Friday, August 29, 2014

Goulet Q&A Episode 46, Open Forum

This week's Q&A is just a little different, because I'm actually on a business trip and therefore was unable to shoot it on Thursday morning the day before it posts, like usual. However, I received so many good questions last week that I was able to double-up and shoot two in one week, allowing me to post this one today even though I'm not around! So forgive me if I'm a little behind on replying to comments, but know that I'll be back soon. Until then, enjoy this week's episode!

1) Jacob W.- Facebook (2:40):
I know you can increase flow of an ink by widening the channel on the feed, but is there a way to reduce ink flow in a feed?
  • there is, sometimes
  • it’s a little tricky
  • bending the tines closer together does it
  • can use a drier ink (Pelikan 4001) 

2) Derick S.- Facebook (5:04):
Hello Brian! I have a Noodler's Konrad pen in acrylic Mariana's blue. For some reason I dont feel the nib as flexy as some say it is. Do Noodler's make normal nail nibs or are they all semi flex? Also, do you know if the new music flex nib of the Naponset will be available to purchase separetely? Thank you for all the hard work and the videos!
  • All the Noodler’s Ahab and Konrad flex nibs are identical
  • they do make a non-flex nib, but they are only sold off the pens
  • highly highly doubt the music nib will be available separately!

3) Scott R.- Facebook (8:03):
Can you recommend a good "starter" vintage fountain pen to look for? Any tips for vintage newbies? Also, is there a vintage pen you'd bring back into production if you could?
  • Oh gosh, really not my wheelhouse
  • Esterbrooks are probably best, that or Parker 51/21
  • Would bring back some of the flex nibs from early 1900’s, or Parker 51
  • love the Sheaffer snorkel, but wouldn’t want to repair them! 

4) Allen V.- Facebook (11:08):
Did you see anything at the DC Pen Show that you don't carry and hadn't really thought about before that made you think "That would really be cool for us to carry?" I'll be at SF Pen Show this weekend but will carve out some time to watch Q&A. Thanks.
  • huge vintage showing at DC
  • not a lot of new products there we don’t carry
  • inkwells, pen cases, maybe 

5) Stephen K.- Facebook (13:55):
What do you think about carrying Conklin fountain pens? I bought a herringbone model with a 1.1 nib at the D C Show and it has become one of my favorite pens. The feel, balance and appearance are all top notch. And it writes beautifully too.
  • can order Conklin
  • Herringbone is nice, esp. new design
  • just haven’t had a lot of people asking us about it 

6) Peter M.- Facebook (15:31):
Do you guys sketch / doodle with fountain pens? Or do you use other types of pens.
  • We have a couple of artists on our team
  • I personally don’t doodle much
  • Doodlers here love flex nib pens, Ahab, Konrad, Falcon 

7) Gabriel F.- Facebook (17:01):
I have carried my Noodler's Ahab daily now for over a year. How can I clean and polish the outside so that it looks new.? It isn't treated rough by any means, but rides around in a pen case with others and like I said, is a daily carry. Thanks.
  • this resin is somewhat soft
  • tradeoff between glossy look and durability/crack resistance
  • can buff/polish with polishing compound, micro mesh, jeweler’s cloth
  • will scuff again, quickly 

8) PJ S.- Facebook (19:51):
Is there any way to prevent nib creep with Noodler's ink on a Lamy nib? I've had two different pens with two different inks and both be creeping'.
  • you can dilute the ink, the water will cut down the lube which is likely a culprit
  • otherwise, no, not really
  • embrace it :)  

9) Pavel V.- Facebook (22:41):
Hi Brian, Is it possible to fit a longer cartidge into J.Herbin rollerball? Or do you have some other tips to put some more ink in there?I mean more than small cartridge. 
  • too short to fit an SSL cartridge
  • won’t even fit a converter, except Monteverde Mini which has less ink capacity than the cartridge
  • Possibly eyedropper? 

10) Elaine M.- Facebook (25:13):
Which pen would you recommend for a newbie? I like thin lines.

11) Mate F.- Facebook (26:00):
I love your Triomphe paper, but how do I get it into a notebook?
  • you can’t at least with anything I know!
  • closest thing would be regular Clairefontaine paper 

12) George A.- Facebook (27:09):
How does one take the nib off of a Jinhao 250? I know you dont carry them but I would like to replace the nib with a Goulet nib but have so far been unable to take it off.
  • no personal experience with the Jinhao 250, but appears to be a different nib than the Goulet nib
  • I can’t say if the nib does come out (I’m inclined to say it should), or what nib it takes, but appears to be something kind of unique unlike the x450/750/159 I carry

13) Sharjeel T.- Facebook (28:06):
What is Brians and Rachel's holy grail pens?
  • rachel’s is Nakaya, loves Raden/abalone
  • me, my grail pen is always the next one I’m looking to acquire :) 
  • I don’t have one holy grail pen, it’s more of an ongoing pursuit to learn and use just the next one I’m getting

14) Kathy B.- Facebook (30:40):
What I do – sketch in pencil, then add ink lines, erase pencil lines, add watercolor.

1. A nib that will give varied line widths.
2. Ink that dries fast, won’t smear later when painting over it, is lightfast, comes in a black-black and perhaps a sepia and dark blue.
3. Paper thick enough for no bleed through from any media, handles erasing without damage to the paper, handles ink well (minimal feathering, ink dries fast), and of course – works well with puddles of water for minimal buckling. THANK YOU - love love your website, blog and fabulous videos!

15) Kathy B.- Facebook (35:03):
An art class requires "india ink" - what could I buy a Goulet Pens that would meet that requirement?
  • true India ink isn’t suitable for use in fountain pens
  • Platinum Carbon Black is a dynamite alternative

Thank you once again to everyone who asked me questions this week. Be sure to check here for any old Q&A's you might have missed. Have a great week!

Write On,
Brian Goulet


  1. For question 3, there is a pen repair person who will repair Sheaffer Snorkel pens for $25 on eBay, just search for "Sheaffer Snorkel" and you will find him. Pens in need of refurbishing are not expensive, but BE SURE THE NIB IS IN VERY GOOD CONDITION or it will cost a lot more money than $25 to replace the gold nib. I'm lucky, my vintage Snorkel did not need repair, but when it does I'll send it off to someone who does this service. I love my early 60's Snorkel desk pen.

  2. Vinícius CordeiroAugust 29, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    Regarding question 11, there is always the possibility of hand-made notebooks. YouTube have a bunch of tutorials about how to make one, just need to search for "loose leaf moleskine notebook tutorial" or "moleskine tutorial" — YouTube user SeaLemonDIY has a series of video tutorials that might help too.

  3. Gabriel, for polishing the Ahab, try using toothpaste. It is very mildly abrasive and can be used to even remove the haze on older headlights. It tends to be even more gentle than polishing compounds.

  4. The very first movie I remember seeing was Lawrence of Arabia in black and white with my grandmother. I remember being stunned by Peter O'Toole's blue eyes, because they had been colorized (sortof) for the film's re-release in 1989. There was even an intermission because the film was 3 hours long!

  5. Lira, I saw Laurence of Arabia shortly after it's release in 1962. It was in color, not black and white, and won the Oscar for best cinematography, color.

  6. re # 14 Kathy B.
    What I do – sketch in pencil, then add ink lines, erase pencil lines, add watercolor.

    I do the same as you. Here's what I've found....
    Most people like the Ahab flex but I just couldn't get it to work right. I now use the Platinum Cool/Balance as it does have a little flex. I think Brian has a video on it.

    I agree with Carbon Black... it dries really quickly on all the watercolor and mixed media papers I've used so far.

    Stillman & Birn Beta (180#) is the better of the series for watercolor & ink. MANY sketchbook artists (Urban Sketchers group,etc) really like it. Some like the Zeta, also, which is still heavy paper but a smoother finish.

    However, it's not really the best watercolor paper. For a bound book, I prefer Pentalic Aqua: 140# cold press 100% cotton watercolor paper. It comes in a 8x5 and 5x3 landscape (though the latter isn't on their website, it IS available. I've obtained it in the local University bookstore). http://www.pentalic.com/journals/aqua-journal.asp

    For spiral bound book, I do use the Beta.

  7. Yeah, LoA has always been in color--O'Toole's gorgeous eyes must have just blown everything else out of the, uh, sand.

  8. The first movie I remember seeing in theatre was the Lion King! I was only about two years old, but I do vividly recall the opening sequence.

    also!!! Super excited for the 912 FA coming to North America. This rules.

  9. George, I have some Jinhao 250 pens and I really like them, but I also found one defective nib (the slit was off center and angled though the "Iridium" on one side). No Goulet nib currently offered will fit. As Brian suggested, they are too large. (The 250 nib is something like size 3 or so--I don't know exactly.) My "fix" is pretty simple: I bought an assortment of 4 more 250s (about $20, including shipping from China) and swapped out the nib from the pen I found least appealing. That's cheaper too.

    The old nib does come out. Just grasp it firmly (wrapped with a soft cloth) and pull. They're all friction fitted.

    Hope that helps.

  10. I am an Urban Sketcher and do love S&B Beta! Its thick paper and sizing (keeps paint on the surface to puddle prettily) is perfect for me. I also find the Strathmore visual diaries are a very good price if you don't mind wire-bound, and there you can choose between 2 weights of watercolour paper, mixed media, or bristol (very smooth paper suitable for markers, but also fun with watercolours if you like puddled colours).

    Re ink, I've just ordered Noodler's 54th Massachusetts which is a bulletproof blue-black, Up to now I have been using Noodler's Polar Brown which lubricates as well as being bulletproof. The Polar Brown is a little "thin" in viscosity (colour is fine) compared to ordinary ink but performs brilliantly for my ink-and-wash style.

  11. Brian,
    Thanks for another Q&A - hope the trip went well.
    The much anticipated TWSBI 580 USA was touted as being available in "late August". I was waiting anxiously :) all last week for it to appear on your website. Now I see that the entry on your out-of-stock listing shows "late September". What are the chances this will be available this month? Or do you think it might well slip back into late Fall? It would have been really nice if they'd delivered this in time for July 4th eh?! Will the currently out-of-stock italic nibs for 580 also be coming in at the same time? Thanks!

  12. As to Kathy B.'s question: I have heard that Pelikan makes an ink called Fount India that is fountain pen friendly, although, full disclosure, I have no experience with it, and no idea how well it compares to true india ink. Maybe someone out there has more knowledge of that ink, and can tell us about it.

  13. For Derick S, question#2: The best way I know to increase Noodler's nib flex is to apply the "Ease My Flex" mod to the nib itself (developed by Pterodactylus). I've modified all my Ahab, Konrad, and Creeper nibs. Details, with hints from those of us who've applied the mod, here:

  14. Brooks, thanks so much for this link. I'll get more of the nibs with my next Goulet order and start modifying a couple. Not hard for anyone with a little metal grinding or filing experience. This is one of the bets tips I've seen related to Noodler's pens.


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