Friday, December 12, 2014

Goulet Q&A Episode 59, 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'm making up for lost time! The last two weeks of Goulet Q&A were cancelled at the last minute due to family obligations and my losing my voice, so I'm tackling as many questions as I possibly can to make up. I cover "second pens", breaking in nibs, getting others hooked on pens, and eyedropper conversions. Enjoy!

1) Andrew D.- email - (2:13)

In your video of 12/1/2014 (omas Ogiva Alba nibs?) you had a black case on your desk near your right elbow. it looks like a flute case or a pen case. I figure if it was in your video, it must be a pen case? Anyway, if it is a pen case, what type/brand is it? Where can I get one like it?

2) Vincent T.- Facebook - (2:58)
Do you think that gold nibs are more prone to "breaking in" and getting thicker than their steel counterparts? I've heard rumours since gold is a more malleable material.

3) @StephaniePyne87 -Twitter - (4:29)
Is there a cut-off date for guaranteed Christmas delivery from Goulet Pens?
  • Wed. 17th, US
  • already passed for international

4) Margaret (Customer Care) - (6:47)
Many people have asked for suggestions for the best starter pens for beginners (Platinum preppy, Pilot Metropolitan, Lamy Safari, etc.). For those of us who took your advice and enjoyed those pens, what are good options for the next step up, under $100? I'm not sure I want to spend the money on a gold nib pen at this point, but I'm definitely ready to see what I could get in the next price point beyond my starting pens.

5) Tracy P.- Facebook - (9:37)
Should I let my pen completely dry after washing before I reassemble it? Should I worry about mold developing if I don't?

6) Analise A. - Facebook - (10:58)
Do you know of any holiday card company that uses good enough paper for a fountain pen?

7) Caitlyn P.- Facebook - (11:40)
In the world of vintage pens and modern pens (both fountain and dip) how can you tell if nibs can be interchanged without damage to pen, nib, or feed? ((Rcv'd many nibs, both fp and dip, and want to know how I can tell if I use them in a modern pen)) thanks for sharing your knowledge and for having the best customer service around!!! 8) Mayra R.-Facebook - (13:26)
What inks would you recommend giving someone you bought a fountain pen for that could enhance their writing experience? 9) Eric O.- Facebook - (15:33)
What is the maintenance for a TWSBI 580 like? I have Jinhaos and Lamys and I like the ease of cleaning. I'm not a collector and consider pens as tools. For me, the real action is on the ink side. 10) Ty W.- Facebook - (17:57)
How do we FP lovers manage a panic attacks when there is two weeks of no gouletqa. Better asked: how do newbies or the step after that legitimately help get others hooked?

11) Julia L.-Facebook - (20:17)
Non-FP-related, but what advice would you give about working with a firm to redesign an organization's website? 12) Travis W.- Facebook - (23:25) Also, I have a collection of tiny pens growing. I own the TWSBI Mini, Kaweco sport, and Kaweco Liliput (you don't carry them so I had to buy it elsewhere, forgive me!). Aside from the Poquito, are there any other tiny fountain pens you know of that are worth buying? 13) Edgar H.-Facebook - 24:26)
If you were a great classical composer and you were writing a symphony, what pen and ink would you use? 14) Stacey W.-Facebook - (26:26)
I would love to know Rachel's favorite pens. I know she likes 1.1 italic's but which specific pens are her favorite? 15) George A.-Facebook - (27:54)
There always appears to be some sort of condensation on the metal part of the pilot metropolitan converter, even when not exposed to drastic changes in weather or temperature. Why is that? 16) Steve K.-Facebook - (29:12)
Why do certain inks work better in some fountain pens? Specifically, I bought a Pilot Falcon SEF and tried it out with some Lamy turquoise, and it railroaded like crazy. I was ready to return the pen when I decided to clean it and ink it up with Liberty's Elysium, and now I couldn't be happier; the pen works like a charm, great flex, and no railroading. Any insights into this phenomenon? Is it just a trial and error kind of thing? 17) Vlad P.-Facebook - (35:10)
Hi! why are gold nibs softer to write with than steel nibs, if in the final steps of making any type of nib, a small ball of osmium-iridium is added on the tip? in the end, doesn't it all come down to how well that "iridium" tip is polished? 18) Allen V.-Facebook - (39:55)
At present, the name Esterbrook is synonymous with vintage pens. However, the brand is relaunching as a new company making new pens. Have you seen any of the new pens and is Esterbrook possibly headed to Gouletpens.com? 19) Gösta M.-Facebook - (41:41)
I've heard people discussing if you should post the "Edison Noveau Premiere" or not. Some say the cap will scratch the body of the pen. What do you think? 20) 林理谙-Facebook - (44:23)
Is the writing sample for the preppy in the nib nook done with the eyedropperized or converter pen? 21) Alison S.- Facebook - (46:28)
Do you think my nemesis Bay State Blue will stain my new Neon Yellow Lamy Safari pen? 22) Michelle W.- Facebook - (48:49)
What are the components of the Platinum Preppy eyedropper conversion kit? Does it contain the both the O-ring(s) and silicon grease or must the silicon be purchased separately? 23) Maeli Z.-Facebook - (52:51)
With your ink sample stock down post-Inksamplepalooza, this seems like a good time to ask: How do you fill the ink samples? I have visions of a table full of sample vials and auto pipettes. Am I right???

Thanks so much for spending time with me this week, I really appreciate it! Next week will be the last Q&A of 2014, crazy! Be sure to check here if you have any old Q&A's that you missed. Have a great rest of the week!
Write On,
Brian Goulet


  1. What is railroading?

  2. Brian, you talked about your process of using the Pilot FA nib and how it takes some getting used to. I had a similar experience with this nib. It is my understanding that Pilot did not design this nib to be used for the cursive style of writing used outside of Asia, and certainly not to be used as a flex nib (as westerners might think when they see it). This might be more of an issue with the design of the feed than with the capability of the nib to flex which, of course, it does. I've found that it works quite well as an expressive nib for print writing, where the nib is used to make short strokes and is picked up off the paper in between strokes, similar to writing Japanese characters. The feed can keep up with this expressive print writing as well as with some springy cursive writing. The FA nib will not perform well when used with extensive flexing over continuous contact with paper, as one might like to do when flexing a Noodler's Ahab to write cursive. I just wanted to pass this on for anyone looking to pick up this nib as a 'western-style' flex nib. It is soft and flexible, but I suspect the FA nib/feed unit might disappoint those looking for serious cursive flexing. It provides a unique writing experience, which might explain why it was not originally marketed in the West. Having said this, I became a huge fan of this nib after I learned how to use it, which is part of the fun of trying new nibs. I should note that I ordered mine from Japan before it was available in the US, and perhaps Pilot has designed a new feed for the western market. I'm looking forward to your video on the FA nib, to see how it is working for you.

  3. Brian, why the knock on Mont Blanc? When I began my FP odyssey 25 years ago, I started with MB, Cross and Waterman (and probably one each Dupont, Oficina, Stipula, Lamy, Conklin, etc etc) but I have several beautiful MBs and love them... what do you know about MB that I dont?

  4. Thanks for doing the video this week despite being in the midst of recovery. Hope this recording didn't set you back.

    P.S. I listened to the podcast and it wasn't bad at all. Feel better!

  5. Edie O., when you flex a flexible or semi-flexible nib while writing, the tines separate so the width of the line widens as you write. Sometimes the ink flow cannot keep up with the writing speed, width of the flex, and something has to give. The ink follows the two tines but does not flow fast enough to span between them, so you get two narrow lines instead of one wide line. You may have to slow down the speed of your writing so the ink feeding through the feed and nib can keep up with the wider lines. The variables include the ink, the nib, the feed, the pressure, writing speed, and maybe more I have missed. If you watch Brian's videos on the Pilot/Namiki Falcon, Metal Falcon, Noodler's Ahab, Konrad, or any other flex pens you will see him slow down as the nib flexes out to form a wide line.

  6. I should have said "... the tines SPREAD APART so the width of the ink line widens as you write." "Separate" sounds like they came apart!

  7. I think it's just that Montblanc has kind of a reputation in the sense that because they are a very upscale pen company, they attract a certain clientele. Just like Louis Vuitton or Prada. I agree they make fantastic pens but there reputation ... I could live without.

  8. FYI - The most number of questions answered by Brian in a (single) Q&A video is 28, Q&A video #1.

    For a future Q&A session question(s): What pen, pen innovation and ink has surprised you the most for the year 2014? What are you looking forward to in 2015?

  9. I think nibs "breaking in" after being used involves the feed getting flushed clean by the ink. Residual oils, nib polishing residues, injection molding release agents, etc. all tend to impede the ink flow and minimize wetting of the feed surfaces in a new pen. As these are flushed out by the flow through the feed and nib, and multiple refills of ink, everything gets cleaned out and the ink wets the surfaces better than when new. I have started flushing out new pens with Goulet Pen Flush, then rinsing well with water before my first inking. Sometimes I'm in a hurry to try the new pen out, and it seems like the flushing out first makes a difference in whether pen seems to break in. I also agree with Brian that one leans how to best hold and write with a new pen over a short time and that this is a big part of "breaking in". I have a gold nib pen I got in 1965 and I do not think it writes any broader or wetter than it did back then. Then again, I barely put any pressure on the nib when I write at all (unless it is a flex nib).

  10. Some fountain pen makers such as Mont Blanc survived the 1970's 80's 90's and 2000's by becoming "prestige luxury" producers - from memory this hit a peak from the late 1980's to early 90's and again around 2000 and many of these prestige brands are still going along well today.
    This current movement that companies such as Noodlers and Goulet are a big part of for more fun/usuable/affordable fountain pens seems to be something quite different to what I have seen since the 1970's which was pretty much just the "vintage" collectors and the "prestige" collectors (and of course the "prestige vintage" collectors :)) and not much else in between.
    A lot of lower priced fountain pens during the post 1960's were what might be termed "school pens" as some countries or schools (India, Japan and a few European countries I believe) continued to teach children handwriting with fountain pens.

  11. When using a flex pen you will usually see a bubble like membrane of ink form between the 2 tines. When this membrane breaks you are probably just about to railroad i.e. split from 1 thick line into 2 skinny lines. I think the lubricants and viscosity modifiers used in certain inks help this membrane to hold together longer than others.

  12. Hi Brian,

    is there a small chance to see the collection of Rachels Edison Nouveau Premiere in a photo?


  13. Brian,

    I have also had a condensation issue with my Metropolitan on the squeeze converter. This does not happen all of the time, but it does happen from time to time. I live in Oklahoma, where humidity is a factor, but the pen is always in my office, so it is not so much of an issue. It is for sure condensation, not ink leakage. Not really an issue, but it is strange that it happens on the Metro, but not on my Knight, which uses the same converter, nor on my VP, which is also using the same converter.

    Just wanted to share my experience there.

  14. @Travis W. on small pens: Also consider the Stipula Bon Voyage, the Pilot Stargazer (or Stella), and the Franklin Christoph Pocket 40. And the Sailor Mini, or Sapporo, too. All are great pens under 5".

  15. I also have the same condensation experience with my Metros. I have used both the squeeze and CON-50 converters. I notice it more on the two Metros I take to the office with me. I live in CT and I thought it was a summer issue, but it's happened in the winter as well. The Metro I keep at home doesn't seem to get any condensation.

    While I love my Metros, I can't say that I love either the squeeze or CON-50 convertors. Neither one seems to go on securely. I've had issues with ink leakage when taking my pens from home to work, which is one of the reasons I open them when I get to work and I've noticed the condensation issue in the process.

  16. That is the most realistic reproduction of the warmth and sheen of yellow gold I have ever seen from any ink, crayon, or colored pencil, reminiscent of the rich gold decorated initials which adorn the illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages. The writer and recipient of a missive in this ink should feel most royal.


Don't miss anything! Subscribe to our Weekly Email Newsletter!

Disqus for Goulet Pens Blog