Friday, October 10, 2014

Goulet Q&A Episode 52, Open Forum

Folks on the Goulet Team are getting married, having babies, it’s a great time to be hanging around here. I’m all jazzed up about my experience in NYC with Dave Ramsey, Seth Godin, and Gary Vaynerchuck at Business Gets Personal, and the 15-minutes of fame I had with them on stage in the “Hot Seat” segment. I talk about this and answer questions about Organics Studio ink, nib swapping, and give advice for starting a business.

1) Austin Malone- YouTube - 
Can you give us the deal on Organics Studio? ...I thought Organics Studio could have blossomed into something great.
  • Tyler was a student a Uof Maryland
  • just graduated, going to grad school in NYC
  • couldn’t keep up ink production in his studio apt.
  • has expressed interest in picking it back up after graduating, whenever that will be 

2) Roberto Alonso-YouTube - 
Hi Brian. How do you fill a fountain pen with an ink bladder (for example a Pilot Metropolitan) when the ink bottle is half empty, for "tall" bottles I'm finding difficult to do it in a clean way. Any tricks?
  • wear gloves, haha! 
  • use ink syringe
  • decant into a sample vial

3) Bl00dLust2012-YouTube - 
I'm a student and I carry up to 4 pens sometimes with various colors for note taking. What is a good, yet not too expensive, 4-6 pen carrying case? I've looked in a few places such as Amazon and they're either too expensive or are cheaply made.
  • Nock- can buy direct now, we will be carrying it when they make it available to retailers in a month or two
  • Aston Case-10, we used to have Case 6 but it actually costs more!

4) @MobyProf- Twitter - (18:50)
What's the timetable on the TWSBI Vac Mini? By Christmas—please?

  •  sigh…ya got me there. I just don’t know. No firm date yet, but I’d say probs not

5) Sarah M.- Ink Nouveau - (19:35)
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.
  • They do make them, but they’re not imported by the US distributor (Exaclair) so they’re hard to come by
  • GouletPens.com has 6 French-rule notebooks, 2 side-staplebound, 2 side-clothbound, 2-side wire bound

6) Ravena J.- Facebook - (20:42)
Is it easy to swap the nibs from Pilot pens? For example, I'm planning to buy a Pilot Stargazer, but I love Pilot's Soft Medium nib over the standard Pilot Medium nib and would like to see about getting one to swap it out. Is this even possible?
  • Generally the nibs are easy to remove, esp. with Goulet Grip
  • Stargazer comes right out, same with Custom 74, Metropolitan, etc
  • They use different nibs on many of their pens, some will share
  • Only VP nibs are available separately
  • Nib units (with grip) are available by special order for some pens like the Falcon, but they’re pricey (about 60% cost of the pen) 

7) @Twoznek- Twitter - (24:24)
Does the Sheaffer 100 & 300 have the same nib?
  • sure as heck seems to be to me
  • see side-by-side in Pen Plaza 

8) Scott Rodgers- InkNouveau - (25:24)
Can you recommend a bottled ink that comes closest to "dollar bill green"?  
  • I honestly can’t name you one!
  • OS Gregor Mendel, but that’s gone 

9) @SgtStretch- Twitter - (27:01)
Can I swap the nib on my 580 with any #6 nib without getting a TWSBI nib+section unit?
10) Adam K.- Facebook - (27:58)
What is your favorite ink that is no longer in production?
  • Parker Penman Sapphire
  • Omas Blue (old formula) close second 

11) Tanmay B.- Facebook - (27:58)
What is the best but cheapest everyday writing pen? With a fine or extra-fine nib?

12) Ben C.- Facebook - (30:57)
Hey Brian, love the videos! It is always nice to see the amount of energy and passion you have for what you do. Any advice on getting into the ink making business, or just advice on starting your own business in general? What are the pro's and con's of being a small business owner these days?
  • Ink making? Oh boy, that’s tough
  • not my area of expertise, but my suggestion would be to test test test test test and then sell direct, build up a loyal following, and then wholesale
  • Starting your own business
    • start small, don’t go all in unless you have money saved
    • start part time if you can, prove the validity of the business with profits before hiring!
    • get ready to work your butt off, and make sure you realllllly love what you do, otherwise you won’t make it through the tough times
    • get ready to fail, a lot. "Fail early, fail often, fail forward!” John Maxwell
  • Pros are pride, freedom, potential to make good income, fulfillment in work, diversity of tasks, can focus on strengths (usually), ‘job security’ dependent on your own dedication
  • Cons are risk, long hours, sacrifice of hobbies/social life (usually), odds stacked against you, massive amount of failure to learn from (could be a pro!)

13) March R.- Facebook - (44:04)
Ok so I have a question on ink cartridges. How do you know which cartridge will fit in your pen?
  • Check on specific product pages for descriptions/pictures
  • Cartridge/converter guide (not all-inclusive though)
  • FPN resource? looked for one, couldn’t find it 

14) Cheryl C.- Facebook -  (45:30)
I own a Namiki Falcon, fine nib. I've had it about 18 months. I didn't use it often as I was a little disappointed in the flex of the nib. I recently started using it more often and I've noted more flexibility to the nib. Is this my imagination, or do the nibs develop more " give" after repeated use?
  • yes, nibs do break in (esp. gold nibs)
  • with that much time that’s passed, it could be that you’re writing differently than you used to
  • I personally lowered my pen angle drastically my first year of using fountain pens
  • Ballpoints need to be held really upright, natural tendency is to do that with FP’s at first
  • FP’s work better at a lower (45 degree) angle, especially soft nibs 

15) Steve K.- Facebook - (48:47)
How many pens do you keep inked up at any one time? What do you think is too many (i.e., you run the risk of some of them clogging up)?
  • Oh gosh, way too many
  • At least a dozen or more at once
  • I do get help cleaning my pens these days
  • I definitely let some of my pens clog/dry up before cleaning them, definitely
  • I don’t always practice the good pen hygiene I preach!
  • I just love inking up new colors 

Thanks for watching, and for asking such awesome questions. Be sure to check out old Q&A vids here. Have a great week!

Question of the Week: How many of your pens do you keep inked up at one time? 

Write On,
Brian Goulet


  1. Brian, I'm excited about Goulet Pens carrying the Nock products and I will be ordering of their products as soon as you starting carrying them. Great Q&A, always makes my Fridays more special. Thanks.

  2. Regarding the "dollar bill green" question: if you are referring to the somewhat dark green that is used for the engraving on the back of the bill, then the closest of anything I have is an ink made by Sailor for a Japanese pen shop, Kobe #15, Maiko Green. Kobe ink is available from an eBay seller cool-japan. Search eBay for "maiko green ink" and you will find it.

  3. Question for the masses:

    I just bought a TWSBI 580 AL. Will the normal 580 nib units work interchangeably?

  4. As for the question of the week, I try to limit myself to 4 pens (each with a different ink) at any one time. But in reality, I usually don't wait until I've neared the end of the ink in a pen (or, to be even more virtuous, until I've actually emptied and cleaned a pen) before inking up a new one. So I usually actually have six or so at any one time. Sort of boils down to three pens in my Nock case, one in my shirt pocket, and two kicking around in the pen mug on my desk or left out on a table somewhere.

  5. "dollar bill green": Franklin-Christoph Olde Emerald

  6. Brian, first of all, thanks for answering my question about how many pens you keep inked up at any one time. MY answer is similar to yours: Way too many, although I am trying to clean them out on a regular basis so that it doesn't become a problem (we don't all have a staff to clean our pens, you stinker!) I guess I would say about 10 at any given time. I just seem to keep buying more / different inks as I am slowly getting into this hobby, and I like to use something different every day, or several times a day. It's addictive, no doubt as you well know. Great Q & A this week by the way. Your passion for your NYC trip definitely was felt through the computer screen. Gotta go - have to ink up some more pens! Write on, back 'attcha!

  7. I usually have about 5-8 pens inked at home, plus another one at the office. Thanks for another great Q&A! Listening to these is a great way to start a weekend!

  8. Q of the Week: I love using different pens, different nibs, and different inks, so I too have too many inked at a time. Did an inventory today and I have 18 with ink in them. Some have been inked for months, some filled or ink changed in the past 3 weeks. Three are dried out and need to be cleaned (an ultrasonic cleaner is wonderful). 14 all started up at once today, one had to have a little boost from its piston, but it was not clogged. Some seal much tighter than others (TWSBI, Pilot (VP & Falcon), Platinum, Sheaffer, Lamy 2000, Waterman all seal for weeks). Some inks dry out faster than others in the same pens (Blue Ghost seems to last quite a while). Your recommendation for cleaning a pen out if it will sit for a month is a good one. Six I use quite often and have them close to me daily. I'm enjoying everyone's response to this Q of the Week. Maybe I'll clean out those 3 tomorrow, but what's the hurry? Now if I had some one to help me.....

  9. Great video as always, Brian. I was hoping you'd discuss the forum you went to in NY, and the insight on running your own business was really interesting. Re: number of pens I keep inked up -- I'm ashamed to admit 19 at last count, and I rotate them daily (take 2 to work with me). But inevitably some will run dry and need thorough cleaning....if I had team members to clean pens for me, I would TOTALLY take advantage of their assistance! You're a lucky guy! :D

  10. Right now, I have 9 pens inked. 3 Pilot Varsities (Black, Blue, Purple), 3 Platinum Preppys (Blue F with PR Naples Blue, Red M with Diamine Poppy Red, Purple M with violet cartridge), a Parker Urban with Noodler's Lexington Grey, a Lamy Vista F with De Atramenis Mahatma Gandhi, and a vintage Sheaffer 305 Cartridge Pen with a blue cart.

    And I gotta ask, what went down with the Scribal Work Shop?

  11. I can help. Yes, because the only difference on the nib end is the aluminium piece in the grip.

  12. Great Question of the Week...I evidently am a freak. I have 25 pens inked up at the moment. I am transcribing Shakespeare plays (my method to practice/improve my handwriting, as well as reintroduce myself to the plays) and I use a different pen/ink combo for each character in a scene. I write from 6-10 pages a day (working on 3 plays at any given time), so actually use most pens on a semi-regular basis. I took a snapshot of my inked-up inventory and attached it below. 'Zounds!

  13. I tend to keep 5 pens inked. My bronze Metropolitan is my go to pen so it has my signature Green (Gruene Cactus Eel), My Ahab had Black Swan in Australian Roses for anything with a flourish or attention grabbing color variation, My blue Lamy Safari is Baystate Blue for one of my storylines that the blue gives the proper feel to the character and the situations, The red Lamy Safari is full of Red Rattler Eel for all of the paper corrections (there are quite a lot of corrections so this pen gets a workout) and my Black Metropolitan is filled with Ama-iro for all notes and letters not pertaining to my current storylines. I find I refill the Bronze Metropolitan daily and may end up changing it for a TWSBI later to cut down on the continuous ink refills. I have cut back my hand writing to 30 pages a day so the stories do more than sit on a page unseen by the public. I am outlining my current Halloween Serial in the green as well but thinking about switching to a more chaotic color like Apache Sunset and a different pen.

  14. Congratulations to Katie. May you enjoy a long marriage.

    I'm guessing that Randall's wife delivered... so congratulations. May both of you enjoy your new bundle of joy.

    Here's hoping that Rachel is over her health issue.

    Regarding pens... I'm hoping that the Goulet Company will be caring the Decimo pens by Pilot. I have about 5 more to purchase and I would rather buy from the US rather than Japan.

  15. Brian,

    I know you love blue, so I'm hoping you'll love this question too. Can you recommend a blue that is good for writing on official documents at work? I work in a field where blue ink is not only necessary, it's essential. It helps to verify that a document is an original at a glance, and it also helps to prevents alterations to documents (i.e. provides security).

    I recently (not even five mins ago actually) ordered a 4.5 oz bottle of Noodler's Baystate Blue. I love how eye popping the ink is without going too far and becoming unprofessional. I have heard of BSB's reputation, and it doesn't scare me. In fact it makes me want to try it all the more.

    But I started wondering if BSB is ideal for office use. And it made me wonder if you could recommend a blue that may be even better if my choice was wrong. I'm hoping you can azure me that I made the right choice in going with BSB (bad pun intended).

    A quick drying time and "bullet-proofness" is a must for me.

    Thank you and your team for reassuring me that great customer service is still possible in this world.

  16. Yes or Diamine Emerald: http://www.fp-ink.info/en/details/420.ink?


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