Goulet Q&A is now available as an audio podcast! Click here  for the RSS feed to use in your podcast app of choice, or click here for a direct download.


There are so many new things coming our way very soon and I am excited to tell you all a little about them. We’re launching an exclusive on the new Omas Ogiva Alba, Pilot Copper Vanishing Point 2014 LE, and Lamy Studio Wild Rubin. I also have all kinds of interesting questions this week from using writing as a de-stressor to rumors about fountain pen nibs. Enjoy!

1) Matt J.- email – (9:10)
I have made note of your particular dislike of cartridges as opposed to bottled ink. While selection & variety are surely arguments for choosing the bottle, I am curious to know if there are any technical or experiential differences to speak of.

  • color selection and cost effectiveness are definitely the biggest reasons I love bottles
  • the ink is the same in both bottle and cartridge, so no difference there
  • some pens may flow better/worse with a cartridge instead of converter (like Pilot pens before the agitator started coming in the Con-20 converters)

2) Melissa R.- Facebook – (14:16)
So there have been a few quick-selling items recently. I’m wondering, in the history of Goulet Pens, what item has been the fastest to sell out?

  • Stormy Grey was pretty ridiculous (so was Rouge Hematite when it first came out)
  • new TWSBI pens are always kind of crazy
  • Noodler’s flex pens, back before they were available regularly
  • no doubt the Noodler’s Neponset will be gone in about 5 seconds whenever it comes in

3) Mike M.- email – (21:29)
I have been into fountain pens and calligraphy for about a year now. I am also an engineering student and have recently caught the attention of Rhodia proposing them to develop an Engineer’s Paper Pad that takes well to fountain pen inks. I would love to see this product come to life and perhaps Goulet Pens could carry it at some point! Here is the link to the blog from Rhodia.

  • I have talked to Exaclair before about custom notepads/rulings and Rhodia/CF is willing to do it
  • minimum quantities are really high
  • there’d have to be significant demand
  • go over to the RhodiaDrive post and let them know if you really want this, comment here, or keep an eye out for Mike’s post on FPN

4) Kari S.- Facebook – (23:43)
I am sort of new to the hobby (I own 3 pens now :-D) and I was wondering if there is a good fountain pen history 101 resource out there that you could tell us about?

5) Ben K.- Facebook –(25:22) 

Which fountain pen/s would you recommend for drawing? Also, which ink would be best for this application as well?

6) Eric O.- Facebook – (28:26)

What does a $1,000 pen have to offer versus a $150 pen versus a $25 pen?

  • think of pens like vehicles
  • The $25 pen would be a moped
  • The $150 pen would be a Honda Accord
  • The $1000 pen would be a Bentley
  • all of them will get you where you need to go, but it’s a matter of ‘the finer things’
  • usually pens near $25 or so will be function over form, nib smoothness might be hit-or-miss, there just isn’t a lot of human touch on those products, manufactured with full automation
  • $150 pens will usually start coming with gold nibs, which is the biggest price jump right there, but also will have really nice fit and finish
  • $1000 pens will write great, often have some kind of unique or cool filling mechanism, be made of more exotic materials, have much  more hand craftsmanship, and often have a backstory to their theme, often limited in number
  • definitely a law of diminishing returns!
7) Jack T.- Facebook – (34:42)

Hi Brian–although I’ve been into the whole fp thing for some years, it’s only recently I’ve noticed how often I turn to my pens/inks/paper for de-stressing purposes–do you think or hear much about the applied psychology of writing with fountain pens…?

  • I do think about it, actually
  • the thing I love most about fountain pens is that no one has to use them, they use them because they want to
  • the very fact I’m in business shows that there is clearly some psychological benefit to using these things or else no one would (unless they were crazy, which we may be)
  • I’ve read articles on how writing things down improves your memory, increases synapses in your brain, all that kind of stuff, sure
  • can’t recall any literature I’ve read on writing and stress-relief, but I know it’s true, it works cuz I do it
  • there’s an initial stress of learning to get comfortable with your handwriting and learning to use a fountain pen, but once past that, it is a stress-reliever
8) Kevin L.- Facebook – (43:09)

Is there any going back to a pen from your past once it leaves your collection no matter how it left?

  • I haven’t yet had a pen ‘leave’ my collection!
  • I’m a bit of a hoarder, but for good reason! I always want pens for my vids
  • I’ve had products I’ve dropped from my store then carried again, though (Kaweco is one)
9) Alex S.- Facebook –(45:58)

How do you rectify a misbehaved ink? I have Noodlers Bad Blue Heron and no matter what pen i put it in, the nib creep is so bad that it leaks all over the section. I’ve tried diluting the ink with a small amount of water and it still has leaky issues. I know it’s not the pen as I’ve had this ink in other pens and other inks in this particular pen (Noodlers Ahab) and other inks don’t leak. Any advice is appreciated!

  • I don’t think it’s that something is wrong with the pen, but the pen/ink combo
  • this is a really wet/creeping ink, and the particular pen you have it in seems to be a bad combo
  • the Ahab is also a REALLY wet pen, so you’re dealing with two super-wet things here
10) Matt S.- Facebook – (48:39)

Is there a good way to prime a Platinum Preppy eye dropper fill, that will make it easier to get more stubborn inks like Noodler’s Rome Burning to start flowing smoothly? Or should I be resigned to never getting a clean ‘comparison’ writing sample for this ink?

  • ink it up, let it sit for a minute or two
  • you can hold the pen like you’re writing with it, bang your hand on the desk to force ink down
  • use a paper towel to wick ink through the feed
  • some inks just take a while to get moving, but usually are okay once a flow is established
11) Ben W.- Facebook- (51:51)

Something that initially kept me away from fountain pens was a rumor I had heard about once you use a pen, the nib is forever altered. What this meant, was that if someone else used your pen, it would ruin the nib. Could you address this and possibly where this idea originated? Thank you.

  • I’ve definitely heard this!
  • It’s total bunk, in my opinion
  • I think it’s something that people say when they don’t want to share their pen, which is fine for them
  • some people honestly don’t know how to write with a fountain pen and will screw up your nib if you let them, you have to coach them
  • the idea that the way one person writes could affect a nib (with normal use) in something as short as a person’s signature is just ridiculous, these nibs are made of METAL for crying out loud
12) Whitney B.- Facebook- (57:36)

How does using a gold nib make the writing so much smoother when there is some other alloy used as the tipping material? I know it works, I just don’t understand how.

  • tipping quality does vary, and supposedly more expensive gold nibs will have a ‘better’ tipping alloy
  • more time/hand work is given for more expensive (gold) nibs
  • the main smoothness felt has to do with the softness of the gold metal over stainless steel
    • the gold acts sort of like a shock absorber on your car, smoothing out the inconsistencies as you write
  • newbies might not notice the difference, but experienced writers probably will

Make sure to just ask me any questions what you want in the comments below and I’ll try to add it in. Be sure to check out old Q&A’s you’ve missed here, and have a great week!

Write On,
Brian Goulet