Friday, July 3, 2015

Goulet Q&A Episode 85, 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.

Welcome to Goulet Q&A Episode 85! I'm answering questions on filling mechanisms, my favorite Noodler's inks, and the story behind the Goulet logo. We're enjoying the 4th of July holiday here at Goulet and hope you have a fantastic celebration as well! 

New/Upcoming Products - (1:04)
Jinhao buy one, get one free!
Inky Splatter Acceptance video. 
Quick Draw pens- video coming soon! 

Pens/Writing - (6:20)

1) Po L. - Facebook - (6:25)
Can you compare the special features of different kinds of converters/filling mechanisms? By special features I mean things other than ink capacity. For example, a twisted converter has the ability to manually force ink to the feed when the pen write dry. A push converter is easy for cleaning but you cannot see the ink level, etc. Any additional thoughts about this?
  • 4 types of converters that come on pens we sell
  • main one is piston (standard international, Lamy Z24, Pilot Con-50, etc)
  • next is aerometric/bladder (con-20, Metropolitan)
  • slide are few and far between, like the Parker or Monteverde Mini
  • last is the Pilot Con-70 which is kind of its own thing
  • bottom line is that you don’t often get a choice of which type you can use, pens only take what they take
    • exception being Pilot’s, Parker, and  the Monteverde Mini (which I don’t know why you'd ever use it, if you had a choice)
2) Ryan M. - Facebook - (13:51)
I am looking at two of your pens, the TWSBI 580, and the TWSBI VAC 700. I really want a piston filling pen which you can see the ink. What is the difference between these two pens?
  •  technically, the 580 is the only piston filling pen and the Vac-700 is a vacuum pen (hence the name)
  • Aside from overall size (Vac is slightly bigger and heavier), the main difference is how it fills
  • also the nib on the vac-700 is larger, which may or may not make a difference for you
3) Jill G.- YouTube - (17:30)
I am very allergic to bleach, but I really love the two Baystate inks I have tried so far. I was wondering if you have advise on what I should use to clean pens that have these inks.
  • bleach definitely is the most effective thing, which clearly is not something you should use!
  • the way I see it you have just a couple of options:
    • 1) stop using Baystate inks and find alternatives
    • 2) dedicate a pen to each of your Baystate inks and just never clean them with bleach (which will be okay, they’ll just permanently be stained that color)
  • there really isn’t an alternative to bleach that I know cleans up these inks well

Ink - (21:19)

4) Emily H. -Facebook - (21:39)
Apart from the obvious ink colours (Libertys Elysium, Apache sunset ) which is your favourite bright coloured ink from Noodlers?
5) Jeff W. -Facebook - (23:00)
What are the best bottle inks to use in the Preppy Highlighter that match each pen color?
6) Rob B. -Facebook - (25:08)
I enjoy crossword and sudoku puzzles. Which have 2 issues for fountain pens; mostly newsprint paper and, if the puzzles are difficult, the pen is uncapped and not being used for, sometimes, minutes between letters. I think I've done well for the cheap paper by using f or ef nibs but can you suggest an ink that will stay wet even if the pen is uncapped for a while? Thanks!
  • this is one area where I think we start to push the limits on what’s practical for fountain pen use
  • a really fine nib with an ink like heart of darkness would help for sure
  • an easily capped/retractable nib (like the Pilot VP) would make all the difference
  • if you’re super-determined, I think a Pilot VP with an EF nib and Noodler’s Heart of Darkness would do the trick, maybe X-feather
  • that’s a lot to spend on a pen just for that purpose, so use your judgment  
7) Edrie T. A. -Facebook - (29:09)
My Private Reserve Invincible Black bubbled after decanting onto an inkwell. Is this a bad thing? Also there was something gelatinous at the bottom of the original container that flowed out like mucus. Is that bad?
  • the bubbling doesn’t concern me as much, some inks are more bubbly than others
  • the gelatinous blog is much more of a concern
  • it could be sedimentation/settling at the bottom, or it could be yeast/mold
  • does it smell funny? if not, then it’s really up to you if you still want to use it, I vote probably not
8) Sebastian V. -Facebook - (31:05)
I am a fan of noodlers inks! However, I find that when I write with Noodler's bulletproof black, and erase with a regular eraser (after it has dried of course) the shade of the ink turns very light (almost grayish).
  • this can happen with some papers, Noodler’s inks are cellulose-reactive and need to bond deep in the paper
  • it can sometimes take days on ink like watercolor paper to bond permanently
  • given the fact you’re erasing overtop of ink, I’m assuming you’re sketching and thus probably using some watercolor-like paper
  • try waiting longer before erasing if you can, otherwise you may want to move towards Platinum Carbon Black, which artists love 

Business - (35:31)

9) @Henryw25- Twitter - (35:35)
What's the story behind the Goulet logo? If you used real ink, which ink did you choose? #GouletQA
  • We wanted an ink splatter, it was on somewhat of a whim
  • Rachel’s younger sister helped us do it
  • the original splatter was much messier, we cleaned it up and liked the general shape
  • we used Diamine Presidential Blue for it, we liked the variation of light/dark it gave, and we just didn’t have many inks back in 2010!
  • we doctored up the final color though, and it really is more like Noodler’s Liberty’s Elysium now 

Personal - (41:08)

10) Eric O. -Facebook - (41:11)
Brian, do you or Rachel still write out the occasional personal note?
  • sure, sometimes
  • we just finished a Marriage Encounters weekend, and we both wrote a LOT to each other there!
11) Will E. - Facebook - (44:05)
What is your favorite ink that nobody has heard of?
  • ooo….interesting question, not sure I have an interesting answer to match though
  • there are a lot of good inks that aren’t really secret, they just get overlooked
  • I don’t have any secret inks, except maybe Noodler’s Blue Upon the Plains of Abraham (Canadian exclusive)
  • intense blue, crazy shading, flows like tar

Troubleshooting - (46:00)

12) Tim D. - Facebook - (46:03)
I just purchased a Noodler's Ebonite Konrad and I keep getting slight leaking between the section and the feed/nib assembly.  I've flushed and rinsed the pen and tried to reseat the nib and feed with only minor improvement.  Would you have any further ideas?
  • my first guess would be to heat set the nib (check out Heat Setting a Noodler’s Ebonite Feed)
  • if that doesn’t work, it could be the piston seal, try unscrewing it out of the pen and putting it back in, silicone grease it if you have any handy
  • if THAT doesn’t work, exchange the pen
13) JonesyMcDanes - YouTube - (49:40)
What would you do to stop a nib from making a line with rough sides. Its not spreading it just doesn't have straight edges on the lines.
  • this is almost always caused by the paper
  • ink can have an impact as well
  • not a whole lot you can do about it without changing the ink or paper!

QOTW: Do you have any plans for 4th of July? - (52:42)

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 use isopropyl alcohol for cleaning up Baystate Blue. Haven't tried bleach, so I don't know which is better, but it works well.

  2. I have used windex and water in a 2:1 ratio and it seems to do a good job - given I don't leave Bay State Blue in any of my pens for long periods but Windex has cleaned out 20yr old Rapidograph pens like it was put in yesterday.

  3. Giovanni's RoombaJuly 3, 2015 at 6:31 PM

    I'd intended to buy a bottle of Plains of Abraham, but this "flows like tar" has me worried, especially since I prefer really fine nibs. Can you elaborate on that a little? Should I be worried? Should I just not buy it?

  4. I just wanted to thank you for putting these videos out for us. I got into fountain pens about a year ago and have since become addicted to your videos in addition to fountain pens. I wish I had found these videos as soon as I got into pens - it would have saved me a few mistakes.

  5. Hey Rob B., I do the crossword puzzle everyday. I use a medium Parker IM (the cool orange one) and I use Monteverde Blue. Even with a medium point, it barely feathers and has NEVER dried out during a crossword puzzle session. Buy a sample, and give it a shot. I think you'll be happy. Mike P.

  6. I have a bottle of this ink and love it so far. I've only tried it in my Faber Castell e-motion and in that pen it seems a little drier (if I stop writing for 10 seconds, I get a hard start). This is only mildly annoying for me and I'm ok with it given that I love the colour so much. Next week I'm going to fill my Pelikan M805 with it as that's my wettest-flowing pen and see how it works.

  7. Took advantage of both the ink sample and Jin Hao deals. QOTW: We went to the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and saw a wonderful performance of "The Music Man" Hope you all had a great 4th!

  8. Laura & PaulJuly 5, 2015 at 11:42 PM

    Hello! We love Brian's analogies and are curious if Rachel has a favorite. We're partial toward "like writing on ice with a hot stick of butter" (Goulet Nibs video).

    We're also curious about attempting to write on some foods with a fountain pen, perhaps a Pilot Parallel Do you have any concerns about using food coloring in a pen? Are there are any edible fountain pen inks?

  9. Pearce BarringerJuly 5, 2015 at 11:57 PM

    Hey Brian, question for next week! I love the Goulet Pens shirt you wear every so often (I am talking about the grey shirt you are wearing in this video that has the GP logo on the breast). Any way these would be up for sale any time soon on the site?

  10. There are a few reviews of this ink on Reddit and FPN and no one else seems to have any issues with flow. I guess Brian's a true businessman ;)

  11. Actually, I meant to share this link, which is the reformulation of the Blue Upon the Plains of Abraham: http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/292768-noodlers-canadian-exclusive/

  12. Laura & Paul, I would use water based food coloring. It is edible dye and should work. However, water based dyes would probably bleed on moist foods, so you couldn't write too small. I think a brush pen would work better than a Parallel Pen, which needs a somewhat smooth surface for the ink to flow.

  13. I was just about to ask the same question. I really like the shirt, and I think that it would start up some great conversations about fountain pens.

    One problem that I have, and I know this may sound crazy, but I have two pens, and have a hard time using them both inked up. The ink will stay in the pen for months before I use it. There is just nothing to write with the schoolwork finished and summer here. What should I do?

  14. RandomCommenter7July 6, 2015 at 12:59 PM

    I have a Business/Personal question.

    I have purchased from your store a number of times, and was just curious whether you would consider your business to be LGBTQ friendly.

  15. Pearce BarringerJuly 6, 2015 at 2:21 PM

    Woooooo!! Let's get Goulet Pens shirts! If this ever happens I would think that going for the t-shirts with breast pockets would be a good idea, because you know some of us pen lovers like to put our pens in a breast pocket. I hope this works out!

  16. Guys, here is where you can by the Goulet logo stuff: http://www.zazzle.com/gouletpens/gifts?ps=120
    Now, enjoy and keep writing.

  17. I would love to have a Goulet Pen Co. Logo shirt with two pockets. A nice denim shirt and would like short sleeve and long sleeve. Alas, none listed. I usually wear shirts with two pockets for my pens, Midori Passport TN, etc. Wore them at work for some years now.

  18. Kyle, not crazy at all, you just have to do what Brian says: WRITE ON. I faced the same problem with I retired and even cleaned out most of my pens because of that. Then I discovered Goulet Pens, Brian & Rachel's videos, picked up their love and passion, started buying more pens, notebooks, inks and have a lot of pens inked up now. What I do is to write, write, write. I practice my cursive handwriting in a French ruled notebook, update my journal, write letters to family, friends, Goulet Team members. I started keeping a journal a few years ago, not I update it more often. Sure wish I had kept a journal for high school and college, you forget so much as 30, 40, and 50 years go by.
    I started keeping log books of my pens, my inks, Which pens are filled with which inks, which inks are in which pens. Other log books for non-pen things. I even write just for the joy of using a nice pen on scrap paper, and keep a stack of different kinds of papers (from cheap spiral school notebooks to artist vellum paper and everything in between) where I write with every pen I own when it has a new ink put in it. That way I can see exactly how each paper behaves with each ink in each nib (dry, wet, EF to B to 1.5 mm). I have started entering quotes from various authors in one. Started putting song lyrics in one. I also have calligraphy books but have not gotten far into that. If you can't keep the pen from drying out, I would clean it out and put it aside until next year, but that is a shame. Write slow and carefully to improve your handwriting as much as you can.

  19. Kinda late to join the discussion (I know you film Q&A's early each week) but I have a question too!!
    Do you have any information on the upcoming new finishes for the Pilot Metropolitan? Are they going to be solid colors like the Coccoon or there will be a theme like the current animal finishes. Also are the current finishes going to be discontinued? I found online a picture of an orange Metropolitan. Is this one of the new colors to arrive? Thanks in advance! :)

  20. Tom, I LOVE all your many suggestions as I am already a journaler, a quote collector, I just got my A5 Filofax to use as my pen & ink journal, and I'm a huge music/lyric fan (Stones over Beatles kinda gal) and so...

    Kyle, thank you for your SO-not-crazy question; and,
    Tom, thank you very much for some great ideas!

    Now I'm off to Zazzle for an Goulet inkspot t-shirt!

  21. Pen question: What exactly is a folded nib? I saw one on a video done by Ed Jelley with the new J. Herbin ink, and it looked amazing. Would you consider carrying them? Thanks for all you do for the community and for all the education you provide.

  22. Hi Brian, here is a question for you: if you were only going to use one
    ink for the rest of your life (you know what I'm talking about), how
    many bottles would you need? (considering you write few pages a day and
    use a very wet pen) I have no idea here because I change inks all the
    time, so none of my bottles actually get low.

    Many thanks!

    Love you guys and everything you do, Mishka x

  23. Windex site says it contains Ammonia-D. Not sure how it differs from regular ammonia. I just mention this to alert anyone who is allergic to ammonia. btw, as a pilot, I know not to use Windex on an airplane canopy, as it can damage the surface. The canopies I'm talking about are a form of acrylic plastic.


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