Friday, August 22, 2014

Goulet Q&A Episode 45, Open Forum

This week is another Open Forum Q&A. I keep getting questions from you so I keep showing up :) Enjoy!

1) Luke B.- Facebook (2:11):
Dear Mr. Goulet My name is Luke and I have been engaged to my fiance Penny for nearly four years now. she has been going through some very hard times lately and is feeling really low about graduating college and not yet getting the job she has always wanted (Art Historian) she is an avid collector of fountain pens and a religious watcher of your Q and A and I was wondering if you would give her a shout-out in your show? 
  • Hi Penny, you are a very lucky lady because you have a man that cares for you enough to ask me to help you out
  • We all have our ups and downs sometimes, and you have a lifetime of opportunity ahead of you
  • when I graduated, I didn’t use my degree but washed houses with my dad, considered being an electrician, carpenter, and then started turning pens in a flopped business before discovering fountain pens
  • it’s okay you don’t have it all figured out yet
  • Luke here is going to marry you and be there in good times and bad, for richer or poorer, and he will be there to see you through

2) Peter C.- Facebook (4:44):
What are the functions of the comb-shaped thing behind the feed? Are they supposed to have ink drops in between those fins? That is what's happened with my newly acquired Pelikan M215. I have never seen anything like that with other pens that I have. Ink drops can be seen from the side, but otherwise the pen works normally and writes like a dream. Is my pen leaking or is that actually a normal behaviour? Thanks.
  • different feeds have different designs
  • but yes, that ink is there on purpose, to help regulate the ink flow
3) Kathy B.- Facebook (7:11):
How should I store my bottles of ink? Right now they're in individual zip lock bags, stored in the kitchen cupboard (too obsessive?). The bottles/colors are often so beautiful I'd love to store them on a window ledge and let the light shine through!
  • Out of direct sunlight!
  • you want to keep them away from air and sunlight 

4) Valerie L.- Facebook (9:40):
Will Rachel Goulet ever make a video instead of Brian? Will Goulet make an extra extra fine version of their #6 nib?
  • Rachel is really tied up running the daily operations of the business
  • she has done one solo video, I won’t tell you which (Goulet loyalists can comment as to which it is)
  • we’ve done a lot of videos together
  • I am more the ‘face man’, she doesn’t like being on camera as much as me
  • no Goulet EEF, Jowo doesn’t make it and we’d have to custom grind it to make it happen, which would cost a small fortune

5) @dpawson- Twitter (12:26):

What have you learned about fountain pens writing very upright, vs nearly laid flat?
  • upright most pens write drier, scratchier
  • laid flat, they write wetter/broader
  • ideal angle is 45 degrees 

6) @victstew- Twitter (14:10):

Exactly what is a "music" nib?
  • shoutout to George who I met in DC (shoutout to his sister Katherine who is apparently my biggest fan) 
  • started sometime before the 1920’s, that’s when it started to be publicly advertised by Waterman
  • similar to a stub nib, but ground to be smooth-edged all around the nib, specifically to be written with in a steeply upright position
  • think of writing on a music stand, vertically
  • line variation like a stub
  • originally meant to be very wet flow, and springy/flexy tines to give line variation
  • only Music nibs I personally have experience with is Sailor and Platinum
    • Sailor isn’t really anything but a stub
    • Platinum is more like a true music nib, but isn’t really flexible much
    • Noodler’s Neponset is closer to what the older music nibs originally were, but I still haven’t seen one yet for myself

7) Jacob W.- Facebook (20:32):
I found that American Fountain pens are often overlooked when talking about "quality" pens. Most collectors only talk about European pens such as the Pelikan Souveran series or Asian pens such as the Pilot Custom series. I was wondering what American made pen you thought could compete with these higher end pens, and why these companies often go unnoticed/less discussed. Thanks!
  • there really aren’t a lot of American made fountain pens, that’s why you don’t hear them talked about
  • Edison (German nibs)
  • Bexley (German nibs)
  • Franklin Christoph (German nibs)
  • Gate City (Binder’s brand)
  • smaller independent makers
  • Noodler’s, American parts but much is made in India 

8) Bianca N.- Facebook (23:49):
What is the recommended cleaning for pens that have had Iron Gall ink in them? I've heard vinegar...I have a lamy that I had document ink in and even thought I've flushed it the nib is now really fussy. The convertor has been dyed as well. Any advice would be awesome!
  • FPN helped me out here
  • vinegar solution is good to start, 1 part white vinegar to 10 parts water, flush with water after
  • go to an ammonia-based cleaner (like Goulet Pen Flush) if more aggressive cleaning is needed
  • most modern iron gall formulations don’t require much special care, like Rohrer and Klingner 
  • Diamine Registrar’s is probably the strongest of what I know, needs more maintenance 

9) Yan T.- Facebook (26:37):
After flushing the pen, is it ok to fill it up with ink immediately or do I have to wait for the nip and conventer to dry up first? And any good recommendation for ballpoint pen/ roller pen that can be refill using fountain pen ink?

10) Scott R.- Facebook (30:45):

Perhaps worthy of a Q&A comment: In this video of George W. Bush taking the ALS Challenge, we can plainly see the former president writing with a Pilot Varsity fountain pen in blue. I never voted for the guy, but I endorse his choice of writing instruments!
  • I just did ALS Ice Bucket challenge, it was fun
  • donated and did the ice bucket
  • saw GW’s challenge to Clinton, as of when I’m shooting this, hasn’t responded yet
  • it’s totally a bandwagon thing, and I’ve never been much for peer pressure
  • the cause is good (unlike a fad like Harlem Shake last year) and I thought it’d be motivational for my team/fans to see me get doused
  • pretty neat that GW is using a FP, but you’d think he’d have something fancier than a Varsity! 
  • honestly though, I included it in my FP’s for newbies video for a reason, it’s a solid writing pen
  • maybe GW is a FP newbie! ;) 

11) Flavio A.- Facebook (32:41):
Does the Rhodia Dotpad have the same kind of paper as other Rhodia pads, like the Premium (not considering the color and the dots, of course). I have both mentioned, and the Dotpad paper seems to be clearly inferior.
  • nope, should be the same
  • that’s interesting that you’re having a different experience
  • shoot me an email to follow up on that 

12) Alan L.- Facebook (34:05):
Any word on this years limited Vanishing Point?
  • it’s usually end of summer that it comes out or is at least announced, we should expect to hear something sometime relatively soon
  • don’t think it’ll launch until later in the year
  • I do know what it will be, but can’t say what it is! 

13) 林理谙- Facebook (35:25):
Common causes of inconsistent flow? Besides stuff between the tines.
  • the pen might need to be cleaned
  • tines too close together
  • scratches/damage in the nib slit
  • improperly aligned tines
  • paper fibers in the tines
  • ink has started to dry up in the pen 

14) 林理谙- Facebook (39:36):

Is it possible to remove the nib of a Platinum Preppy from the feed?
  • theoretically, sure
  • I haven’t been able to do it
  • seems to be like a Lamy nib, but is really on there good
  • I don’t see much need to do it

Thanks to everyone who asked me questions this week! Next week will be a little different, I will be out of town so I am actually doubling-up on shooting Q&A this week. So I don't need questions for next week, but if you'd like to post for the following week, knock yourself out! Be sure to check here for any old Q&A's you might have missed. Have a great week!

Write On,
Brian Goulet


  1. What testing is done by pen manufactures before they ship a pen? The reason that I ask is that I purchased a Monteverde Regatta Sport from you and noticed that the nib had a small streak of black ink on it. Was the pen tested and not properly cleaned at the factory?

  2. I guess I qualify as a Goulet loyalist: Rachel's solo video was on the Pilot Parallel pens. According to YouTube, that was three years ago!

  3. As soon as you mentioned Rachel's solo video I knew which one it was. I spend lots of time watching the videos and trying to learn more about fountain pens, ink, and paper in general. The videos help a lot. The content is easy to understand and presented in a way that makes them stand the test of time. One of my favorites was the closet video. When it started I was like, "Are we in a closet?". Then there was a mini fashion show. After a while it didn't matter one bit where the video was because the information was so great. So, thanks for all the wonderful videos and I hope you and your team can continue your awesomeness.

  4. Re. no 7, my first fountain pen was a Cross Bailey, which I quite like, and they're an American company. That's the only fountain pen from them I've had experience with, but from what I've seen I like their products.

  5. Thanks Brian - interesting addition about music nib grind!

  6. Speaking of rollerballs that take fountain pen ink, would there be any way of Goulet carrying the Pilot v7 refillable? I haven't used this myself, but it appears to use the same cartridge system as the fountain pens, and could most likely take a con-20 or con-50.


  7. #6 I remember hand transcribing music manuscript for a university prof, back in the day. He had composed a book of percussion exercises, and as his own handwriting was a mere scrawl, he hired poor college students to self-publish. Parchment paper, India ink, and a razor blade for fixing errors were my tools. (To fix a mistake one had to cut the offending note/s out of the paper with the razor blade, tape a new section onto the back, and re-letter. I tried very hard not to make mistakes!) No photocopy machines in those days. I don't remember knowing about the existence of music nibs, so I'm pretty sure I used one of my good old Osmiroid FPs, with probably a Medium or Fine nib. It was fussy, demanding work, but so satisfying to be producing such great-looking manuscripts. India Ink on parchment creates a beautiful crisp page, where the notes really stand out.

  8. Just wanted to say that I do love the videos you do, Brian. Having Rachel on is a nice change of pace, and much appreciation to her for all she does to keep your wonderful company running! However I haven't seen anyone mention how enjoyable it is to have you alone as well -- you are a natural at being in front of the camera, and a real pleasure to watch! Thank you for continuing to produce these Q&As, as I know it's a lot of extra work.

  9. Brian, A few years ago at the DC pen show, you bought a couple vintage pens... A snorkel and a few others if I remember correctly and shot a short video showing them to us. Any plans to further elaborate on them or do comparison videos in the future?

  10. It is interesting that George W. Bush is on video using a Pilot varsity pen, as I was on another website that sells very expensive pens, for the most part, and they had a special Mont Blanc pen that they said had been presented to George W. I don't know if he was not thrilled with the pen, or if he was into fountain pens at all when he got it, but he obviously got rid of it. He seems to be into fps now, but not into expensive ones, at least when he knows he will be drenched. Actually that may be the explanation, that he didn't want to get a good pen wet like that. I know I wouldn't want to risk one of my nice pens, which includes most of them, when I was going to have ice water poured on me.

  11. Captain CurmurgeonAugust 27, 2014 at 5:58 PM

    Did George know which end of it went to paper or did he need the usual coaching?

  12. A topic idea for the next open forum. I am starting to get into the grove with my fountain pens (Metros and a mix of Chinese pens) and am using about a converter-cartridge (or ink sac) a day. In cleaning my pens all at once, I was struck by the differences between the manufacturer provided converters. Some feel flimsy, others strong, etc (I'll skip my dislike of the Metro ink sac for now). So how about converter 101: universal replacements?, features to look for?, substantial differences of note?, ink capacity?, and so on.

  13. Does Clairefontaine make French-rule pads? I use a lot of pads at work, and I just fell in love with the seyes rule, so seyes rule pads would be awesome.

  14. Alex at Goulet PensOctober 3, 2014 at 11:25 AM

    I'll add this to our queue of questions for next week! Thanks, Sarah.


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