Friday, December 19, 2014

Goulet Q&A Episode 60, 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 is the last Q&A of 2014, I'll be taking off next week to spend time with my family for Christmas. This week the video includes using J. Herbin Stormy Grey in your pens, storing pens in your backpack, and what is up with that soldier drawing on my desk. Enjoy!
1) Dane Miles- YouTube - (6:09)
Hey Brian, what pen carry/storage solutions do you recommend for students? Someone whom carries a backpack?

2) Andy P.- Facebook -(9:46)

Hi. I always carry a throw-away pen (decent writer but not as nice as the rollerball or fountain pen I also carry and rely on) for the knucklehead who forgets a pen at a meeting. Sometimes I get a persnickety and persistent knucklehead who notices the "oh so nice" pens sticking out of my pocket and can become insistent in using one of them. My guard is up, the adrenaline starts to flow (like Hulk going through his metamorphosis) and I start getting into fight, not flight, mode. It's particularly painful when the knucklehead is a superior. Do you have any FPN (Fountain Pen. ninja) tactics to employ?
  • I have no personal experience in this area! 
  • keep multiple pens, make up some flimsy excuse about the ‘good’ pen you have being one that only you can use
  • I loan everything to everyone, but I do it in a way that they understand what they’re about to hold
  • I’d really want to solicit feedback on this one in the comments

3) Chris W- Facebook - (13:06)

Do you plan on carrying more Kaweco pens in the future? Also, which pen you would prefer; the Kaweco Sport or the TWSBI Mini.
  • maybe...but only if Kaweco brings them in through US distributorship, they have several models that are by special order only for us here in the US, and that's really tough for us to stock. Mini, hands down.

4) @La_Lynne- Twitter - (15:57)

Do you have a cunning system for remembering what ink's in what pen? I always THINK I'll remember...
  • conceptually yes! 
  • index/business card in pen case
  • phone to-do list/notes
  • matching ink to pen color helps 
  • randomly guessing
  • forgetting/cleaning out pen ;) 

5) Carmen C- Facebook - (18:48)

I like the way I can find inks that are water or freeze resistant on the website, but I'm also interested in inks with sheen and inks that shade really well. Unfortunately, I don't see any tick boxes on the side of the website for those properties. Is there any chance you'll add those next year?
  • that’s a neat idea, not sure if we’d feel bold enough to officially claim “sheen” on an ink
  • varies color by color, paper and nib influences it too 

6) Heath B- Facebook - (22:49)

Being new to the fountain pen world, I like to read as much as I can. What are some of your favorite blogs to read?

7) Mikey M- Facebook - (26:49)

Where did your get that drawing of the military doc treating his guy in the field? Being a former Marine I'm drawn to that pic every time I see it.
  • Ced Nocon, legit comic book artist in LA
  • both our grandfathers fought in WWII 

8) Dionne C- Facebook - (30:30)

I was wondering how you clean out a Pilot con 70 converter. It seems to be hard to get ink out of that little tube that's in the converter, kind off a pain.
  • it is a pain! I keep my Custom 74 inked with blue only, basically, kinda for that reason
  • turn upside down under running water, move rod up and down to flush it out 

9) Leonore P- Facebook - (36:50)

I purchased some "Eternal Brown" ink from Noodlers several years ago. I love it because once it dries it is virtually "eternal" no smearing or running from water sprinkles. Does Noodlers or any other company make an "eternal" type ink any more? in any color?
  • water resistant filter on our site “bottled ink”, then filter down on the left, scroll down near the bottom
  • used to have Noodler’s-specific terms like bulletproof and eternal in our search filters, took them out b/c it would then only show Noodler’s, but we’ve gotten a lot of feedback about bringing that back
  • we’re still debating what to do, seeing what our options are, technically 

10) Keith R- Facebook - (39:53)

I know it's not ideal, but would an extra fine nib work on a newspaper crossword puzzle?

11) Bob H- Facebook - (40:34) 

Is there a reason why you don't sell Waterman pens? Just curious. Excellent website, excellent company, excellent products, excellent people. Thank you!
  • need to see a big demand
  • it’s definitely on my radar, waiting to get through holidays 2014 

12) Jon B- Facebook - (43:19)

Would you ever consider a new or second design for the Edison/Goulet exclusive pen? I love the seasonal colors, but I just can't fall in love with the shape of the Nouveau Premiere.
  • we did that with the Encore, fizzled out and discontinued
  • have talked to Brian Gray about that
  • it’s a possibility, but Brian would need the time to design it
  • takes 40-50 hours of programming time for him on his lathe
  • just does’t have that time right now
  • we’d need to pay him for that time, would need to be a popular pen to pay that back
  • it’s a possibility for sure, just not anything planned in the immediate future 

13) Stephen S- Facebook - (47:00)

I've got a good one! I recently got a bottle of the 1670 Stormy Grey. I've been fiddling around trying to find the pen that works best with it. What would you recommend that meets these requirements: Can disassemble nib and feed, to clean the gold gunk out. Wet writerStub/italic nibRelatively inexpensive (in case the first requirement ends up being more trouble than it's worth)
I'm leaning towards an Ahab with a Goulet 1.1mm in it; I've tried it with the normal flex nib and it kind of looks like a glitter pen when flexed hence the desire for an italic. If you have any other suggestions I'd love to hear them!

14) Mark Z- Facebook - (49:41)

Would the preppy x-fine work well with the ink Stormy Gray or would the gold flecks likely clog such a fine nib?
  • it will work okay, but won’t really show off the gold much in a nib that fine
  • might have to clean a little more often, but won’t be as bad as you might be envisioning

15) Tristan N- Facebook - (52:48)

Do you have pens or inks or paper you love to hate? Like an pen that's ugly as heck but has a super sweet nib or ink that almost needs a steel brush to get cleaned out of a pen but that has the best sheen or paper thats almost glass like but with a smell bad enough to clean out the room?
  • Noodler’s pen smell, don’t hate it but it’s not the best
  • don’t like fast-dry inks, hate inks that feather a lot (flat color inks) like eternals and document inks (sorry!)
  • don’t like thin pens, Lamy CP1, things like that
  • not a big fan of slick metal grips, though will use them for quick notes
  • don’t like most little pens (Kaweco, Poquito

16) MK B- Facebook - (58:05)

Re-posting from a comment under the last Q&A: #1 I have a Super 5 (given me by a friend who got hers at the Urban Sketchers International Symposium) Is this pen fussy about ink? The converter is really hard to remove but finally got it off and cleaned. Refilled with Platinum Carbon Black (my fav). I now can't get it to flow.... just little bits of ink scratches. 
  • if it's not flowing well from the ink-up it could be a matter of the pen needing to be cleaned out first. This can definitely help sometimes. Another possibility might be the rotation of the pen in your hand, this is a fine stub but still a stub, so it's going to be sensitive to pen rotation, so just make sure you're keeping both tines in contact with the paper. Just a thought

17) MK B- Facebook - (1:02:43)

Just received my bottle of J Herbin 1670 storm grey. I noticed gold on the bottom of the bottle. Does it need to be shaken up? 
  • SHAKE! yes
QOTW: What is a holiday tradition you do every year? 

Thanks so much for spending time with me this week, I really appreciate it! Be sure to check here if you have any old Q&A's that you missed. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Write On,
Brian Goulet


  1. Have you thought of reaching out to Sailor again to carry their inks? It seems like other online retailers are able to carry their ink and not carry their full line of pens ... maybe they changed their policy? Your my favorite source of paper and ink but my favorite ink is Sailor =/

  2. Re #5 from Carmen, what about a faceted search option along the lines of "Special Properties" or "Other Special Properties" or whatever. Wouldn't have to imply that you, Brian Goulet, certify that an ink really and truly has a sheen, but that the manufacturer claims such, or that the fountain pen community generally regards the ink as such. And it wouldn't have to be limited to sheen. Could be any number of unusual characteristics that aren't otherwise common enough to be worth having their own faceted search category. Just a thought. Happy holidays to the team!

  3. You can use a syringe to clean a Con-70. Insert the needle into the rod thing and keep flushing it with water. This way you can get much of the residual ink inside the convertor out.

  4. Suggested nuckel head tactics: The pen flick (gets the feed full of ink which gets on their papers and/or fingers.) The piston squirt (aim for the face while explaining the filling mechanism.) The nib taste (pretend to stick the nib in your mouth then tell them "You hafta lick it to get the ink flowing. Here try it !)

  5. My family and I stay up until 3am ish , (I never stay up that late!)

  6. Briefly per Question #1: Like you, Brian, I use an Aston pen case. Great leather, wears well (with an occasional swipe of Cordovan shoe polish), gets carried everywhere. I used to toss it into the car - and the case went unblemished - but I found all sorts of ink splashed into the caps of some pens, and have learned to be more considerate. I always carry 12 pens in my Aston 10-pen case - there are 12 pairs of loops - but I make sure that the pens next to the "hinge" are slender, like a Pilot Preppy or Metropolitan, a Kaweko Sport, or my Élysée En Vogue. (The innermost slots are narrower than the others.)

  7. Per Question #2: I loan pens to other "pen pals" without a qualm but, as you suggested, I let folks try out less expensive pens. A Jinhao x750 with a Goulet 1.1mm stub looks great - and in most hands can write as beautifully as any Montblanc or Pelikan. Most folks looking at my carry pens have no idea of their relative cost/value, and they are not upset when I pick out something for them to try. I can replace the Jinhao plus stub for about $25, and that's an acceptable level of risk. If they want to try a Pilot Custom 74 or Platinum 3776 (five times the replacement cost) and if it's someone not to risk offending, I will let them write a bit with a pricier pen; but I keep the cap in my hand. They are not likely to walk off with it that way, and they won't damage the nib by jamming it into the cap crookedly (which happened to me once with a Parker I liked).

  8. Per Question #13: Another option for writing with J. Herbin 1670 Stormy Grey (or their 1670 Rouge Hematite) that eliminates clogging issues is using a glass dip pen. Goulet have some beautiful blown art glass pens by Rohrer and Klingner that write like a dream. Shake up your ink with metallic flecks, dip in and write. You can write 2-3 lines before having to dip (and dab) again. And a quick swish in a glass of water and you're ready for the next ink. For Christmas notes I'm alternating sentences between Rouge Hematite and Noodler's Gruene Cactus with no cleanups ever.

  9. Per Question #2: I'm not sure who you are describing here -- friend or foe? If friend, then maybe loan the pen but hang onto the cap (good suggestion, Mike Winn). But mainly I don't loan my nice pens to anyone. I let a very nice, respectful high school piano student try my beloved Pelikan M200, 'Li'l Blue' and she dropped it, bending the gold nib irreparably. I had to replace it, and thus learned my lesson. Now I use only less expensive pens for teaching (Lamy Safari) and in your situation I might carry a Preppy, but more likely a cheap gel pen to loan to knuckleheads. If someone insists, and you really don't want to loan your nice pen, you can always pull out that old chestnut (which apparently isn't true) about pen nibs conforming to the hand of the person who uses them and you can't loan yours because it will ruin it for you.

  10. Thanks for answering my question on the blogs. I understand about limited time and running a business. Thanks for the list you provided and I will check them out.

    Heath B

  11. Great video, Brian. I appreciate finding out about those new blogs you mentioned...some of us still do like blogs! :)

    Regarding your question on holiday traditions, we have several. But the one that's the most fun is bringing a "white elephant" gift to the party every year, which is mainly stuff we got as gifts ourselves! Then we go around and each choose a gift from the pile, and take turns "stealing" each other's gifts. Once in awhile there is truly a "one person's trash is another's treasure" type gift, but most of the time they are groaningly awful. But that's where all the hilarity lies....we've all come to look forward to it.

  12. Will you be adding the ability to sort search results based on the factors such as the average customer rating or the popularity of an item? Thanks for running a great company, and merry Christmas!

  13. Hi Brian, Rachel and all the good folks at Goulet Pens, Merry Christmas!! :-) Brian had a great piece of advice I want to say "thank you" for...one of the folks had a great question about "what's a good way to indicate on a fountain pen what color of ink you put in it"; I have that same problem. "Senior moments" when you can't remember if that dark shade of ink was Noodler's Walnut or something else...I'll ink up one of my many pens & forget 2 days later what ink was in it. Brian's suggestion: a simple index card noting "which ink is in which pen", and I can toss such a card into my nifty antique-ish "pen storage box" I keep on my desk. Thank you for that elegantly simple solution Brian, I'm going to start doing that.

    John E. Dunn, Ozark MO

  14. What I've learned, just since August: Fountain pens teach patience, reward diligence, inspire competence and bring joy. Thank you all for being a great part of that delightful education. Happy holidays!

  15. Lying isn't a great long term tactic.

  16. #2: Andy, how many pens are you carrying to your meetings? if you have a half dozen nice pens in a pen case, you would rightly look like a flashy jerk for not sharing those. I'd carry a good pen and a cheap pen, and if they ask for the expensive one I'd say "oh sorry, I'm using that one. Here's my spare."


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