Goulet Q&A Episode 41: Resin vs. Metal, Cleaning a Pilot Parallel, and Invisible Ink

This week’s episode is a little shorter, just a little! I am flying solo today but still have a bunch of fun questions in the Open Forum. Enjoy!1) Vivian S.- Ink Nouveau (1:28):
I’m not a physically strong person, so having to take apart a pen is really tough for me; I always feel like I might break the pen because I find myself applying as much force as I can. Any tips on how to loosen pen parts (such as nib and feed, piston filler) to make it easier on myself to assemble and dissemble the pen? Thanks.

  • it depends on the pen
  • some aren’t made to be taken apart and applying that much force could break them
  • do your research first, see if others have taken apart your particular pen before trying it yourself (YouTube’s great here)
  • some special tools may be available from pen repair people, you’ll have to hunt (check FPN)
  • rubber gloves, rubber bands, rubber strips help give a better grip
  • stuck nibs help to rock back and forth instead of just straight pulling out
2) Patrick D.- Facebook (7:12):
What pen brand would you like to carry that you don’t today?

  • Faber-Castell
  • Visconti/Mont-Blanc don’t want us
  • others we’ve considered:
    • Nemosine
    • Acme
    • Giuliano Matzzuoli
    • Diplomat
3) Nichole B.- Facebook (9:27):
I am trying to get my friend interested in fountain pens but she is used to gel pens and I’ve had a hard time finding the right one for her. Can you recommend a pen and ink combination that would “float” across the page but won’t break the bank?

4) mikhasan2- YouTube (13:29):
Hi, Brian. I was wondering why many fountain pen aficionados prefer resin over metal. I know one argument is that metal sections are a bit slippery or cold to the touch when compared to resin, but I think the durability and weight of metal pens are desirable traits to many that make up for these. Despite this, they seem much more popular with the corporate crowd than with hard-core fountain pen users. Of course, as is the case with most things, it has a lot to do with personal preference, but is there an alternative explanation you can offer? Thanks, and keep up the great work!

  • I’d say your assumptions are generally pretty accurate here
  • this is something I learned coming over from making rollerball pens for corporate gifts in my pen making days
  • for longer writing sessions, lighter pens are less tiring in the hand
    • metal grips feel slippery after a long writing session (10+ minutes straight)
  • metal just feels less personal, colder
  • metal can be more durable, but resin is pretty darn durable too
  • really, it’s all about preference


5) anonymous- Facebook (18:51):


I have the 4 Pilot Parallel pens that I play with and have had them for about a month but I don’t go through ink very fast. I want to flush them out but I still have half the cartridge left. Is there a way to save the cartridge for a flushing of the pen then reinsert the cartridge? Or should I toss the cartridge and insert a new one each flushing/cleaning? Or should I just finish the cartridge even if it postpones the flushing/cleaning another few weeks? 

  • you can definitely do that, if you’re putting the cartridge right back on
  • over a long time, the ink in the cartridge may dry out/become more saturated as water evaporates
    • can be reconstituted
  • you just won’t be able to save a partially used cartridge apart from the pen
  • bulb syringe works great to flush if sung cartridges (no converter), though Parallels come with a  ‘cleaning cartridge’

6) Steven B.- Facebook (23:17):


Two parter: 1) what is the single best selling item at Goulet? 2) since you all get to “play” hands-on with everything as it comes in, is there an item you carry which you feel SHOULD sell better – something under the radar maybe, that you think deserves more attention than it gets? (Not necessarily just about numbers: I’m sure you don’t move a ton of M1000s but that doesn’t mean they don’t already get plenty of attention!)


7) mike- Ink Nouveau (29:35):
Would you consider having some nibs like your Goulet nibs or Edison’s, TWSBI’s, etc. preground by nibmeisters and then keep them in stock? the way Franklin-christoff does with Mike Masuyama nibs? Or have an option where one can add “stub grind” or something to his cart and then take care of it for the customer, through a nibmeister, along with a warning that you are voluntarily giving up your warranty and that it may delay shipment by 2-3 weeks or whatever the wait time maybe. I think it would be a great service that many would love to take advantage of. I know that you have to keep good relationships with your distributors but binder, mottishaw, and pendleton, are all authorized retailers of pens like pilot, platinum, pelikan, etc. so I think at least some companies must be okay with it. 
  • this is complicated
  • warranty issues: if the pen is faulty, where do you send the pen? depends on the issue?
  • markup: for us to handle the logistics/post-sales support/warranty void of that pen, we have expenses to cover. We’d have to mark up the grinding substantially from what a nibmeister might charge
  • transit time: we’re not near any nibmeister
    • would have to ship to them, wait, have work done then shipped out
    • what about other items in the order?
    • what about international orders?
  • supply/demand: most nibmeisters are busy as heck as is, little bandwidth
    • nibmeisters are in short supply, don’t need our business to stay really stinking busy
  • it certainly is an appealing concept, but I feel the logistics would make it unfeasible
  • I’d be open to exploring, but would be ‘cautiously pessimistic’ it would work out
8) Tom S.- Ink Nouveau (35:57):
I have an odd question, I am already budgeting to get a Pilot Metal Falcon, I love my standard SF Falcon, but want a Con-70 sized Falcon. My question is does anyone know if the sections or nibs are swapable between the two models? As that will help me decide if I should get the SEF on the metal or stay with the nib that works… I am a left hander and nibs are often either very nice to me or the worst thing ever. I am constantly shocked by number of people that assume, the nibs I actually favor won’t work for me 🙂

  • swap away! You can share them, yes.
  • SEF is noticeably scratchier than SF though
  • I typically wouldn’t recommend it for a lefty, but you seem to know what you’re doing so caveat emptor
9) Christopher N.- Ink Nouveau (40:00):
Have you looked into carrying any products by Staedtler. They have a good selection of products, ranging from drafting tools to some nice fountain pens. 

  • no, not really
  • mainly pencils and ballpoints
  • some FP’s, but not enough to get me excited
  • pens seem like Sheaffer calligraphy set, Pelikan Pelikano, Lamy ABC, stuff we don’t do well with

Second, if you and your family were to dress up as fountain pens for Halloween, what pens would you guys dress as and why?

  • Noodler’s pen
    • Nib Creaper, Ahab, Konrad, lots of fun could be had with those

Thanks for the great videos and running an awesome business!

p.s. When will the TWSBI 580 USA arrive?

  • we’re currently being told end of August, we’ll see once that gets closer if the date is pushed back at all
10) William S.- Facebook (42:39):
Hehe…What paper is best if you are writing with an invisible ink?

  • Seems like you were intending to ask a silly question, but there’s a real answer!
  • the specific type doesn’t matter so much
  • off-white paper shows invisible (UV-reactive) ink so much better!
  • greater contrast
11) Chad V.- Facebook (43:52):
So what does make the Aztek an awesome car?

  • probably the wrong week to ask me that! ignition issues
  • lots of great things about it though
    • cheap to acquire, though they have gone up rather significantly in value in the last couple of years
    • Walter White’s car!
    • clearly designed ahead of its time
    • fantastic turning radius, easy to park
    • SUV, but drives like a car
    • comfortable for both me and Rachel, which is rare to find
    • sits high up
    • is small on the outside, big on the inside
    • AWD
    • fabric inside is great for kids nastiness
    • so utilitarian, seats fold down/come out so easy
    • hooks and stuff everywhere
    • always super-easy to spot in the parking lot!
Thanks for watching this week and thanks to everyone who asked awesome questions. Next week will be another Open Forum, so post any question you have in the comments below. Be sure to check out any Q&A’s you might have missed here. Have a great week!Write On,
Brian Goulet

2017-10-31T15:04:07+00:00 July 25th, 2014|Goulet Q&A|34 Comments
  • Rob

    Has Goulet considered carrying Tomoe River paper? It seems to be very popular and can even be found in notebook format with rulings through a few other sites. I think it would be very popular. Thanks!!

  • Carlos

    Hi, may I compliment you on some real improvements ever since I saw your last video a year ago? First, the background with all those handwritten specimens creates an atmosphere cosier and more appealing for the typical viewer, who is supposed to be sensitive to handwriting and all that kind of things that are made with pens and inks 😉 Secondly the texts summarising questions and answers help the viewer to anticipate the video content, acting as a sort of index or table of content, which is very useful and also contributes to attract viewers who otherwise could be put off by the video's length. Finally, you look much better after loosing weight, and even though it could sound a little frivolous, in this era where image counts so much, although your look is not an essential part of the thing it certainly helps. Cheers

  • Soo Lee

    For what it's worth, Tim Girdler is a nibmeister who lives in Virginia (and presumably closer to you). He was trained by Richard Binder and he sells Edison Pens, so Brian Gray could probably introduce you if you wanted.

    I have no real opinion about the nib customization thing, but I figured I'd give you a heads up—just in case you're interested.

  • Kate

    Rachel mentioned that you guys had contacted Faber-Castell a few weeks ago? has anything come of that?

  • Kate

    Also, have you guys considered Bexley? I'd be interested in there pens. Dont have any but Brian Gray (of Edison Pen Co.) speaks highly of them and they look very nice.

  • matthew

    I believe those sites buy the paper in reams and have the notebooks bound themselves. I agree though that I think Goulet really should carry Tomoe River, if it is at all possible. I'm sure their's a way they could locally have notepads and notesbooks made. It will probably be expensive at the end of the day, but I think people will be willing to pay it to get it from a retailer like goulet. just my thoughts.

  • Matt

    Will the rubber strip be included in the pen tuning kit?

  • Tom Johnson

    William S. – Most white papers are manufactured to fluoresce under UV light (makes them brighter in the workplace or outdoors, wherever UV is present). So, these papers glow too and their brightness overwhelms the glow of the fluorescent inks. Whiteness of the Whale is not that bright, so it is often not visible on these white papers. Blue Ghost is much brighter and is quite visible on the fluorescent white papers but looks much more dramatic when it is used on non-fluorescent papers (brown craft paper, colored papers, off-white, cream, ivory, etc.). There may be some cheap white paper that does not fluoresce at all. When using Blue Ghost, do not press down hard because the paper will take a slight impression of the nib and you can read its impression if the light is angled right. Useing it in a highlighter pen is great.

  • You'll find out very very soon 😉

  • It's something I've been working on for the past few months. We're not quite ready for an announcement yet as there are lots of details to iron out, but totally in the pipeline. 😉

  • Absolutely!

  • Jim

    Any word on what the Pilot Vanishing Point LE for this year will be or when it will be released?

  • matthew

    So exciting! right now i buy it elsewhere but I would gladly get it from you even if its more expensive just for the convenience of one stop shopping.

  • Paul

    Hi Brian,

    You keep mentioning that huge amount of business books you've read. I realize this could take up a whole video on its own, but maybe you can briefly discuss the three most influential ones (to GPC)?

  • mike

    thanks for so thoroughly answering my question.there is Tim Girdler (up and coming and trained by Richard Binder) in Virginia who, may be able to work out a bulk rate for you guys and who says he does complimentary readjustments, if needed for three months. I think the volume of sales would increase. I know theres some pens I have purchased from Franklin Christoff, Binder, and Mottishaw, to avoide the hassle of having to ship stuff myself, instead of goulet (you guys are my favorite retailer). maybe im just lazier than most, But its sometimes hard to justify all the extra work when in those other guys im also supporting a retailer committed to customer service, education, etc as opposed to a faceless giant corporation like amazon. Though it does seem like its alot of work behind the scenes, and I respect your decision. In any case, I love what you guys are doing and I'm really hoping that the tomoe river that was mentioned in the comments will work out. same with Faber- Castell (which i suggest a few weeks ago to rachel – they are great pens!)

  • I feel so famous to be in a Goulet Q&A! Thanks for taking my question(s). Funny enough, the Lamy Logo was the second pen I ever bought. The first? A Safari – and a Z24 converter. Go figure. I'll be sure to give the 3776 a closer look now. (Oh, and pass my thanks again to Matt for helping me with my order flub [my fault] last week. Loving my new TWSBIs!)

  • Henry

    I know that I can use sealing wax to create a wax image on the back of a letter… but what are the advantages of using sealing wax? Why should I as a fountain pen user consider using sealing wax?

  • matthew

    Just wanted to add, I hope you'll have dots as a possible ruling. As well as grid and lines. Ideally all done in a faint grey. That would really set yours offerings apart from the other retailers. Especially the dots. And if they were available in both notepads and notebooks.

  • Tom Johnson

    Henry, I hope Brian answers this next Friday, he will have more answers than I do and I want to see what he says. Wax seals are traditional for documents going back several hundred years, thus they are part of the handwritten document experience. They are fun, and I usually use them at the end of my letters, so they won't get caught in in the post office machines. Some people get special seals for wedding or party invitations. They even make sealing wax glue guns to speed up the process of sealing a lot of envelopes. The J. Herbin sealing wax is the best I've ever used since I dabbled in it over 40 years ago. I like to use my intaglio cut sardonyx ring as my seal. I think it adds to the mood of a hand crafted document.

  • Alex at Goulet Pens

    Great to know! Thanks for that insight — I'm sure a lot of our customers will find it handy 🙂

  • Alex at Goulet Pens

    This is a GREAT idea. I'll definitely pass it along to Brian — I'm sure he'll love it just as much! Thanks, Paul.

  • Alex at Goulet Pens

    No word yet 🙁 We'll definitely keep y'all updated as we receive all the details.

  • Alex at Goulet Pens

    Great tips! Thanks, Tom!

  • Alex at Goulet Pens

    I'll make sure this gets added to the list, Henry! It's a great question!

  • Alex at Goulet Pens

    Definitely something we can look into! They do look incredible.

  • Rob


  • Poeticnook

    Would you consider carrying the re-launched wahl eversharp?

  • Jon

    I've tried Lamy nibs (which I like) and I would only want this with the XF nib. Can you make substitutions and sell the Logo with the XF nib?

  • Brooks

    Re Saving partially-used fountain pen ink cartridges – If the open end of the cartridge was sealed, I don't see a problem (other than eventual oxidation of the ink, which will occur anyway).
    The printer inkjet cartridge refill vendor I used sold a gel chunk that you taped to the empty (or refilled) ink cartridge. This kept the tiny holes from clogging from dried ink while the cartridge was stored. The gel block was flexible enough to seal even against an irregular surface.
    Anything that would seal the hole in the fountain pen cartridge (plug of rubber, bit of rubber cement, wad of wax, plain old masking tape, etc.) might work.
    Simply storing the cartridge upright in a ziplock bag (or clean, empty pill bottle) with a bit of wet paper towel might do for short term storage.

  • Freddy

    Is there any chance at all that the Goulets will carry Ink Nix, ReDuRan Special, which is just like Ink Nix, or perhaps something under the Goulet name (like your wonderful Pen Flush)? I think that for anyone who plays around with fountain pen ink this is a must-have product. While these can be found elsewhere, it would be great to be able to do one stop shopping at GPC. 🙂

  • Alex at Goulet Pens

    Will pass that on to Brian for next weeks Q&A — I'm thinking it's something we could definitely take a look into though.

  • Alex at Goulet Pens

    Great insight! Thanks, Brooks, for sharing your knowledge — definitely good to know 🙂

  • Alex at Goulet Pens

    Great Q! Will let Brian know for next week's Goulet Q&A 🙂

  • Gareth Rounding

    Metal sections also provides Z-section and C-section. If we are unable to roll-form the section you are looking for or the quantities dictate that it is not viable then we would look to at press-forming as an alternative to rolling.