Friday, February 27, 2015

Goulet Q&A Episode 68, 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.

Thanks to a little bit of snow, this week's Q&A features an unplanned new location and some special guest performers. I'll dish on flex pen writing basics, my favorite notebook for journaling, and how well I'd perform as a mime. Next week we'll be back live at Goulet HQ -- with another nice Q&A surprise. OK, here we go...

Pens/Writing: - (6:52)

Glenn L.- Facebook - (6:58)
What are your recommended fountain pens for lazy people like myself? I like pens that are easy to use, easy to fill, and most importantly, super easy to clean? Effort, schmeffort. Your top picks for lazypens, please!

Lori Arrowood- YouTube - (10:04)
Hey Brian, I was browsing the web the other day for fountain pen stuff and came across a link for a Pilot Cocoon fountain pen. Maybe I'm crazy but it looks to me to be the exact same thing as a Pilot Metropolitan, yet it lists on JetPens for $45. The site also says the nib is "metal" (assuming that means non-gold) - am I missing something? What is the difference?
  • basically nothing
  • Pilot Metropolitan in US, Cocoon in Japan, MR in Europe (with SI cartridge!)
  • no difference, I’m not joking when I say the Metro is an incredible pen for the money!

Paper: - (11:59)

Ty W.- Facebook - (12:03)
I love my rhodia webbook. However, for daily note jotter it seems overkill. What is a better replacement, preferably with dots and/or ivory paper? I loath bleed through/shadowing- hence ending my decade long love with Moleskine thanks to the elegance that is the fountain pen. 
  • Leuchtturm1917 is the ticket
  • dots, awesome colors, more pages, pretty darn good paper (not quite Rhodia though)

Travis W.- Facebook - (14:51)
If you could only use one brand/type of paper for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  • Rhodia, great all-around paper

Chad C.- Facebook - (16:25)
Dear Brian, I'm a lover of Rhodia paper for writing, but not in love with the 8mm wide ruling found on most of Rhodias large writing pads. I tend to write small, with short quick strokes and a smaller ruling would be great. Do you know if a smaller ruled, lined large Rhodia writing pad exists or perhaps in development. Thanks. P.S. the friday Q&A has become date night for my wife and I. 
  • Need clarification on this one, the only Rhodias with 8mm is larger wire bound notebooks
  • Most everything Rhodia does is 7mm, except small Webnotebooks (6mm)
  • You could go with large Rhodia dot pads, they’re 5mm

LiAnn7396- YouTube - (19:28)
What's your favorite diary. And paper. And please leave out rhodia dotted one. The one you use for pen testing :)
  • Toss up between Rhodia Webnotebook and Leuchtturm
  • I use and enjoy both, for different reasons
  • Webnotebook is 7mm and I like it for more journaling
  • Leuchtturm dot is 5mm and I like it for note taking

Business: - (22:36)

Chuck B.- Facebook - (22:51)
Have you thought of offering nib tuning on purchases?
  • definitely thought about it!
  • don’t have anyone here or nearby with the skills to do it
  • those with the skills elsewhere don’t need the work
  • only option is to train up in-house, and that’s a huge undertaking
  • the door is closed, but not locked

Personal: - (26:15)

Jackie M.-Facebook - (26:16)
Inquiring minds want to know. If someone were to grab Brian's hands while he's talking, does he become functionally mute? (Just kidding.) Goulet Q&A is one of the high points of my week. 

  • if you grabbed my hands, the rest of my body would surely gyrate
  • nothing will really shut me up though ;) 

GimmeeCookiee- Blog - (29:12)
Congratulations on (almost) reaching 20000 subscribers! Which youtube channels do you personally enjoy watching (Pen related or otherwise)?

Troubleshooting: - (34:01)

Mayra R.-Facebook - (34:05)
My pilot metropolitan used to write very well but lately when I'm writing, no ink will come out. I've had to force ink into the nib and sometimes not even that works. What can I do to solve this problem?
  • make sure it’s inked up, it’s hard to tell sometimes with the included converter
  • clean the pen (remove nib/feed)
  • try a different ink
  • ‘pound down’ the ink

Chris W.-Facebook - (39:20)
I've recently considered converting my Edison Collier to an eyedropper pen. However, I am concerned about the inside of the barrel getting stained and affecting the appearance of the pen (even though it is on the inside there is a slight amount of transparency.) Any thoughts?
  • very natural concern
  • acrylic acetate (what Edisons are made of) is a pretty stain-resistant material
  • celluloids stain much worse, don’t eyedropper convert those (with permanent inks anyway)
  • shouldn’t have grave concerns, the pen’s easy to disassemble if thorough cleaning is needed, I basically never hear of Edison staining issues

Mirjam L.-Facebook - (43:26)
I have bought a couple of noodlers flexpens in the past, I like how they write, but I can't get the hang of writing with flex. Is there a special technique to it? Normal writing works fine.
  • only flex on the downstroke (top left to bottom right), 45 degree pen angle, go slow, practice practice practice! 

Chase Harris- YouTube - (47:02)
I recently purchased a Platinum Preppy Highlighter and converted it to an eyedropper with Noodler's Firefly ink. The problem I am having is the pen writes (or rather highlights) extremely wet. Is there a way to adjust the flow on a Preppy Highlighter? I thought about using a cartridge to see if that slows things down a bit but I am not optimistic. Are there dryer alternatives for a refillable highlighter? I also have a M205 Duo but the line width is too small for my liking. I should also probably mention that most of the highlighting I am doing is in code books with thinner paper.  It's not quite Bible paper but it is very close. 

Jacob W.- email - (51:21)
This may be a dumb question but: I recently purchased my first piston filled pen. I am a bit disappointed by how dry it writes. I decided to open the piston a half turn to fill the feed with ink and the pen started to write much more wet. I was wondering if I should always open the piston when I write or if the nib needs to be altered.
  • you aren’t really opening the piston, you’re just forcing ink down the feed (which makes it wetter)
  • this helps in a pinch, but isn’t something that should be required ongoing
  • something else is going on
  • clean the pen thoroughly (FP101 Pen Cleaning and Maintenance)
  • try another ink, see if it helps
  • dilute the ink 10% or so
  • if all that doesn’t help, it’s the nib

QOTW: I’d love to introduce our Media Team to you. Mike is our Manager, Jenni is our videographer, Sarah is our photographer, and Margaret and Madigan are Community Coordinators (social media). What questions do you have for them?

Write On,
Brian Goulet


  1. Mirjam van der LeekFebruary 27, 2015 at 6:54 PM

    Thank you for answering my question. I liked how you compared writing with a flexpen it to playing an instrument. I actually watch the q&a mostly after arriving home from Brassband rehearsal on fridaynights where I play the alto horn (also called tenor horn).
    So next to hornpractise at home I "have to" squeeze in flexpractise now ;)
    But for now, good night! It is almost one o'clock right here.

    Nice link, our band at national championships in 2011: http://youtu.be/a0t_HGgsPzA

  2. Hi Brian (or whoever answers this),
    I am sure that this is a question that has been asked many times but... I am a high school student and I have been into fountain pens for a couple of years, but have really gotten serious in the past few months. Anyway, writing on my cheap, 1 dollar notebooks isn't really working out, especially with some of the nicer inks, with feathering and bleed through. My question (finally) is, what notebook would you recommend for a student like myself? Nothing too fancy, and preferably 8.5"x11"-ish size and college rule-ish lines, as it is just for basic everyday notes class notes.

    Thank you!

  3. So, for the nebulous QOTW... =] ... I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to know what camera/lens combos you use for your photography (macro especially), and what your set up is for vlogging or filming videos! I also want to know what everyone's favorite pen and ink are!!!

  4. See if you can find some Campus brand (made by Kokuyo) notebooks and/or loose-leaf notebook refills. Here in Indonesia spiral-bound Campus notebooks are the equivalent of $2-$3 USD. Superb Japanese-made fountain pen friendly paper for the money. May be harder to find if you are in the U.S.

  5. Two questions for your media team: 1) Though Goulet Pens is often on the cutting edge, what media productions do you see on other FP sites that you would like to try? 2) What other media productions do you see on non-FP sites (sportswear? food sales? auto sales? etc.?) that you would like to try?

  6. your children are beautiful -- thanks for sharing them with us! Love Q&A!

  7. Hey Brian,
    I use the Leuchtturm notebooks for my daily work - I write mostly with Broad and Stub nibs, and have no difficulty with the dot grid - my handwriting is fairly large, too - but I like it a lot.
    I have to say, that while the Webbies have a thicker, better quality paper, but the drying times make it very challenging to a swift writer like myself...
    Plus, when one has to consider buying in bulk, due to prohibitive shipping charges, a USD 8 difference becomes significant...

  8. do you know lamy and line collaboration? I want to know about it

  9. Brian, we haven't seen Joseph and Ellie in a while, wow, have they grown! So glad they helped you with your video. They are wonderful kids. It won't be long before Ellie will be waving a pen instead of a wand!

    As usual, I learned some useful things in this Q&A, gained appreciation for a lot, and thoroughly enjoyed the video. I also got the urge to order my first Pilot Metropolitan telling myself that I need a fine nib writing pen to use with Noodler's Fox for editing. All my Preppies are inked, and it is easier to get the Metropolitan than to change the ink in a pen. How is that for rationalizing?

    Mirjam L. - It has taken me quite a while and I still have not really mastered flex writing. I have to write very slow and obsess over when to make the flex stroke and to unflex before I change direction. Like you said below, we just have to add time for practice.

  10. Amit, glad you mentioned the drying time difference, I had not thought about that.

  11. Hey Sam! Clairfontaine has some great notebooks that should work well for you. At $5.50, they shouldn’t break the bank. :) You can find them here: http://www.gouletpens.com/c68145/p/C68145


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