This week is episode 42, and there’s all kinds of crazy stuff that’s been going on this week! We’ve hired 3 new Customer Care folks that we start soon, and we’re so incredibly excited about them. We’ve gotten in a slew of new products, too, like the Goulet exclusive Monteverde Tool Fountain Pen in Red, the Platinum Nice, Noodler’s Flex Nibs (sold individually), Platinum 3776 Chartres Blue and Bourgogne that now have the music nib available, a couple of new Organics Studio inks, the Sheaffer 100 Ferrari Rubber Tire Tread, and some new Leuchtturm and Original Crown Mill stationery. Yowza! Some of this stuff we didn’t really know was coming so soon, so we’ve been slammed getting them listed on our site and taking pictures of them all. It’s been a lot of fun.

I also got a ton of fantastic questions, it was killing me to have to limit my Q&A this week. Otherwise, I could have easily done a 3-hour vid ;) Thanks to all of you who asked, here are the questions that I felt I could best answer this week:

1) Joseph Q.- Facebook (7:15):

What is the purpose of a music nib? 

  • couple of ?’s about music nibs
  • probably because of Noodler’s Neponset coming out
  • ‘true’ music nibs have 3 tines, two slits for increased ink delivery
  • essentially a glorified stub nib
  • intended for writing music, fat notes and thin flags
  • these days, they’re really just stubs
  • Noodler’s one is the first flex music I’ve seen or heard of
2) Rob B./Tim K.- Facebook (10:15):
Have you folks at The Goulet Pen Company thought about designing your own pen?
  • oh sure, all the time
  • it’s always on the table, it’s just a matter of when/how
  • make in-house, outsource
  • overseas? American?
  • Edison Nouveau pens
3) Scott R.- Facebook (12:57):
Are there any rules if thumb about relative nib sizes? Like, do certain manufacturers consistently run larger or smaller? Do nibs from, say, Germany or Japan tend to be wider or narrower than the same size nibs from elsewhere?
  • Japanese are typically ground finer in the EF and F nibs than European (German)
  • M and B nibs are usually fairly comparable
  • varies by pen, check Nib Nook for comparison of specific pens

4) @wright96d- Twitter (15:15):

Could you imagine your life now without GPC? What do you think you’d be doing? 

  • Can’t imagine it!
  • Rachel would be fine, very successful
  • I would be who knows where!
  • Leading up to GPC in current form, I was considering being an electrician! Couldn’t stomach the regulation
  • very serendipitous events led me where I am
5) Henry- Ink Nouveau (19:14):

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?

  • it’s cool :)
  • originally, it was to seal letters shut and act as a security measure
  • now, it’s just for aesthetics
6) Steve B.- Facebook (22:02):

Can I give my 2-year old a fountain pen and which is your recommendation? Are there any kid-safe inks? (Washable and most importantly non toxic)

  • I have a two year old, wouldn’t give her a fountain pen!
  • it’s up to you
  • no inks are truly ‘kid-safe’, in marketable terms
  • there’s actually a fair amount of red tape to call anything kid-safe
7) Tricia C.- Facebook (24:43):

Would it be possible to pay extra for fuller samples of ink? I don’t want to buy a whole bottle, but maybe 5 ML for twice the price?

  • unfortunately no, but we get asked about this a lot
  • we do up full bottles at a time for samples
  • we have just under 600 ink colors right now
  • think of how many samples that adds up to that we’re preparing
  • any change to the ink volume would double that
  • just not logistically feasible
  • 2ml was very strategic when we first started doing ink samples
  • it’s enough ink to get a good feel for it, but much more and we’d have to start charging more so that it would not be as easy to try a larger variety of colors
  • the concept of samples was never meant to be ‘small bottles’, but just enough to get a really good feel for the color
8) Mary B.- email (29:35):
You and Rachel manage a business and a family, and have all these delightful writing tools to play with. How much writing are you able to do, other than product lit and video scripts (if you script them)? 
  • Time is much more limited than it used to be
  • when the company first started I had much more time to play with all our products, but I also had far less experience with them
  • these days, I have a really good feel, intuition, and experience is on my side
  • full in-depth reviews take a tremendous amount of time, which is why I haven’t been doing quite as many of those lately
    • these often take me 4-6 hours of preparation
  • Quick Looks are much simpler, 1-2 hours of total prep and recording time
  • videos take me roughly 30 times the amount of time to prep them than the final recorded time
  • I don’t really script my videos, often I bulletpoint them to keep them concise and make sure I get specific information accurate
  • example: Q&A I prepare the night before I record, usually takes me about 1-2 hours to prep and bulletpoint out what I will say, you see the notes in the Ink Nouveau blog post
  • Videos aside, I write with fountain pens pretty much exclusively, so every day I’m using multiple pens and inks for my note taking, brainstorming, etc
  • I often ink up and use the newer pens we got in, ones I plan to review, or ones we’re considering carrying
9) Jacob W.- Facebook (34:47):

I know that you tend to gush over the Pilot Custom 74 medium nib, so I got one as we’ll…and let me say that it is everything you hyped it up to be. However, you never really talk about the Pilot Custom 823 (although I hear people saying that it is the best pen in their collection). I was wondering if you liked it and if it was a noticeable improvement from the 74. Thanks!

  • I have and use my Custom 823 a lot
  • I do really like it, it’s similar to my Custom 74
  • my Custom 74 at this point is so broken in and familiar to me that it’s just like ‘going home’
  • the one thing I don’t like about the Custom 823 is the unscrewing of the back knob, but it’s really not that big of a deal
  • recently used both Custom 74 and 823 for note taking during our Customer Care job interviews, and I left both pens uncapped for over an hour with intermittent note taking, and they didn’t dry out with conventional inks, I was impressed
10) Fred R.- Facebook (37:12):

Any news on the TWSBI Eco? I have a Goulet gift card and that is what I’m holding out for.

  • the pen’s been pushed out several times
  • we don’t have a definite date at this point, but we’re told ‘fall 2014′
11) Leslie H.- Facebook (37:58):

OK…still would love to know: are all 1.1 stubs the same? and which do you (and staff prefer)? I have no complaints with my Lamy but i am having trouble on downstrokes with my Edison. Do you recommend TWSBIGoulet or another brand. 

  • all are not the same, but they’re all fairly similar
  • pretty much all nibs labeled as italics coming from pen manufacturers are true stubs, rounded edges and not crisp at all
    • crisp italics would surely generate a lot of returns
  • I’m sorry for the Edison trouble! Reach out to us at if you got it from us, or contact Edison directly
  • Goulet and TWSBI are made by Jowo (pronounced Yo-vo, same company that makes Edison nibs), but feed and the way the nibs are adjusted may be slightly different
12) Kevin L.- Facebook (42:01):

Is there a type of paper that your fountain pen should avoid at all costs due to dire consequences?

  • nothing quite that dramatic
  • newspaper can be more of a problem
  • really really cheap/absorbent papers can get fibers in the tines, but it doesn’t cause real harm
    • just floss the tines with a brass sheet, clean the pen regularly
Sorry to everyone whose questions I didn’t answer, I’m keeping them all and they may resurface for a future one! Be sure to check out any old Q&A’s you’ve missed here. Next week I’ll be doing another Open Forum, so be sure to ask away in the comments below. Have a great week!
Write On,
Brian Goulet