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:

I noticed that some reviewers of the Noodler’s Konrad pen have been using other nibs in it. The monteverde stub nibs were mentioned at least twice. Is this something you’re familiar with? Are you able to provide any information about which nibs are interchangeable between brands/models?

The Noodler’s Konrad (and Ahab) both take a #6 size nib, which is also used by Edison, Monteverde, Bexley, Taccia, and plenty of other pen companies both modern and vintage. Monteverde and Edison are the only ones I know that sell their nibs separately (and Monteverde is the only one with a stub, which is why you probably hear more about that). The nib on the Konrad can just pull right out of the pen, and you can replace it with another brand’s nib, as long as it fits in there.

I need to know what I’m doing wrong. I have used ink converters in my Rotring Art Pens successfully, but when I try to install the one I received today wit my P. Script pen…Well, I think I have it and then it just falls out. Please help.

You’re not doing anything wrong, it’s the pen, not you! I actually shot a video about this a while back. The Pelikan Script, Pelikano, and Pelikano Jr. are all like this, the converter just doesn’t hold on to the pen. It’s annoying during filling, but doesn’t affect the use of the pen because the back of the pen holds the converter in place when you screw it together. It’s just annoying to fill! What I usually do is just fill the converter directly, apart from the pen.

I’ve been using Polar Blue, and have loved it. I’m looking for a more vibrant blue… I write to my mother-in law who has glaucoma, and a very vibrant color is easier for her to read. Just watched your video on Elysium. I like it alot! In the video you said the ink was bulletproof, yet your web page says it is “partially” bulletproof. Not trying to trip you up, just trying to understand, and make a decision between Bay State and Elysium…. I’ve had a letter of non-bulletproof get rained on… not even sure how it got delivered, the address was so badly washed out. 

Liberty’s Elysium is a much more vibrant blue than Polar Blue, and essentially the bulletproof properties of Polar Blue are what makes Liberty’s Elysium permanent. The more vibrant blue components of LE are not as permanent, and can wash away. So while it is more vibrant, that vibrancy will not hold up with water. About 50% of the color will wash away, but that remaining 50% will be there for good. That’s why it gets the ‘partially’ rating. So if you’re mailing it, if it gets wet some of the color will fade, but it will remain readable. If you want true permanence in every sense, then you need a fully bulletproof ink like Polar Blue. BSB is the king of vibrancy, and it is water resistant, but it’s not UV resistant hardly at all, and will wash away with bleach, if that matters to you.

Quick question, will you be publishing write time to the RSS feed so that podcast type apps can download it?

We will, but we’re in the process of changing things right now. Previously, we would put all of our videos and Write Time audio into a single podcast and instead we’re going to break it all out into separate feeds. So we’ll have an Ink Nouveau feed with my normal videos/reviews, a Write Time HD video podcast, and a Write Time audio podcast. It’s taking us a little time to set this up because we’re having to go back and split up the Ink Nouveau podcast and separate all of the different types on content in there, but I’m thinking in the next week or two we should have everything good to go.

I’ve had a fine Namiki/Pilot 823 for some months now. It is a very enjoyable, smooth “fine-liner, ” but I would like an even smoother, slightly broader, and wetter nib for everyday use. Would you recommend the purchase of a second 823, this time in Medium? It (the fine version) really is a very nice pen, just too fine/dry, for some purposes/papers. 

I’m a big fan of Pilot pens, they really have it pretty well figured out! I personally prefer the medium nibs. Pilot nibs write thinner than a lot of other brands’ pens, so I find it to be a really nice balance between writing wide enough to really see a lot of the ink color, and writing small enough to be readable. The Custom 823 in a medium would likely do better for you than your fine, I find there’s a pretty big jump from the fine to the medium, both in line width and wetness of the ink flow.



I also personally love the medium Pilot Custom 74. It is a great pen, writes a lot like the 823, but a little wetter than your fine nib will. I have a lot of pens, but the Custom 74 is the one I use the most :)

Is the eyedropper that comes with the 4.5 ounce bottle of Noodler’s Nikita a Preppy or the mottled red eyedropper in the picture? I’ve seen pictures in various places of both pens with the bottle.

Nikita comes with the red Noodler’s eyedropper pen, and have been for the last two years. Other sites probably have old pictures and never updated them. Most of the other Noodler’s 4.5 inks come with Preppies, but this one is special :) I do believe Nathan will be changing them somewhat soon though, who knows what’ll come next :P He likes to keep us all on our toes! If/when he changes it, we’ll change it on our site : )

Hi there! I recently got into fountain pens and am very interested in everything about them, and luckily got guided to your website. One of the coolest things I saw on the site was the tip to start an “ink journal”. Well, I bought the suggested notebook (from Goulet Pens, of course), but now I need a bit of a guide to figure out what exactly to write about when it comes to documenting the ink/pens. Is there any chance you (Brian?) can send me a few pictures of some pages in your journal to give me an idea of what to write about? Much appreciated!

I don’t use anything super-special for an ink journal. I have a few pics in my blog post I did about my ink journal. There’s really no right or wrong way to do one, it all depends what you want to use it for. I actually don’t use one very much these days, but I’m kind of a special case. You see, because I blog regularly, I end up doing ink reviews of the inks I use and scanning them into digital form, so that often becomes my reference instead of a single journal. But when I was doing regular ink journaling, the one I preferred was the Clairefontaine Clothbound A4 Basic, here. Including info like the pen you used, date you used it, the type of ink (duh), and your impression of the ink. Including something else like a poem, Bible verse, favorite quote, something like that is fun too, whatever floats your boat.

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!