Friday, January 30, 2015

Goulet Q&A Episode 64, 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.

I'm back from Nashville at Dave Ramsey's EntreLeadership Performance Series conference, and ready to talk about some pens! This week I cover what the Goulet team's been up to (which is a lot), where to place a wax seal, what's up with the dots on the new Rhodia top-wirebound dot pads, and what in the world is up with De Atramentis Document Inks! 

1) Neville Smith- Blog - (10:34)

Hey Brian, love your work! I've scoured the internet and cannot find a definitive answer; where is the best place for a wax seal? At the bottom of the letter, fold the letter and seal on the fold, or seal the back of the envelope? What is the protocol? Love to hear your opinion on Q & A. Cheers! 
  • there’s no wrong way to do a wax seal!
  • originally, were done on the outside to physically seal up the letter, as a security measure
  • brittle wax cracked if you tried to open it, showed it had been tampered with
  • today, supple wax is the norm for mailing reasons
  • you can really seal it anywhere, it’s all kosher as far as I’m concerned!

2) loriwood01- YouTube - (15:22)
Hey Brian, I recently bought a Rhodia #16 top wirebound dotpad from you, and noticed the dots are actually purple.  For some reason, I want thinking the dots were gray in color...was I mistaken, or is it different for the non-wirebound dotpads?
  • yes, that’s a mistake! 
  • dots are supposed to be small gray ones, not fat purple ones
  • purple dye matches what you’d see on the graph notebooks
  • I pointed this out to them over 2 years ago when it came out, they discontinued them to ‘fix’ it
  • a couple of months ago they said they were coming back
  • lo and behold, they arrive and haven’t changed at all from 2 years ago 
  • they’re definitely aware of the issue, but we’re still selling them anyway because we’ve been missing them for 2 years so far, we’d rather have purple dots than nothing!
  • we’ve tried to photograph them as clearly as we could, perhaps we should update the product description?

3) Louis I.- Facebook - (20:50)

What's a good ratio of water dilution to ink to reduce the feathering of Baystate Blue?
  • using distilled water, start at about 10% dilution, won’t change the color noticeably
  • the higher the dilution, the more watery the color (duh)
  • go to about 25% and see how you feel
  • mix in SMALL batches, 3-5ml at a time if you can

4) David- Blog - (25:32)
Q&A question... I have a few piston filler pens (Lamy 2000) and I like changing inks often, does it hurt my pen to fill a little bit of ink, then just finish the process by sucking air?
  • doesn’t hurt a thing, suck away!
  • I’ve been doing this for years, especially with my piston fillers
  • my personal preference is to keep the same color inks in my piston pens, change inks more in my cartridge/converters and flush with a bulb syringe

5) Stephanie P.- Facebook - (30:40)

Husband and I each got a Monteverde Pen for Christmas this year. He got an Invincia and I got an Intima. We have both had a lot of issues with skipping, starting, and even some railroading while using the pens with Monteverde inks. Slowly, we have tried some other inks as well, but seem to be having similar problems. Is this a common problem with the Monteverde nibs (or inks)? Could it be that we missed something when cleaning the pen? Tuning issue? We really want to love these pens...help! #GouletQA
  • bummer! Sorry to hear this
  • kind of a rare occurrence, but MV nibs do tend to be pinched together a bit, restricts flow sometimes
  • Donna on FB mentioned removing the nib and reinstalling it, that can help
  • Also, adding a little pressure to the nib to spread the tines can open them up, just be careful because you can overdo it
  • worst case, if you got it from us, let us know and we can inspect/exchange it for you, we want you to be happy with it 

6) Jeff M.- Facebook - (35:02)

I have been watching many of your old videos and many of Nathan t's as well, can you tell me about pens that come with the 4.5 oz bottles? I don't want anymore preppys, but I saw some others in Baystate blue, Nakita (red) and a very current vid that shows one he called "Charlie" included with his Heart of Darkness. I am putting together an order and might be including these inks along with an Ahab and maybe a Konrad, with a Pilot metropolitan and a Lamy safari
  • Baystate used to come with Preppy, rollerball tip for Preppy, and Kuretake brush pen
  • Brush pen no longer included
  • No, just Preppy with FP and rollerball tip
  • Charlie pen is experimental, coming with a few Heart of Darkness bottles
  • Not sure if Charlie pen will be ongoing, but likely that it will

7) Kenneth M.- Facebook - (40:23)

Is there an easy way to clean the feeder tube in my Noodlers Ahab fountain pen, it suffers from staining from my black / blueblack inks. Just now I am using some fine copper wire to basically scour the inside of it clean but is there and easier way? Great QnA shows you have, I watch them every Friday night as I clean out my pens from that week. Keep up the good work.
  • I wouldn’t sweat it too hard, the next ink you put in there will stain it right back up
  • piece of string/yarn would work well, thread it through with needle
  • breather tube isn’t even critical to pen’s function
  • that’s a cool pen cleaning ritual!

8) Leslie H.- Facbeook - (43:22)

I'm curious about the Edison gold nib (M)...is it hard like Platinum or softer like Custom 74 ? Demo??? (if you ever have a spare moment :D) thanks
  • It’s definitely not stiff, it’s quite soft
  • very wet, too, very broad (look at Nib Nook)
  • sorry I can’t do a sample right now

9) Whitney B.- Facebook - (46:26)

Should my Noodler's Dragon's Napalm have metallic-looking chunks in it? Will they hurt my pen?
  • that’s normal, I’ve asked Nathan about it
  • won’t hurt the pen, it’s chemical sedimentation from the reaction of dyes in the ink
  • Dragon’s Napalm takes about 6 months to make!
  • Just let the flakes settle to the bottom, fill as normal

10) Cathy F.- Facebook - (49:37)

De Atramentis has a new color in the Document Line--Fog Gray. Will you be stocking it any time soon?
  • we’ve had stocking issues with all the DA Document inks, in case you hadn’t noticed :) 
  • we won’t be able to get any for months
  • DA is made by one man, Dr. Jansen in Germany
  • he makes it all on-demand, so when we order it takes 2-3 months to come in, longer if it’s a large order
  • We’ve gotten a lot of flak for our being out of stock with the document inks, but demand is far exceeding supply and we’re doing our best to get it

11) Elijah S.- Facebook - (54:24)

Any plans for Goulet nibs in a smaller size than #6? I love the Goulet nibs but I also have a lot of pens that won't take a #6.
  • ehhh…we technically could to #5 nibs from Jowo, but minimums are high and I don’t like their #5 nibs nearly as much as the #6
  • eventually we might do it, but not yet. Can use Edison #5 in the meantime (also made by Jowo 

12) William S.- Facebook - (57:34)

Do fountain pens work for multi-part non-carbon copy forms? I'd love to use a fountain pen at work but from what I recall they don't do so well in the multi-part form field .
  • They can, but this is where the line gets blurry on the effectiveness of the FP
  • I personally use rollerballs in this situation, but you can use a stiff-nib FP like a Lamy or Pilot Metro 

QOTW: What’s your Q&A-watching ritual? 

Thanks so much for spending time with me this week, I really appreciate it! Be sure to check here if there are any old Q&A's that you missed.

Write On,
Brian Goulet


  1. QATW answer: for me Friday morning means checking the Goulet Blog before I make breakfast. If the new Q&A is posted I make breakfast and watch the Q&A while I eat. Otherwise I for sure watch it at some point during the day where I can just chill for an hour and nerd out on fountain pens.

    Another great Q&A Brian. Write on!

  2. Another option for William: Goulet has several rollerballs that refill with ink. I'm a fan of the J Herbin ones myself.

  3. Late Friday afternoon: Me, my i-Pad, a glass of wine, relaxing on the couch with Q&A--my version of "Must-See TV"!

    And Brian, thanks so much for explaining the issues with DeAtramentis Document Inks (my question). Liz Steel is an Aussie artist/teacher/blogger who's a big name in the Urban Sketcher Movement. She seems to be one of the first people to get these inks, and she publishes reviews of them. She's probably a major reason for the increasing demand.

  4. Although I'm relatively new to fountain pens and this blog, I have picked out and watched quite a few older Q&As during the week when I just can't wait.
    Weekly, I wait for them and watch them as they come out on Fridays, often while I fill pages in my leftover notebooks from previous school semesters with random words and tricky letters. Practicing my handwriting feels relevant, not too distracting, and productive as well. I hope it's not weird to occasionally pick out words or phrases from the video. I like to keep my handwriting on its toes.

  5. My QA watching ritual is to read the transcript. Read every one you make. Much faster and better retention. Appreciate all your experience and knowledge you share.

  6. AOTW: I always paint my nails.

  7. I always watch Q&A on the treadmill or bike at the gym. It fills two half hour cardio sessions nicely and beats out anything showing on the gym TVs.

  8. As to William S.'s question, I found out years ago that when people were using only pens to write with they would use rigid nibs called manifolds for carbon paper. I think if you found a modern nib that was a real nail in terms of firmness, that might work, unless you want to get a vintage pen with a manifold nib, such as an Esterbrook. Actually, you can get an Estie with another nib, then switch it out for a manifold, as they were the first to have nib units you could unscrew, and change. There are Esterbrook nib units for sale in some places, such as ebay. Also, as to wax seals, in addition to sealing letters closed, if you go back far enough in history, people put their personal wax seals on documents at the bottom to show their approval of them. The sealing up of the folded letter custom came from the fact that people didn't used to have envelopes to put them in. I think Neville can please himself in terms of wax seals, as they are a fun extra thing for a letter, not an essential thing with a special function that would dictate a particular place for them.

  9. I usually watch Q&A on Friday after work. Today I was done with work about 9:00pm.

    But, when I say "watch" what I really mean is that I have it on while doing other things.

  10. I always look forward to Friday nights, getting home after work and watching Q&A. While watching I play Shanghai (Mahjong) up in the corner of the screen, one eye on Brian and one eye on my game. It's very relaxing and informative at the same time! :)

  11. Brian, I usually read or write in my journal before I go to sleep at night...except for Friday, when my precious dog (basset/yellow lab mix named Dougie) curls up next to me, and "together" we watch your Q and A. Nice way to wind down. I enjoy your videos immensely. Can't speak for Dougie, though. He usually falls asleep after a few minutes. Please don't take offense:)

  12. My Q&A ritual is to relax early in the afternoon (or whenever the Q&A has been posted), sit back in a glide rocker with my laptop in my lap, read the summary transcript through first, then watch and listen to Brian. I may venture into the Goulet store site in an alternate tab while still listening, to check on a product being discussed, etc. But, I always listen to the whole video as many times Brian says things that are not in the summary.
    Question 12: William specifically states using pens for multi-sheet NCR (no carbon required) forms. Takes more pressure than simple carbon copies to press all the way through to the bottom form. The best pens are the fine point rollerballs or ball points. Personally, I would not even try to use a fountain pen on these forms, you might spring the nib if you press too hard, or tear the top sheet which can be very thin.

  13. AOTW: I usually clean out my fountain pens and ink them back up, or if I just did that the day before, I will fill up another fountain pen (today it was my charcoal Safari EF) with a random ink (Noodler's Turquoise Eel) and go to town on a 5x5 dot pad paper, connecting all of the dots vertically, then horizontally on both sides of the paper. After that, I will browse the Goulet website to see if I can talk myself into splurging money and ordering another product.

  14. My new years resolution is to improve my handwriting. To keep at it, I've hopped on the ink drop bus and spend the time during Q&A practicing and learning more about my new pen and ink addiction :)

  15. ----Quote----
    6) Jeff M.- Facebook - (35:02)
    I have been watching many of your old videos and many of Nathan t's as well, can you tell me about pens that come with the 4.5 oz bottles? I don't want anymore preppys, but I saw some others in Baystate blue, Nakita (red) and a very current vid that shows one he called "Charlie" included with his Heart of Darkness. I am putting together an order and might be including these inks along with an Ahab and maybe a Konrad, with a Pilot metropolitan and a Lamy safari

    Baystate used to come with Preppy, rollerball tip for Preppy, and Kuretake brush pen
    Brush pen no longer included
    No, just Preppy with FP and rollerball tip
    Charlie pen is experimental, coming with a few Heart of Darkness bottles
    Not sure if Charlie pen will be ongoing, but likely that it will

    Regarding Heart of Darkness (HoD) and the "Charlie" pen. If I may add...

    FPN Review:


    Nathan Tardif's YouTube Video on HoD and the Charlie Pen:


    It took me literally seconds to find and post these links. Sad to see Brian's Q&A did not include them (please pay attention to detail).

    The FPN post (link above) describes what I expected with this zero-cost pen included with the bottle of HoD. Not a flex pen, and that's OK. HoD is a pretty saturated ink to begin with IMO.

    All said, I think Nathan's Video is great. Nathan is a Patriot!

    I am Charlie too...

  16. Brian's link in his response is to the Goulet web page where he has Nathan Tardif's video posted. All you had to do was to follow Brian's link

  17. Brian has had this video posted on the product page at Goulet Pens for a while. You just have to select the Heart of Darkness product that comes with the Charlie pen. This is not new information here. Out of stock, sign up for an email when it comes back in stock.

  18. RE: Question #2 about the color of Rhodia ink dots: Yes, Brian, please change your product description to accurately depict what color product is actually being sold (in the same way that you changed the descriptions of Noodler's BSAR). You might update the photos, too; the consumer would appreciate this.

  19. That's cool Kenny! I usually try to have them posted by noon EDT. Thanks for including me in your chill time :)

  20. Aw, that's awesome Cathy :) A glass of wine will always make my videos more enjoyable! So true about DA inks, Liz has undoubtedly been a lot of the reason for the awareness of the Document Inks.

  21. Neat! thanks for making me a regular part of your week :)

  22. yeah, I would think starting at my mug for an hour straight would get a little old. I'm not offended at all that you multitask!

  23. awesome! I love podcasts and audiobooks when working out.

  24. haha, that's cool...I wouldn't have imagined I'd be a part of a nail-painting ritual when I started these vids ;)

  25. haha, I'm not offended at all. Snuggling with a sleeping pup isn't the worst way to spend a friday night ;)

  26. I think there are modern pens that have stiff enough nibs to work with this, too. I've never used a manifold nib though, sounds interesting.

  27. cool, I definitely go quite a bit deeper into it when I talk though, obviously. I also wander a lot ;) Glad you enjoy it!

  28. Thanks for the link there David, between you, Dogs and Tom you've pretty much covered it. Again, part of the reason I didn't want to push the Charlie pen too hard is because I don't even know that it's going to be around.

  29. very cool Tom, thanks for sharing :) True, I cover a lot in the video that I don't summarize in the text. Makes the vid worth watching!

  30. Ted, we don't say what color the dots are one way or the other, I suppose that might be something helpful. The difference is rather subtle, and we do have it photographed (in an alternate image on the product page). I'll think about how I can be more clear about this.

  31. That's really cool! Yeah, there's a pretty decent back catalog now, and most of the info is pretty evergreen, so watching old ones is pretty much as good as when it came out (at least 90% of it or so). That's smart to practice your handwriting while you listen!

  32. That's so cool! Multitasking, smart :)

  33. Thanks, Brian. I looked for the "alternate image" that you mention here. Do you mean the photo of just a corner of a page? The Rhodia logo is clearer than the color of the dots in that image. The photo angle is such that the color of the dots is not clear. Perhaps a photo from directly above the pad without that bit of diffusion/glare?

  34. Brian, thanks for answering my question about the Edison gold nibs: A good honest answer.
    I love watching the Q and A on my ipad late Saturday nights in bed when
    the house is finally quiet and I can begin to dream of my next fountain
    pen. ( I always learn something new and interesting)

  35. Brian, I have a question about Noodlers Black (aka "bulletproof") - I don't know if you've already answered this earlier; if so, i'm sorry...
    It's a simple doubt: do you know how permanent it is, not on paper, but on fabric (say, on a cotton shirt)?
    It seems the perfect ink for day-to-day use at work, but I tend to periodically stain my clothes (and hands, and whatever is around me!). Regular inks disappear when I wash them, even with regular detergent. I'm afraid a permanent ink will result in permanent stains.
    Have you ever tested this? Have anyone?

  36. I seem to listen to it more than watch it. Usually, I put my headphones on and do something while I listen.

  37. gee, spello day - *notice* :P

  38. *did*, not *die* :)

  39. Not sure if this is the place to post this - but die you guys notive that "Rohrer & Klingner" is no longer in your "Shop by Brand" lineup? (it's my favorite ink brand, so I'm perhaps a bit over-protective there..)

  40. Looooooove ink filled rollerballs, been using them for years and have dozens when I'm writing a lot they are even better than fountain pens

  41. Wow, you're right! Didn't notice that, thanks so much for pointing it out!

  42. Yup, it wil stain! Noodler's Black (and all Noodler's bulletproof inks, for that matter) are cellulose-reactive, which means any natural fiber like wood pulp (paper), cotton, etc will stain. Now, some fabrics are treated with chemicals to resist moisture penetration and whatnot, so if it's washed out quickly it might not set in and you'll be okay. And getting ink on, say, a nylon carpet may not permanently stain, either. But in general, you have to be more careful with a permanent ink.

  43. You're welcome! Haha, that's cool :) I'm glad I can help you relax!

  44. Flavio, sometimes you can get it the stains out of shirts with spoiled milk. I've no idea why it works -- and it doesn't always, usually on natural fabrics -- but it's a truck my grandmother taught me. Just let it soak for a couple hours, then, keeping it submerged, rub the cloth.

  45. Here is a thought: if you consistently get ink on certain areas of your clothing (say shirt front, pocket, sleeves) you could spray those areas with Scotch Guard fabric protector before wearing them. This will slow down the ink's penetration into the fibers and give you more time to wash the ink out.

  46. I make dinner early, fill my plate and watch your video. If I want more I will watch your other videos. Tonight was homemade tacos, cozy on the couch while the wind is blowing outside and your Q & A. Perfect evening.

  47. I was just introduced to the whole Goulet family and the joy of writing with fountain pens by my brother. He gave me a vintage fountain and some ink and your site and I was hooked! We now have a common hobby and I blame him for my increasing expensive collection...haha... I love Goulet! I watch these videos while both swapping out ink in my pens and during my favorite activity, swatching my monthly ink drops shipment in my diary! What a cool subscription service! Ink drops is my favorite part about Goulet and the reason I've stuck with your site as my main drug of choice. Keep up the great work and the personal touch with the videos! I'm a believer!


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