Friday, August 8, 2014

Goulet Q&A Episode 43, Open Forum

As usual, this week has been busy :) We've hired a couple of new folks on our Customer Care team, Anna and Margaret, and we'll have their pics and bios up on our site soon. We will also have Madigan joining them in a couple of weeks. And we're saying goodbye to Tyler our multimedia photographer/videographer as he takes his freelance wedding photo/video business full time. We're sad to see him go, but Jenni will be joining us in a couple of weeks as our videographer to help me step up my game a little bit in the area of videos! I've been falling behind just a little as you might have noticed. I've been keeping up with Q&A, but other videos have just not been as high a priority with all of the hiring that we've been doing. We have a really time-intensive hiring process at Goulet, and I've been very involved in that recently. I promise you though, great things are in the works!

Here are this week's questions:

1) Ryan G.- Ink Nouveau (8:45):
So the school year is coming up, and I am armed with a new Lamy Vista, and some PR Electric D.C. Blue (amazing pen/ink btw :D). Do you have any suggestions for some fountain pen friendly notebooks? Preferably 8.5x11 or similar size, lined. I take a lot of notes and I really need something that can keep up with my FP.

2) Analise A.- Facebook (14:16): 
Why don't you guys have a table at the DC Pen show?
  • did it once in 2010, shot some videos about it
  • mad respect for those that work the shows
  • too much to be able to bring
  • shared inventory
  • working vs. mingling 

3) Peter C.- Facebook (16:36):
Is there such a thing as breaking-in the nib/pen, or is that more of a myth?
  • yes and no
  • it’s as much breaking in yourself as the pen
  • getting used to the way a pen writes
  • nibs to smooth out a bit over time
  • nib can become a little softer over time, too
  • overemphasized by some, especially those who talk about a pen being ‘ruined’ if someone else even signs their name with it
    • c’mon, it’s solid metal
    • will be fine, unless abused 

4) Josh P.- Facebook (21:35):
I have heard the benefits of micromesh and mylar paper and how to use them from your videos. However i always hear about the possibility of ruining the pen from many individuals. I want to know what should i avoid when using mylar or micromesh? What are the dire mistakes i should avoid when using it? Thanks Brian!
  • overdoing it
  • trying to smooth before the tines are aligned 

5) Otter- Ink Nouveau (26:56):
I have a TWSBI Classic which I bought from you, and would like to know if they will come out with swappable nibs for it. Way back in February I wrote to TWSBI and asked about replacement nibs, and they said it was still in production so it would be a couple of months before they had the nibs. I wrote Philip Wang again in June to find out the status, but got no reply. Do you have any insight as to when the replacement nibs might be offered?
  • I know as much as you do, nothing
  • don’t know about nibs, but have heard the Classic will become postable soon 

6) Mark- Ink Nouveau (27:49):
Hey Brian! Just a thought on the problem of too many questions for these videos - maybe you could create a running collection of the questions that you've answered in these videos. I know there have been times that I wanted to find a specific clip from a specific video that I had seen but had to go back and scroll through a lot of past Q&A's to find it. If there was some complete collection of the questions asked, sorted by category, it would make it easier to find those specific videos and might reduce the questions that have already been answered. Topics might be along the lines of nibs, inks, adjustments/repairs, Goulet company, and different topics for the brand specific videos. As much time as it must take to type up the questions and summaries, I'd think a list of questions only should be doable.
  • yeah, this has become an issue over time
  • 43 Q&A’s with at around 15 questions each, that’s 645 or so questions
  • That’s a lot to keep straight!
  • No idea what the answer is to organize all these
  • definitely an opportunity to improve referenceability

7) Enrique V.- Facebook (30:52):
What's your favourite 1.1 stub nib for a first time user? Considering Monteverde's and Lamy's so far!
  • Both Lamy and MV are good
  • same nibs on these pens used on all models within the brand
  • TWSBI, when available
  • Goulet nib on Noodler’s pen (or other)
  • Pilot Parallel is also good! Cheap

8) Vicki N.- Facebook (33:27):
You say the Jinhao X750 takes a #6 nib. Will it work with the Noodler's flex nibs as well? Or is the feed not juicy enough to support flex nib writing?
  • Technically, sure, it’ll ‘fit’ in the pen.  

9) 林理谙- Facebook (35:20):
Can I use ammonia to clean out Baystate Blue, or will it explode or something?

  • No, but it won't do much
  • use bleach, a 10% solution works great

10) Virginia V.- Facebook (37:45):
I'm holding my breath waiting for the Noodlers Neponset. Am I going to turn blue?

  • you might! should be really, really soon though

11) Brian H.- Facebook (39:17):
Star Trek fans are commonly referred to as Trekkies/Trekkers, Dr. Who fans are commonly referred to as Whovians, is there such a nickname for those of us who use fountain pens for almost everything? Also, are you planning on adding a music nib to your Goulet nib line anytime soon?

  • great question! Don't know of any standard term for FP people like that
  • ideas?
  • no Goulet music nib, but 1.1mm and 1.5mm stubs are basically the same thing as music

12) Matthew F.- Facebook (41:16):
What is your favorite demonstrator and why? I've really got a hankering for a TWSBI 580, but maybe I should go for something else? And for the sake of the question, let's act like price isn't an issue.
  • 580’s pretty awesome!
  • Pilot Custom 74, one of my favorite pens (though blue is my favorite)
  • Vac-700
  • Platinum Nice
  • Pelikan m1000 demo

13) Dominick D.- Facebook (44:25):
That question I had last time about you possibly selling your own handles for Wax Seals? I know it isn't FP related per say, but I'd still love to hear your opinion on it.
  • right now I don’t have a workshop, so I couldn’t do it if I wanted to
  • I also don’t have time
  • I could, maybe one day someday see myself doing it again, just for fun
  • I really did enjoy making them 

14) Tim K.- Facebook(46:12):
This might be hard to answer, does scented ink taste like it smells?
  • I don’t know and I don’t plan to find out!
  • please don’t try, inks are nothing but water and really not healthy chemicals, they’re not at all made to be ingested! 

15) Eric L.- Facebook (47:00):
Just bought a Sheaffer 300 from you guys- love the size and weight. What other pens would be comparable dimension and especially heft-wise?
  • I’m a fan of the 300, too! (45g)
  • Pilot Metal Falcon (33g)
  • Jinhao 159 (50g), x750 (36g)
  • Lamy Studio (lighter though, 31g) 
  • Monteverde Invincia (40g)
  • TWSBI Vac-700 (32g)

16) Robert R.- Facebook (49:53):
I love the look of the Platinum Maki-e pens. Is it possible that over time and by posting the lid on top whilst writing that the beautiful images will rub off?
  • it’s possible, sure
  • you have that risk with any pen
  • cap insert in pen to protect body??
  • I’ve never heard of anyone mentioning any body damage on this pen because of posting the cap

17) Linda D.- Facebook (51:05):
The Quo Vadis site just announced that the new-style Habanas are now available in ivory AND white -- will Goulet start carrying the white as well?
  • Quo Vadis switched to ivory paper YEARS ago, what you’re seeing are notebooks still left over from the change
  • the least popular colors are left
  • we haven’t carried them because they’re the least popular ones left, and it would just be confusing for everyone 

Be sure to check out any old Q&A's you've missed here. Next week I'll be doing another Open Forum, so be sure to ask away in the comments below. Have a great week!

Write On,
Brian Goulet


  1. I am in LOVE with the Platinum Cool Demonstrators. Is there any chance you can put in a good word to Platinum and ask them to expand the colors. I already have at least one in every color (rose, blue, crystal) and would snatch up a green, purple, smoke, and yellow in a heartbeat! Also, any chance you guys might carry the Platinum/Nakaya Maki-e converters in the future? That Goldfish one is super cute!

  2. Any more thought on a head to head comparison of Platinum "Nice" and TWSBI rose gold??? Thought it might have been addressed today, but I'll take what I can get!

  3. Fountaineers?

  4. I'm a writer with a bit of a heavy hand, but I prefer the look of really fine lines. I have a Lamy in EF, but I'm really looking for something finer. Any ideas for anything really fine that's relatively inexpensive?

  5. Waski_the_SquirrelAugust 8, 2014 at 8:21 PM

    I think you went on too long defending your top 5 pens.

    In my opinion: starter pens should be at the lower price end. Most people aren't going to try out a new pen that costs a lot of money. My own entry was a Parker Vector, something I could afford at the time without too much loss if I decided I didn't like it. The pen had some disappointments for me, as many lower-cost pens will.

    The main thing is to give the new user a good experience at a low enough cost that they're willing to try it. Once they're into the pens, they'll go after something more expensive.

  6. I got a Platinum #3776 Century Nice from you and LOVE it! :) My review is here, actually: http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php/topic/271574-platinum-3776-century-nice-fine-nib-review/

    My only problem is that the cap is as heavy as the body itself sooo posting is WAY awkward. Otherwise, it's perfect. Love the nib and the frosted look is so cool. It's a nice (HAH) twist on the demonstrator.

    I also agree with your take on what makes a good newbie fountain pen. My first fountain pens were Varsities. When you're REALLY new to fountain pens and have never written with one before, it might take a $3 disposable one to realize that you're ready to make the next step– to a Safari, in my case :) Not everyone gets into fountain pens sure enough about it that they're willing to spring for a $50 pen and a bottle of ink!

  7. Another thing: cheapie pens are important for new users to try out different pens and nibs to figure out what their preferences are in terms of nib size, nib softness, weight, dimensions…

  8. Hey Brian, I have a Lamy Studio in Royal Red and love it, however I've recently noticed the ring near the nib (you know the one the cap snaps onto) has discolored. I grip this pen on the step and flush with tap water (and only occasionally with the addition of dish soap for more stubborn inks), so why has it discolored and what can be done about it?
    Also, how often do limited edition colors for the Studio come out?

  9. Peter Buergin-WittAugust 9, 2014 at 11:32 AM

    Ryan G. - I strongly second the suggestion by Brian - my daughters both use side wire bound and side staple bound notebooks by Clairefontaine, ans I even let them doodle during their assignments, it's so gorgeous - guaranteed no bleedthrough unless you fall asleep in class with the nib-point on the paper... :)

  10. Hi Brian,

    Great video, thanks for doing these! I'm on the hunt for an ink colour... I looked on the swab shop on The Goulet website, but haven't really found what I was looking for. I would like a sea-coloured ink, basically a turquoise-green. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  11. RE: cleaning BSB ink, I use rubbing alcohol to clean it off my fingers and counter tops. It could be a problem with some plastics so I haven't tried using it on my pens.
    Thanks for the shortlist of note books, that will be very helpful for me!
    I am curious about how many pens you have ink in at any given time?
    Part of the fun for me of sticking with the less exppensive pens--the TWSBI Mini I bought from you guys is my most expensive pen. So far... :)--is that I have quite a few. Certainly more than I want to keep inked all the time. Currently, I limit myself to three; the Mini (my daily pen right now) and two Pilot Petits; one with red ink and the other with a blue/black.
    Thank you and all your staff for the ongoing excellence!

  12. Alice, I hope Brian answers this; until then here is my thought. The specs say that the Studio has chrome plated trim. This ring looks to me like tarnished brass, so maybe an un-plated ring got onto your pen by mistake at the factory. Brass will tarnish from your fingerprints alone, and maybe the moisture in a sealed cap. Great photo by the way!

  13. Let's call ourselves Nibbers.

  14. "Sea colored" is still pretty broad - do you mean the gray North Atlantic in winter, the blue South Pacific in summer, or the green Caribbean at dusk? (Or better yet, the "wine-dark" Aegean of Homer's description?) My favorite "sea colored" ink - that is, ink that specifically reminds me of the ocean - is Diamine Twilight. It's a deep glue-green. Not in the turquoise family by any means, but it's what deep-water ocean looks like to me. For shallower tropical waters and thus a brighter ink, I'd go with something more like Noodler's Midway or Akkerman Denneweg Groen.

  15. Hi, the colour I'm looking for is more that turquoise-green that you see at the shallow parts of the Mediterranean. Something like this: http://www.123rf.com/photo_5060065_formentera-mediterranean-seascape-turquoise-sea-in-ibiza-spain.html

    I actually have Diamine Twilight and absolutely love that ink too!

  16. Contact me via Twitter (https://twitter.com/rscottrogers) and I can send you a sample of the Akkerman Dennweg Groen - it's in the ballpark for the turquoise-green in the picture you linked. I just got a bottle at the DC show, and it's a beautiful ink. I'm sure it has a Diamine close equivalent, but I didn't find an exact match among the Diamine inks on the sample table at the show.

  17. Platinum Ultra Extra Fine. More expensive than the Lamy, but SO worth it!

  18. In my last Goulet order I had your staff throw in a couple of Rhodia Dot Pads because of friends' recommendations. I LOVE the dot pad experience for writing. However, my penmanship is just slightly large for the 5mm dots and I was wondering if Rhodia, or another company that produces fountain pen friendly paper, makes a dot pad with 7-8mm dots. Any help would be much appreciated.

  19. Thank you for answering my question about the TWSBI Classic nib, Brian. I appreciate you taking the time when you are so swamped with questions. However what you said about the nib being swappable with the TWSBI Mini contradicts what you said in your video comparing the 580, Mini, and Classic (here: http://www.inknouveau.com/2014/01/twsbi-classic-580-mini-fountain-pen.html), where you said the nibs are NOT swappable, even though they're the same size.

    Have you (or anyone else) found that there's a way to swap them after all? If so, I'm eagerly looking forward to ordering replace nibs from you. Thanks again for your great vids!


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