My email inbox gets a plethora of interesting pen related questions, and I spend a good deal of time crafting thoughtful responses to each person who writes to me. A lot of times, the questions I get are good ones that I feel are worth sharing with you! I’ll be posting highlights of some of my more interesting email questions every Mailbox Monday. These are some emails of mine from the past week or so:

Your intro video of the Noodler’s Konrad was great, but missed a discussion of IF the Konrad will make a wider line than the Ahab and nib creaper?  
I mentioned in the video that the nib and feed are identical to the Ahab, so it will write just like the Ahab does. I did a video when the Ahab came out comparing the Ahab writing to the original flex pen writing, and I found them to be very close to each other.

What is the ink capacity of the Noodler’s Konrad Flex Pen?

With a regular ‘first fill’ from a dry pen, I got about 1.1ml. But if I expel all the air out, I can get somewhere between 1.3ml and 1.4ml. The Nib Creaper flex is about .9ml, and the Ahab (piston) is 1.9ml, Ahab eyedropper is almost 6ml. Your typical ink cartridge/converter will get you about .5ml, just to put things in perspective.

What’s with the pictures of pens on top of rice, beans, etc? It’s cool but do you actually have like, little boxes of dried rice and beans that you break out for product shots? Or a little square of flooring?

Haha, a perfectly legit question! Why rice and beans? They’re small, interesting, and cheap :) They provide an interesting background, and also provide a somewhat ‘soft’ bed to lay pens down so that I can position them in any placement I want and they stay put, as opposed to a solid flat surface like paper where I have to prop up the pens to stay in place, then they rarely do…

I actually have several baking sheets filled with things like rice, beans, sand, small stones, korks, potpourri, etc for miscellaneous pictures. It’s fun! It’s all a great experiment, and I pretty much just go to places like Target and Michael’s and look for anything that would ‘look neat’ in a picture with a pen.

Just for curiosity’s sake, would it be possible for Nathan [Tardif, of Noodler’s] to make a custom ink order, but instead of one of the regularly offered inks, have him make up a bottle of black ink jet printer ink? I remember him saying that he made all of his own printer ink since he prints all the labels himself, and was just curious about it. 

Nathan does mix up inks for his own printers, and that’s what he uses to print the Noodler’s ink bottle labels, he does all that himself. He is willing to make custom sizes of his regularly available fountain pen inks, but he doesn’t sell inkjet inks or any custom ink mixtures. He’s about the busiest man on the planet and he is a staff of one, so he has to keep his work streamlined to his regularly offered products. I’m sorry!

I’m thinking about getting a Pilot Vanishing Point but am worried that the capless design (i.e. the hole in the top) could potentially make the nib dry out very quickly. I’d be curious to hear about your and your customers’ experiences with this pen, especially as regards “dry-out” (sorry if that’s not a real term) and flow/start-up after disuse. 

That’s a totally understandable concern. The VP actually has a little gate (flap-type thing) that covers over the nib inside the pen to seal it shut when the nib is retracted, and it works remarkably well to keep the nib from drying out. It essentially makes it so that it’s like any other fountain pen in terms of how long ink will last in the pen before drying. I have one and use it regularly without any noticeable problem, and it’s also an issue I rarely hear from our VP-owning customers. There are a lot of VP’s floating around out there, and the overall consensus is that you don’t have to be too concerned with it drying out.

Look at the picture below.  Look at the discoloration at the lower part of the cap.  The main body of the pen is jet black.  But the cap has discoloration (as the pictures show) in striations.  It seems like a flaw.  But – not having owned a Lamy 2000 prior, I’m not sure.  What do you think? 

It may seem like a flaw, but it isn’t. Just about every Lamy 2000 I’ve seen has this. The material used to make this pen is a material made of a composite of fiberglass…what you’re seeing there is apparently some kind of dust left over from the manufacturing/polishing process, likely from the stainless steel grip section. It’s purely cosmetic, and you can actually even see a similar grey mark on the pen I used for the Lamy 2000 pictures on our site:


Interestingly, in a follow up email, this Lamy 2000 owner found that rubbing the pen with a microfiber cloth typically used to clean a computer monitor actually removed the gray streak! I’ve heard others have done this as well, if the grey streak is bothersome. Other’s like it and leave it :)

A nice addition to your Fountain of Knowledge (or wherever it should go) would be a list of DeAtramentis colors listing the unscented versions of the scented inks for those of us who can’t tolerate fragrance. There are so MANY inks in their line now it’s hard to figure out accurately. If there’s already a complete list somewhere (in English) could you please tell me where to find it? Thanks! 

 This is a good idea! Believe it or not we only carry about 2/3 of their ink line, there’s still about 100 more that we don’t carry….yet. It’s hard because there’s no list of any kind out there, so we’ll have to go through every ink and investigate for ourselves. This kind of project is hard to do because it takes a tremendous amount of time, and there’s really not any information to pull from out there in the online world. We’d be creating it from scratch. I’ll see what we can do, no promises right away but it is definitely a good idea and something we’ll work on!

Thanks for taking the time to read my emails! I’d love to hear what you think in the comments. I’ll be compiling this coming week’s emails into next week’s Mailbox Monday post!