Friday, January 15, 2016

Goulet Q&A Episode 108, 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.

In this week's Q&A, I discuss various flex nibs, thickening ink, and which pens I love but never talk about!

New/Upcoming Products - (1:51)

Pens/Writing - (4:21)
1) @wmchamberlain- Twitter - (4:25) 
Which pens are worth paying $100+ for the gold nib (or other premium nib material) upgrade and which aren't?
  • there are really only a few pens that even have this option
  • Edison, Lamy (on the Studio), Platinum, and there are probably others out there
  • for most people, it’s not worth it
  • gold nibs are generally softer, springier, and feel smoother (though that’s not always true)
  • the difference is often not great enough to justify the cost of almost another full pen, but it is for some which is why we have the option
  • if you have to ask, it isn’t worth it to you ;) 

2) Evan Lachman- YouTube - (13:29)
How does the pilot vp fine compare to the metropolitan fine? Is the metro. a little finer? i want something a little less fine than the metro. but not sure i want the medium.
  • the Metro F is a little finer
  • check it out in the Nib Nook
  • the medium will be a big jump, especially on the Vanishing Point
  • EF and F Pilot nibs tend to be really fine, mediums are more like European nibs, and broad nibs are as broad or broader than Europeans
  • it sounds like the fine might just be perfect for you

3) Donovan P.- Facebook - (19:04)
Can I put a noodlers flex nib in a Jinhao 159?
  • not well
  • they’re both #6 size nibs, though the thickness of the nib itself appears to be different
  • Even if you get it in there, the curvature is different and you’ll have to force it in, and the feed can’t quite keep up
  • I’ve known people that have done it, but more that haven’t had it go well
  • it’s not really a huge risk, if you’re curious it might be worth experimenting for you

4) Collin T.- Facebook - (23:16)
I've noticed Brian goes over the standard pens (Ahab, Pilot Falcon, Ogiva SEF, etc.) when asked about flex nibs, but why no videos/information about the Custom 912 with FA flex nib, since that's a full flex nib rather than a soft nib with a bit of give?
  • I don’t really consider it a full flex nib
  • It’s a soft nib, just like the Pilot Falcon
  • I think I get what you’re saying though, it’s intentionally flexy vs. just kind of “springy” (the word I use for most gold nibs)
  • it’s a quirky nib, and I personally don’t like it! It just doesn’t suit my writing style
  • It has to be high and work with short strokes, I’m the opposite of that when I write

5) Ethan B.- Facebook - (28:52)
I am still relatively new to fountain pens, but I have a cleaning Question. The Water at my house is Well water, and has a higher mineral content than most city waters. Is it still okay to clean and flush my pens out with my rust filled water, or should I buy water to specifically clean them? 
  • In general, it’s always safest to use distilled water (no mineral content)
  • I have well water in my house and use it all the time with no problem
  • well water varies a LOT even in very small regions, though
  • if you know your water has a lot of minerals, I’d at least use a Brita or something, if not distilled water
  • can you use your well water? Sure, probably for a while without issue, but it won’t be ‘best’ for your pens over the long haul

Ink - (32:31)

6) Mark C.- Facebook- (32:32)
I enjoy testing ink samples with my glass fountain pen. I understand, even though I have never used them, calligraphy inks are best used with dip pens because they are acrylic based ergo not as runny as fountain pen ink . With a larger variety of fountain pen inks over calligraphy inks my question is: is there a way to possibly "thicken" fountain pen ink? The wetter fountain pen inks lay down such a heavy line at first it would be nice to have a more even line. Thank you.
  • I’m sure there’s some kind of way, though I don’t know what that is
  • there isn’t much of a need for it, because calligraphy inks are often cheaper than fountain pen inks, even
  • Noodler’s X-feather is the go-to fountain pen ink for calligraphers

Personal - (35:56)

7) @smadayrrek- Twitter - (35:59)
What was one mistake you made getting into FP's that you want all newbies to be aware of?
  • I really only uses 1.1mm nibs for a long time, I ignored smaller nibs
  • really only in the last year have I grown to really appreciate finer nibs
  • I would have experimented more, getting different nib sizes as I tested things out

8) Jim C.- Facebook - (44:06)
Two weeks ago you got a question about your top 10 favorite pens but what are some pens you love but never talk about?

Business - (51:46)

9) @sofialee819- Twitter - (51:53) 
Is there a gift wrap option when purchasing from Goulet Pens?
  • no, and we’ve never really done it. 
  • the way we pack things would make it really hard
  • does anyone really want that? And at what cost (it would cost more)?

Troubleshooting - (54:10)

10) Connor Adlam- YouTube - (54:13) 
Hi Brian, how would you suggest maintaining my Visconti Homo Sapiens? Do I need to send it somewhere or can I do it myself? I clean it regularly but I am concerned about the lubrication. Are noodlers eel inks a substitute for lubrication?
  • no need to send it anywhere unless there’s a malfunction
  • lubrication matters more on the midi (piston) than the larger size (vacuum)
  • Coles of London handles repairs/warranty
  • Eel inks would help with lubrication, yes

QOTW: What are the pens you really enjoy but haven’t really given any love to recently? - (57:52)

Thanks so much for joining me this week! You can catch up on any old Q&A videos you missed here

Write On,
Brian Goulet


  1. When making traditional iron gall ink gum Arabic is used to thicken it. That may work for thickening fountain pen inks as well. I would test a small batch first of course.

  2. Seriously great answer about the falcon nib not being a flex nib. I always wished people would stop saying the fa nib is the same as a European flex nib, but I never thought about why they would be different. It makes sense that it is because of how differently they write their characters, Japanese vs European languages.


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