It’s been three weeks since the last Goulet Q&A, thanks for being so patient! Because of the way the holidays worked out, I had a lot of demands on my time and knew I wouldn’t be able to give Q&A the attention it needed until this week. I’m glad I did that, because it ended up being pretty crazy with Christmas, my daughter’s second birthday, my mother’s radiation treatments for her breast cancer, New Years, our year-end physical inventory at GouletPens, and other drama that crept up. But I’m back now, and ready to roll again.

This week is an Open Forum, so I just took random questions. Here is what’s been on your minds the last week:

1) Donald R.- Facebook (2:21):

The sub-freezing temperatures seem to be on everyone’s mind right now. So, with that in mind: How does the cold effect fountain pens and ink? Do rapid changes in temperature affect the flow you can expect (ie. having your pen in your bag while walking outside for some time and then entering a heated building)? Is it possible for ink to freeze in a pen (thus damaging it), and, if so, what are the best ways to protect against this?
  • Freezing solid in a pen is bad
    • haven’t heard of this really being an issue before, but the potential is there
    • Noodler’s Polar inks
    • Keep in a pocket close to your body when outside in the cold
  • Rapid temperature changes does affect flow, really cold ink will not flow as well
  • Lower temps = lower relative humidity
    • more potential to dry out
    • cut up sponge, store inside plastic bag

2) Tom J.- email (6:23):
In the next Q&A video, can you tell us who designed your wonderful Goulet Pens Co. logo?  Did someone write the company name by hand with a fountain pen?  Who came up with the ink splash?

3) @k8seren- Twitter (8:45):
When trying new ink samples, is it possible to just dip a Pilot Metropolitan?”

  • yes, but might not get you real far
  • dipping works better with pens that have feeds with fins
    • metro does not have fins
  • leave in the ink for a second when you dip

4) Randy T.- Facebook (9:48):
When converting any pen to an eye dropper, how often should you reapply the silicone grease to the threads, every time you refill the pen, or is once enough?

  • Every time you open the pen (refill)
  • Won’t last forever
  • Use o-ring

5) Michael H.- Facebook (10:50):
Is there any way to help the feed of the Pilot Falcon keep up with the Flex? I purchased the new rhodium trim one (from Goulet of course) and LOVE it 95% of the time. That 5% of the time when I try to add a little bit of additional flair though and flex it harder, it railroads. Thanks!

  • go slow
  • try a wetter ink
  • flow modification is for the pros

6) @DevinLThompson- Twitter (12:46):
Whats the best way to store pens on my desk? Is it ok to keep them vertical, nib up, or horizontal?

7) Scott R.- Facebook (13:41):
Can you demonstrate how to fill cartridge-converter pens from ink sample bottles, such as those used to send Ink Drop samples?

I have a pen that is consistently a dry starter, even a few minutes after writing with it, and also that has a propensity for the nib to dry out completely if not used for a couple of days. The cap and seal seem fine, so I assume it’s a nib or feed issue. What should I do to diagnose and fix the problem?

  • Q1: Fountain Pen 101, Ink Sampling part 2
  • Q2: Some pens are like this
  • usually worse in winter, relative humidity
  • store in plastic bag
  • if storing nib up, try horizontal or nib-down
  • try changing inks
  • cut up sponge wet in cap

8) Rebecca S.- email (16:01):
I have a Lamy Safari that has an extra fine nib, it seems to creep really bad with some inks such as Noodler’s XFeather. I got a stub nib and it creeps probably worse, I also got a 1.9mm but what I was wondering is if Lamy Safari is prone to this or is there something off with mine? What are your experiences?

  • partly the pen, mostly the ink
  • X-feather is known to do that, as are a lot of the more saturated noodler’s colors
  • nib creep is mainly cosmetic

9) Sara V.- Facebook (17:42):
Another question regarding the polar vortex that has descended over half the country… My bottle of De Atramentis Mint Turquoise came in the mail yesterday but had to chill out (literally!) on the front porch for a few hours before I was able to bring it in. It froze, but the bottle didn’t crack or anything like that. I let it thaw and it seems to be just fine now, but is it still safe to use in my pen?

  • Should be okay, never heard of an issue after thawing
  • let it thaw

10) YJune C.- Facebook (19:23):
I am really curious if the ebonite feed performs better than the plastic one. Although many fountain pen fans tend to prefer ebonite feed, it is hard to find a pen with that feed these days.

  • Better is subjective
  • Ebonite assists capillary action
  • Ebonite is malleable when heated
  • Ebonite can but cut to increase flow
  • It’s more expensive

11) Jason S.- Facebook (21:17):
I received a Monteverde Nighthawk with a 1.1 nib. Any suggestions on keeping it flowing? Writes wonderful for about half a page, then goes dry. Only way to get ink to flow again is to screw converter a little, forcing ink to feed. Any suggestions?

  • any pen with flow issues, always thoroughly clean it first
  • check the ink, try another if you have it handy
  • contact retailer
  • to increase flow, you can press down on the tines to intentionally flex (spread)
    • do at your own risk

12) Todd N.- Facebook (24:38):
Just got Blurple Ink Drop- just wish I could buy the Nathan Tardif Platinum Preppy Dropper converted pen. So enjoyed buying a bottle of Noodler’s with free pens included… Any idea if they’ll be offered for sale? I’d buy a dozen!

  • They’re just fine black Preppies
  • No label, heard of people using denatured alcohol to remove them (at own risk)
  • Nathan does modify the feed post

13) Bryan M.- email (27:06):
I have heard talk of “springing nibs” when it comes to flex pens.  With a Noodler’s flex pen, how does the writer know if he /she is about to push the nib too far?  In other words, how do you know when you have achieved maximum flex and had better stop?

  • springing is more of an issue with gold nibs
  • I haven’t sprung a Noodler’s nib yet
  • go to town

Next week will be Episode 18 on January 17th, 2014: The Trifecta: Pen, Paper, and Ink and how they all affect your writing experience. I’d love to hear what questions you have about using these three things to influence or enhance your overall writing experience. If you’ve missed any older Q&A’s, be sure to check them out here. Thanks for watching, have a great week!

Write On,
Brian Goulet