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 watched your Youtube video for filling the Namiki vanishing point pen in hopes I could get info on removing a stuck converter. I have never removed the original converter since purchasing the pen and was actually unaware that it was removable. Unfortunately, my converter will not come out of the nib body. I have been soaking it in warm/hot water thinking maybe that will loosen it up but have had no luck so far. Do you know if these pens were also produced with a permanent Nib/Converter body?

I’m sorry you’re having trouble with your converter! I am not aware that Pilot has ever made a non-removable converter for their nib units, all of the ones I’ve ever seen are removable. However, it’s always tough the first time you go to pull it out. I don’t know why it’s so tough, but after you remove it the first time it’s much easier after that. As simple as it sounds, you really just need to pull hard! It’ll come out, I promise. I don’t think soaking or anything like that will make much of a difference, it just needs a forceful tug.

Brian I have two questions. First, is there a package of ink samples in the color black that are a mixture of water based and waterproof ink? As an artist the difference is crucial and very important. I am looking for a package like so on the site but, have not come across one. Second, when will you have the NOODLE’S Konrad brush pen – black/ tortoise? Would love to get that to.

We don’t have a sampler pack of both waterproof and non-waterproof black, I’m sorry to say. We have one just of waterproof blacks, so you can look at those and see what is most appealing, then I can recommend some conventional ones if you’d like. Or, if you want to search for yourself, you can go here to see all the black inks we have, go here for water resistant ones, and you can then deduce which inks aren’t water resistant. Many artists revere Platinum Carbon Black as the best black in to use if you want waterproofness. 

The Noodler’s brush pen is apparently being redesigned or something, we’ve been out of them for months. I haven’t heard anything about if/when they’re going to be available again. I know as much as you do!

I’m interested in finding inks that provide some nice variation when used with stub nibs. Do any that you carry come to mind? I’ve looked at the swab section and the Rohrer and Klingner  Alt-goldgrun seems interesting as a cross between gold and green, but I’m interested in something useable in the office.

There are a variety of inks that have color variation, that’s a term typically called ‘shading’. Usually, it’s just a variation of light to dark within the same color (light blue to dark blue in a given blue ink, for example). Do you have any particular shade of color you want? Some of the best inks that come to mind for shading are Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses, Noodler’s Apache Sunset, De Atramentis Robert Louis Stevenson, De Atramentis Steel Blue, Diamine Ancient Copper, Noodler’s Kiowa Pecan, Diamine Marine, Lamy Turquoise….to name a few. 

I noticed in your Nighthawk video you mentioned that the Monteverde ink was a lubricated ink. Are all of their inks lubricated? I think you should mention this characteristic in your descriptions of the ink. Otherwise, how would I know? I decided that I wanted to stick to lubricated inks as much as possible because they are kinder to the pens. I want a nice brown ink. I notice that Monteverde has one. Is it lubricated? I find that brown inks are dry. I used several browns in my Nouveau Encore LE, and they were all dry. I am using Waterman Serenity Blue now and it has made a difference…but I want a nice brown. What do you think?

Yes, apparently Monteverde’s inks are lubricated. They only advertise the inks with some mysterious “ITF Technology”, apparently that somehow incorporates increased lubrication, from what I understand talking to my Monteverde rep. It’s their whole line, and so far I’ve used their black ink and it does flow well and feel smooth. I know our descriptions are a little lacking, we’ll try to work on that. I haven’t used the Monteverde Brown personally, but if it’s anything like the Black I bet you’d like it. The reviews of the brown look good, and seem to indicate it’s as lubricated feeling as the black is. I’d recommend you at least try a sample of it if you’re looking for a lubricated brown.

When making a wax seal, is it standard practice to use the last name initial or if it is to be used only by me for my correspondence is it proper to use the initial of my first name or is it up to the individual?

I don’t know that anything with a wax seal is ‘standard practice’ these days! ;) But in general, if it’s a single letter, I think most folks tend to use the first letter of their last name. But honestly, I know plenty of people that use the first letter of their first name, it’s really up to you, whatever you prefer! I doubt that anyone that receives a letter from you with a wax seal will be too worried what letter you use, just the fact you use one will be impressive.

Did you or Youtube do something to the videos so they can’t be downloaded? Normally Realplayer Downloader sees them and I just click Download but now instead of getting a multi-megabyte file it shows only 916k. It downloads an .mp4 that won’t work. Other times it is a 1.7Mb file that won’t work either.

YouTube changed the channel layout (it was a forced change), and perhaps the RealPlayer Downloader needs to update something to account for this change? I don’t know, honestly, that kind of stuff is completely outside of my control. All I know is that there isn’t an option for me to enable/disable the downloading/recording of videos from my YouTube channel. As an alternative though, I have an Ink Nouveau podcast on iTunes where you can download all my videos.

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

Write On,
Brian Goulet