Friday, August 15, 2014

Goulet Q&A Episode 44, Open Forum

This week is another Open Forum Q&A, so just random questions about pens, ink, and paper. Enjoy!

1) Jenee L.- Facebook (5:36):
How does rose gold nib compare to a gold and a steel nib? Or is there no difference and it's all purely for aesthetics?

2) Mary B.- Facebook (6:48):
Head to head comparison between Platinum "Nice" and rose-gold TWSBI, same ink, same paper, same nib size...? Please?
  • I know you’ve been dying to see this!
  • unfortunately I won’t be able to ink both up for this video
  • TWSBI rose gold is nearly 1/4 of the price, that can’t be ignored
  • TWSBI has greater ink capacity, weighs a LOT more
  • Nibs feel somewhat similar, Platinum grinds their nibs finer, but they’re stiff and a bit toothy 
  • texture of the pens are very different
  • both are very attractive pens
  • Platinum will seal better over the long haul, less pen maintenance

3) Ravena J.- Facebook (12:28):
Just wondering if after the DC Fountain Pen show if GouletPens is any closer to carrying Write Notepads & Co.?
  • didn’t see them in DC
  • we’ve reached out to them, they told us their paper isn’t ideal for fountain pens, but they might be changing that
  • others have told us the paper is actually okay
  • we may reach back out to them
  • we’ll see 

4) Jeff A.- Facebook (13:48):
Brian, do you know of any way to prevent the Noodler's Nib Creaper Rollerball from burping ink on the page randomly?
  • make sure to dab the ink away after filling, it ‘hangs out’ in the filler hole
  • Keep the ink level high
  • expel extra air out of the ink chamber
  • air is heating up in your hand, causing it to expand and push the ink out 

5) Sean K.- Facebook (17:09):
What do you think of the very high-priced fountain pens? Are they worth the money, or are you really just paying for the name? What's the best way to approach significant purchases like that, and what should we look for, or avoid?
  • it depends!
  • law of diminishing returns
  • often it’s the name, but certain features like gold nibs and the use of certain materials justifiably increase price immediately
  • avoid marketing fluff, stick to the actual features of the pen
  • look for comparable pens in similar price ranges
  • read reviews of them, from blogs and on retailers’ sites where people talk about owning them 

6) Edgar H.- Facebook (23:21):
Can you suggest some nice fountain pens between $50-$100 with stub nib option?

7) Carlos Q.- Facebook (26:12):
Hello Brian!! Do you have a top three mini/portable pens? I have the Pilot Prera, the TWSBI Mini and the Kaweco Sport (eyedropper) I love them all... So I was wondering if you (or somebody in your workshop) have a top 3 mini/portable fountain pens.

8) Flavio A.- Facebook (27:56):
Can you recommend nice looking clear demonstrators that can be converted to eyedropper filling? I don't understand why manufacturers make beautiful demonstrators (such as the Monteverde Artista Crystal and the Platinum Cool, both of which have even translucid feeds) that are not meant to be converted.

9) Rick B.- Facebook (29:48):
What's the darkest, as in monolithic, non reflective, light canceling black ink you've seen? I like Noodler's X-Feather but was wondering if you've discovered anything even better.

10) Richard B.- Facebook (30:44):
Does the reformulated J. Herbin 1670 Rouge Hematite really have the gold flakes removed? Speaking of which, do you have an idea of when you'll get the new 1670 stormy grey?
  • no, the reformulation actually has more gold in it
  • there have been 3 formulations (that I know) so far
    • first was REALLY gold
    • second was much weaker, little gold at all
    • latest (current) has more gold, but is different than the first two so it should still work well, but sheen
  • paper really changes the properties a lot 

11) Angus D- email (34:42):
Why don't Goulet Pens and the other U.S.-based retailers from whom I've purchased pens fill out the warranty card that some manufacturers (Pilot, Platinum etc) include with the pen?  Obviously you are an authorized retailer and I understand that the pen doesn't have any less of a warranty simply because the card is empty, I was just wondering why they even include the cards if it isn't required for after-sales service.  Contrast this with my experience shopping at a pen shop in Seoul, Korea over the summer where they diligently filled out the card for each pen I bought.  Are the cards used in other markets but not the U.S. for some reason?  And would it be too time-consuming for the cards to be filled out?
  • more an issue for B&M than online retailers
  • online there is a record of every purchase already
  • B&M you could walk up off the street, pay cash, and be anonymous
  • we’ve never been instructed by any of our manufacturers on strict guidelines for filling out any sort of warranty cards
  • many manufacturers don’t even have warranty cards
  • could be a cultural thing, too, different distributors in different parts of the world may have their own rules
12) Chad C.- Facebook (39:20):
I recently purchased a new nib from Goulet for my TWSBI 580. I noticed that it was writing very scratchy and upon inspecting the tines, discovered that tines were misaligned. Instead of contacting Team Goulet or TWSBI about the issue like I should have, I grabbed a pair of needle nose pliers and "very very gently" was able to realign the tines and now the nib works like a dream. Even though my repair issue was minor, I found that I enjoyed tweaking my own nibs (not like it sounds.) Can you recommend or know where I might be able to find basic, but proper tools for adjusting nibs. Thank You.
  • no pliers!!!!
  • all you need is your fingernails
  • Drew and I actually attended Binder’s nib smoothing workshop at the DC pen show
  • some different approaches than what Drew and I have done, but nothing fundamentally changed
  • tine alignment you just use fingernails
  • smoothing is different, then you need micro mesh/mylar
  • Check out Goulet Loupe Tutorial video for tine alignment
  • Check out Goulet Micromesh video
  • Check out Goulet Mylar video

13) Jennifer B.- Facebook (41:42):
I'm thinking of buying my son a pelikano jr for his 8th birthday. Is he younger than the target age? He's a lefty, so I'd also love to know about quick-drying inks that are ideal for southpaws.
  • Not too young, he’s right around the right age
  • I wouldn’t worry too much about the ink at first, that’s a honing/toning thing
  • stick with slightly more absorbent paper at first, use whatever ink you have
  • Noodler’s Bernanke inks, PR Fast-Dry
  • Try just conventional non-permanent ink first before buying something special 

14) Andre A.- Facebook (43:48):
I caught a (tiny) glimpse of your pen collection in the video about pen storage. Any chance you can show us your full blown collection? I'll send you a cheeseburger. I promise.
  • there’s a lot! 
  • prepare to have your mind blown 

Next week's Q&A will be another Open Forum, so ask whatever you want down in the comments below. Be sure to check out any old Q&A's you've missed here, and have a wonderful rest of the week!

Write On,
Brian Goulet


  1. I haven't used a fountain pen yet, but I have a few Platinum Preppys and a Pilot Kakuno on the way for learning and improving my cursive writing. After that I am thinking of going with a Lamy Vista or a Kaweco ICE Sport in Orange (which you don't have).

  2. Not to be an enabler, but there's really no such thing as too many pens. :)

  3. My first fountain pen was a Sheaffer School Pen I bought at Wal-Mart years ago. I still have it, in fact. I only recently really started buying and using fountain pens, but that pen was the start of it all.

  4. Waski_the_SquirrelAugust 15, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    My first pen was a Parker Vector that I purchased when I was in fourth grade in the mid 1980s. My family had gotten a pen catalog as junk mail. There were lots of pretty pens in there, but only a tiny handful that I could pay for. The arrow clip was what caught my eye.

    By the way: wow, that is a lot of pens! I try to keep my collection under 20, but I am always fascinated by the large collections.

    And a quick question: I can't find the Noodler's Rollerball tips anywhere. You have even taken them off your own site. Have they been discontinued?

  5. My first pen was a LAMY Safari. Technically I owned a LAMY Twin pen first, which was both a rollerball and a pencil. I think I asked for it because I'd seen someone else with one before or something, and so I got it as a birthday gift. And then I noticed the fountain pens the same company had and I was begging my parents for one and I got it as one part of my HS graduation gift.

  6. My first pen was a Levenger True-Writer (metal version). It wasn't a good fit for me: too big, too heavy, nib too broad. I gave it to a friend with a larger hands. I almost gave up on fountain pens, but then got a Pelikan M400 and found love.

  7. My first fountain pen was a Nemosine Singularity demonstrator. The reason I liked it was it included the converter ANC also sold other nibs separately so I could easily swap to z different nib if I didn't liked the one I bought. Plus really inexpensive.

  8. My first fountain pen was a mid-60's version Sheaffer cartridge ("school") pen when I was eight years old. I continued using those Sheaffer pens in high school and moved up to the Sheaffer No Nonsense pens in the mid-70's. I've since collected Watermans, Parkers, Esterbrooks, and an Ahab, but I'll always have a soft spot for Sheaffer.

  9. Mine too. It came on a card from the grocery store - probably a decade or two before yours. :-)

  10. Faber-Castell Ambition

  11. Like Jackie and Scott my first pen was also a school Sheaffer cartridge pen first used in seventh grade in the 60's. Later in high school I used, in addition to my various colored Sheaffers, Esterbrooks and Parkers. I wish I had held on to those lovely Sheaffer ink bottles with the glass ink well inside the bottle and that their Peacock blue ink was still a color selection. The turquoise is just not the same shade. Sigh.

  12. I remember Peacock blue! And you are right, turquoise is not the same.

  13. My first fountain pen was a Pilot Custom 74 clear demonstrator with a medium nib.

  14. Nice! That'll give you a pretty good feel for it to start. The Vista's super-popular (basically a clear Lamy Safari). Definitely be sure to watch FP101 since you're just getting into it: http://www.inknouveau.com/p/fountain-pen-101.html

  15. Wow, to think how your life would have been had you not gotten that pen :)

  16. I definitely have too many pens :)

    The rollerball tips have just recently been discontinued, yeah. Nathan told us the price of them went up about 6-fold nearly overnight, so there's the end of those! I think we're going to see the Noodler's rollerballs die out here soon, given that.

  17. Really enjoying your vids, Brian. They have me looking forward to Fridays for more than one reason! :) Thanks for dragging out your collection for us. It warms my heart to see you still have the addiction after all these years and so many pens!

    My first pen was a clear Sheaffer cartridge pen I picked up in a drugstore probably more than 20 years ago. I don't know what kind it is because I've never seen another one like it. But I dug it out several months ago, the half-full cartridge still in it, and after decades of sitting in a drawer it still wrote!

    I decided I needed to buy more cartridges for it and went on the internet to see where I could find some. Needless to say they don't make them anymore, but that was the start of my new addiction. My first "second generation" pen was Noodler's Nib Creaper from Goulet, and then I bought a Pilot Metropolitan from you and haven't looked back since. Thirty pens later, I'm well and truly hooked. Thanks for that. :)

  18. Cool! Gift pens are the sweetest ;) -Brian Goulet

  19. that's quite a step up! Glad you found something you love.

  20. Yeah, I've heard some decent stuff about these. We've considered carrying them before but backed out of it at the 11th hour, I talked about that a couple of weeks back.

  21. American through and through, huh? Nice, Sheaffer's got some solid stuff in their lineup, we could certainly go deeper on their offerings.

  22. Cool, how'd you get that as a first pen? FC probably isn't one of the more well-known starter brands.

  23. Now that's what's up, you're on my team here :) My med Custom 74 wasn't my very first pen, but was my first gold nib pen (and probably my 4th or 5th pen). Still just love it today.

  24. Yeah, I get asked about Peacock from time to time. Haven't found a dead-lock replacement.

  25. +1 for a Lamy safari as well. A great starter pen!
    Question for next week. Sailor make limited inks for specific retail stores in Japan and noodlers have mahattan blue with fountain pen hospital and i know you have worked with noodlers before. But any plans on a specific goulet ink or inks?

  26. First fountain pen I used was a off-brand pen with one of the "Iridium Point - Germany" nibs on it. Scratchy as mad, and skipped more than it wrote. But, it got me thinking about better pens. Love the videos, Brian!

  27. thanks for sharing all your information AND giving us a glimpse of your pens. Years ago I had a Parker but it wrote so poorly I gave up on fountain pens. More recently, when I renewed my love for them, my F_Castell E-Motion Pearwood and Edison Herald were my first "real pens". I jumped right in because when you are over 60 you have to seize the day!

  28. The first fountain pen I used was some 60 years ago in grade school when we left pencils and went to pens. Ballpoint pens were not allowed for several years (they were very poor writers) so we used Esterbrook student pens with cartridges. Don't remember much except ink on my fingers. Fast forward to 1965 when I got a Sheaffer Lifetime Pen & Pencil set for high school graduation. Used a Parker Jotter ballpoint through college and into work until the mid 90's when I started using the Sheaffer again at work. I am still using it. Wonderful pen, but I have expanded to Waterman Carene, Pilot VP, Kaweco Sports, and recently 3 TWSBI's, Ebonite Konrad, Lamy 2000 & Al-Star, Pilot Metal Falcon and others. I love writing with them all, but Brian's videos have been the biggest factor in boosting my love of fountain pens and writing with them.

  29. I used to think that meant that the nib was made in Germany. Several months ago I found out that it only means the Iridium alloy used to make the tip was a German alloy, the nib could be made anywhere to any level of quality. I've seen these nibs on crafted pens. Brian can probably tell us more about them.

  30. My first fountain pen I ever used was a Schaeffer calligraphy pen that was in a calligraphy kit I got, but I never used it for regular writing and it's been in a box somewhere for over 15 years. My first fountain pen for actual writing was a Pilot Varsity (a little less than a year ago).

  31. Technically, my first fountain pen was a Shaeffer cartridge calligraphy pen I got from the craft store in middle school. I was really into calligraphy, and I just knew them as "calligraphy pens" at that point. My first conscious purchase was a Pilot Metropolitan, and my collection has grown to include a Lamy Al-Star and two Preppies :)

  32. So you are the reason you are sold out of so many of the Noodlers pens!!


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