Friday, September 19, 2014

Goulet Q&A Episode 49, Open Forum

This week's Q&A talks about Pelikan m600 vs m800, cost effectiveness of fountain pens vs. rollerballs, pen shopping, and more. Enjoy! 

1) @y2bd- Twitter (5:46):
I've found that inks that are sheen-heavy tend to smear easily even days after "drying". Is this just to be expected?
  • That’s definitely been my experience
  • Sheening basically only happens when excess ink is sitting on the surface of the paper
  • Maybe not ALL sheen inks smear, but most do

2) Jasper B.- Facebook (8:53):
I'm thinking about getting a Pelikan pen in their "M" series, but i don't know if it should be a M600 or M800, I'm afraid of the size of the pen, it looks like the 600 is mostly cap and not so much pen, but i hear alot of people say that the 800 goes in the totally other direction and that it is much bigger than you would espect. I love the size of my Namiki Falcon and my Aurora Style, and the 18k nib is pulling me more towards a 800 than the 14k nib on the 600, what are your thoughts?
  • the nib on the m800 does feel a little softer, hard to say if it’s because of the 18k or just the bigger nib overall
  • going from a Falcon to an m800 is a pretty big change in size
  • check out Nib Nook for comparison
  • m800 is not just bigger, but heavier because of metal ‘guts’
  • i personally like the m800 more, because I like big pens
  • the size and nib on the m800 are pluses for me, you’ll have to decide what’s best for you

3) Ben C.- Facebook (12:18):
Hi Brian, I recently got asked this by a colleague and wanted to know your thoughts on the issue. Is it less expensive, more expensive, or approximately the same expense to own and use a fountain pen vs. a roller-ball pen (a Pilot G2 or similar)? I said it was less expensive based off the usage of my TWSBI 580 and Noodler's black ink after about 30 weeks. I know it's dependent on a lot of different variables so we assumed a roller-ball lasted 2 months and that the fountain pen needed refilled bi-weekly.
  • It’ll REALLY depend on how much you spend on your fountain pen
  • just ink alone, the most expensive is gel, then ballpoint, then fountain (usually, depends on the ink used)
  • if you’re like me and get totally hooked on fountain pens, then it will DEFINITELY not end up being cheaper! ;) 

4) Andrew H.- Facebook (15:14):
Brian, thanks again for these wonderful Q&A sessions, they are very informative. Small question, context first: I am using the Lamy Safari charcoal with the EF nib. I will in the next few weeks, be buying another Lamy Safari from your company. I want to start using bottle ink, because I've noticed that using a cartridge each week, is not very cost effective. Now the small question: you talk about saving money, using bottle ink vs cartridges.If I am only using up a cartridge each week, and then move up to use bottle ink, how much money will I be saving each month? The amount of writing will very from time to time, but I average one cartridge per-week. How long will a bottle of, let's say, X of 3oz, last me? Thanks again!!:)
  • Lamy carts $4/5-pack
  • you’re paying $0.80/week now
  • $12 (cost of Noodler’s 3oz ink) would equal 15-weeks of ink cartridges
  • 1 cartridge ~ 1-ml of ink
  • 3oz bottle ~ 90ml
  • 90 weeks of ink for you
  • 90 weeks of cartridges costs $72
  • total savings over the life of 1 3oz Noodler’s bottle ~ $60 

5) Emily P.- Facebook (19:40):
The cap to my Pilot Plumix got stuck and refuses to twist open. Help?
  • twist harder!
  • use rubber glove/band
  • break it if you have to, it won’t do you any good closed anyway, it’s only $9 to replace 

6) Exequiel L.- Facebook (20:37):
Hi Brian, what is your favourite pen made by Noodler's Ink?
  • it *will* be the Neponset once I get it in!
  • so far, the Baikal Acrylic Konrad

7) Edgar H.- Facebook (21:54):
What is your favorite Lamy ink color?
Also, I have an idea for the Q&As. It seems that you have not enough time to answer all the questions you want to, so, I was wondering that It might help if, instead of just Open Forum videos every week, you make something like specific "Paper forum" "Ink forum" (etc.) videos.
  • Lamy Turquoise, by far
  • did the topic-based Q&A’s for a while, look on Ink Nouveau 
  • I actually like getting ‘too many’ questions

8) Laura P.- Facebook (25:14):
What pen would you suggest for someone who loves fountain pens but is basically terrified to purchase let alone use one? That would be me!

9) Christine D.- Facebook (27:00):
Is there a listing of De Atramentis "people" and "flowers" inks as they correspond to the standard line? I've been poking around a bit and don't believe that the name on the side of the bottle is always the standard color (for example Alexander Hamilton says aubergine on the bottle - but it's not clear if that is Aubergine the ink or if De Atramentis is just saying that Alexander Hamilton ink is aubergine, the color).
  • no, we don’t have a master listing
  • we’ve been asked about putting that together, honestly it’s confusing for us too
  • definitely some overlap 

10) Rob P.- Facebook (29:21):
(paraphrase) How soft is the Falcon nib compared to the Nib Creaper under normal writing pressure? I use moderate pressure and find that the Nib Creaper will not flex if I write normally. Is the falcon nib much softer? I know you have a slightly heavier hand so I would be interested in your opinion. Thanks!!
  • I think they’re somewhat close, Falcon is probably a little softer, but the Noodler’s flexes further 

11) Kien N.- Facebook (32:02):
I have some issues with my Konrad that has the Goulet 1.1 stub nib on it. When I inked the pen up, there was ink inside the part where the nib and feed fit into the pen. Even though I only screwed the cap half way through, the cap became too tightened onto the body after 1-2 days. However, despite the tight cap, the ink inside still dried up and I had flow issues afterward. I am not sure if the issues are connected or if they are independent of each other. What should I do to get it working well?
  • I don’t think the ink had anything to do with the cap being tight
  • what ink? That matters
  • try heat setting
  • wide open feed on these pens, they will dry up in a shorter-than-normal timeframe 

12) Aaron D.- Facebook (35:45):
If you could add any dealer to your line which would it be and why?
  • several I’m considering, can’t say who
  • nothing firm in the works at the moment
  • working on some other cool stuff right now
  • who would you want to see me pick up? 

13) Mate F.- Facebook (38:26):
What do you think is the best cartridge out there? Also, what pen would you recommend for no more than $50 that can take standard international?

14) Garrison G.- Facebook (40:00):
Hey Brian I love your company and thank you and your team for all you have done my question is I am in middle school what pens do you think are great for me ? Once again thank you

15) Melanie S.- Facebook (43:25):
Is the TWSBI Diamond 580 in red white and blue a myth? Why does it keep getting pushed back? Been waiting since at least August for it.
  • TWSBI 580 USA is not a myth! It’s been in the works since spring
  • should just be a couple more weeks
  • one-shot deal, you’d better jump on it if you want it 

16) Kari S.- Facebook (48:03):
I know it is possible to special order pens. Is it possible to order a specific ink as well?
  • anything is possible, but usually not practical
  • we stock most ink regularly
  • only special order requests are usually for De Atramentis
  • tough because it takes 2-3 months to get shipments in, so we don’t do special orders anymore for them 

17) Lori P.- Facebook (52:15):
When will Lamy announce the new colors for 2015?
  • Lamy Studio Wild Rubin is the only thing I know is in the works (mid-October)
  • I’m sure there will be more colors next year
  • Don’t know what yet 

18) Shawn D.- Facebook (54:23):
Any chance if you'll be getting in the Rhodia No. 80 pads? If so, when and what will the price be?
  • yeah, we will at some point but not right away
  • should be available now
  • price is around $10

Thanks to everyone who asked me questions this week. Be sure to say hey on my personal Twitter handle @BrianGoulet_. If you have any rando pen questions for next week, just ask below! And check out any old Q&A's here if you've missed them. Have an awesome week. 

Write On,
Brian Goulet


  1. Dear Brian ... et al.
    Thanks for all your QnA's. Really helpful!

  2. Q and a question: Have you guys considered doing a limited edition edison hakumin premiere? A nice urushi finish maybe limited to 5 or 10 pens? I know I would be VERY I interested, having just recieved my nakaya. And looking into a danitrio for my next pen. Urushi has just the most wonderful feel.

  3. What criteria are used by the option on gouletpens.com to "Sort By Most Popular"? Sometimes the order surprises me. I presume each SKU is sorted according to the number ordered during some recent period of time. If so, what time period?

  4. Greetings, team Goulet!
    1) Thanks for everything you're doing, from your business to your videos. Extremely helpful stuff. :)
    2) Do you have any ink & pen suggestions for editors, proofreaders & professional writers? A lot of us have to make annotations on cheap printer paper that often feathers and bleeds with wet nibs. Is this something that can be avoided with the right pen/ink combo? Thanks again!

  5. Given the opportunity, I'd special order an Akkerman ink. Don't know much about the ink, I just really want the bottle.

  6. #3 for Brian C: Be sure to factor in the environmental factor when answering your colleague, the one who asked the cost differences among pens. A fountain pen with bottled ink is so much cheaper in the long run --- probably even a fairly expensive pen, since they last years and years. You are not throwing away little plastic refills, or as most people do, the entire pens, each time they run out of ink. Plus, the inks mostly come in glass bottles. John Muir would approve. ;)

  7. There is a pen company that is selling Akkerman ink in the USA and while there price is not cheap I do not feel it is usurious either when all things are considered. Then again you get some buddies together and buy direct from P.W. Akkerman and save yourself some money if you do pay attention to the number of bottles of ink you are buying because of shipping prices. After all you do want to get the maximum number of bottles of ink for the shipping charges. The only thing I don't know about is if there is any customs fees.
    Regardless of where or who you may purchase your bottle of Akkerman ink from DO NOT be surprised about the size of the ink bottle! I say this because Akkerman ink is NO longer sold in the 150 ml bottles that were made special for the stores 100 year anniversary in 2010. The 150 ml bottles when they were available were definitely impressive because of their size additionally the cost of the ink per ml even with shipping to the USA previously was not that expensive. The 60 ml bottle that P.W. Akkerman is current selling their ink in is proportionally a smaller bottle the depth of the inkwell area still has no problem with a #6 sized nib like used on a Edison and Bexley pens, Noodler's Ahab,Twsbi 580 \ 700, or a Pelikan M800.
    I have a couple bottles of Akkerman ink and I have no complaints I like the colors of the ink I have and overall I find them well behaved. If I had one complaint with Akkerman ink is that I did not buy more of the 150 ml sized (Anniversary size) bottles of ink when I had the chance however the little bottles (60ml) certainly are cute.

  8. Maybe one topic theme per month, the other weeks open forum? So like thhe last Friday of the month would be the topic? Or, open forum after topic questions are covered?

  9. The one brand and pen I'd love Goulet Pen Company to carry is Italix and their Parson's Essential pen, with its extensive choice of nibs. I think that's a gorgeous pen. I have one on order from England at the moment, but I'd love to have ordered it from Goulet.

  10. My 3 cents worth regarding Jasper B question about choosing between a Pelikan M600 or M800 is if you compare the two pens side by side, the biggest difference between them is weight because of the brass piston-filler mechanism of the M800. Size wise the M600 is 6.0 inches long when posted and the M800 is 6.5 inches long. Capped the M600 is 5.250 inches long and the M800 is 5.4375 inches long. However, the length of both the M600 and M800 uncapped are the same at 5.0325 inches long. The diameter of the barrel of the M600 is 0.490 inches and the barrel of the M800 is a scant 0.030 inches larger in diameter at 0.510 inches. Now for the weigh in of the two pens the M600 weighs in at 0.61 ounces were the M800 tips the scale at 1.02 ounces meaning the M800 is 2/5 of an ounce heavier that the M600.
    Lucky for me before I purchased my M800, I had the good fortune of having good friends with both a M600 and a M800 who both were willing to lend me their pens for extended test drives although in reality it only took me writing of a few paragraphs with each pen for me to make up my mind.
    I personally think that choosing between the M600 and the M800, It would be a grievous error in judgment if the primary reason you choose the M800 over the M600 was because that the M800 has an 18-karat gold nib and the M600 nib is made of 14-karat gold. Think of it this way if a vintage fountain pen has a gold nib what karat gold is it regardless if the nib is a nail or a wet noodle?

  11. I have an older 14k M nib in my Vanishing Point, just got a new 18k B nib for it. Other than the width of the ink line, there is not any difference in feel between the 14k and 18k nibs when I write with them. Design of the nib is more important than a little extra gold content. I have an 18k gold nib in my Waterman Carene and it is not at all soft, writes like fine steel nibs (writes extremely smooth and nice, just not soft). You advice is Write On.

  12. Hi Brian!

    I have a question about your listing for Pilot Mixable Colour cartridges (http://www.gouletpens.com/Pilot_Parallel_Mixable_Black_Ink_Cartridges_p/pn77305.htm). It says:

    >Use these ink cartridges in a Pilot Parallel fountain pen. When used with a second pen, you can achieve gradiated color variation with these mixable inks. Box of 6 black cartridges. Fits all Pilot pens that take Pilot cartridges.

    I find that the last sentence sort of contradicts the first one. Are these cartridges only supposed to be used in Parallel pens, or can they be used in any Pilot pens? Also, is there any difference between these cartridges and IC-50/IC-100?

  13. Brian, have you ever tried diluting ink in order to make it last longer? It seems a bit pointless (except for really cheap people...), but it saved me in an emergency.
    I was in an all-day meeting away from my office and I forgot to fill up my converter, which was almost dry. Of course (as Murphy's law requires) my pen started to run dry about 10am. I didn't want to use the Bics available there, so I thought: since Fp ink is water-based, a little bit of water should make the residual ink in the converter's walls flow again. And it worked: I let two or three droplets of water in, reattached the converter in the pen, gave it a little shake and it started writing again. A bit lighter and broader, of course, but the difference was almost imperceptible in practical use. It lasted the whole meeting and a few pages more.

    Have you ever tried something like this? Maybe my idea will help someone in a helpless (or inkless) moment!

  14. Genius Flavio! Thanks for sharing. You think outside the box.

  15. Aleksejs P., you need to watch Brian's video on gradated color lettering with Parallel pens: http://www.gouletpens.com/Pilot_Parallel_Fountain_Pen_1_5mm_Red_p/pn90050.htm I'm sure these cartridges will work in any pen that uses Pilot cartridges, but this trick is unique to the nib design of the Parallel pens.

  16. Hi Brian! I really enjoy your videos, and appreciate your sharing the issues involved with carrying different brands. I've bought several pens from your company, but my favorite is still my Waterman. I know everyone and his brother sells Waterman, but it's a great pen. Also, I agree with your comments about Garrison's grammar. I cringe at the poor grammar and sentence structure I read and hear today. However, I wish you had not made such a point of his errors on your video. I'm ecstatic to know a young man is interested in fountain pens, and hope your comments don't push him away. Otherwise, love the video!!!

  17. Brian...I'd love to know which converters can be disassembled (maybe a video sometime?). Also I am curious about Franklin-Christoph since I just read about their new music nib. Thanks so much. These open forums are wonderful.

  18. I'm having trouble deciding between the TWSBI Mini and the 580. I have pretty big hands, and I'm afraid the Mini will be too small for everyday writing. Have you found the size to be a problem at all? Strictly considering size, do you prefer the Mini or the 580 (posted and unposted)?
    I'm a high school student, so money isn't incredibly plentiful. I'm just trying to make as sure a decision as possible before I commit and have to spend money to return it for another.

  19. Question: Can you recommend a converter that would fit the older Retro 51 fountain pens, the shorter length that fits a standard cartridge but is a tad too short to fit a standard converter? Retro 51's own standard international converter only fits their newer, longer line of EXT fountain pens, alas, not their older, shorter models.

  20. My thought is to carry a small container of water in your brief case/pack and something to add a few drops to the converter. Goulet's sample vials would be perfect, and one of the pipettes too to dispense a drop or two of water. http://www.gouletpens.com/Goulet_Empty_Ink_Sample_Vials_p/gpc-inkvials.htm

  21. Hmm...haven't really talked about that before. It'd be REAL expensive, no question there. It'd have to be planned so far in advance, too, that process takes a long, long time. Food for thought, though.

  22. Great question! It's manual, we basically need to calculate it based on sales reports and then program in the top picks. We've been very busy lately and haven't updated it in a bit, which could contribute to the order being surprising. But we're trying to work on a better way to keep it fresh.

  23. Great question! It basically will boil down to pen and ink choice. Go with the finest nib you can get (something Japanese like Pilot, Sailor, Platinum, and get the finest thing you can).

  24. I can't say for sure, but I believe the company that's selling it in the US is buying it retail from overseas and then selling it here. Hence the higher price. Technically, I could do this but I'd have to charge so much to cover my costs it wouldn't be worth it.

  25. Right! There is an ecological savings, too.

  26. Bingo. They're designed to be 'mixed' in the Parallel pens, but they will work in any Pilot or Namiki pen. The only difference with these and the IC50/100 (normal Pilot/Namiki cartridges) is the ink inside, the cartridges are identical and fit all the same pens.

  27. I've never had to do this in a pinch like this, but it's totally legit! Ink is mostly water with dye in it, so adding more water will make it 'last' longer.

  28. Yeah, I'm kind of wishing I hadn't been so hard on him, sorry about that. I do face that a lot though, even with college graduates, so it was kind of striking a nerve for me. Not that it's a good excuse, but perhaps an explanation why I rambled about it so much. Sorry again Garrison!

  29. I've done it with a couple, but haven't done a comprehensive disassembly converter vid. I'll look into that.

  30. I hear ya! $50 isn't pocket change for most of us, even after getting out of school ;) I personally prefer the size of the 580, but it's kind of too long when posted. It's doable, but not ideal for me. The Mini is too short to write with unposted, for me. So that would be the deal breaker, do you post your pens religiously or not? If so, get the Mini. If not, the 580 :) The diameter of the Mini is smaller, but still quite adequate to use comfortably for me.

  31. I don't have any experience with Retro 51, but perhaps the Monteverde Mini Converter? It's short. Or maybe the Monteverde Artista Crystal converter?


  32. I'm definitely looking for something to post. If my Safari or my Ahab isn't posted while I'm writing, something is seriously wrong.
    It sounds like the Mini will be my best bet. Thanks a lot, Brian! I appreciate you.

  33. Brian, I have a Rotring 600 fountain pen from the '90s in which Pendleton Brown modified the nib. I dearly LOVE that pen...its heavy and phenomenal. I have a Waterman Exception Slim stub and the Rotring writes WAY WAY better. Will Rotring ever bring back the 600 or even produce an 800 series fountain pen again? I love the Rotring 600 and 800 series. Do you get many requests for Rotring? Speaking of my Exception Slim....it doesn't seem to write "wet" enough.....would a lubericated ink do anything to help it? Thank You!

  34. I have a Retro 51 (the older shorter version). I purchased the Monteverde Mini, but it didn't seal well and leaked inside of the barrel. I ended up buying a pack of PR international cartridges, and have been just using the Goulet syringe to refill an empty cartridge. After every 6-8 uses I switch out to a new cartridge because it seems to get a little loose. Hope that helps.

  35. Thanks, Hannah! I'll give that method a try. In the meantime, I have most of a pack of Private Reserve Black Cherry cartridges to use in the pen, and that's a fantastic color of ink, so I'll be OK until the Goulet ink syringe arrives!


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