Friday, January 16, 2015

Goulet Q&A Episode 62, 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.

Comparing one fountain pen vs. another can be tough, even with our Pen Plaza and Nib Nook comparison tools, so this week I'll help a few folks decide which pen may be right for them based on what they're seeking. Of course, it's a lot easier for me to recommend the right TWSBI for you then to choose my own "Holy Grail pen," as you'll see. Finally, as we troubleshoot the final few bugs of our new website -- fingers crossed -- I'll answer a question about the future possibility of a Goulet Pen Company app. 

1) Caitlyn P.- Facebook - (6:00)

If you had to choose between a TWSBI Vac 700 or the 580, which would you choose (filling system aside) I know the Vac can take Goulet and Edison Nibs, but (believe) the 580 can swap with the mini. 
  • Personally, I like the Vac better
  • I just love the way it fills, and it’s more comfortable posted
  • More versatile with the nibs
  • Used to be a higher price gap, but now it’s really close 

2) Zdez Z.- Facebook - (8:17)
I'm interested in buying a soft nib, my main 2 contenders are the falcon and the justus 95. I'd like to know the pros and the cons of buying one over the other other, or should I just look at another brand?
  • If it’s your first, the Justus is a big investment and it’s not THAT different than the Falcon
  • Not quite the same experience, but a Noodler’s pen is far less of an investment to see if soft/flex really works for you ($14-20)
  • Pilot Custom 912 is another option, in between Faclon and Justus prices 

3) Denise R.- Facebook - (10:51) 
Can you use the Pilot Mixable Inks (that are made for the caliigraphy pen) in any pen? Say I have two Metros--can I use them in those?
  • Oh yeah, go for it
  • They say for use in the Parallel, but that’s just for the ‘mixing’ effect, it’s fine to use in any Pilot/Namiki pen

4) Phillip Delaney- YouTube - (12:47)
Between the Faber castell basic, monteverde artista, and conklin duragraph, which would you recommend for someone who likes a softer nib?
  • Duragraph will be softest, definitely largest nib
  • none of these are really that soft though 

5) davidhunternyc- YouTube - (14:36)

Oh, (by the way) if you had to choose just one pen, what is your one-and-only desert island Holy Grail fountain pen? Why? (All ink would mysteriously wash ashore in Coke bottles.)
  • just asked these on Facebook!
  • gosh, that’s impossible, honest truth is I don’t have one

6) Jeff- Blog - (17:51)
(1) are there any other pens as minimalist as the CP1 out there? (2) If so, do any of them have a finer nib than the german EF?
  • to get finer, you’re really looking for a custom grind or a Japanese EF
  • Lamy 2000 is pretty minimalist
  • Black Matte VP
  • depends how you define minimalist!

7) Robert H.- Blog - (21:49)
Hello Brian ~ would you please let us know what the differences between the materials that are used to create pens (celluloid, acrylic, ebanite, resin) and which may be a better substance than the others...in your humble opinion?
  • acrylic/resin, same thing = plastic
  • there are variations like injection-molded vs. cast resin, sometimes hard to know which is which
  • cotton resin- blend of plastic and natural materials
  • celluloid- made of wood cell walls, slightly absorbent, slicker and very expensive to make, comfortable to hold for long writing sessions
  • ebonite- hard rubber, slightly absorbent and more expensive to make, comfortable to write with for long sessions

8) Chris W.- Facebook - (33:33) 
I'm not sure which video(s) in which you offer an explanation as to why such brands as Montblanc and Visconti are not interested in having Goulet carry their products, but it seems as though they may be less than honest with you. I've seen many online only retailers who carry these pens and claim to be authorized retailers. Seems as though they aren't completely truthful in their reasoning behind not allowing Goulet to carry them. I'd love to hear your thoughts on that.
  • I can’t speak for others’ agreements
  • I was told they don’t want to sell to online *only* companies, it could very well be the other companies selling online have a physical storefront 
  • Maybe they just don’t like my company, that could be! That’s their right, I might not represent the image they want to portray

9) Oliver F.- Facebook - (36:56)
Is the Neponset eventually going to be a pen offered in the normal cellulose version as the rest of the models by Noodler's - or is it going to be a special edition (ebonite/acrylic) versions only? On the flip side - will Nathan ever make a ebonite version of the Ahab or N.Creaper?
  • I would be surprised to see that happen
  • all other Noodler’s pens started out in resin, only the Konrad moved up to acrylic or ebonite
  • I don’t think the NC or Ahab designs are conducive to these materials

10) Mahesh H.- Facebook - (41:10)
The knob at the end of my Lamy2k that operates the piston seems to be a little loose. It does not move the piston, it's just stays within the region when you first unscrew it just before the piston actually starts to move. This bothers me because it breaks the seamless continuity of the pen. Have you seen this? Is there a fix?
  • I know exactly what you’re talking about
  • I have seen it, not super-common but common enough where it doesn’t shock me
  • Most common issue is it doesn’t stay twisted on, so it leaves a gap
  • give it a firm twist, and it should be okay

11) Jonathan B.- Facebook - 

Are there any future plans or possibilities for a Goulet Pens app?
  • Sure! Why the heck not? 
  • That’s part of why we moved our site, to be able to build out this kind of stuff
  • we’ve talked about turning our comparison tools into apps, I have other ideas, too
  • we need to get our site fixed up first, then we can dream big
  • what are some of your ideas?

QOTW: What features would you like to see in a fountain pen app?

Write On,
Brian Goulet


  1. For the next Q and A: Rachael mentioned in a comment a couple months back that you guys were working on ordering Tomoe River in bulk and then having the paper bound in to notebooks/notepads yourselves. Is that still in the works?

  2. Windows Phone support! "Cortana, find me a brown ink that is waterproof"

  3. sigh...we're still waiting to hear on that :P

  4. Waski_the_SquirrelJanuary 16, 2015 at 6:11 PM

    I own a Pilot Justus 95 and a whole bunch of Noodler's pens. I don't own the Falcon. The Justus is one of my favorite pens, but the only reason to buy it would be if you want hard and soft writing in one pen. My purchase of this pen was totally a luxury, excess purchase. There is no rational reason to buy it.

    The Noodler's pens give very good flex at a good cost. I have discovered that I like flex, but I don't really use it enough to justify a more expensive pen.

  5. For an app, I'd love to see the nib nook and ink samples. It'd also be nice to be able to make in-app purchases of course. I

  6. Hi- I'm running through all my cheap pads at work and planning on switching over to Clairefontaine pads exclusively. Have to say that they sure go quickly when they're in stock. Do they sell them in packs? Just thinking about all the shipping costs over time.

    I have to ask....Why is A.T. Cross an unknown name here? Are they difficult to deal with? Is it because they moved overseas? I live in Southern New England and Cross is a local institution like Timex, Bendix and Martin Rosol's. I love the Century Classic because it's not a big clunky cigar with messing ink flow. Plus it sits in the pocket nicely. Really wish I could have bought them from a company that cares like Goulet.

    I would love to be able to order stuff from an app. Maybe even via some micro-payment system. (I know PayPal is the 800 pound gorilla, but yuck are there alternatives?)

    Thanks for reading

  7. I was pleasantly surprised to find (on the old website) that Ravelry was already in the "how did you hear about us" field. While I understand that the information gained from such questions is not something you would easily release, do you ever find it surprising the places that people get referred from and the numbers that get referred from there? Like, a bunch of knitters?

    As for what I would like in an app... as others have said, various comparison tools would be my biggest wish. Maybe a good wish list/bookmark/favorite management integrated with those comparison tools that will save to my account so the information is there when I get back to my computer so I can look it over on the big screen before making final decisions.

  8. Can you give us an update on the TWSBI eco? I am really looking forward to being able to buy it. Will I be able to buy it here when it comes out?

    Also, will you ever consider selling dip pen holders and nibs apart from the glass pens?

  9. An app suggestion would be an interactive writing pad where you could test different nib sizes. Possibly even make it to scale of a Rhodia dot pad. There would of course be limitations but it would be neat for newcomers to see what it is like to write it a 1.1, 1.5, and 1.9 stub compared to the standard EF, F, M, and B. There are a couple of writing apps out there that have this feature so it may be as simple as incorporating the existing technology into a Goulet app.

  10. I am not sure what I would want in an app, other than the existing website features. However, I do miss the feature from the old website where I could sort items by "best selling" or "most popular." You may intend to add this back or have addressed this elsewhere. Thanks so much for the Q & A vids. I look forward to them each week!

  11. I actually took the time to sort out what was causing this cap problem you talk about on my Lamy 2000. When you disassemble the pen, you'll find a round white part that is slightly tapered. What causes the cap problem is that this part has a slight burr remaining on the thinner end of it that is not properly deburred during manufacturing. If you want to solve this problem instantly and indefinitely, just sand out or cut off the burr and you're good to go.

    I've contacted Lamy with this information, but unfortunately they never came back to me. Maybe it's fixed in newly produced pens, who knows...

  12. Re #10 and the problem with Mahesh's Lamy 2000 cap end -- I have a similar problem with my TWSBI 580. When the piston end is twisted all the way closed, it is always a tiny bit loose. Not enough that it causes ink to come out, just enough to be irritating as it moves slightly when holding the pen and writing. It surprises me how much it bugs me, but trying to twist it just a bit further doesn't solve it. It's just always a bit loose. Arggggg. Added to my other pet peeve about the 580 -- that posting the cap makes it super back-heavy -- it always causes me to do a tiny little wince whenever I pick the pen up to write. And I adore everything else about it! The weight of it, the way it holds a ton of ink and the clear barrel is really clear, so you can see the ink supply sloshing around, the smooth, gushy nib. Sigh. Brian, do you know anything I can do about the loose cap end? Or another pen without the back-heavy, unpostability issues?

  13. Aww I hope your able to work it out. I think it would sell like crazy. Are you waiting to hear on Tomegawa or on potential book-binders?

  14. A.S., Brian said he was out of town this week. Here is the link to Lamy USA's repair web page. Get it fixed and enjoy your 2000! I love mine, it is an EDC for me. http://lamyusa.com/warrantyinfo.php

  15. You might want to contact about the ring, maybe they will send or sell you one without you having to send your pen off. You can email Lamy USA at: lamy@filofaxinc.com

  16. So what would it take to get a Goulet #6 nib in an Architect grind?


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