Goulet Q&A Episode 63: Avoiding Inky Fingers, First Flex Pen, and Eyedroppering


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.If you’re thinking, “Hey,  this week’s Q&A looks so last week,” then you’re right. Because I traveled with my leadership team to Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership Performance Series in Nashville this week, I doubled down and filmed two back-to-back Q&As last week. But don’t worry; this Q&A is still new to you, and I’ll be covering some pen storage and cleaning basics, recommending Nib Meisters, and talking about the 2015 Copper-Orange Lamy Al-Star for the first time.

1) Nancy D.- Facebook – (4:29)
What’s the best method for filling pens without getting your fingers inky? Best way to carry pens so they don’t leak? I’ve got 3 pens going at once. Stored up? Stored down? How about when you’re NOT using them for a while? Up? Down? Horizontal?
  • what’s wrong with inky fingers? 😉
  • practice, really
  • some people use gloves!
  • really can depend on the pen, ink bottle
  • Nib up is best way to transport them
  • when not using a while, the storage varies based on who you ask
  • your pens will tell you how they want to be stored based on how quickly they’ll dry up
  • I keep all mine horizontal by default
    FP101 Pen Storage video
  • I am setting up a new pen storage unit I’m really excited about, more to come there
2) Amanda A.- Facebook – (9:57)
I’m look to get my first flex pen. What pen would you recommend?
  • Noodler’s Ahab
  • It’s kind of big, but that usually helps when controlling a flex pen for the first time
  • most reliable of the Noodler’s pens, usually
  • $20, affordable
  • SO many color options

3) Gary W.- Facebook – (12:25)

Have you ever used a Nib Meister? If so, who was he or she? Who are your favorite and recommended Nib Meisters? I’m sure you’ve met a number of them at pen shows. I’m thinking of sending one of my pens to Pendleton Brown for his BLS grinding.
  • No actually, not technically
  • I have had Brian Gray grind down a stub for me (before he started offering that) and work on my Pelikan
  • I have a pen adjusted by Mike Masuyama
  • I have a pen adjusted by Binder
  • I haven’t ever sent a pen to a nibmeister to have it adjusted for myself, personally
  • I do my own tweaking here and there, but in general I leave my pens pretty intact so that I’m familiar with them as they are (since I sell the pens I use)
  • I’ve heard pretty good things about all of the big ones: Mottishaw, Masuyama, Binder, Zorn, Pendleton, they’re all very busy!

4) Irma R.- Facebook – (18:01)

Will you be accepting preorders for the 2015 Copper-Orange Lamy Al-Star?
  • nope, don’t do preorders
  • we’ll shoot to be one of the first to get them in the US, in good quantity
  • not sure when that’ll happen yet

5) Chris R.- Facebook – (24:50)

I am very new to fountain pens and want to try more inks, what is a good low maintenance noodlers ink good for a noob?

6) Travis W.- Facebook – (28:06)

Any plans for a video description/overview of Banditapple stuff? And the non-Traveler’s Notebook Midori notebooks? You’ve carried them for a while but there’s no overview for them. I like hearing your insights on the products you carry.
  • you got me! I’ve been neglecting these
  • how about Original Crown Mill? Field Notes? heck, most paper I’ve neglected to fully review
  • this is something I need to work on, for sure
7) Stacey W.- Facebook – (32:13)
I LOVE the Goulet nibs…can you tell me which pens you carry that fit the Goulet nibs? I have placed them on a few Jinhaos, but the feed is extremely WET…any suggestions on the pens you have found that work best with Goulet nibs?
8) Mark Z.- Facebook – (34:00)
I have a basic question… When cleaning a pen, when is it clean “enough”? After using a purple ink and cleaning with a large (~6-10) number of bulb syringe flushes, I was still able to see some purple color either on my cloth or after re-dipping the nib in water a moment later. Do I need to keep flushing until completely clear (no hint of the previous color)? How many “syringefuls” does that take (5? 10? 20?) Is the answer different if you go to re-ink the pen with a different color versus shelving it as part of a pen rotation?
  • great question!
  • generally, you want it to be where all the old ink is GONE, clean until it’s totally clean
  • if you’re inking back up with the exact same ink, you don’t really have to clean much at all, just go through the motions!
  • if doing a similar color, do what you can but don’t sweat the small stuff
  • if changing colors drastically (especially dark to light color), or switching to non-compatible inks (like Baystate-to-non-Baystate!), be very thorough

9) John Y.- Facebook – (38:03)

Can the Platinum Modern Maki-e Fountain Pen – Cranes be posted? It seems like the screen printing is exposed. I’m worried about it rubbing or chipping off if I post it. Is there a clear coat on top of it or is it not recommended to post.
  • there’s an insert in the cap that I think grips the back of the pen, so there’s not a lot if any pressure on the Crane itself
  • I have the Phoenix of the same pen, and post it without too much fuss, never an issue
  • might want to play it safe, so don’t post if it’s not too much trouble to avoid

10) Jeff M.- Facebook – (39:41)

What are some examples of decent eyedropper pens? I have given up on preppys as they crack very easy. I use them for pen and ink drawing, and occasionally writing things on my sketches

11) Bill M.- Facebook – (42:57)

Does Whiteness of the Whale write legibly on black paper? If not, how does it differ from Blue Ghost?
  • no, not really at all
  • it’s kind of like milk, watery milk
  • blue ghost is completely transparent
  • WOW is milky, made to desaturate/lighten a color, like going from red to pink, purple to light purple
QOTW: From Wei L. on Facebook: What will be your (Brian’s) superhero name?Write on,
Brian Goulet

2017-12-11T14:56:54+00:00 January 23rd, 2015|Goulet Q&A|43 Comments
  • daniel

    Have you considered the type of pre-orders that John Mottishaw does? Essentially, he takes your payment info but does not charge your card until they are shipping the pen to you. So it's more like a wait list expedited by the fact that they have your payment info. That way you wouldn't be taking money for a product you don't have yet as you wouldn't charge anyone until you have the product and are ready to ship it.

  • daniel

    darn it. that's what I get for pausing the video and typing this and not waiting for the rest of answer.

  • Hi, this is Chris R. Thank you so much for telling me about the more conventional noodlers ink. The only super hero name I can think of is Mr. Mysterious Ink after hearing about the name the stain game you all play.

  • Anonymous

    I'd also recommend Dan Smith for a good job of nib tweaking for a good price and reasonable turnaround time… I love a Masuyama'd nib but I hate being without my pen for months!

  • Jules

    Brian, I dub thee "Sir Inks-a-lot" from the hidden city of Scribesville. Your superpower is identifying pens by feel while blindfolded. 🙂

  • Peter Buergin-Witt

    Yeah, Brian, I asked about the eyedropper compatibility of the Falcon a couple months back – but since I haven't gotten around to testing it myself, I can hardly blame a busy man like you for not trying it out either… I'll try to sneak one of my wife's Falcons today and will let you know at this spot when I have results!

  • connor

    I noticed you stopped selling the empty J. Herbin ink bottles. Is there a reason for this? will you have them again in the future?

  • Peter Buergin-Witt

    Update: filled a resin Falcon/black/rhodium trim with water 1/2 hr ago – no seepage so far, and the "ink" flow seems normal; did not have to apply silicone grease to seal… soon more w real ink.

  • Tom Johnson

    Connor, Goulet has not stopped selling them. The empty bottles come from the full bottles Goulet uses for filling ink sample vials. Their availability comes and goes from day to day with the sale of ink samples. Keep checking back, you will find the bottle is back in stock when they have emptied another bottle or two.

  • Peter Buergin-Witt

    Second update: filled the Falcon with Stipula "Musk Green"; holds about 3ml; lightly coated section threads w/ Goulet's silicone grease. Looks good, works fine, no leaks when carried clipped to shirt pocket for a while or in use as a sketch pen. Seems like the Pilot resin Falcon can be used in eyedropper fashion; the only potential problem I can see is that the trim ring near the end of the barrel could corrode and release something into the ink… however, if it is rhodium-plated all around or doesn't even reach into the barrel (which I assume) it should not matter. anyone joining the discussion with some input?

  • Tom Johnson

    Peter, metal plating can be iffy when it comes to corrosion. If the plating is decorative and not for corrosion protection then there might be a problem. But, does the metal trim go all the way through into the inside? If not then you should be fine. Check it in a few days if you can see it clear enough to tell if any spots of corrosion form. But, that is messy to do! If it does corrode I would dry it out well and put a nice heavy coating of pure silicone grease over the metal inside using a very long cotton swab. That should give you good protection. Some inks are pH neutral, some are acidic, some alkaline. Neutral will give you the best protection. You could test the inks by forming a cup of aluminum foil and putting a few drops of the ink into it. Check it every several days. If aluminum doesn't corrode, the metal in the pen won't either. This is a good experiment. 3 ml of ink is a lot. 10 or 12 converters full I guess. Keep us posted.

  • Tom Johnson

    Good question Kathy. I was thinking the same thing and would like to know also.

  • David

    Q&A question… I have a few piston filler pens (Lamy 2000) and I like changing inks often, does it hurt my pen to fill a little bit of ink, then just finish the process by sucking air?

  • Peter Buergin-Witt

    Hello Tom! Thanks for your reply! I could not see the trim ring metal when shining a small penlight inside the barrel of the Falcon, so I am pretty confident that it does not reach through to the inside. I PH test inks now and then, and my only off PH7 ink seems to be my fave – Rohrer and Klingner Sepia, which is a bit acidic (and therefore relegated to gold nibs…) Thanks also for the aluminum cup test tip (Goulet brass sheets would probably work as well? but why ruin a good piece of brass!) If this works, you might get another order for a Falcon soon! 🙂

  • donalda_bint

    Oooooh! Jules has set the bar high with Sir Ink-a-lot: that's good! How about 'Bulletproof Brian'? I think 'The Ink Spot' sounds mysterious but perhaps not the perfect superhero name, maybe your calling card after doing something super? How about Mr Indelible? Yeah, I'm going with Mr Indelible.

  • Maeli

    Love that you're including product links in the Q&A text, but is there any chance that you could set them to automatically open in a new tab?

  • Justin

    Hi, I was wondering if it was possible to dissemble an Omas Ogiva Alba. I was interested if that was a viable way to clean it (as opposed to filling/dumping water through the piston filler), but I don't want to mess with it myself because I love writing with it so much.

    I also have a Monteverde Invincia Deluxe in Carbon Fiber/Rose Gold for about a year and the Rose Gold section has chipped away to leave a tarnished looking brass color underneath. The black coating on the nib has begun to wear away by the slit, revealing a tiny bit of the steel underneath. Is there any way to repair any of these things beyond replacing the nib/section or should I just embrace this new "character" the pen has?

    Thanks, your entire team are always so incredible and helpful!

  • Tom Johnson

    Justin, I want to know about the Alba too. Would be great if we could, but I do not want to experiment with it.
    I have a Monteverde Charisma pen from 10 or 12 years ago, and the nib/feed slide into a housing that screws into the grip. The grip looks to be solid brass/bronze/copper and the black coating on mine is just starting to wear a bit. This metal grip gives the pen a nice weighty feel without it being a heavy pen. I don't know how to re-coat it.
    My only black nib (a Lamy Al-Star) started coming off after a year or so of use. Vigorous rubbing with a paper towel and water turned it into a shiny steel nib.

  • Neville Smith

    Hey Brian, love your work! I've scoured the internet and cannot find a definitive answer; where is the best place for a wax seal? At the bottom of the letter, fold the letter and seal on the fold, or seal the back of the envelope? What is the protocol? Love to hear your opinion. Cheers!

  • haha, it's okay. This would normally be a pretty good solution, but iffy stock levels keep us from reliably doing preorders on most new product releases. We're almost always shorted.

  • haha, I dig it 😉

  • right-o! Thanks Tom, I should have you do my Q&A's instead of me 😉

  • what Tom said!

  • that's a great question actually. I'm poking around the settings in Blogger and I don't see a way to make that happen there. Doing a Google search I'm seeing that I can monkey with the code a bit, but I want to double-check that before I try anything there. Now that our blog is showing up on our site, I have to be careful when touching code!

  • not at all! I suck air all the time, no harm done 😉

  • thanks for understanding 🙂

  • Thanks so much for jumping in here Tom.

  • thanks for all the thorough testing! This is cool to hear.

  • haha, Mr. Indelible's pretty good 😉

  • haha, that could work! go with aluminum foil instead though, that's a less precious commodity than Goulet brass 😉

  • I honestly haven't been brave enough to try taking my own Ogiva apart! I'll have to ask Omas if this is cool. I'm sorry about your Invincia Deluxe! That might be worth reaching out to Yafa about (they make Monteverde and handle warranty issues): http://www.monteverdepens.com/monteverde_Warranty.html

  • Great question! If there is a protocol, I'm not aware of it 😉 Honestly, I think most people today would be so shocked to get a letter with a wax seal on any part of it, it does't even matter! In the olden days, the wax seal would have served at tamper-resistance for a letter, that's why they used brittle wax, to make sure it wasn't broken into. These days, it's purely aesthetic, so really anywhere you think it looks good!

  • Ben

    Q&A Question: Hey Brian. I'll be traveling for 4 months in Europe by backpack, so I won't really have the opportunity to refill/clean a pen very often. That being said, I'll be writing quite a bit and I want to travel with a fountain pen. I have a Lamy 2000, TWSBI Vac-700, TWSBI 580, and a bunch of Safaris. I like dark green inks(Caran d'Ache Vibrant Green is a personal favorite) and I usually write on Clairfontaine 90g or Rhodia 80g. What would you recommend as my single pen-ink-paper combo? An ink that doesn't act up(gunk up the pen or creep a bunch on the nib) would be great. Thanks!

  • lyanda

    Would like to join the others who have asked about the paper–which journal/notebook is that?

  • Mike Winn

    Re Q #1: Inky fingers are OK with me too, but in some business settings one must not upset those unwritten codes we all learn to live with. My solution in the office is to have a Tupperware rectanguler sandwich box in which I have a small green scrubber bonded with a layer of synthetic sponge and a plastic bottle of liquid soap. I wet the sponge, add a drop of soap, and scrub before leaving the office. (I do it also not to put off students who might otherwise try writing with a pen but worry about stained fingers.)
    Re Q #7: Would you consider selling some size 4 Goulet nibs? All my larger Jinhao nibs have been swapped out for #6 Goulet 1.1mm stubs, and I wish I could do the same for my smaller Jinhao and Baoer nibs.

  • Mike Winn

    Re Q #7: Would you consider selling some size 4 Goulet nibs? All my larger Jinhao nibs have been swapped out for #6 Goulet 1.1mm stubs, and I wish I could do the same for my smaller Jinhao and Baoer nibs.

  • Inka

    Hi Brian,

    I recently saw that
    Pelican is coming out with classic 200 café crème fountain pen. I like its look and would like to get one. So my question is
    since you do sell some Pelican fountain pens, will you offer classic 200 café crème too?


  • VickNish

    i haven't tried eyedropper filling my falcon yet but i did notice on the included instruction sheet from Pilot/Namiki, it provides instructions for eyedropper filling the pen… so Pilot/Namiki actually fully supports it.

  • Margo McCord

    Artful and excellent correction from "e" to "a" for Poe ! Nice job !

  • Peter Buergin-Witt

    One final update, Brian and Tom: my wife has been using her 'eyedroppered' Falcon for over week now, and with only good experiences! So it seems to work!

  • Peter Buergin-Witt

    …indeed – you got a great team going there, Brian!

  • Peter Buergin-Witt

    …as I understood it, the eyedropper instructions apply only to the Ebonite Namiki "Emperor" series of maki-e and urushi laquered pens, not to the Pilot series of more modest pens. I believe the "Emperor" is actually sold with an eyedropper included, but I might be wrong or the info might be outdated.

  • VickNish

    you're absolutely right. i went back and re-read the insert. my mistake.