It’s Friday the 13th! But you’re in luck today, I have a nice looong Q&A for ya. It’s a Open Forum theme this week so I cover a variety of topics for you. Enjoy!

1) 林理谙– Facebook (4:55):

How to make a pen drier? Another question (sorry if that’s too much): cheesecake, or ice cream cake?

  • Making a pen drier is really tough for the untrained individual
  • best to try using drier ink first, Pelikan 4001 ink is notoriously dry
  • may need to call on a nibmeister
  • Hmm…well I just love cake, so either one’s good for me! Probably cheesecake, ice cream cake is good, but only really tastes awesome because I hardly ever get it

2) Patrick D.- Facebook (8:51)

Have you ever considered a customer loyalty points program?

  • We have considered it, trying to think of what that would look like
  • would have to align with our company’s values
  • This is a tough one, because I struggle with the what ‘loyalty’ means here
  • Loyalty isn’t bought, it’s earned, a loyalty program in the traditional business sense isn’t really about loyalty, it’s about repeat business
  • Simon Sinek says: “Anyone can sell product by dropping their prices, but it does not breed loyalty.”
  • Loyalty is earned by adding value, such as shooting a video, educating, and engaging with you like I am right now.
  • What is my loyalty program? This, right now.

3) Edgar H.- Facebook (13:25):

Hi, Brian! Ink question: Diamine Blue Black or Diamine Twilight, which would you pick? By the colour, I’d like to pick Twilight, but I’ve heard it’s more prone to bleedthrough, is that true? Also, they seems to be pretty similar colours. What do you think?

  • I like Twilight better
  • darker, slightly green
  • not sure about properties side-by-side

4) Shane H.- Facebook (14:48):

I saw an article online that negatively slammed Noodler’s and Private Reserve. The Noodler’s stuff was the same BS people always complain about and isn’t necessarily true. The Private Reserve stuff I hadn’t heard, though. I was able to disprove every claim but one, which is that Private Reserve inks have a molding problem. The insinuation is that the inks mold more easily than any other inks. Have you had any experience with Private Reserve inks molding, or is this another ink urban legend?

  • Pretty much BS
  • some mold happened in the past, but that’s happened with just about everyone
  • ink makers all fight mold like crazy, and will make it right if there’s any there
  • urban legend

5) Flavio A.- Facebook (17:24):

Does the color of the paper influence shading? Will I get less shading from an ivory colored paper than from a white one? Also, do you have any plans on selling oxford notebooks/notepads?

  • it doesn’t necessarily affect the actual amount of shading, but certainly how much it shows
  • paper color can REALLY affect the color of an ink
  • absorbency affects shading more than anything
  • no plans for oxford at the moment

6) Bence N.- Facebook (20:44):

Can I use marker pen ink in my FP?

  • probably not a good idea
  • stick with water-based fountain pen ink, anything else will likely clog or harm a pen

7) Matt Z.- Facebook (21:59):

Are there any plans to expand the Goulet nib line? Recently I got a hold of a 0.8mm stub, and I really enjoy it. While a 1.1mm stub might put out too much ink for copy quality paper, perhaps a .6 or.8 would be more appropriate.

  • not at the moment
  • Hard to find any stub smaller than 1.1
  • Jowo (maker of Goulet nibs) doesn’t make anything smaller

8) Bradley G.- Facebook (22:58):I’m looking for loose leaf paper that works well with fountain pens, any suggestions?
  • My fav is HP 32 lb Premium Laser Paper, a little thick/expensive to use around Goulet office
  • We use HP 24lb Laserjet, works great

9) Tristan N.- Facebook (24:42):

When can we expect a duet with you and Rachel?

  • LOTS of musicians around the Goulet shop
  • I sing, have played clarinet, bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet, tenor sax, bari sax, sousaphone, piano, guitar, bass guitar
  • Rachel sings, plays guitar, bass guitar, piano
  • Trevor sings and plays banjo in River City Band
  • Adam majored in music, sings, plays piano, guitar, learning banjo
  • Ben has an album, sings, plays guitar and harmonica
  • Sam sings and plays guitar
  • Jacob sings and plays guitar

10) Ryan G.- Facebook (29:11):

What are some of the “wettest” inks available for those of us who love gushy flow? Noodler’s Rome Burnining, Private Reserve’s Tanzanite, and Waterman’s Serenity Blue are some that come to mind, but I am always looking for more. Also, I love your Q&As! Your answers are always excellent.

  • Noodler’s Eel series, Polar, Fast Dry
    De Atramentis, most of them
    many Noodler’s and Diamine colors
11) Hugo W.- Facebook (30:30):

Have you ever thought of taking in the pen company Faber Castell? Their pens are one of the best introductory pens with the price of a Lamy Al-Star and Safari and the smoothest steel nib out of any company.

  • recently reached out to them, interested
  • Faber Castell is promising, Graf Von Faber Castell is higher end and not as likely to fit us right now
12) Kiri H.- Facebook (31:49):

Does Banditapple have any plans for making A5 sized notebooks? Have had excellent experience using their TN size but always find myself wanting more horizontal space.

  • I don’t believe so
  • They have their sizes and while they have prototyped several different sizes, they’re all pretty unconventional
13) Sarah S.- Facebook (32:31):
I want to start restoring vintage FPs. Do you know of any people who would let me glean knowledge from them?
  • oh boy, not my area of expertise
  • FPN, maybe? couldn’t find a specific ‘repair’ sub forum

14) John B.- Facebook (34:03):

What recommendations might you have for note taking in an environment without tables say at something like a church service or keynote at a conference. balancing a notebook other reference material and now not choking up too far on a pen has been an issue for me for years.

  • bound journal like Webbie or Habana, fold the covers over onto each other
  • don’t know quite what the choking up on a pen issue is
  • anyone else have any ideas?
15) Mike H.- Facebook (36:42):

I use the Clairfontaine 1951 series and I love the look and the paper but the ink takes forever to dry. Is there a good notebook that has just as smooth of paper with a little more absorbent paper?

16) Umi H.- Facebook (37:52):

I’ve been writing with bulletproof black in a Pilot Metropolitan extra fine (?), which has been alright. A bit scratchy, but I chalked that up to the extremely fine nib. I recently got the 54th massachusetts samplers from you, and was blown away by how much it changed the writing characteristics. The pen felt significantly smoother and laid down a thicker, more consistent line. Is this due to the wetness of the inks? Would I get a better result with the Noodler’s Black in a fine nib instead?

  • this is all part of the grand experiment!
  • so many factors at play here, paper, nib size, feed, ink properties, writing angle, etc
  • definitely some inks cooperate better in some pens than others
  • sometimes you just have to try and find out!
17) Erin W.- Facebook (40:36):

Hey Brian! I love writing with my Pilot Metropolitan. It’s so smooth. I usually have it filled with Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts. The only thing is I feel like it writes just a little too wet. This may just be a result of it being a medium nib or the ink that I’m using. But before I break down and shell out for the sweet, sweet fine nib version, is there any way to “customize” or adjust the nib and feed to control the flow of ink? Kinda like with the Noodler’s nib creepers? Thanks!

  • no, not really
  • could try diluting the ink a bit
  • seems counter-intuitive that water would ‘dry’ the ink
  • heavily concentrated ink like 54th would have a lot of lubricant in it, making it write wet
  • Adding water cuts down the lubricant
  • test in a small batch
18) Katie S.- Facebook (42:54):
I’ve got a cheap indian pen with a very scratchy nib, you can feel a scratchy snag on the nib, does it have to be ground down by someone or can I just use some fine sandpaper or something to smooth out the imperfection?
19) Jennifer Z.- Facebook (44:45):
What’s the best way to get started if you want to learn how to make a pen but have no idea where to start?

20) Ahmed K.- Facebook (45:49):

What kind of things can you specify when commissioning JoWo to make nibs? Are you able to suggest how smooth you want it, tolerances, etc? I’m just wondering if all JoWos were created equal or not since a lot of pen manufacturers use nibs made by them.

  • All similar coming from Jowo, as is
  • special things can certainly be done to them after they’re initially made
  • trade secret :)
21) Matthew P.- Facebook (47:38):

On my twsbi 580 the feed broke and ink bleeds out where your fingers are supposed to go. I believe the only way to fix that is replace it, but coukd i replace that part, the whole.nib/feed construction, or the whole pen?

  • could replace the nib unit
  • contact
22) Reilly I.- Facebook (49:04):

Do you plan, in the future, to carry pens such as the Pelikan m200, m205, and m215?

  • did that once before
  • not a lot of requests for it, can special order
  • likely won’t carry them regularly for a while

23) Devon G.- Facebook (50:04):

My Namiki Falcon resin with a fine nib has been a problem child since day one… It’s an incredibly hard start, skips a whole lot, and really railroad tracks. I don’t think I’ve sprung the nib and I’ve cleaned it very well. I’ve used a whole slew of different inks. I’ve checked alignment with nib and feed. Nothing works. I want to love this pen. Help!

  • not much I can help to diagnose it here
  • there have been some isolated and unexplainable issues with some Falcons, not many but enough
  • contact your retailer, you will likely need a replacement

24) Junee L.- Facebook (53:25):
What is the difference in pen materials, resin vs celluloid vs ebonite? Is it all just aesthetically different or is there any other properties that set them apart?
  • resin = acrylic aka plastic
    • durable, attractive, relatively inexpensive
    • several types, injection molded vs. cast
    • cast is nicer, more expensive
  • celluloid, smoother than resin
    • material predates modern resins
    • flammable
    • takes a long time to make, thus is more expensive
    • distinct smell
    • few make it
  • ebonite = hard rubber
    • predates celluloid and resin
    • wicks away hand moisture
    • distinct smell
    • expensive, few makers of it
Next week’s theme will be Platinum pens and ink, so be sure to ask me any questions in the comments below. Be sure to check out any previous Q&A’s you missed here. Have a great week!Write On,
Brian Goulet