Sorry for missing last week, we ended up closing due to bad weather and couldn’t record the Q&A as planned. On the plus side, our two young kids got to go sledding for the first time, which was a real joy. So we rescheduled the Open Forum topic for this week, and got in a lot of great questions:

1) Wravis- Ink Nouveau (2:06):

In your Fountain Pen 101 videos you discuss the differences between Ballpoint pens, Gel Rollerball pens, and Fountain pens. What is the difference between a Gel Rollerball pen and the refillable Rollerball pens (Noodler’s Creaper, J. Herbin’s refillable rollerball, etc.)? Do they function the same?

  • Gel rollerballs
    • use disposable cartridges that are $2-10 each
    • usually expensive if used a lot
      • talk about pen making days
      • 1-3 months
    • very smooth
    • limited color options
  • Refillable rollerballs use liquid fountain pen ink
    • Cheaper ongoing cost
    • higher maintenance
    • not a great selection of pens available

What about refillable marker pens (Platinum Preppy)? How do those work with swapping ink colors? I imagine the marker tip would retain any old ink colors for quite a long time and make lots of unpleasant browns.

  • better to stick with one color
  • tips can be soaked in 10% bleach/water
  • sometimes better to replace the tip

2) Ryan G.- Facebook (6:30):
If someone were interested in getting a current, not vintage, pen with a soft gold nib and good-to-moderate flex, what would some of the best options be?

3) David- Ink Nouveau (9:00):
Why doesn’t Lamy make black nibs in 1.1mm, 1.5mm, & 1.9mm stubs? A bare steel nib just looks out of place on my charcoal black safari.

4) Rebecca S.- email (10:14):
I know you don’t carry ballpoints but do you have a favorite ballpoint?

  • Caran d’Ache Metal X in blue
  • Pilot G2

What are your thoughts on Platinum Carbon Black ink and its use in pens other than Noodler’s Flex?

  • Great ink
  • Popular for artists

5) Tracy L.- Facebook (14:21):
What is the difference between Noodler’s Blue Ghost and Whiteness of the Whale Inks?

  • Ghost- invisible ink
    • good for secret messages
  • WoW- to mix with another color to lighten it
    • red to pink
    • dark blue to lighter blue
    • NOT a pure white for use on dark paper
  • both bulletproof
  • both UV reactive

6) Bianca M.- Facebook (17:38):
My everyday use pens for writing are both by Waterman (a Phileas and a Kultur). Have you considered adding Waterman pens to your mid-priced pen lines?

  • have considered it
  • these pens are no longer available

7) Phil K.- email (19:04):
When at the Post Office they always ask if you are shipping liquids (among many other things).  If that answer is “yes, in fact, I am shipping 3 oz. of ink” what then?  Are there precautions that need to be taken to ship ink via USPS?  Or does it just need to be declared?

  • shouldn’t be a problem

8) Joey H.- Facebook (21:06):
What is the best all around ink that can be used in any fountain pen?

9) Alex N.- email (21:47):
I own several FPs (Safari, 78G, Metro, Nib Creeper, Retro 51, and soon to be Jin Hao 126), all of which I enjoy. I want to be able to have them ready to use at a whim, but I’ve heard that some FPs (particularly the safari and nib creeper) dry out really fast (less than a week) – how true is this? My 78G sits for nearly a week between ‘uses’ (less than 3 lines of text), and it seems to be okay. I’ve got my nib creeper feed set up just so, and I’d rather not have to take it out to clean and scrub it out if possible, thus it’s sitting on my desk, un-inked.

  • all about the cap seal
  • Noodler’s pens do dry more
  • Lamy can dry out too
  • keep using them regularly
  • store them nib down
  • store in ziplock bag
  • no need to remove nib to clean unless really caked up

10) Benjamin B.- email (25:37):
I have a Monteverde Invincia Color Infusion Black Stealth. Looking at the underside of the feed, there is a small circle with the number “3” molded into the plastic (or whatever material).  What does this 3 mean on a feed?  Is it the inspector or machinist’s personal stamp, or some sort of “feed size” thing going on, or what?

  • doesn’t seem to mean anything

11) Bonita D.- Facebook (26:43):
I recently ordered a Jinhao x750, and while it seems to write well, I’ve noticed that the portion of the pen which houses the nib and feed and goes inside the grip section does not seem to be adhered to anything and simply comes loose. Is this normal, or do I have a dud?

  • Defect, contact if bought from us
  • Can glue back yourself

12) Carlos Q.- Facebook (29:18):
Why do some pens (like the Preppy) uses an o-ring to convert them to an eyedropper and others (like Edison Pens and Kaweco Sport) does not need this o-ring?

  • difference in thread tolerances
  • Preppy doesn’t have to have an o-ring

13) Mate F.- Facebook (30:56):
What are your thoughts on ink mixing/dilution in general? What are brands/techniques to avoid?

14) Sharon R./Chad C.- Facebook (33:27):
Can you tell me all of the ink brands you carry that have waterproof inks? I know of two or three, but I’m not sure that’s all of them. My main concern is for addressed envelopes withstanding rain.

15) Pen Paper Ink Letter- Facebook (35:30):
Ok, so you have a daily carry pen case or roll (a few pens) but where do you carry the case? Squeeze it into your shirt pocket, throw it in a bag, keep in in hand, etc? In other words, even inside a case how careful are you with your pens?

16) Ray C.- Facebook (37:10):
I see you and others us Rhodia dotted paper. What is the main purpose of th Rhodia dot paper as opposed to lined or blank?

  • same 5mmx5mm grid as graph paper
  • dots are more subtle
  • tighter ruling than lined (7mm)

17) Stewart S.- Facebook (39:49):
I enjoy writing with/collecting pens but I’m also interested in them as a collectible investment. What should I be looking for in pens that will retain their value or increase in value over the long term? Which brands/types of fountain pens should I be investing in?

I was able to cover a lot this week, and it was a lot of fun, as always! Next week will be good, I’m doing Monteverde as a theme. Monteverde has a lot of new stuff coming out right now like the Regatta Sport, Impressa, and the Tool Pen in black and silver. So if you have any Monteverde pen or ink questions, fire away in the comments below.

Write On,
Brian Goulet