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Friday, January 27, 2017

Goulet Q&A Episode 153, 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 episode, I talk about good fountain pen books, what's happening to all the broad nibs, and the weirdest pen I own!

This week:
  • Disney on Ice
  • son turning 7
  • two sick kids, Rachel sick, lots of that

New/Upcoming Products - (2:55)

Pens/Writing - (11:27)

1) John G.- Facebook - (11:28)
I always pull out the nib and feed on my friction-fit pens every time I clean them. This includes a Pilot Metropolitan, Pilot Falcon, Platinum 3776 Century, a Lamy Safari and Al-Star, a TWSBI 580 and Vac Mini, and a Jinhao 159. I'm wondering, does the "fit" of a friction-fit nib and feed wear down with repeated extractions? Is this kind of deep cleaning something I should limit to only every once in awhile as opposed to every time I empty a pen?

  • technically, yes, you're potentially causing wear on the parts whenever you remove them
  • to what degree depends a lot, it's probably very small
  • manufacturers won't like you doing this, and sometimes even tell you specifically not to for warranty coverage (Pilot Custom 823)
  • I have pens I've been doing this with for years and it hasn't become an issue that's affected their performance
  • you probably don't need to do this EVERY time you clean a pen, but that's your personal preference
  • you probably risk accidental damage by removing your parts more than wear and tear, honestly

2) _fyrstenberg- Instagram - (18:10)
Can you recommend some books about fountain pens, ink and paper?

  • Andy Lambrou has several, some of the best I know of
  • Fountain Pens of the World, of Japan, US and UK, Fountain Pens: Vintage and Modern, etc
  • A lot of pen books are history-related books, and are often single-brand focused
  • I have a Sheaffer one but no personal experience with anything else
  • I really can't name you a single fountain pen ink or paper book...there are surely books on paper in general but not specifically "fountain pen paper"
  • ink is most likely covered in the pen company-focused books

3) fabio_1689- Instagram - (24:43)
Why aren’t all y’all selling more broader nibs! I feel sad every time I see a pen I like on gouletpens.com but... its (double) broad nib version isn’t available! The only option is getting a 1.1mm stub nib but that's not quite the same (that said, I bought a 1.1mm Goulet stub nib and it's awesome!). Are we wet-and-juicy-broad nib lovers such a minority? Also, can you tell from your sale’s stats where your broader nibs are mostly sold to? I travel to a lot of EU and Asian countries and noticed Spain, Germany and Italy is where broader nibs are most common; Asia tends to like finer nibs (apart for calligraphy nibs) while France and Belgium seem to write exclusively with medium nibs… Thanks!

  • a lot of manufacturers have/are discontinuing broader nib offerings, due to demand
  • I can pretty well tell you it's a very small minority looking for these double-broad and whatnot nibs
  • it's definitely a European/Western desire, Asian countries typically want finer nibs
  • it all comes down to supply and demand, and the demand just isn't much there to support offering broad nibs for every pen company, sad as that is
  • paper quality surely plays a role

Ink - (31:07)

4) Thomas C.- Facebook - (31:09)
Is it possible that the ink in a cartridge would write different from a bottle? i have been sucking out j. herbin perle noire ink from cartridges and storing it in sample bottles. i just received a 30ml bottle from you and it seems like it writes different in my E95s.
  • it could be possible, yes
  • ink cartridges are plastic, and the ink can actually evaporate through the plastic over time
  • that would leave a drier, more concentrated ink behind
  • the bottle maybe flows wetter, is my guess?
  • this may not be the case for all cartridges, but that potential is there if the cartridges are not filled all the way anymore
  • other than this, I generally don't hear about this being much of an issue, and it's the same ink in both

Paper - (35:49)

5) Howard S.- Email - (35:51)
I have been experimenting with a number of inks lately. During my work day I use my Leuchtturm regularly to take notes of discussions, action items, assignments, etc. I noticed that some inks are able to be "seen" more than others as you turn the page from the previous note. I know the weight of the paper has a lot to do with it but Is there some characteristic of the inks that are noted in the ink reviews to avoid those that are more visible on the next page?

  • ah yes, the "ghosting"
  • paper weight is definitely a factor with ghosting, but that's not the only factor
  • the level of saturation of the ink matters
  • absorbency of the ink matters, too, some inks just really soak in!
  • sadly, neither of these factors are anything advertised, so you really don't know without experimenting
  • about the only thing you might be able to use to give a gauge here will be dry time...if it's fast, that could mean it absorbs more into the paper and would therefore show through more
  • that's not a steadfast rule tho
  • you're pretty much left to looking at blogger reviews that specifically state the show-through (but since the paper matters a lot, it would only tell you how well it does on that specific paper they used in their review)
  • this is why we offer samples! to try for yourself, that's about the only way you'll really know how it does

Business - (42:40)

6) snailessence- Instagram - ()
How do you keep $5,000 pens in stock? Isn't the inventory cost very high?

  • yeah, basically!
  • if we stock them, yes, they're expensive to store b/c that's a lot of money sitting there
  • $5k pens don't sell NEARLY at the rate of other pens, so stock levels stay very low, usually
  • oftentimes, not many of these pens will even be made at all, or stocked at the distributor even, so preorders or special orders often make more sense
  • sometimes we can negotiate special terms with our distributors for these high-end pens, because they're usually quite speculative and hard to predict how they'll do

7) borasanuk- YouTube - (48:11)
What about having a category just for those small makers? From a business standpoint, it may not be profitable to work with small manufacturers but creating a platform for them to sell one-off or small batch pens through your store would ultimately help the community grow. Since you'd be putting these products in a separate category created just for them and only them, the buyer would be very well aware of the nature of what they are purchasing. Steam Greenlight comes to mind as an example, in terms of giving new makers a chance. What are your thoughts on this?

  • this is building off of last week's question about me getting solicited for random stuff to sell on my store
  • that's what's known as a "Marketplace", like Etsy, eBay, Amazon, Sears, Newegg, and many many more sites that offer 3rd party stuff through their site
  • theoretically yes, I could offer something like this, though I'm not that interested in doing it
  • there are other, better sites that help in this area, like Kickstarter (Art of Cursive Logic)
  • for me, if a product was good enough to list on my site, I'd just sell it through my actual store
  • if it was something so speculative or early-stages or tangential that it wouldn't be ready for me to carry it regularly, then wouldn't it be too risky to carry through this other category?
  • exposure is almost never the problem with launching a new product, I feel
  • some people think "if only more people knew about it then I'd hit it big", but it's more nuanced than that
  • the majority of new products I see need some focus group/feedback on it with design and functional changes to meet the demands of the community
  • without having a good feedback loop, your stuff won't sell well anyway
  • Kickstarter, your own site, Etsy, eBay, and heck even FPN Marketplace all do this well, better than I would if I were just listing your products passively on my site

Personal - (53:06)

8) @Archimage- Twitter - (53:09)
Weirdest/novelty pen you own?

  • Napkin
  • Selfie Pen
  • Lamy Lady
  • Pilot Vortex
  • my "wand" pen, "desk pen"

QOTW: What are some good books you've heard about/read on fountain pen stuff? - (01:02:43)


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

Write On,
Brian Goulet



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