Friday, May 15, 2015

Goulet Q&A Episode 78, 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 out of the office this week at the EntreLeadership summit but I've still got a great Q&A for you! I'm answering questions on how to protect your pens from heat, what to do if your ink lid cracks, and our "Special Orders" department. No product updates but I'm happy to be spending some time with you!

Pens/Writing - (1:52):

1) William S. - Facebook - (1:56))
Alright since my Noodler's Nib Creaper Rollerball Pen has already failed.  What is a good replacement?
  • Not much, sadly
  • refillable rollerballs have been an interesting prospect, but just haven’t lived up in my opinion
  • only other options I know are J. Herbin (cheap) rollerball and Monteverde Engage or Inkwell (much higher price)
  • refillable rollerballs = jack of all trades, master of none

2) Matthew M. -Facebook - (4:50)
I inherited a Parker 45 desk pen with a marble stand from my grandfather. However, the pen is always dried up after a week or so in the stand. Any suggestions on how to prevent a desk pen from drying out?
  •  cut a small piece of sponge, wet it, and put it in the ‘cap’ to use as a tiny humidor
  • no other tricks really, just us the pen often or clean/refill it every week
  • may want to try a lubricated ink (Monteverde), might make a difference

3) Deborah P. -Facebook - (8:13)
Do you advise any special care for pens during extremely hot weather?
  • try to keep them out of the heat :)
  • they will dry out, so keeping them sealed up well and out of direct sunlight will be key
  • be diligent with your pen cleaning so ink won’t dry out
  • keep them in some kind of sleeve/case

4) @cuchlann -Twitter - (10:27)
I'm looking for a cursive style to learn with an Ahab. It seems a lot of popular cursive styles need an offset nib. Any ideas?
  • “real” calligraphy with dip pens often uses offset nibs, there is no offset fountain pen nib
  • if going with a fountain pen, using a pen like the Ahab with a flex nib will very much be a suitable substitute
  • Check out thepostmansknock.com “Kaitlin style” here 

5) @SebMorissette - Twitter - (12:58)
Brian, from your experience, what is the best $125-ish fountain pen money can buy? + available nibs for that pen.

Ink - (15:29):

6) David T. - Facebook - (15:32)
Is it my imagination, or do the De Atramentis Document inks have the most spread on paper? Can you talk a little about inks that spread or don't spread and can you do anything to minimize it?
  • yeah, they definitely are absorbed quickly into the paper
  • this isn’t all bad, it means they dry a lot quicker
  • getting less absorbent paper or using a finer nib helps
  • fast-drying inks often spread more, many permanent or lubricated ones do, too

7) @goharosen - Twitter - (17:28)
I purchased bottle of ink with a cracked lid. Should I pour it to some other container? Does the container need to be airtight?
  • yeah, definitely get that thing in another container
  • it’s gotta be airtight, or else the water will evaporate and will ultimately leave the ink unusable 

Business - (19:39):

8) Donna M. - Facebook - (19:43)
Can you please tell your customers about your very fine "Special Order Department." They bent over backwards to get a beautiful Sagaris for me that was not listed on your site. I am so thrilled with it and grateful!
  • yes, we definitely do this
  • All the brands you see on our site are what we can special order
  • some exceptions include items that are exclusive to certain countries/regions
  • we don’t charge any premium to special order, email info@gouletpens.com if you are interested in anything in particular

Personal - (22:18):

9) Sam F. - Facebook - (22:21)
I've watched every Q&A, but I have a terribly memory Brian:  What's your favorite pen out of your collection that Goulet Pens doesn't carry?
  • Visually, Namiki Blue Impressions
  • Writability, Waterman Carene 

Troubleshooting - (25:38):

10) Vasilis M. Facebook - (25:48)
I've watched the video showing how the Pilot Con-50 disassembles. However, I've tried doing it myself with rubber gloves on and the thing won't move a bit. What's up with that? Is this a case like the Metropolitan nib removal, which has recently become more difficult to perform (i.e. to remove the nib) than what it was some time ago? Have they changed the glue used to keep the different parts together? I am waiting for a couple of goulet grips, hoping that they'll give me better leverage.
  • yes, it still works, you just have to “hulk out” and it’ll give!

11) Sarah C. - Facebook - (28:05)
My Lamy Safari keeps leaking in its cap. Could my converter be dying? It's a few years old.
  • That could certainly be the case
  • there could be a lot of other causes of the leak though
  • if you have a cartridge handy, try that and see if it still does it
  • inspect the converter, see if you see cracks or anything
  • does it seat well on the pen? 
  • It’s a $4.95 converter, it’s probably safe just to replace it if the leak is bad 

12) Emily B. - Facebook - (31:40)
I use a Lamy Safari, but the grip is weird and I can't hold it correctly. I tried to use the grip but then my writing was scratchy. How can I hold the pen and write without scratchiness?
  • This pen is made to be held in a very specific way (one might say the ‘proper’ way)
  • try changing positions/grips in your hand, see if it still feels scratchy
  • it could be the nib is just scratchy and has nothing to do with your grip
  • some folks just don’t like the grip and go with a different pen altogether, you might be there 

13) Simdhuja M. -Facebook - (34:29)
Hello Brian! I have been watching videos about Platinum Cool lately and just thought of a hack. If we could somehow cover the metal joint between nib section and barrel from inside with the cut part of the cartridge converter, then probably we could make it an eyedropper. Please confirm how practical it is to cut out the converter to layer the metal part?
  • that is quite literally a hack! 
  • if you wanted to do this, I’d try it with a cartridge instead of the converter
  • you’d need to put a lot of silicone grease on the threads of the grip where the body sits on
  • there’s still exposed metal to cover, but it could definitely be worth a try 

QOTW: When you travel, what are your favorite pens to take with you (and why)? - (39:21)

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. @Emily:
    I write with my pen sideways, sort of pulling it along left-to-write, I suppose? With an Italic/Stub nib, my narrow lines are vertical rather than horizontal (traditionally you would use an 'architect' nib for that effect).
    If I were to hold the Safari "properly", it would be at a 90deg angle from my usual way of writing, and also tilted on the vertical so that the nib isn't fully in contact with the paper. Thus, I find it extremely uncomfortable to use!

    The first time I had a Safari, I tried it for a couple days but it was so uncomfortable that I pretty swiftly gave it away and swore off triangular grips forever and ever....until I bought a Jinhao, not realizing the grip was triangular. It's a softer one, though, and I got used to holding it "improperly", with my fingers aligned differently with each of the faces. It worked as a stepping stone and now I can use my Safari without much trouble, and even with the 1.1 italic nib.

    I still write the same as I ever did and my vertical strokes are still skinny with the italic, so it's not that I changed my grip. I just figured out a way to hold it, with the Jinhao almost like training wheels.

    Maybe if you're really into the Safari or other triangular grip pens, you could use a less expensive Jinhao for a while to see if the softer curve to the facets helps acclimate you to them, too?

    (If I had my druthers, I'd get someone to rotate the nib/feed unit or get rid of the facets altogether, because I otherwise really like the pen! The previous owner had all kinds of issues with flow and scratchiness, but it's worked a dream for me.)

  2. I really, really wish that my bottle of Black Swan in English Roses actually looked like that. Unfortunately, it's more of a very dark magenta. It looks nothing at all like that sample. I love the color of that sample.

  3. I have a suggestion for the show. I think it would be great if you read some of the answers from the question of the week you give us at the beginning of every show.

  4. Is there any way to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome during long writing sessions? any tips or tricks?

  5. #13, Simdhuja M. - this is a great hack! I looked at my Cool and I think this will work. Cut off a cartridge (or use the front of the converter). Take the pen with the cartridge/converter to a specialty store that sells O-rings (often an commercial supply store for plumbing, typical home supply stores will have limited sizes). They will help you select an O-ring that will fit between the converter/cartridge and the inside diameter of the barrel. There is a short section in the inside of the barrel just behind the threaded metal part that is round, not faceted. An O-ring should fit here very well and the facets inside the barrel should prevent it being pushed too far back. If the ring gets pushed into the faceted area of the barrel it will not seal. If you cut a cartridge off, be sure to leave about 1/2 inch (12 mm) or more past the threaded metal section to give you enough length to grab it to remove it later. This should work on the Platinum Balance too, as they have the same design.

  6. #11 I´ve noticed with nib adjusting that wearing a rubber glove didn´t help me at all but wrapping a rubber band around the nib made it very easy.

  7. I have a sample of Super7 Frankfurt ink that has some sediment stuck to the side of the jar. Is this a normal thing that happens if you don't store ink upright!

  8. Connor, my suggestions for long writing sessions come from the penmanship classes I had 60 years ago and things I learned lately following posts on Fountain Pen Network. Brian may have a lot more to add to this.
    FIRST, you should be sitting upright, back straight, feet on the floor, at a desk or table of a comfortable height. Your paper should be in front of you and tilted at the correct angle (for me it is at about 45 degrees, slanted left (I'm right handed). Arm laying on the table, flat. DO NOT WRITE WITH YOUR ARM IN THE AIR. Never. Writing hand needs to be angled correctly. Usually the hand is resting on the last two fingers curled under touching the paper or desk. Do not hold the pen at a high angle (like you have to do with ballpoints). Keep its angle with the paper low, like 40 degrees or so. Just make light contact with the nib, don't press.
    SECOND, loosely grasp your pen. This is hard because for decades we have been using ballpoint pens and we clutch them tightly to press against the paper. DON'T DO THIS WITH A FOUNTAIN PEN. Someone behind you should be able to pluck the pen out of your hand without pulling your hand off the table. This is hard to learn (or re-learn for us old timers), but clutching is tiring and quickly leads to fatigue and strain.
    THIRD, use your fingers only to lightly form the characters, using your forearm and shoulder the most to move your hand around - up and down, across the page, and for as much character formation as you can. Some like to move the paper under their pen and hand using the non-writing hand, so the arm does not have to move back and forth.
    By using your arm for most of the writing movement, relaxing the hand, and having good support of the hand and arm most of the strain is removed. You should be seated comfortably, never twisted or leaning when you write. I practice this using a French Ruled notebook.

  9. So I have a Lamy Joy which came with a 1.5 italic nib but I want to use the pen for everyday writing because I love it, so if I get a medium or broad nib, I can put either of those on my Joy?

  10. Hey Sarah! Hmm... that doesn't seem right. When/where did you purchase it? Have you given it a bit of a shake to see if the pigments have settled?


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