Friday, May 1, 2015

Goulet Q&A Episode 76, 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.

Despite being on an exciting Disney World vacation, I've got a fantastic new Q&A for you! I don't have any product updates since I shot this before I left, but I'm answering questions on mixable ink, Jinhao models, and what job I'd have if I wasn't doing what I'm doing now. Enjoy the newest installment of Goulet Q&A!

Pens/Writing - (2:07)

1) sweetnightingale2907 – YouTube - (2:11)

I have a couple of question for you. With the brush pens (like the ones with the weasel hair), are you limited to using strictly cartridges or can you get a converter to use bottled ink? If so and since it is a different kind of tip, what is the best ink to use
It depends on the design of the pen, but most of them are made to handle bottled ink
there’s no reason it should be cartridge only just b/c of the brush
more saturated inks tend to work a little better, though that depends on what you’re looking for
I don’t personally use them a lot, I haven’t heard of a lot of universal talk of certain inks being best
pigmented inks work well

2) Justin P.- Facebook - (4:27)
I'm trying to decide between the 1.5 and the 1.1 for my TWSBI 580. I've heard of flow issues with the 1.5. What are your thoughts?
I haven’t seen any higher number of issues with the 1.5s than the 1.1s, though I haven’t tracked each
it really matter most which nib size you’ll be happiest with
TWSBI warranty service is pretty great, they’ll troubleshoot/replace bad nibs
TWSBI is likely moving away from 1.5s altogether, they’re just not popular for them

Ink - (8:21)

3) Janet L.- Facebook - (8:28)
An occasionally suggested alternative to cartridge-converters is refilling a (disposable) cartridge with an ink syringe, especially for pens like the Kaweco AL sport. Can this be done indefinitely, or does the  cartridge eventually ""wear out""? Approximately how many times can you refill a disposable cartridge before you have to toss it?
yes, it will only last but so many fills
exactly how many will depend on the type of cartridge and how it’s handled
if you get 5 fills, you’re doing well, more than that is great
squeezing to ‘prime the pen’ is the worst thing you can do

4) Po T. - Facebook - (11:47)
Is the pilot parallel pen mixable ink truly mixable? (I mean not simply by touching the nibs together but mix it like normal ink mixing
I’m pretty sure, but the ink is only sold in cartridge form (no bottles), so ‘real’ ink mixing would be quite hard to do

5) Jacob A.- Facebook - (14:25)
Is it possible to mix Noodler's Blue Ghost with other noodler's inks to get a fountain pen ink that shows up on paper *and* is blacklight fluorescent?
it will only fluoresce with a ratio of how much Blue Ghost is mixed in
a darker ink clearly won’t glow as much as BG would on its own
BG is also bulletproof, so you get that added benefit of fraud-resistance

6) 林理谙– Facebook - (18:11)
Which of the Noodler's 4.5 oz bottles come with a Preppy and which with the pen from Noodler's? Does it change over time? I love the eyedropper pens from Noodlers and have long since given up on Preppies because of how easily the caps crack, and I'm perfectly willing to purchase large quantities of ink of a color I like (that I probably won't even get around to using for years) just for more of those pens!
the free Noodler’s pens has been a saga!
honestly, it changes a lot
I think Noodler’s is moving away from Preppies in all the pens
we honestly sometimes get mixed stock, it changes without us being told, it’s virtually impossible to keep up with

Troubleshooting - (29:58)

7) Travis W.- Facebook - (29:58)
I love my E95s, but it's tough to clean and swap inks with it. Especially since it only takes the squeeze converter. Is there an easy way to  clean squeeze converters? And is it more difficult to flush out hooded nibs? My bulb syringe doesn't seem to clean the ink out of the nib unit completely.
could use an ink syringe to flush, though really just shaking it helps plenty
use a q-tip to clean the inside
no magic trick really
flush and soak
slower with the bulb syringe flushing

8) Ren R.- Facebook - (34:50)
I have a lamy z26, after one use in a Lamy Nexx, it doesn't seem to fit snugly in my Lamy Vista. It fits loosely and any light tap will dislodge the z26 from the Vista. My z24s all worked fine with the Vista and other Lamy pens, am wondering if it is a z26 thing.
this can definitely happen
I don’t know that the Nexx has anything to do with it, my z26 loosened up a hair with continuous use in my Vista
I think it’s a z26 thing
really the z24 is pens in the Vista b/c of the pegs

9) Eric O.- Facebook - (37:50)
Brian mentioned "singing" nibs in the past. I just got in on the Vanishing Point nib sale and got a medium that squeaks/sings. Using Noodler's 54th. Thoughts on how to fix? The nib seems to hard start a bit. See if it gets better with time?
a touch with Mylar paper/Micromesh would likely fix it right up
it most likely will get better with time, yes
if it’s too bad (and you got it from us), let us know and we’ll work with you on it

Business - (40:59)

10) Kenneth C.- Facebook - (41:14)
Have you considered carrying additional models from Jinhao? I know some of their designs are ridiculous and others are blatant knockoffs, but they have several other nice designs such as the 15, the 8802, and the 500.
there appear to be a lot of model options
the X450, X750, and 159 were the most talked about ones so we started with those
minimums are VERY high, so we need to be darn sure we know where the demand is
we’re open to it, but need to know what you want!

11) Mark Grago– YouTube - (45:03)
Brian and Rachel, have you ever considered retailing Monteverde "Napa" fountain pens? I would love to see them in your lineup!
we used to carry them! we dropped them due to poor sales
they’re discontinued, so the ones you see around now are old stock
we won’t be carrying them again, for both reasons above!

12) 林理谙 – Facebook - (46:46)
Do you know why Noodler's doesn't sell the non-flex nib creepers anymore?
a few years back, Nathan was at capacity and was bouncing back and forth between spending his time QCing Noodler’s flex pens and Noodler’s non-flex pens
there would be long periods of no flex pens at all
he asked my opinion and I strongly encouraged him to give up the non-flex pens, because the flex was what made Noodler’s pens special
he phased out the non-flex and we’ve had a far more continuous supply since
now there is a non-flex nib you can put on the Ahab, Konrad, and Neponset

Personal - (53:15)

13) sweetnightingale2907– YouTube - (54:05)
With so much variety of ink to choose from, there are just as many reasons to select an ink to use at a particular time. Do you personally use different colors for different reasons, for example, picking an ink that reflects the mood you are in? What is your selection process for choosing the ink you want to write with at a given time?
it’s rare that my ink selection is anything BUT reflecting my mood!
I always have a bunch of pens inked, so I’ll try to go for a color I don’t already have in another pen
the only real consideration I give towards properties is if I need it to be waterproof
it’s pretty much an emotional choice each time!

14) Rob B.- Facebook - (59:24)
Occasionally I am told--when filling out some form or other--that I can't use my pen. My practice usually is to suddenly become hard of hearing and ignore that.  I use either blue or black inks in my daily writers and the inks I've chosen dry pretty quickly. Are there any legitimate reasons for NOT using a fountain pen? And, have you got any better response to these alleged rules than eye rolling and a muttered ""what. ever."" ?
hey, haters gonna hate, you do your thing
me personally, I don’t try to use fountain pens in every situation, I will adapt if the situation warrants it
I personally haven’t ever run into a situation where someone gave me sass about using a fountain pen!

15) @smadayrrek– Twitter - (1:05:11)
if you weren't doing what you do now, what job/career would you want to do instead?
I love business/leadership, so I could see doing something in the way of consulting/public speaking/podcasting/blogging/etc (very similar to what I do now)
if we want to take the hypothetical a little further away, I would love to be a master craftsman, I love working with my hands
my love for woodworking is originally what got me to where I am, I could totally see bringing that back into my life at some point

QOTW: Has anyone ever given you sass for using a fountain pen? - (1:14:45)

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. I have to sign off on lab notebooks at the end of every class - one my fellow TAs is constantly giving me sass (in a friendly, joking way) about only wanting to use my fountain pens to do so. My argument is that my inks are obnoxious and easy to spot when doing the final grading at the end of the semester.

  2. The only time I've had someone tell me not to use a fountain pen was when I signed documents in a government bureau in Pennsylvania. The ink had to be blue, and the clerk wanted to make sure the ink wouldn't wash off.

  3. Eva Yaa AsantewaaMay 1, 2015 at 7:10 PM

    I only get admiration for using fountain pens--and I can't say that's what I expected.

  4. Brian, I noticed you have box labelled "pens to be cleaned" on your shelf, do you clean your own pens or do you have others clean them for you?

  5. I've never been criticized or given sass for using fountain pens. I worked in a highly sensitive industry requiring high level security clearances. Many documents (QC, gov't contracts, forms, data entries, etc.) were permanent and expected to be archived forever. I thought I might be challenged since fountain pen ink is not known to be very permanent and was ready to defend Noodler's Black, but never had to. Most that noticed were curious, a couple of co-workers ended up buying fountain pens after using one of mine. Most never seemed to notice them at all. Some noticed the pens in my pocket and commented "...you have some nice looking pens...". One guard commented on the pens in my case when I went through security that I had beautiful pens. I expected to get comments when they went through the x-ray scanners, but I only got one question in over 14 years - my Fisher Bullet Space Pen. The guard asked what it was and I showed it to him. On a 2005 return trip from Canada one of the airport x-ray screeners asked what my Vanishing Point was. I extended the nib and told her. She said she'd never seen one like it. No one else on the trip ever made notice of it.

  6. I have been asked not to use my fountain pens before, because I need to write in medical charts.The ink is supposed to be blue or black, so I made it a hobby to use the green blacks,purple blacks and anything else I could push the envelope with. They didn't get too far in restricting the pen itself because I presented a physician's note. I have a joint disease and fountain pens are much better on your hands because you don't have to press so hard.

  7. Hi Sarah! Sounds like a great way to use your fountain pens! Bright ink can really make your words stand out. Sounds like your fellow TA is just jealous. :P

  8. Hi Don! That sounds pretty reasonable... especially if you had a didn't have blue ink in your pen. :)

  9. Hi Tom! Glad to hear you only had positive responses to your fountain pen use. :)

  10. Hey there Aelfrida! Haha!! I love this! Most jobs, people wouldn't notice your hands all that much... but yours are on display. They didn't ask why?? :)

  11. Hey SJ! Way to push the system. I'm glad your able to use your pen at work. :)

  12. People are incredulous at how much I'm willing to spend for a pen, but I can't say I've ever gotten hassled about it. One friend did ask me, after I told her I'd met up with a local fountain pen group, "And are they as geeky about it as you are?" My answer: "Yes, totally." *LOL* Fountain pen fans unite!:)

  13. A fountain pen is the only writing instrument ill use anymore. I use one every day in my university and have noticed quite a few others that do as well. One of my Ta's for a lab always used one as well and occasionally when he'd have problems with his or ran out of ink i'd lend him one to use. I tend to notice that more often than not with people my age that it's usually someone of asian heritage or from another country that uses fountain pens. I usually only get "oh thats a cool pen" from people and thats about it.

    I have made the mistake at a busy store to sign a receipt with a very wet pen before as the cashier didn't look too happy with a brown thumb.

  14. Question please help. I would love an italic nib on my new Pelikan m200 fountain pen......Can you help me find one???


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