Goulet Q&A Episode 61: FP-Friendly Planners, Freezing Ink, and Pilot Gold Nibs

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Welcome to the first Q&A of 2015. With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I missed a few episodes toward the end of 2014, but I’m recharged and ready to answer all your fountain pen questions. This chilly winter week, I’ll fittingly tackle a question about freezing inks, as well as talk about air bubbles in converters and our shipping policies. OK, let’s do this!

1) Cody M.- Facebook – (4:16)
What’s your recommendation for a day planner refill that’s fountain pen friendly?

2) @StephaniePyne87- Twitter – (7:40)
As long as the bottle doesn’t burst, and the ink fully thaws, does freezing damage ink in anyway?

  • Not particularly
  • Can’t say that for every single ink because I haven’t tried it, but the ones I know are unaffected

3) Kari S- Facebook – (9:39)
As I fill my Lamy converter it seems to have a lot of air bubbles in it. After a while the ink settles and I am a bit shy of a filling (it doesn’t fill up like it used to). I make sure the nib etc. is submerged into the ink bottle before twisting the top of the converter to fill it. Is there anything else I can do or should I look into purchasing a new converter?

  • Some inks just do this, honestly! Just try filling several times
  • can also turn pen upside down and compress converter to let air bubbles out
    • use a paper towel around the nib when doing this! it splatters

4) Kyu K.- Email – (12:27)
I love my Pilots (Metropolitan, Kakuno and Prera) and want to jump to a gold-nib. But there are a lot in a similar price range: Vanishing Point, E95S, Stargazer, Falcon, Custom74. Which would you recommend as a first gold-nib pen, and why?

  • all fantastic pens
  • maybe avoid the Falcon unless you know what you’re getting into
  • Vanishing Point is definitely the most popular and is super-practical, that’d be my pick
  • though I LOVE the Custom 74!

5) SUNisMAD. john- YouTube – (16:40)
I’m looking for a blood red ink? Any recommendations? I like to write horror stories and i want them to look creepy on paper.

6) Jacob W.- Facebook – (17:53)
Will you ever be able to offer free shipping? It’s so had to justify a smaller purchase of a bottle of ink or 2 when I know there will be another 5 dollars added to the end.

  • there is no such thing as free shipping, you always pay for it somehow
  • about half of online retailers do free shipping, so it makes sense to ask!
  • We’ve tried it, esp. last summer with almost a two month run with it and ran the numbers to see if it made a difference in 1) people buying more or 2) attracting new customers
  • conclusion: we lost a LOT of money doing it, so if we did it ongoing, we’d need to make it up somehow
  • 3 things in business: price, quality, service, you get to pick two of them, the third always suffers
  • we try to make shipping as economical as possible, and shipping (in the US anyway) is flat once it hits Priority so you’re incentivized to save up and buy more at once to save on shipping
    • this helps us a lot as we have a very ’high touch’ process with handwritten notes, quality checking, packing, etc

7) Jimmy Lambert- YouTube – (27:19)
Hey Brian, I was looking at the Lamy Studio in Wild Rubin. Its a limited edition but i was confused on how limited it is, do you know how long they are being produced for? or how many copies they are producing?

  • No exact number that I know, but they’re usually around for about a year
  • sometimes Lamy does more than one run, it’s hard to say
  • first time I know they’ve done a steel and 14k option on one SE pen, could affect availability of one of the nib types

8) Liam B- Facebook – (31:40)
Are aerometric converters, such as the Con 20 in the Pilot E95S, more difficult to clean than piston converters?

  • yes and no
  • basically, take it off and shake it, and you’re good
  • is harder to flush the pen, yes, but just use a bulb syringe

9) Robert R.- Facebook – (36:24)
Would you consider doing a Lay Buy (what we call it in Australia) (aka. layaway) system for more expensive products where you put a deposit down and pay for the products full amount over a few weeks (months) before receiving the product?

  • Really not interested in doing this
  • I’m not looking to be in the ‘debt collection’ business, it goes against my values of only buying things you can afford

10) Craig W.- Facebook – (39:16)
Can you recommend a specific pen or nib that is extremely flexible loads lots of ink and med to broad?

11) Owen B.- Email – (43:26)

I am new to fountain pens and enjoying the medium nib Pilot Metropolitan I bought from you guys but now I’m also interested in trying flex and italic nibs. For someone on a budget would you recommend buying 2 cheaper pens (1 italic, 1 flex) or would I be better served buying a pen that cost a little more and has replaceable nibs then buying italic and flex nibs for it? Is there even a moderately priced pen that offers that?

QOTW: What New Years resolution have you actually kept so far, 9 days in?

Thanks so much for spending time with me this week, I really appreciate it! Be sure to check here if there are any old Q&A’s that you missed.

Write on,
Brian Goulet

2017-12-11T14:55:29+00:00 January 9th, 2015|Goulet Q&A|11 Comments
  • VickNish

    missed Q&A's these past couple weeks. glad your family is on the mend.

    i'm torn between the falcon soft fine and custom heritage 912 FA right now. i hear that the 912 FA is super flexible, but the feed can't keep up for western flex writing. it was designed to simulate japanese brush writing, which is all short slow intentional strokes. i look forward to your video review on the 912 when you do get around to it before i make a final decision.

  • Anon

    Is there anything in particular you guys recommend ordering with ink, that because of how it all gets packed together, helps minimize the chance of the ink freezing/bottle breaking? Is it better to make bigger orders during the winter if you live in a cold climate? Not that I'm looking for an excuse to order more stuff or anything….really 😀

  • Mitchell Weinberg

    Could you elaborate on why Filofax is such a poor product?

  • Robert Hancy

    Hello Brian ~ would you please let us know what the differences between the materials that are used to create pens (celluloid, acrylic, ebanite) and which may be a better substance than the others…in your humble opinion?

  • Eva Yaa Asantewaa

    I love Diamine Oxblood. For the fresh blood look, though, how about De Atramentis Ruby Red? Really like that red and would buy it again. I have a sample of Red Dragon but have not tried it yet. Wishing good health to you and your folks, Brian, in the New Year.

  • Mike Winn

    And while you're mentioning brilliant reds, don't forget Noodler's Nikita (named after Chairman Kruschev–a major Red).

  • Jeff

    I have a question: I love my Lamy CP1: like your review says: straight lines, unassuming, a great work horse pen. It's my daily driver. I can use it at work and no one thins anything of it.

    Here's the questions: (1) are there any other pens as minimalist as the CP1 out there? (2) If so, do any of them have a finer nib than the german EF?

  • Mike Winn

    Brian, concerning Q. 9, I fully support your decision not to set up a lay-away system, but I wonder if it represents a "debt" for the buyer. Instead, I suggest that it would impose a debt on you–in that you would be holding someone's money, incurring a responsibility to return it if they changed their minds. And you would take on additional expenses keeping track of it, corresponding about it, inquiring if the buyer stopped corresponding, etc., etc.

  • sean

    Dave Ramsey's advice on living debt-free seems very sensible and I agree with a lot it. But he himself sounds like a paranoid nutjob. Spying on employees, bullying them, firing people on the basis of hearsay that turned out to be inaccurate, and even pulling a loaded gun on an employee (apparently to teach him a lesson about gossiping.) I hope the Goulet Pen Co. doesn't aspire to be run in any way similar to Ramsey's company.


  • Chemicalfencer

    To answer your question of the week: One of my resolutions is to lose 10 kg, I have joined the gym and booked many sessions with a PT. I'm now aching in places I didn't know I had. Another resolution is to improve my penmanship – working on that in meetings and during inspections. The wife and I had a great day out at the MIA (in Doha – where we live), not quite a date night but it is a start, need to arrange a night very soon (once work gives me a day off). Good strong start I think!!

  • What happened to the percentage discount for bulk ink purchases? I don't see it on the website anymore – an upgrade bug or was it a temporary experiment like free shipping?