This week is Goulet Q&A Episode 38, an Open Forum. It’s a special one because Rachel is here with me! We’re in a rather punchy mood, too, so I suspect you’ll get a kick out of this rather extended episode. Enjoy!

1) Edgar H.- Facebook (7:32):
We already know Brian’s 5 Favorite fountain pen inks. What about Rachel’s 5 favorite fountain pen inks? (Rachel appears on scene and let us know.) (It can work this time, right?)

2) Saul H.- Facebook (19:00):
I have a multi-part question for the next Goulet Q&A

1. Any chance of getting more of Pilot’s offerings here in the US? (i.e. Custom Heritage 91, Custom Heritage 912, Elite 95S, or others that seem to be for sale in Japan but not here)

2. Any idea why the Pilot pens that _are_ for sale in the US are so much more expensive here than overseas? The Stargazer is $152 here in the US but the Japanese equivalent, the Stella 90S, can be found on amazon or ebay often for <$100. Same for the Custom Heritage 92–it seems to be about $100 cheaper if ordered through Japan (and presumably Pilot Japan) rather than Pilot USA.

Thanks so much–I love your videos and your shop. You guys are one of the best online retailers out there, regardless of genre. Keep up the awesome work!

  • We’ve talked with Pilot USA about bringing some other pens in
    • it’s not always straightforward why they aren’t in the US
    • sometimes it’s supply/demand issues
    • sometimes it’s other things and we’re never given reason
    • we are definitely letting them know what we hear that you want, and they are listening more now than ever before
    • we are well-respected by Pilot, absolutely
  • most of the overseas dealers you’re seeing are not authorized dealers
  • Pilot USA handles warranty issues in US, in Japan you have to ship it back (if even from an authorized dealer) if there’s any issue
  • of course, such a price discrepancy is really tempting, even at risk of warranty issues

3) Carlos Q.- Facebook (31:25):

Hello Brian, I was just wondering if you are planing in the near future to work on another color of Noodler’s ink, just like you did with Liberty’s Elysium… Thank you so much for all you great work and for teaching us so many things!!!

  • We’ve been talking with Nathan about a new ink, but it’s still in the works. He’s really busy!
  • we’re letting him focus on the Neponsets first
  • then catch up on inks

4) @wilsonbt34- Twitter (33:56):

My lamy studios nib squeaks with Noodler’s Black. Will a lubricated ink curtail the squeaking problem? Any suggestions?

  • what nib size? we’ve seen this happen with some nibs, usually broads
  • ink can help it, sure
  • often it just needs to be honed with mylar paper or micro mesh

5) Scott R.- Facebook (35:30):

Ink question: I have a bottle of the pre-reformulation J Herbin 1670 red. What if any special precautions or cleaning should I use with this ink?

  • they put a warning sticker on there, but we haven’t heard of any real issues
  • crusting on the nib if it dries out
  • cleans pretty well though, maybe light staining
6) Scott R.- Facebook (37:11):

We all know about quill pens in the days of the Founders. But what kinds of pen would Lincoln and the Civil War generation used? Were fountain pens in use then?

  • it’s hard to say
  • fountain pens were just starting to come into their being in the mid-1800’s, though weren’t really being mass produced until late 1800’s
7) Bianca N.- Facebook (38:34):

Can you recommend a sketchbook for drawing with my fountain pen? I’m an illustrator and love to sketch concept art in my sketchbooks but get a lot of bleed through. Thanks!

  • don’t have a whole lot of experience with sketchbooks, honestly
  • Stillman & Birn, really good paper

8) Jessica O.- Facebook (40:18):

Can we see a speed-up video of Joe doing his beautiful fountain pen sketches? I am very curious of the technique with the shading, texture, & smudging

  • that’s a cool idea, we’re thinking about that
  • Joe’s pretty private, but we’ll float the idea by him


9) Matthew F.- Facebook (41:15):

Do gold nibs wear out faster because they are softer metal? More specifically, what kind of life expectancy would a Pilot Falcon soft-fine nib have? I know it’s a broad question, but I’m more or less wondering if they are known to have shorter life span. Happy 4th to all at Goulet!!

  •  not really, the tipping takes most of the wear
  • the ‘life’ would more likely be based on how you treat it, how hard you flex it if you do that with the soft nib
  • many, many years life expectancy
10) Heath C.- Facebook (43:30):

In honor of the 4th, what is your favorite US made product that you sell? Also, what did a typical 4th look like for you guys growing up?

  • Not a lot of US-made products, honestly
  • US is not a huge FP culture, nor is it the manufacturing culture it used to be
  • US brands: Noodler’s (mostly), Edison, Aston Leather, Field Notes, Monteverde (sort of), Private Reserve (sort of), Nock, Quiver (sort of), Organics Studio, Sheaffer (sort of), Stillman & Birn (sort of), Goulet products
  • Fav product: Noodler’s Liberty’s Elysium, c’mon
  • Goulet 4th: nothing fancy
  • Goldman 4th: ?
11) Luis M.- Facebook (50:35):

I recently got a Namiki Falcon, I wonder what is the true purpose of the shaker inside the converter?? For starters, the pen itself goes through a lot of ink rapidly (at least myself), so ink won’t remain there for a long period of time; the converter is small, so it won’t carry enough ink for the purpose of a shaker; and lastly, the shaker must be taking precious ink volume! I just don’t get it. (Brian, if Rachel makes an appearance, do let her answer this question) Thank you guys!

12) Nichole B.- Facebook (53:36):

Speaking of Noodlers, any chance that GPC will carry the broad non-flex Noodlers replacement nib or a #5 replacement nib (any brand) for the Nib Creaper?

  • we’d considered it
  • broads are by far the worst-selling nibs of any pen
  • cost was about 3 times the price of the fine/medium Noodler’s nib, due to increased amount of tipping material
  • we just couldn’t see the demand being there
  • Nib Creaper is actually #2, not #5
  • We’ve toyed with the idea of a #5 Goulet nib, it is possible through Jowo
  • We really don’t know if demand is there, we have huge quantities to buy up front, high reorder points
13) Jessica B.- Facebook (57:34):

Tangential to the cake or pie: hamburgers or hot dogs? Also: is it possible to do something like add an o-ring to Nib Creaper to keep it from drying out quite so much between uses? I’ve heard of the sponge in the cap trick but it’s a demonstrator! (the following is commentary that doesn’t need to be read if you do answer this: I am using it regularly, but not every single day. It goes through a lot of ink, possibly through evaporation. I love the pen and want to keep using it, I just don’t want to have to dip my nib in water every time I use it. I guess I need excuses to write more often.)

  • Nib Creaper, the sponge has worked best
  • Keep in ziplock bag
  • Not as much a problem with newer Nib Creapers since air holes were removed from cap
  • Ahab seals better
  • don’t know how an o-ring would really fit on the Creaper
14) Angel L.-email (1:02:02):
If you could learn any calligraphy script (Gothic, Copperplate, Foundational, etc.), what would it be and why? 

  • Probably Spencerian, or some blend version of it
  • just looks awesome
  • Rachel- modern calligraphy, Pinterest stuff

15) @Maya
42646540– Twitter (1:03:35):

hi Brian i am thinking of buying a lamy 2000 my mom thinks its too much money. what do you think, what should i say to my mom

  • this might be a tough one, it is an expensive pen!
  • trust is huge, you need to prove you’re responsible to handle a pen of this cost
  • she probably fears you’ll lose it or someone will take it from you
  • negotiate a deal, you pay half and she matches
  • last resort, save up for it completely on your own
16) Dale Sharpe- Ink Nouveau (1:08:14):
I would like to hear about the ink Drop theme and ink selection process. Also any friendly in office competitions. Like maybe which employees favorite Ink Drop selection sells the best.

  • It’s an interesting process
  • early days, we’d come up with whatever we wanted, lots of options
  • big list of ideas, some seasonal, some not
  • look for prevalent seasons/events going on around the month we’re looking to do it
  • theme around names/colors/properties of inks
  • these days, we’re trying not to repeat, so we start by pulling a list of all the previously used colors and work around them
  • Ink Drop survey we just launched
    • how many responses, by percentage?
    • likely going to start repeating colors that were used 1+ year ago

17) GimmieCookiee- Ink Nouveau (1:11:35):
Do you have any insight on why pen companies don’t make full flex nibs anymore? From the popularity of semi-flex pens such as the Pilot Falcon and the Noodlers’ flex pens, I would have thought that there is a huge demand for modern gold flex nibs. 

  • worldwide demand
  • in our little world we think there is huge demand for flex nibs, but there isn’t in the big, big, big picture
  • designing whole new types of nibs takes a lot of resources and dedication, custom work
  • fountain pens at all are an afterthought for many companies, let alone flex nibs
  • of course, we’d LOVE to see more, and we’re trying to communicate that up to our manufacturers
  • it’s like diverting a river

18) Kate Dodge- YouTube (1:16:24):
So far I have only used Noodlers inks because I like the bulletproof aspect. I would like to try other brands, and I want to know what other inks have similar bulletproof properties. Mostly something fade and water resistant. Also I’m looking for a purple ink that meets this criteria. Any thoughts?  

19) Kevin L.- Facebook (1:20:30):

Are Lamy nibs being ground more precisely than in years past? They seem truer to their size designation with less wiggle room between Fine and Medium for instance.

  • We haven’t been told anything’s changed
  • it’s always possible
  • we have heard less about variation than in the past, especially about EF nibs which require the most hand-work
20) Garth M.- Facebook (1:21:59):

Hi guys, lovin’ the Q&A – I was wondering if you knew why we don’t see more monotone gold plated nibs like the one on the Micarta. It seems that the only ones available are 2 tone.

  • yellow gold is not as trendy as it used to be, rhodium/silver is more popular
  • two-tone matches better with either yellow gold or rhodium trim, so it’s fewer nibs for a manufacturer to have to make
  • in solid gold nibs, it’s more common for solid yellow color, no plating involved
  • on stainless steel nibs, two-tone makes more sense because there’s already a ‘silver’ color base

21) Ranger Smith- Ink Nouveau (1:24:27):

I am a National Park Ranger stationed at Crater Lake National Park and am looking for an ink to match the stunning blue waters of the lake. Do you have any suggestions? Also, thank you for all the great work that you and your team do! 

22) GnaRocksTheWorld- YouTube (1:25:36):
Hey Brian, what are your top 5 favourite blue inks? 

Thanks to everyone who asked questions this past week! Sorry we weren’t able to answer everything, but we’ll be doing an Open Forum again next week so ask away. Be sure to check out any previous Q&A’s you might have missed here. Have a happy 4th of July and a wonderful week!

Write On,
Brian Goulet