Goulet Q&A Episode 167: Wet and Dry Inks, Tips for Fountain Pen Shows, and the Most Beautiful Fountain Pen Nibs

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 her for a direct download.

In this episode, I talk about wet and dry inks, pro tips for attending fountain pen shows, and the most beautiful fountain pen nibs.

This week:
  • got back from Disney!

New/Upcoming Products – (1:42)
Pens/Writing – (8:34)

1) isaaccapps- Instagram – (8:37)

Does a hooded nib have any function other than just looks?
  • it sure does!
  • it keeps the nib wetter so it doesn’t dry out
  • it allows the user to grip closer to the tip without getting inky fingers
  • it often fills at a lower point than other pens, so it doesn’t require as much ink in the bottle

2) travelluxuryandleisure- Instagram – (12:57)

What are some of your favorite nibs? Not in terms of their functionality but in terms of their intricate design. Great videos and great company!
  • Visconti, especially two-tone
  • Pelikan two-tone gold nibs
  • Montblanc does a good job with their nibs
  • Namiki nibs are pretty, especially the massive Emperor nib!
  • there are many others I’ve seen, I just don’t have in my personal collection

Ink – (17:57)

3) Justin C.- Facebook – (18:10)

I hear the reference to “wet” inks and “dry” inks. What determines wet or dry? Every ink I’ve come across has been liquid and very wet ๐Ÿ™‚ Could you give a brand level description of wet and dry inks? 
  • all FP inks are water-based, so they’re all “wet”, really
  • it’s like how some wines are considered “dry”
  • it has to do with how much it flows onto the page
  • Pelikan 4001 inks are generally referred to as the driest of inks
  • most other brands are varied, and up for a lot of debate as to what’s wet and dry
  • it’s more nuanced, about specific inks really
  • wetter inks usually have longer dry times
  • Aurora ink is considered very wet, same with Noodler’s Eel
  • you may want to sample and experiment
  • check out individual ink reviews on GPC and see how people are rating them

4) thatlepakluck- Instagram – (31:28)

What is your favourite “novelty” ink? Or an ink that you think more people should really be using?

Troubleshooting – (38:05)

5) tfarahat- Instagram – (38:14)

What is an alternative for silicone grease?
  • In hardware stores, it can sometimes be labeled as plumber’s grease (and should say something about it being clear silicone)
  • NOT plumber’s caulk, very different!
  • I’ve heard of others successfully using Vaseline or Aquaphor, I don’t know if these are quite as inert and non-reactive as silicone grease but they can work in a pinch!

Personal – (42:18)

6) _marcos354- Instagram – (42:25)

I’m attending a fountain pen show any pro tips?
  • research ahead of time, see what vendors will be at the show (especially if you want nib work)
  • nibmeisters often work up a list ahead of time or immediately when the show opens, so go for that first if you need that work done
  • set a budget, know how much you want to spend and maybe even bring cash
  • see if there’s a map or listing of vendors when you first arrive
  • if you’re looking for something rare/specific, consider a pre-show pass or just gun right for that thing as soon as you can go
  • do a full lap of the show, spending 30-60 seconds at each table and move on, take note of specific tables you want to come back to
  • complete the lap and then revisit the specific tables
  • wear comfortable shoes!
  • bring clothing that can hold a number of pens
  • bring a phone or camera for pics
  • bring a notebook of your own, ink too ideally
  • consider going with a fellow pen geek, it’s more fun that way
  • consider bringing a lunch, sometimes you have to travel a bit to get lunch and that’s precious time away from pens!

7) drchristine74- Instagram – (54:24)

I am a huge fan of GPC and I just wondered if you’re aware of other hobbies that seem to connect with fountain pens? What I mean is that I found FPs and you guys through my knitting community. A lot of knitters seem to love them too, which I find strange. And I feel that I need to note that I’m 40 and not all knitters are old grandmas. There is a major influencer in the knitting community who also loves FPs and she has helped many of them join her
  • knitting is definitely one (Ravelry)
  • wet shaving (Badger and Blade)
  • technology/electronics
  • photography
  • cigars, typewriters, watches, knives
  • calligraphy/bullet journaling/mixed media
  • writing/drawing/cartooning (obvious, probably)
  • Legos
QOTW: How old were you when you first discovered fountain pens? – (1:00:00)

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
2017-10-11T14:03:27+00:00 May 5th, 2017|Goulet Q&A|31 Comments
  • ottercolors

    QotW: first exposure was probably elementary school, because my mom used a brushed-steel Parker for writing notes to teachers, etc (we were also the kids who brought handmade calligraphy-on-parchment valentines to class for several years). I got a turquoise Pilot Varsity in middle school, and used it whenever I could get away with it. Rediscovered fountain pens as an adult a few years back, through author Lyanda Lynn Haupt’s blog, “The Tangled Nest,” and have since converted and/or enabled several friends…

  • David L.

    It sounds to me like you had a very nice vacation! My favorite place to go for vacation is Virginia. That or Tennessee. The mountains… I think I talked about this in the comments of the last Q&A. QOTW: I believe that I was 15 when I got my first fountain pen. I had known of their existance well before that, but believed in the popular myth that they are unreliable and messy. Well, messy is not necessarily a myth, but you get my point. I finally turned to them and got my first one after years of searching for something better than the super-cheep ballpoints that we had. I first took to G-2s,but still didn’t quite like the feel in my hand. So, I bought a FreeCode Rosewood fountain pen and Noodler’s Black, knowing nothing about brands. I was quite lucky in the ink factor, but the pen… not my favorite. It’s very much like the Daiso pens you sell, but with a wood cap and body. I now love to put Ancient Copper in it. I save Noodler’s Black for my Metropolitan. Now that that’s over, I have a comment on eyedroppering pens. I actually hate to eyedropper a pen that I can’t see the ink through. I don’t know why. I have a Kaweco Classic Sport in black that I eyedroppered, but did not enjoy the experience. In my next Goulet Pens order, I will be getting a black-tinged Preppy and the necessities of eyedroppering. This will be added to my Duragraph (FINALLY!!!!!!!!). I love the Parker 51. I personally don’t own one, but I know someone who does. He also has the Lamy 2000. Thanks for another great video! I’m surprised that you didn’t display the knitted fountain pen that you showed in episode 100 with the “soft” nib ;). If you out there in the fountain pen community haven’t seen this one, look it up. It’s great. I am actually into photograph. Deep. I have a Nikon EM (film), a Petri SLR35 (film), a Yashica GSN (film), and a Nikon Coolpix. O do most of my photography with the Coolpix, a pen, a bottle of ink, and sometimes a pad of paper and some LEGO figures. I love it. That’s my niche. Legos go without saying. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t do Legos every now and then. I love Pelikan nibs. Anything two-tone. This sounds like a repetition of what Brian said in the video, but it is actually what I like. I guess I’m like him in more ways than I thought! Thanks for the entertainment! By the way, in the question about the wet and dry inks, Justin C. did have a good point. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Richard

      David, try the TWSBI ECO. It holds a large amount of ink like an eye dropper but the clear body allows you to monitor your reservoir. Under $30 and writes great. I have 4 so far with various inks.

      • David L.

        Richard, thanks for the tip! I’ve been eying TWSBIs for awhile now. Especially the Eco and the Mini. Again, thank you for the suggestion.

  • David L.

    By the way, have you heard anything about an extra-fine in the Duragraph/All-American? Seeing it in the Minigraph has sparked my curiosity.

  • Lisa Vierra

    Elementary school in the ’70s – 8ish. My mother insisted on them because she believed our handwriting would be better than with ballpoints. When we bought our school supplies in Ft Leavenworth you would go to the Post bookstore and tell them our grade. They handed us a bundle wrapped in brown paper. At home you opened it to see what the new grade held in store. In 4th grade, Bic pens showed up in your bundle, but clay disappeared. Sad! My mother immediately swapped out those Bics for Sheaffer school pens. Other than that I had exactly the same supplies as everyone else. Got to love the Army Brat life!

  • jane pilecki

    I had my first fountain pen in high school (early 1970s) and I used it all of the time. But things changed and I didn’t use one in college. Then in the late 1990’s, when I was in my late 30’s, I really was interested in them. But they were really hard to find. My dad bought me a Cross set with one. But I hated the nib, and never used it. Then I picked up the interest in my mid 40’s in 2004 and used them until 2007 when I moved and they were packed in a box. But in about 2010, a friend gave me a Pilot Varsity, and I was reminded of what I was missing. I dug out all of my pens and started using them. My sister gave me a couple she had purchased and never used, and I used them. Since then I have switched to using only fountain pens and have a huge collection, which I cherish. My ink collection grew from one bottle of Pelikan Violet to over 140 bottles and 200+ samples. There is something about writing with a fountain pen that is more enjoyable than other pens. I don’t want to use anything else. So I keep several journals and a Filofax, and write lots of letters, all with fountain pens. You know, they help me produce my form of artwork which is my handwriting, and they are art as well. What could be better?

    • kookatsoon

      Hi Jane…I recently aquired an A% Malden Filofax…the paper in them…is terrible with ink…how are you finding writing in them with fountain pens? I am planning on purchasing a 12″x12″ guillotine paper cutter, and the hole punch and inserting my own paper…even H2O paper…

      • jane pilecki

        I use a lamy 1.1 nib with lamy ink. And I buy the creme colored paper. I also put next no pressure on the nib. And it works very well for me. Also, Pilot Metropolitan with a 1.0mm stub nib is very good. I am sure fine nibs would be great, but I don’t use them.

        • kookatsoon

          Hi Jane…
          There is NO creme coloured paper option with the A5 version of the Malden…they just offer Creme paper in the personal size….isthat the size you have? Anyway…the paper is terrible in the A5 for fountain pens…any nib…maybe really dry ink…but I don’t want to choose ink, according to shitty paper….gonna have to cut my own….you must have the personal size…where cream coloured paper is an option…and it is MUCH different than the other paper…

  • Michael Lane

    I don’t remember exactly when during childhood I saw a cartoon or movie character using a fountain pen (though it might have been a quill). In any case, I wanted a pen like that for calligraphy. I had a couple of cheap pens with calligraphy books but never had the discipline to practice.

    I forgot about fountain pens until my last semester in college. I found a small FP that was nice looking and took cartridges. I asked around and no one said it was their pen. So I used it for a year and half before a friend said that they used to have a pen like that their dad gave them. We quickly realized it was their pen. Now, years later at the tail end of grad school a new office mate last fall pulled out a pilot metropolitan and started writing. I was hooked. Now I only use FP. Next pen is either a TWSBI Mini AL blue or a pilot stargazer. Good video!

  • David L.

    Question 3: I’d say that dry inks are the stuff in Bics and Papermates. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Tom Johnson

      Good one David ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Richard

      Write on, David! (:-{โ€ข)>

  • Amy Chen

    I was in middle school when I first discovered fountain pens–I was on vacation with my mom in Taiwan when I stumbled across a bunch of Pilot Petit1s being sold in a bookstore. I loved them, but eventually gave one away to my cousin. The other one was probably thrown out after the ink ran out (terrible, I know. If only I’d known!).

    Around December 2015, I was in my senior year of college when an online acquaintance, sent me a link to the rose gold Monteverde Invincia back when it was being carried here. It wasn’t hard for me to really delve deep into the FP world this time! I’m capping off my FP collection more or less at this point (the Lamy LX, though!), but still going strong in all other respects! I also have Goulet store credit that I’ve been itching to use for a long time.

  • kevin-landon@comcast.net

    as to question #2, the 1 nib you neglected to mention was the Goulet 2 tone nib as far as beauty goes! I would also mention the 2 tone nibs from Jinhao, Delta, Platinum, Stipula, Diplomat, Xezo, and those on the Senator President.

    • Richard

      Kevin, fully agree on the Goulet two-tone nib. I was also surprised Brian didn’t mention it. The GP logo also adds to the aesthetics.

  • David L.

    Sorry if I’m wrong, but I think it says the cleaning sale ends on the 15th in the cleaning section.

    • Tom Johnson

      David, you are write on the date.

  • Kelly Cozens

    Off topic: Which is the pen Brian is demonstrating with the adjustable grip near the nib in the intro to Q&A? I’d like to investigate it further. Thanks.

    • Tom Johnson

      Kelly, that is the Pilot Justus 95. It can be adjusted to change its gold nib’s stiffness to suit the user’s preferences.

      • Kelly Cozens

        Thanks, Tom. I’d seen it in another Q&A, but couldn’t remember which pen, so thank you. Looked it up and it’s a little out of my price range. Something for the future perhaps.

  • Tom Johnson

    I just love Friday Q&A, and this is another great one. Q# 5 – pure silicone grease is most commonly recommended because silicone does not attack rubber or any other elastomers and polymers. Most greases (including petroleum jelly – Vaseline) contain petroleum products which do attack rubber, latex, and possibly some polymers. Another reason to use pure silicone is that there is no room temperature solvent for silicone. Soaps and detergents will not remove silicone at room temperature. So soaking your pen in pen flush or mild detergent will not take silicone grease off the piston or walls of the reservoir where it could end up on the surface of your feed or nib (disaster).

    Q# 3 – the driest ink I ever used has been Scabiosa. Even in a pen with a nib/feed combo that is extremely wet with all other inks, Scabiosat feels like I’m writing with a dry pen. And, it does not flow wetly at all. I’m talking about an extremely wet writing 1.5 mm nib.

    QOTW – I grew up in the 50’s and I’m sure my parents used fountain pens in my youth, but I have no memory of their pens. In elementary school we used fountain pens as the next step up from pencils. My only memory is of blue writing, a clear pen with a blue ink cartridge, and blue ink on my hands. No memory of how it felt writing with them nor the teacher’s instruction for writing with them. In 1995 I got a wonderful Sheaffer’s pen with gold nib for graduation from HS. But, I did not use it in college and do not remember writing with it, but I must have. In 1996 I cleaned out the dried ink and started using it again finally realizing how wonderful writing with a fountain pen is. I wish I could remember those early times with my first pen, probably a Sheaffer’s Student pen.

  • Sarah Miller

    The old school way to measure viscosity is to take a graduated cylinder, fill it with the liquid you’re measuring, drop a ball bearing in, and time how long it takes to get from point A to point B in the cylinder (let’s say from the 75mL to 25mL marks, if you’re using a 100mL cylinder). Now, you can use that time and some math to calculate the actual viscosity in the appropriate units, but just that time is a good proxy. I’m not sure how well this method would work with ink since a lot of it is really opaque and you wouldn’t be able to see the ball once it’s in the ink, but that’s how you do it.

    • Tom Johnson

      Sarah, I had heard of this sphere method, but it was a platinum sphere on a wire that was dropped into a tank of molten glass (about 2,000 F) and the time it took to sink a certain distance was used to calculate the molten glass’ viscosity to see if it was ready for molding or casting. In my college and R&D career labs we used Brookfield Viscometers for measuring the viscosity and flow characteristics of liquids and slurries. A series of spindles, each with different diameter discs, were rotated in the liquid and a dial read the liquid’s resistance to rotation to determine the viscosity in centipoise. The largest diameter disc was used for liquids like water, the smaller discs for increasingly thicker liquids like syrup, honey, polymer solutions. The fluid was tested at varying shear rates and plotted to determine its flow characteristics (like shear thinning).

      • Sarah Miller

        Yeah, I’m certain there are easier ways to do it. Not surprised Viscometers exist. I did the sphere method for my physics lab in college, which was so old school the only scales they had were the kind where you counterbalanced with standard weights to get mass. But the sphere way is good for anyone without access to modern equipment.

        • Tom Johnson

          The instruments don’t teach you the principles you learned in your physics lab. You merely use the instrument and record the results. We had ancient dual beam balances in my freshman chemistry class. Took forever to make a weight reading, you had to wait for the two beams to slow down every time you added a little weight to it. Like being in the 1800’s!

  • CaptElaine

    First fountain pens… 4th grade so maybe 11 / 12 years old, by high school I was using ball point pens, then in my late 40s when I started drawing and keeping a journal I bought a Lamy fountain pen and the love affair with fountain pens took off. Great Q&A video… really enjoyed it.

  • Richard

    As to “wet” inks: I have found the majority of Noodler’s inks I have tried to be excessively wet. Many have been so wet I have stopped using them, dry time measured in hours, or in the case of “Kiowa Pecan”, overnight, is unacceptable to me. I’m not a novice, I understand saturation is also a function of paper and nib, so these are inks I have tried in/on multiple pens and papers: Apache Sunset, Black, Yellow, and Kiowa Pecan are very wet. I still use the Apache and deal with the dry times because I like it so much. To be fair, Polar Blue and Liberty’s Elysium have great dry times and are among my favorites, but as a Product Line, I find that Noodler’s is a prohibitively WET ink.

    As to first use of fountain pens, like Tom I too grew up in the 50’s. We used inkwells and dip pens. For you youngsters that are familiar with “antique” school desks, that’s why that round hole is in the upper right hand corner-inkwells. Like most others, I deserted the habit in favor of ballpoints but rediscovered fountain pens in the mid nineties. I now use FP’s exclusively and my collection is at 300+ with a rack of 40 assorted pens (rotated from my collection) on my desk inked with various colors and ink brands that I use daily. Lately I’ve begun to create personal ink colors I use for one month then retire permanently. These include a custom red, orange, green, blue, purple, and brown.

  • steveH01

    QoTW… My father used a fountain pen, which I have since figured out to be a dark green Parker 51.

    I didn’t begin to use them myself until high school, when I purchased a Sheaffer Student fountain pen, which pens I used through high school, mostly for writing letters and non-math homework. Then a gap between 1970 and 1980, when I picked up a Sheaffer Targa, which I still have. Then a gap from the mid 80’s until about 2009, when I fell into them again. And inks. And papers. And it seems to be sticking this time.

    Including luring others into the pit of pigmentation. Thingie.

  • Londe-ji

    Blue Ghost is pretty neat.