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Friday, October 24, 2014

Goulet Q&A Episode 54, Open Forum



Goulet Q&A is now available as an audio podcast! Click here  for the RSS feed to use in your podcast app of choice, or click here for a direct download.

This week I talk about inks, nibs, and the effects of cold weather on pens! I really ramble on a bit today, only covering 8 questions, but I go in-depth about some of the behind-the-scenes logistics of how we do our ink sampling. Enjoy!


1) Nguyen T.- Facebook  (8:57) 

What are your top 5 favorite shading inks within the Noodler family? Let’s leave out Noodler's apache sunset since it's sadly out of stock for the time being. 

2) Jay K.- Facebook  (15:03) 
Is there a gold nib available for the Lamy Safari? I know this sounds like putting a Ferrari engine in an Accord, but I have a three-point grip and the Safari section is perfect for that. All I've used up to now are stainless steel nibs, and I want to see what all the fuss is about.
  • there is a 14k nib that’ll fit a Safari
  • sells only on certain Studios
  • used to be available from Lamy USA, isn’t anymore
    • heard rumors they might consider carrying them, but that’s not confirmed
  • 14k Lamy nib is pretty awesome! worth the price though? 

3) Elizabeth S.- Facebook (17:53) 
New to fountain pens, have a Lamy Safari fine nib and an Ahab Flex pen; I really like the way both feel and write, but appreciate the look of the Flex too (such a beautiful pen). I use my pens primarily for note writing. What would you suggest for my next purchase, a well-priced pen that is beautiful and feels good in the hand, and would broaden my experience with fountain pens.

4) Nigel L.- Facebook (24:23) 
When will we be able to sign-up for the new style Ink Drop
  • very soon, you’ll get an email if you were a previous member
  • we’ll blog about it, too
  • bear with us! 

5) Eric O.- Facebook (27:08) 
Now that the cold weather is upon us, what are the risks associated with fountain pens and cold weather? Ever hear of someone's pen exploding from freezing? Here in South Dakota -10 is common in January and February.
  • some inks don’t do so great in transit in the cold, esp. Diamine
  • haven’t heard of a pen exploding, no
  • carrying the pen, keep it insulated, or in a shirt or pants pocket that’s close to your body (shirt is best)
  • check out Noodler’s Polar inks 

6) Beth T.- Facebook (31:30) 
Talk to us about the Omas pens and if you've ordered enough for all of us!

7) Dionne C.- Facebook (38:54) 
I bought a Pilot Custom 74 (your love child) per your raving about it from Goulet pens. I love the pen but have one issue. Ink gets trapped in the nib section that I can't get out when I pull the nib to clean. In between the nib and collar I guess. What can I do to get it out. This is the only draw back of this pen. Totally unrelated, cake with out a doubt.
  • yup, I have the same dang thing on my pen
  • I just live with it, but it’s the pimple on this otherwise flawless beauty 

8) Alexandre J.- Facebook (42:08) 
I like to ink drop myself every couple of months with your random ink sample package, and I was wondering what the process is for picking random inks, and also if it's possible to add a comment in the order to restrict the pool of random inks, perhaps exclude a color category or two. Although of course I realize that can easily be abused, for example by asking for 8 random samples among Kaweco's 8 ink colors
  • it’s pretty dang random!
  • all our samples are pre made
  • we have to watch out for low-inventoried colors
  • we really try to mix it up and vary it by price, too, even though they’re only $1.25 each
  • it is the most popular ink sample color we sell

Make sure to ask me any questions what you want in the comments below and I'll try to add it in. Be sure to check out old Q&A's you've missed here, and have a great week!

Write On,
Brian Goulet

90 comments:

  1. For #7, I have the same issue with my Pilot Custom Heritage 92. I've found that if I dip a Q-tip in some water and then run it around the end of the grip section after removing the nib, it will pick up or dilute most of the ink from in between those two plastic parts! You may not even have to remove the nib, and sometimes I also squirt some water at that area with an ink syringe. It's not a perfect solution, but it beats having ink stuck in there!

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  2. I haven't watched your videos in some time. I thought I should catch up on some of them. I don't know what happened to you. You used to be nice and informative. Now you seem to come off as jerk / diva. There's nothing wrong with being prideful of what you do. But this video came off as if you were doing us the consumer a favor by being in business, that we should covet the work you and your team puts forth and randomly trash talking your competitors just lacks tact.


    There's many players in the fountain pen game. I've seen your competitors recommend your site when they were out of product or recommend your site for a product the didn't carry. Yes there's many fountain pen competitors out there but in general from what I've seen on the forums and at limited pen shows as a consumer only everyone gets along and everyone tries to help everyone out.


    Much like the Roman empire your company can perish as well. I think you might want to try to be humble, nice and informative once again, you wore those attributes much better.

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  3. Last written with, just a short while ago: Jinhao X750 inked with Pilot Iroshizuku Kon-peki, which I love. BTW, I think what you shared about your feelings around competition in the field was very valid. I have no problem with that. You were being honest, and you're right. The proof is in the pudding: You guys continue to do good work and hard work. Just be sure to take care of yourselves and not get too stressed out. That's what leads to deterioration of all kinds. We respect you, and we're with you.

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  4. Hey John, I really appreciate your feedback here, and thanks for calling me out. I was starting to feel the same way about what I was saying at 51:06, and while I most certainly could have phrased it better I said it and I have to own it. What I was intending to come across is that 1) I don't spend a lot of time worry about what others are doing, 2) I appreciate when retailers try to focus on their own strengths instead of copy others, and 3) there's way more than goes into the logistics with retailing than most people realize. I think I went a bit overboard here and for that I'm really sorry. Shooting as many videos as I do and speaking top-of-mind as I do, I'm bound to phrase some things poorly, and I think that's what I've done here. This is a humility check.

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  5. That's genius! I've tried a dry q-tip to little avail, but hadn't thought of a wet one. I'll have to give that a shot ;) For me though I'm using the blue Custom 74 and I always use blue ink in it, so the ink doesn't show that much.

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  6. Kon Peki, love it! Thanks for the words of support Eva. I own what I said but I certainly could have been more tactful about it.

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  7. Last pen and ink I used? Parker Vacumatic standard semi-flex with Diamine Grape. Scrumptious!

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  8. Great Q & A this week, as always. I look forward to seeing it each time.


    I wrote a couple of letters to my sister and my aunt yesterday. I used my Lamy 2000 with J.Herbin Bleu Myosotis.

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  9. I was in contact with Lamy recently about replacing the caps for 2 of my Safari pens that are broken. They told me not to bother because it would cost almost as much to replace the cap as it would to buy a new pen.

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  10. Lamy Al-Star Violet with Noodler's Socrates!

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  11. Well I do appreciate the fact that you're clarifying that and owning up to what you said, and come across genuine. I do wish you the best and don't be afraid to have some pride. We all say things we regret. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that the logistics are easy to your business; nor is it easy to be in business at all nowadays.


    I just appreciate the fact that you can be mature, reasonable, genuine about all of it.


    Best wishes.

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  12. Abab with a working flex nib (at last! and yay!). Currently testing De Atramentis Pine Green. Seems to be very wet!
    Didn't like to hear about replacing Lamy safari lids! It's a shame they can't ship this out for free :o(. Afterall, noodlers managed to send me a replacement piston for free for a new Konrad which I broke after it got stuck. They were great. I also heard TWSBI sending out replacements for free also.

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  13. Lamy Safari with Sheaffer ink because it's all I currently have. ;-( I just moved and haven't had time (or money) to re-stock.

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  14. Last pen/ink combo: Noodler's Red-Black in a red Lamy Safari with 1.1mm stub. Lots of shading! Also, lots of matching going on!


    Brian, I have mixed feelings about your last answer. On one hand, it's interesting to hear how things are done behind the scenes. And I totally understand and support taking pride in your team and what you've built. On the other hand, I've always felt that one of the nicest parts of shopping at Goulet is that you treat your customers with class, even when we place pretty small orders; this didn't feel classy. True, you were talking about other retailers, and not customers. But if you really see your competitors as partners in bringing about fountain pen awareness, then you should treat them with respect.


    That said, we're all human, and who hasn't stuck their foot in their mouth every once in a while? Major props for engaging with people here, especially those with critical comments. The only thing you can really do is own it and move on, and you're doing exactly that.

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  15. Last pen/ink combo: Pilot 2014 Limited Edition VP EF with Noodler's 54th Massachusetts. Works perfectly for a Ph.D. Student who does copper analyses!

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  16. Aurora Ypsilon, fine nib, with an Aurora black cartridge.

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  17. Pilot custom heritage 91 with soft medium nib with Montblanc midnight blue. My favorite pen..hands down.

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  18. I just turned one of my bourbon buddies on to the Monteverde Tool pen -- she went crazy over it.... and I showed her the cute invoice with comments etc and the note in Apache Sunset... she was HOOKED!

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  19. Funny, I've seen every video Brian and Team Goulet have published and I do not think he came off in any negative way at all in this video, certainly not as a jerk/diva nor doing us a favor. What Brian and Rachel have built from the ground up is unique, awesome and wonderful and they have pulled together a super awesome team and developed a wonderful customer/employee oriented business based on the finest values. So Brian doesn't worry about Goulet's competitors, nothing wrong with that. Some are watching Goulet so hard they are not looking at them selves. I saw no arrogance here at all. Great video Brian, I love hearing about your inside activities and how things work. But, what Goulet Pens is doing is doing me a favor, I do not order anything Goulet Pens has or can get from anywhere else. Nothing wrong with Brian realizing that.

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  20. My last pen written with is my new Copper Limited Edition Vanishing Point with a F nib and Noodle's Black Swan in Australian Roses (July 14 vintage). However, it could easily be one of five other pens I keep close by most of the time.

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  21. Just saw that the Black Swan color is shifting back to burgandy. Do you still have any of the purple shade left? I liked that much better and I've been putting off getting some. Now I'm worried that they're all gone. Thanks.

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  22. Noodler's Konrad Flex, demonstrator, with Noodler's Tiananmen Red ink.

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  23. Seth Croston BarberOctober 24, 2014 at 5:48 PM

    Last pen used: TWSBI Diamond 580 with 0.4mm cursive italic with Diamine Rustic Brown.

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  24. Thanks so much John, and I really appreciate you telling me how you feel. Logistics being what they are, I still didn't really have any need to go on like I did, it wasn't really 'me'. I've had higher-than-normal stress lately for reasons I'll soon be able to share (next Q&A, probably) and this was just me losing it a little bit. Thanks so much for your understanding and for actually saying what I'm sure a lot of people were thinking but didn't want to say :)

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  25. Thanks so much for your support Tom! True or not, I didn't come across as I wanted. But I'm human, and make no claims to be perfect, but dangit I do care a lot about what I do :)

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  26. ooo, nice! Diamine Grape is one ink that came out and kind of passed me by, I haven't done much with it.

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  27. nice...boy I haven't used that ink in years.

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  28. That's kind of true. Even when Lamy USA was selling replacement parts, they charged $20 for a cap and something like $12 for shipping, and since you can get a new Safari for under $30, it kind of isn't worth it...

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  29. That's okay! Sheaffer's good stuff....nothing mind blowing but it gets the job done ;)

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  30. Yeah, well, Noodler's and TWSBI are much smaller and younger companies, Lamy is not either of those things :P It also depends on the circumstances, if it's a defect vs. a lost part, different manufacturers have different guidelines about what they are willing to replace.

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  31. Thanks for your well-thought out response, Soo Lee. That's a good way to put it, not classy. That's pretty much how I felt about it even right after I said it. I do own what I said, but I'm definitely learning from the experience. Thanks for being understanding and letting me know your honest feedback, I really want and need that.

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  32. That's so awesome Ben! What a perfect pen for what you're doing :) Yeah, that whole rant I went on really just didn't come out like I expected, even as I was saying it. I am incredibly proud of my team (and especially what Rachel does) and we've recently been working on some really big projects, and I think the stress got to me in a moment of weakness. I don't even know why I went on like I did, it was just not me. But I'm learning from it. Stay classy indeed.

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  33. How are you liking the Ipsilon? That's one pen we've considered carrying like a dozen times but never gone for it.

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  34. Last pen: TWSBI Mini, all black, M nib and Noodler's black. Yes, I need more variety in my life.

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  35. Last pen used: Franklin-Christoph 02 Intrisic Music Nib with Private Reserve Avocado. Just came in the mail today and love it.

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  36. TWSBI 580AL M with Private Reserve DC Super Violet

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  37. Last pen used: Karas Kustoms Ink (M) with Noodler's Manjiro Nakahama Whaleman's Sepia. Picked up the ink from you guys a while back primarily for sentimental reasons, since I grew up in the same town that Nakahama settled in when he came to the U.S.

    Enjoyed the Q&A. I personally liked the fact that you showed a bit of swagger / competitive streak. It wasn't done disrespectfully to anyone else in particular, and I respect your drive to be the best at what you do.

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  38. Last pen used? Ummm... was cycling between a few of them: Lamy 2000 with Waterman Serenity Blue; TWSBI Mini with Noodler's X-Feather; Jinhao 159 with a Goulet 1.1mm stub nib and Rohrer und Klingnere Alt Goldgrun! [Plus a Jinhao 599 with J. Herbin Lierre Sauvage]. Quite a multicultural experience!

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  39. Last pen used was my brand new Pilot Metropolitan Black, medium, zigzag. I'm a Sheaffer man turned Lamy recently and I picked one up just to see what all the hype was about.

    Yeah, I'm so totally completely sold. My friends are getting Metros for christmas, for absolute sure.

    Ink is Pelikan Violet, which falls nicely in between Platinum Violet and my purple Pilot Varsity.

    And the whole competitor thing, that's exactly what I expect, and frankly want to see, from a business. You clearly want to be the absolute best at what you do, and working hard enough with a team so good that others won't even be able to compete, that means you're doing things right. Plus, that combined with the brief part about being a debt-free business means you clearly have a formula for success. I got out of business school to switch to journalism back in the spring, but your little digression got me all fired up!

    Also, my girlfriend has caught the fountain pen bug. She put in her
    first order Thursday night, and by the time I checked my email Friday
    morning, it had already shipped. Wow.

    PS: I'm the guy who was asking about getting my Sheaffer Javelin repaired a while back, but watching your video on tine realignment helped me get it back where it's actually working pretty well again. Very pleased.

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  40. Last pen written with was my Platinum 3776 Bourgogne medium with Noodler's 54th Massachusetts ink. This has become one of my favorites next to my two VPs.

    Enjoyed the backstory on ink samples at Goulet.

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  41. Last oen Parker Urban sapphire with Private Reserve Purple Mojo

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  42. Wow. Reading the comments section, apparently it's taken differently by some. In public speaking you'll sometimes step in it. It's a reality. Also, when people,view it differently it means you're in the edge, not over it. I totally did not take it as being a jerk. I don't think you're Trump crazy gloating. Keep the swagger in your bag, but don't pull it out often.

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  43. I have a Platinum 3776 Shoji with the exact same problem as your Pilot 74. Like you, I finally decided I would have to live with it, though I may try the wet q-tip solution in the comments below.


    By the way: I like your philosophy of working as a debt free company. Too many businesses go under because debt works during the good times, but catches up with them during the bad times.

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  44. TWSBI Mini fine w/Noodler's Antietam! Love that color (& the pen)!

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  45. Kaigelu 316 Charcoal with home ground cursive italic nib and Levenger Raven Black.

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  46. Platinum Preppy fine nib, Noodler's Gruene Cactus Eel

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  47. I like it a lot. It's actually the first fountain pen I ever used. Very smooth writer.

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  48. My most recently used fountain pen is a just-puchased Nemosine Singularity (aqua blue) with Lamy turquoise ink.

    For what it's worth, I didn't think you came across as dissing your competitors, and really don't think you have anything to apologize about. I found the whole discussion regarding ink sample logistics both fascinating and informative.


    Please continue your casual, off the cuff commentary and rabbit trails in your videos. It's a lot of what makes them interesting. I always look forward to watching them!

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  49. The last pen I used was my matte black VP with Iroshizuku Take-Sumi. Such a smooth, badass pen.

    I really like hearing about the behind the scenes stuff. I have been a customer/fan for several years, and I know a little bit about how hard you've worked to get this far. Bringing it up sometimes is a good thing, but I don't think all of the negative comments about your competition were necessary. I do like hearing about different aspects about the business though.

    I think you do a good job of balancing being a retailer and being a fountain pen fan. I see the sincerity in what you say, and that you aren't solely trying to push products. I agree with some other commenters that the causal, honest, tangential way you record the videos is a good thing, it makes them more interesting. If you sounded scripted or focused just on the selling points of products I would definitely quit watching.

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  50. Last pen used was a TWSBI USA with Liberty's Elysium.

    I wasn't a big fan of the way you came across at the end there, especially implying that any competitor watching that far into the video isn't busy enough (anyone else watching the video would therefore also have too much time on their hands). However, the fact that immediately afterwards you said that this wasn't the best way to speak of others made me not really care at all. Stay genuine and keep doing what you are doing. I admire the values you promote in your business.

    Since I saw you have been asking others, I would personally prefer two 30 minute videos a week over a single 1 hour video. I rarely have time to watch a 1 hour video and I don't usually end up coming back to it after I only get 20-30 minutes in at lunch on Friday.

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  51. Last pen/ink: Pelikan M400 White Turtle with Iroshizuku Ina-ho ink. Lovely.

    Regarding your comments: I think you already owned that you misspoke because it didn't convey the way you really feel overall. I don't think it was your highest self, but I'm definitely not judging because we've all been there. Making a jerky comment (and I'm not saying your comment goes that far) doesn't make one a jerk automatically. Where the class comes in is realizing it immediately afterwards and taking responsibility for setting things right. So I think it's great that you left that whole portion in, because it gives us a good example to learn from.

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  52. Hi Brian. I last used my Noodler's Creaper in Topkapi inked from a sample in June's Inkdrop - Noodler's Sequoia Green. The combo made me realize why some people set aside colors that match the pen. I don't like how it looks at all in the pen, but I love to write with it.


    Since I've watched a lot of your videos I don't think you are a mean spirited person. Listening to the comments on competitors, I was thinking it was a bit on the harsher side. It shows the reality of working a demanding and stressful business that most people wouldn't get to see if it wasn't saved in video form. The reality is that you've build a company from nothing to success and have learned as you went. I do understand the pride you were showing for your company, family, and team. Just keep true to yourself and you'll never get lost.

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  53. Thanks John, I appreciate your honesty and willingness to share your thoughts with me in a constructive way. I will learn from this and try to keep myself in check!

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  54. Thanks for sharing Tom! You jumped on that Copper VP right away ;) Glad you're enjoying it.

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  55. I'll be blogging about this soon, it's been a bit of a roller coaster. We saw one batch of the purple one and thought that was the new color, but the most recent two batches we've seen are more burgundy. I've gone back and forth to try to figure out what's going on, apparently Nathan has changed nothing at all in his formulations, the color has just shifted with the raw components. We're seeing a color that's much closer to the original now.

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  56. Cool! Haha, bet that red looks awesome in the demo.

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  57. haha, it's okay! You know what you like ;)

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  58. Cool, I've heard good things about FC's music nib.

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  59. I forget about that color! Haven't used it in forever.

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  60. That's really cool Doug! I don't think many people can say they're from there ;) Thanks for the support...the swagger isn't something that comes out in me often at all, I'm normally VERY reserved with this kind of stuff. But it happened. I own it.

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  61. That's a nice mix! That's how I do, too. I always try to ink up a diversity of nib sizes and ink colors, I go by my gut.

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  62. That's cool John, the Metro definitely rocks my socks off and I'm glad you're digging it, too. Yeah, I'm secretly a little competitive but never really talk about it, it just kinda bubbled out of me here. I really don't worry too much about whether "I'm better than them", I really only worry about myself and doing the best I can. That's great about your Sheaffer!

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  63. Seth Croston BarberOctober 27, 2014 at 11:15 AM

    Indeed; done by Tyler Dahl of http://tylerdahlpens.com. He did a good job!

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  64. Just noticed the change from the site staying on inknouveau.com (as it used to) to redirecting to blog.gouletpens.com. Is this part of a branding push to consolidate under the one Goulet Pens banner?

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  65. The 3776 is kind of an undiscovered gem, I should talk about it more :)

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  66. Thanks, I think I knew I was walking a line here and I just haven't had a lot of experience walking it!

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  67. That's good to know, I don't have a Shoji that I'm using personally. I honestly don't even think about it on my Custom 74. Yeah, I like Dave Ramsey's philosophy about debt in a company, it's an accelerator but most business ideas don't work, so if you're leveraging debt, you're most likely leveraging a stupid idea! Of course this isn't always the case, but I like to think that I'm not smart enough to bet against my own stupid ideas ;) For every good idea I've had, I've failed a whole lot more with other ideas.

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  68. Thanks Paul! This one was definitely off-the-cuff, I can't believe that I filled up the whole hour with only 8 questions ;)

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  69. So I cancelled myself out then, that's good! ;) I didn't realize quite how I was coming across until I was wrapping up and went way off the beaten path with that last question, thanks for hanging in there with me. I was certainly genuine, even though I was a little less than eloquent! Thanks for feedback on the videos, too, I'm just toying with the idea of more but shorter Q&A's, nothing decided there yet.

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  70. I'm glad you're able to learn from it, I know I did! As I'm thinking about it I think that someone with a naturally more abrasive/excitable personality could have pulled of the swagger a little better, but it wasn't quite my flavor. I was going outside my own comfort zone and think I found my out-of-bounds marker.

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  71. Strong like bull, smart like tractor!
    Check out http://blog.saleslabdc.com/2014/03/nibs.html

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  72. Jinhao 450 with a Nemosine .6 stub using Libertys Elysum ink

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  73. There was a wonderful question included on Q&A 54 about pen disassembly. I noticed you spoke quite a bit about removing nibs and feeds. I was wondering what are the advantages/disadvantages of removing the nib and feed unit. I've only done so with my Noodler's Ahab,and feel a bit nervous about doing so with some of my others such as the Lamy 2000. Thanks for all of the great videos and products.

    P.S: My vote for a new pen line goes to Waterman!

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  74. Last pen and ink used: Lamy Safari Neon Yellow with a 1.1 stub nib, with Noodlers Black Swan in Australian Roses. Inked it up for use tomorrow. I was watching the q&a and you started talking about shading inks and then the BSIAR and I thought, gee, I haven't used that one in a while. By the way, of the 3 versions, I have numbers 1&2. I used number 2. I'm in the mood for purple.

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  75. Hector, the Lamy 2000 is so easy to remove the nib and feed for cleaning. You can get all the old ink out, which is good if the feed dried up or you are changing colors or brands of ink. See Brian's video on this: http://www.gouletpens.com/Lamy_2000_Fine_Fountain_Pen_p/lmy-l01f.htm I love my 2000 and even more when I found out how easy it is to disassemble it for cleaning. Be careful of the little ring thing on the grip, easily lost. Do this over a table, not the sink! The fourth video on the web page shows how this is done. The question about the disadvantages is great! I can think of a couple but I want to see Brian's answer to this.

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  76. Thanks for the link!

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  77. Last pen used: Lamy 2000 fine using Noodler's Heart of Darkness

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  78. Pilot Custom 74 (Violet, B nib) with Organics Studio Vanadium--nice (girly) candidate for Monday Matchup. Now that I have made this emasculating confession, I feel compelled to explain that I was transcribing Portia from Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice....

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  79. Is there a difference between a woman using a fountain pen versus a man? Any difference in writing line thickness, ink, pen or nib selection? Try comparing Brian's (your) writing with Rachel's.

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  80. Last pen and ink I wrote with? My Pilot Custom 74, with a musical nib and Pelikan 4001 Brillant Schwarz. (I like using a black ink in a musical nib; they are made for it.) I first used Noodler's Black and then their X-Feather Black, but the pen wrote too wet, leaving large black blobs where I didn't want them. So I tried Pelikan Brilliant Black, which is drier, and I'm very pleased with the results.

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  81. Any idea if Pilot has any plans to release new designs in the Metropolitan?

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  82. Last pen was a Shrade Tactical with a Goulet fine nib and Noodler's Apache Sunset - I'm loving the Goulet nib! And not a jerk at all, nothing to worry about there.

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  83. Platinum Preppy - Black Swan In Australian Roses (Original Formula)

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