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Friday, March 3, 2017

Goulet Q&A Episode 158, 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 which Pilot nibs swap with each other, choosing a nib for your grail pen, and what makes a fountain pen worth the money!

New/Upcoming Products: - (1:26)

Pens/Writing- all of them! - (10:35)

1) jeffreyo- YouTube - (10:46)
I just recently purchased a few gold nib pens, but I don't really notice much of a writing difference between my gold nibs vs. my steel nibs. Although, I love the design of many gold nib pens, is it foolish to keep investing in them when the writing experience is no different for me vs. my cheaper steel nib pens? 
  • back in the day, there used to be a more significant difference in the quality of gold and steel nibs
  • these days, the steel alloys can be of much higher quality, and are often a great alternative to gold
  • for a lot of people, steel nibs will get the job done and you may not even notice the difference with them and some gold nibs
  • the biggest sacrifice is often softness, which is sometimes subtle
  • I equate it to a nice golf club, musical instrument, or fine wine
  • there's a law of diminishing returns, and the jump in price for gold nibs is sometimes not worth it unless you have a certain "palate" developed and can even distinguish that difference
  • I wouldn't call you foolish...what you spend your money on is your prerogative and you can certainly justify your purchases on aesthetics alone if you want
  • what you could question is spending more money on a gold nib just to say it's gold if it brings you no other value in your writing experience...though just "feeling" it's better because it's gold could be enough in your mind to justify higher price
  • if money is no object, knock yourself out. If money is an object, you can stretch your dollar a lot further by sticking with steel nib pens for now

2) Gill C.- Facebook - (17:24)
Brian.. what are the best pens to use with iron gall inks? And how to prevent it from damaging the pen.. thinking about buying some as the kwz ink colours are fantastic.
  • iron gall inks are becoming more of a thing these days
  • traditionally made of iron sulfate and oak galls (hence the name)
  • good permanent qualities
  • for a while, Diamine Registrar's Blue Black was the only thing on my radar
  • Rohrer and Klingner has Salix and Scabiosa
  • Montblanc Blue Black
  • Platinum Blue Black and the new Platinum Classic inks
  • KWZ has a variety of iron galls, too
  • the Iron Gall Wikipedia page is a great resource, check it out
  • the original iron gall formulas were very acidic, and made more for dip pens
  • modern iron gall formulations are much more tame, though still higher maintenance
  • any steel or non gold-alloy metal can corrode as a result of their acidity
  • basically, you want to stick with cheaper pens you don't mind wearing out over time, or use a gold nib pen without a lot of other metal components
  • regular cleaning and maintenance helps, though contact with the ink will still risk corrosion
  • I actually hear very little practical issues with those who use the ink, but that risk is there

3) meganstrickland- Instagram - (23:12)
I know that Pilot doesn't sell replacement nibs (except for Vanishing Point nib units), but I also know that several Pilot pens have interchangeable nibs---Metropolitan, Plumix, Prera, etc. I'd love to see a run-down of all those interchangeable nibs. I'd especially like to know about the stub/italic nibs in that lineup. Are some of them actually identical (i.e. Plumix medium italic vs. Metropolitan 1.0mm stub) or does each pen model really have its own unique set of nibs?

4) sirhcnoslen- Instagram - (34:20)
I've wanted to get a fountain pen for a while now, but I just can never push myself to do it. I know that I would want the Pilot Metropolitan, and even with it's low price, I can never push myself to get it. I guess I just feel that I'm not going to get use out of it. So, I my question would be, "What makes a fountain pen worth the money?" Thanks so much.
  • What makes anything worth the money? It's all about if it will help you achieve what it is you're trying to achieve
  • Questions to ask yourself:
    • What do I want this thing to do for me? (your goal)
    • What am I willing to give up to get this? (put it in terms of an exchange, like cups of coffee, or some other regular habit you take for granted)
    • Will I use it regularly? (being practical)
    • Will it last? (the quality, expectations for how you'll treat it)
    • Am I confident I'll enjoy this? (what's the risk)
  • there are a lot of reasons people justify the worth of a fountain pen:
    • utility- how it writes, its function
    • aesthetics- the color, shape, patterns, materials
    • tactility- how it feels in the hand, the material, weight, texture
    • status- how you express yourself through the objects you own, how you want to be viewed by owning this thing
    • collectivity- it gives you satisfaction for owning 
    • FOMO- fear of missing out, especially with LE/SE pens
    • joy- it just brings joy to have it around
    • significance- to mark an achievement/goal in life attained
    • craftsmanship- appreciation of how or why something is made
    • nostalgia- it reminds us of something from earlier in our life or history
    • many, many more reasons
  • practical, tangible reasons are easier to quantify, such as nib material or being made of a premium material
  • it's less tangible when you get into qualitative reasons
  • why do Lamy Safari/Al-Star SE's go 3-4 times the price a year after they're no longer available? 
  • the answer to your question is that you have not justified in your mind that a Metropolitan is worth sacrificing your $15, and that's okay
  • when you see for yourself that it will be worth it, then you'll buy without hesitation

5) Julyvee Gaming- YouTube - (46:42)
Do Pens that only take cartridges and not converters have a filler hole and if so, what is it's use apart from drawing ink into the pen?
  • yes, every fountain pen has a filler hole
  • it serves not only to fill the pen, but also to keep a pressure balance in the pen
  • all fountain pens require an air/ink interchange, and the filler hole allows air to flow into the ink chamber to replace the ink that's flowing out
  • without that it would not write, like when you put your finger on the top of a straw that's filled with liquid
  • it's an often overlooked but vital component of the fountain pen

6) Joanna L.- Facebook - (52:52)
What's the best way to clean the body and cap of a fountain pen as part of a regular pen maintenance routine?
  • you really don't need to overthink this with most pens
  • water, q-tips, and paper towels are often all that's needed
  • rinse the cap out a few times, fill halfway with water and cover with your finger, shake it and dump it...repeat as needed until it's clear
  • same can be done with the pen body
  • let air dry, or use q-tips and paper towel to dry it out
  • special consideration should be made for pen bodies with rare materials like wood, sterling silver, casein, etc...read up on those specific materials for how they should be handled
  • basically, you only need to do this on an as-needed basis

7) Mary P.- Facebook - (01:00:19)
Philosophical Question: When one buys a grail pen, how in the world does one decide on nib size? Should you go with what you have the most opportunity to use (fine nibs for work), do you buy a nice, juicy nib? This is the hardest part of buying an expensive pen without replaceable nib units. How do I make these decisions? HELP!
  • this is a great question! I've experienced this myself several times
  • I have taken the leap with special nibs on higher-end pens before, and it's always scary
  • I probably end up with about 50/50 chance of being thrilled or let down when I do this
  • my first grail pen was like this, I took a leap and was disappointed (m800 with 1.5mm italic)
  • more often than not, you're setting yourself up for disappointment when getting a speculative nib on a grail pen because it's already built up a lot in your mind...and a new nib will probably cause you to have unrealistic expectations for it
  • a lot will just depend on what you want to do with the pen...will it be a collector piece that sits unused, or an EDC? 
  • If collecting, make take more of a risk
  • if it's an EDC, stick with something more conservative
  • I lean much more towards sticking with something that you know and will use daily rather than investing a lot in something that's a risk, but I don't often heed my own advice here :) 

QOTW: How do you choose which nib to get for a new/expensive pen you've never used? - (01:11:08)

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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