for being the best.

  10. Haha, that's okay! Yeah, the web address on there will help, but in the meantime, stick away ;)

  11. The ball in the cartridge or converter also helps to break surface tension, which may hamper ink flow. The Pilot Colour Ink cartridges intended for use with the Pilot Parallel Pen have a steel ball in them and are a good option for replacing some of the terrible inkophilic Pilot squeeze converters like the converter in the 78G.

    Including a business card in the shipping box is a nice idea, but... Put up downloadable & printable business cards AND bookmarks on the Goulet Web site as well.

    What's a tip or trick for preventing my Tootsie Roll Pop from being stolen from my Goulet shipment? I have NEVER received a Tootsie Roll Pop in any of my Goulet shipments. The darn thing is being stolen either by my freight forwarder in Florida or in Indonesian Customs. Maybe you can put a poison-laced Tootsie Roll Pop in my shipment? (Just kidding... sort of.)

  12. I've actually been thinking for a while now that I should ask you guys for business cards with my orders. I'm a junior in high school and people often ask me where I get my pens, so it would be great to be able to give them a card with the info.

  13. Definitely Visconti! I have several in my collection and the nibs are sweeeet! Just be patient.

  14. I use Business Cards as bookmarks all the time.

    They make be buy them by the 1000's so I always have spares anyway.

  15. BTW the kids will do fine and you will probably enjoy your time with them more.

  16. Good point about the Pilot cartridges. I hadn't thought of putting up downloadable business cards, I'll look into that. As for your Tootsie Pop, that's crazy! I can't believe they're stealing it out of there. I mean, technically it's food and I could see how some countries' customs have an issue with that, but c'mon. I bet there's a customs agent that just looks out for Goulet orders b/c they know there's a treat inside ;)

  17. Well, we basically do the bookmark as a business card. Really our website is what matters, all of the info that would be on a business card would be on there.

  18. Sigh...I'm not holding my breath :P

  19. Yeah, they're adjusting okay. It's harder on us than them, for sure.

  20. Really?! Wow, either you got a different nib than I did, or you just like a really stiff nib! I bought a purple Visconti Rembrandt last year, as a birthday treat for myself. Although it was undoubtedly the most beautiful pen I've ever owned, I absolutely hated the nib -- so stiff it was like trying to write with a stick. It was a Medium, which is what I normally use in all Euro-type nibbled pens, so I don't know why it didn't work for me. I tried and tried to like it, but finally sold it on craigslist. Sigh. So Brian, it's ok with me if you don't get Viscontis ;) You can get lots of Pelikans, though -- they are my dream pens!

    Great Q & A, I had some good answers to questions I've had in my mind.

  21. The 5 on the end of pelikan numbers indicates silver trim.


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