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: 

In the Platinum Preppy, there is a clear plastic, cylindrical support section that seems to be designed to support the rear of the feed stem and perhaps is designed to provide some support and alignment for the Preppy ink cartridge. The Preppy that Noodler’s supplies doesn’t have this feed support section. Is this some sort of insert that can be removed? Or, is it a permanent piece that cannot be removed? Should I just ignore that it is there? Seems like ink would feed better if it weren’t in place. I tried to gently remove it by attempting to use the slot at the top of it to see if it would unscrew but didn’t have any success.

You’re one of the few people ever to ask me about this, believe it or not! All of the Preppy’s come with this plastic support….it’s there to hold cartridges in place. The reason it isn’t there on the pens that come with Noodler’s inks is because Nathan fundamentally doesn’t ‘believe’ in cartridges, so he removes these plastic supports from the pens he puts in his ink bottles! It doesn’t really make a difference in terms of the flow of ink, but it obviously makes the pen useful only as an eyedropper. You can remove it from your other Preppy’s, but it’s not necessary, and I don’t believe it can be put back once you take it off. Mystery solved :)

Before the revamp of your site one could narrow the list of inks by style or whatever they were called. For example show me the Eel line or the Russian links. Where did that go?

We actually still have this feature, but it’s not named as Noodler’s-specific terms like ‘Eel’ or ‘Russian’. If you go to any of the brands (or the ‘Shop All Bottled Ink’) pages, you will see drop downs just below the header where you can filter your searches. The ones you’ll want to focus on will be ‘shop by ink property’:

Perhaps we can look to integrate Noodler’s-specific searches in the Noodler’s groupings, I’ll talk to Rachel about that.

This one will give you lots to do for Ink Nouveau. It kind of looks like some of the De Atramentis inks, especially the famous persons are duplicates of regular inks, just with a new name. If so can the duplications be cross referenced?

De Atramentis….yeah….you’re not the first to ask for this! This is a project for sure, something I plan to do but not right away. It’s going to be a huge undertaking. I’m basically on my own with it, because Dr. Jansen (who makes the ink) doesn’t even speak English, he has to have his daughter translate all of our emails going to and from him…..and it’s not always super-clear what’s being said and it takes a week or two to get a response to an email. I’ll have to do a lot of investigating myself to see about the inks and their similarities, and it will happen…at some point.

Hi Brian: I just ordered a sample of Noodler’s Black from you. I have read a couple of posts on the Fountain Pen Network that this ink can be diluted and not change it that much. Just wanted to hear your take on this, and what I can expect, with reference to saturation, shading, etc.

It’s true, a lot of the Noodler’s inks can be diluted to improve flow and increase the cost effectiveness. You can usually do a 10% dilution of distilled water to ink and not notice any significant change in color. You can dilute to your heart’s content up to about 50%, but of course the more you dilute, the thinner the ink will get and the lighter the color will appear. It’s something you can play around with, I just recommend diluting in small quantities until you find the right ratio for you :)

Can the Noodler’s Konrad Flex pens and Rollerball pens accept each other’s nibs/feeds?

Unfortunately, the diameter of the inside of the two Konrads (rollerball and flex pen) are slightly different, so the nibs aren’t interchangeable with each other :(

I received today the Noodler’s 4.5 oz Lexington Gray with the enclosed eyedropper pen – thanks for the quick delivery. As I understand it, the pen can be converted to a rollerball (as delivered, the fountain nib was installed). I can’t figure out how to do the conversion – I’ve looked on the web but the videos I’ve seen don’t look like the pen that was delivered to me, and the papers delivered with the pen don’t appear to provide any direction.

Can you tell me how to do the conversion?

Nathan briefly covers the Preppy rollerball tip in one of his videos. It’s a video on Baystate Blue, which also comes with that same Preppy fountain pen with the interchangeable tip. You’ll want to skip ahead to 22:20 and watch until about 23:15: 

The basic idea is that the nib/feed pulls right out of the pen (it’s friction fit), and you just replace it with the rollerball tip in the pen. I will probably end up doing my own video on this at some point.

Can I go ahead and buy something that is Out of Stock – and just wait for it to come in?

Unfortunately not, sometimes we are out of stock of items for months at a time due to unreliable supplies (Noodler’s flex pens when they first came out, TWSBI’s, etc), and it would be a logistical nightmare for us to try to keep track of backorders. The way we go about it is we have an email notification list, and we are willing to combine orders if you’d like us to. I have a video that explains how to do the email notification sign-up, as well as our philosophy behind why we do it:

I have started up a blog at It’s a hobby blog, but I am trying to do the blogging thing right by creating a good number of decent quality reviews. I intend to review a mix of pens, paper, and inks on the blog.

I own a decent amount of paper as it is now. However, the only Clairefontaine paper I own aside from a couple of really tiny Rhodia pads is bound in such a manner that using it for reviews would be a challenge. I am scanning my reviews, so I really need something either loose or perforated. I’m just not willing to take apart a Habana or a Webnotebook to be able to easily scan the paper.

I’d prefer not to go down the path of Rhodia because I don’t like the finish of that paper as well as the Clairfontaine. I admit I haven’t looked too carefully at the selection you have, but is there any paper with the Clairfontaine-type finish that can be perforated for my use? If not, I’ll just have to grin and bear it with Rhodia for my pen and ink reviews and get a little creative for paper reviews.

First, you’ll need to decide what size you want, I’d recommend no smaller than A5 and no larger than A4. Here would be my top choices for Clairefontaine papers for you: 

Top wire bound A4

Top wire bound A5

Top staplebond A4

8.5×11 side wire bound

These are all micro perforated, and the same 90g Clairefontaine paper you know and love. Good luck with the blog! :)

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!