Goulet Q&A Episode 66: Cap Condensation, LAMY Pens, and Crossword Puzzles


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.It’s Friday the 13th, but this week you have good luck because I’m feeling a lot better and am really on a roll for Q&A 66. This week I talk about the Lamy CopperOrange, Lamy nibs, steel vs. gold nibs, my exercise regimen, and ink ending up in places where it shouldn’t be!

Pens/Writing: (6:33)
1) Marcus P.- Facebook – (6:36)
In a previous Q&A you recommended a number of pens that are the next step up from a beginner pen. One of the pens you recommended was the Lamy Studio, which can swap nibs with the Safari/Al-Star etc. Given that they use the same nibs, is there any noticeable difference in the writing experience, and if so, what would contribute to that? A different feed, or…?
  • same nib/feed, it’s going to write identically
  • only difference is pen bodies/aesthetics!
  • goes for ALL Lamy pens, except Lamy 2000
  • two Studios have 14k gold nibs which will write a little different (wetter)
2) William S.- Facebook – (9:35)
Since I can’t use a fountain pen on multi-part forms, what are some good Goulet alternative writing instruments that would suit a casual business environment, but not look like the pen at the dollar store.
3) Derek M.- Facebook – (12:22)
I’m a crossword puzzle addict, so I often find myself writing on newsprint. Is there a preferred nib/ink combination that you recommend for this?
4) Martin S.- Facebook – (13:14)
I’m wondering if you can achieve the same experience from that of a gold nib in a steel nib.
  • smoothness, absolutely
  • softness, not really
  • great article called “In Praise of Steel Nibs” by Brian Gray of Edison Pens
5) Jesper B.- Facebook – (16:50)
What pen in your Collection is your favorite to write with, and what pen in your Collection is maybe not the best writer, but very nice to look at?
Paper: – (22:04)6) Mark Grago- YouTube – (22:08)
What is a better choice of(stationary) paper to compose letters on, Clairefontaine or G Lalo? I’m having a difficult time deciding.(For only letter writing, I use either a Twisbi Diamond 580 or a Monteverde Invincia. Broad nib for both.)

  • love them both for different reasons
  • Lalo: HATE the feeling of it while writing, looks amazing and feels great in the hand though
  • Triomphe: fantastic writing experience, very bright and sometimes harsh on the eyes with the wrong (bright) ink
  • both will perform really well with your pens and any ink
  • Lalo: better for the recipient, Triomphe: better for the writer!
Ink: – (25:47)
7) Samantha M.- Facebook – (25:55)
As a huge J. Herbin 1670 series ink fan, I was excited to see a post and video on fountain pen network about the ocean blue now having the same gold sparkles as the stormy grey and rouge hematite. When will you be carrying the sparkly version of this?
  • the cat’s out of the bag here
  • yup, it’s coming, not sure when, still waiting on the word
  • shouldn’t be too too long, hopefully less than a month but no firm ETA yet
8) Steve K.- Facebook – (28:07)
How much could I depend upon the Noodler’s Eel series of inks to help with railroading and skipping? I know they are lubricated inks, and I have a few pens that are “stubborn” (in particular, a Pilot Custom 912 with a MUSIC nib when I try to flex it). Or are there any other inks you would recommend to take care of these kinds of issues as well.
  • Custom 912 music isn’t a flex nib, not like the Noodler’s Neponset is
  • Music nibs are generally not flexible, Noodler’s kind of broke the mold there
  • In general though, yes lubricated inks like the Noodler’s Eel inks can help increase the flow with drier pens. To what degree will vary based on the pen, though
9) Di M.- Facebook – (30:37)
Is there anything that can be used to “set” non-waterproof inks– like how hairspray can keep pastels/chalk from smearing? I get a little nervous using some inks to address envelopes, fearing what may happen in the dear old USPS.
  • candlesticks
  • there are products made specifically for this purpose, what it’s called I can’t remember
10) Sabina T.- Facebook – (32:05)
Glad you’re better, Brian! What’s a good dry-ish ink (blue or blue-black) to use in a real gusher of a pen, for a more moderate flow? Is the “lubricated” filter selection on your website set up to answer this type of question, or does that have to do with another ink property? Thanks!
  • GouletPens.com doesn’t really have a way to look up ‘dry’ inks yet, though the new reviews will give that as a rating so the more reviews come in, the better we’ll be able to tell that
  • lubricated inks are made mostly for lubricating piston pens, but they do also increase ink flow
  • stay away from lubricated inks in your wet pens!
  • Pelikan 4001 is the driest ink I know
Sealing Wax: – (35:15)
11) @StephaniePyne87- Twitter – (35:22)
Thinking about trying our some sealing wax samples soon.  Approximately how many seals would 1 sample stick make?
  • I actually tested this years ago in this video from April 2010!
  • oh, the camera work! yikes!
  • J. Herbin advertises 7 seals per stick, but I got 25 or so out of one
  • 10-20 is probably most reasonable, it will depend on your seal and how much you put on!
12) Marcus P.- Facebook – (37:08)
Do you know where you can get a custom seal (i.e. have your own design on the seal) for use with sealing wax?
  • Atelier Gargoyle (no affiliation) has lost-wax casting, others I’m not sure
  • two ways to do it: lost wax (deep seals, high cost) and laser engraved (shallow seals, low cost)
Business: – (38:24)13) Swivel888- YouTube – (38:28)
Were you and Rachel married already when you started the company or it just blossomed along the way. (Sorry what a corny question.)

  • yes, we were married in 2006 and started our business in the first form in 2007
  • GouletPens.com as you know it today started in 2009
  • we’re 8 years married now, 13 years together, spend every day together
Personal: – (39:24)14) Gary W.- Facebook – (39:27)
I don’t know if this is going to be an inappropriate question, or too personal in nature. If so then you don’t have to answer. I was really curious as to what your exercise regimen was and lifestyle changes that brought you to lose so much weight. Perhaps you could share at least what exercises you did and how often.

  • I’d tried lots of stuff before, mainly weight lifting and running
  • never had diet under control, would bulk up, eat more, get bigger, etc
  • used MyFitnessPal app
  • cardio was my answer, and cycling is my love
  • rode bike 20+ miles every day, combined with diet for 1.5 years
  • kept that up until our new site launched in Nov. and that put a wrench in things
  • now I’m doing a whole lot less, but sleeping more
  • weight has crept up a tad, but I’m getting that back down
  • exercise now 2-3 days a week
Troubleshooting: – (41:48)
15) Justin Viger- YouTube – (41:53)
Does the Pilot Custom 823 have the same problem with the ink in the grip as the Custom 74?
  • if it does, you’d never know it b/c it’s opaque!
  • Custom 74 “problem” is purely aesthetic

16) Andy P.- Facebook – (43:08)

I have a TWSBI 580 and see in the cap that condensation forms. I thought maybe it’s because I had it in my shirt pocket and the body heat caused it, however. When in my bag I see there’s still beads of condensation in the cap. What should I do, if anything?
  • don’t sweat it unless it starts to become a problem (getting on the grip of your pen)
  • could be due to being shaken around in your bag, keep it nib-up if possible
  • could be caused by changing temperatures, especially in winter
17) Lisa S.- Facebook – (44:27)
I have a Platinum cool pen crystal clear fountain (I use a converter with it) While I absolutely love the pen, it feels like I’m always opening it up using the converter to send more ink down into the feed instead of it doing so on its own. Otherwise, my writing/ ink flow misfires like I’m out of ink. (Am I doing something wrong?) I have not had to do this with my Lamy or Pilots, which is why I’m curious.
  • Give it a good cleaning (maybe disassemble it, like in this vid)
  • try a different ink, see if it still does it
  • not something I’ve heard happening a lot with the Cool
  • could be a blockage in the nib/feed (cleaning and tine flossing could help)
QOTW: What are your Valentine’s Day plans?  – (46:16)

Write On,
Brian Goulet
2017-12-11T15:08:35+00:00 February 13th, 2015|Goulet Q&A|31 Comments
  • Pearce Barringer

    Question for next week!

    I know a lot goes on behind the scenes at Goulet in order to make everyone happy. Is their anyway you could show a video tour of the Goulet Pen Company's building? Would love to see what all goes on behind the website. Thanks!

  • Dr. Moby

    Thanks for another great Q&A! I've had a tortured relationship with Crane paper for years, and your take on the "self-sacrifice" of the G. Lalo helped me understand it—that cotton-fiber stuff is so pretty, but just not as happy to write on. And I'm SO excited for that J. Herbin sparkly ocean goodness!
    To answer the QOTW: well, I've been married almost 14 years, and our 4th child will turn 2 months old this weekend, so…I'm going to harvest ice at a living historical farm in the morning, shovel snow with my kids in the afternoon, clean out some pens once my hands thaw (kids will join in, too), and probably sit down to a nice drink with my wife after the kids are in bed.

  • StephaniePyne87

    Thanks for the Q&A! SO excited about the update on J. Herbin Ocean Blue! Gold flecks would be STUNNING! Only thing that would be even prettier may be silver flecks! Just dreaming, though. =] Sounds like they are already in the works.

    QOTW? We celebrated today with a Coffee date, and gift exchange before dinner. I got my first Flex Pen, and he got private golf lessons! Then we played with pens while watching this video! (Q&A is the favorite part of our week.)

    And about custom seals! I have been browsing Etsy, there are a few shops that carry TONS of designs, and have the option for customized stamps! Check them out! I just searched "wax seals."

    PS: Q&A suggestion, it would be fun to go "on location" in another part of the warehouse once in a while. Maybe this is a way you can integrate some of the other team members you were mentioning? But, I totally understand if that would interrupt the daily operations. Maybe a "day in the life" or virtual tour video?

    • Brian – love the "on location" idea. Might be a great way for us to meet a couple of GPC people without too much terror and disturbance to their work.

  • Waski_the_Squirrel

    I really appreciate the closeups. I started doing them in my own pen videos when I switched cameras, and it really helped, even though it added a lot to my editing time. Thanks for doing that.

    By the way, two products that I'm excited about are the 1670 Blue (I never felt much excitement about that ink before) and the Lamy Al-Star Orange. I love the looks of that pen!

    As for Valentine's Day: I'm single. However, I will be attending and photographing the boys' basketball game at the high school where I teach. Does that count? Who knows, that special lady may be there among the fans of the opposing team…

  • David Thompson

    For the question by Di. M. on "fixing" an ink, I would buy a can of workable fixative from the local art supply house. It's a spray on treatment that will "set" art without substantially affecting the look. I used to use it all the time when I was a drafter (many, many years ago). See: http://amzn.to/1CqqAoB for an example.

  • Starchix

    I really appreciated the link to Brian Gray's blog post about steel vs gold nibs. You have probably covered this in multiple blogs/videos over time, but this was a clear overview that cleared up a few things for me. I love my two gold-nib Pelikans, but until now wondered why I didn't just hate all those Lamys, my Monteverde, TSBI 580, etc like I 'should' have. LOL My curiosity is aroused — I am going to sit down and do my own gold vs steel flex/softness test this weekend. Fun.

    Re your QOTW. my husband and I had a Valentine's Day smooch this morning while waiting for coffee….. I know, very romantic. Maybe a wee box of chocolates will come home this evening, but it's ok if not. Many years ago we made the decision to consciously observe Valentine's Day all year long, when we share Sweetheart Date Day every Thursday. Both of us have it off, and we spend the day together — starting with a hike nearby, often carrying a snack and hot beverage (this time of year), followed by errands around town, sometimes a movie or early dinner. Hiking obviously isn't for everyone, but we met in our college hiking club 45+ years ago, and we still love getting out in the mountains, forest and desert together. We are fortunate to live in a place with all three of those things all around us. And we find that, no matter how busy we are in our separate work and social lives, that regular time together, spent doing something we have loved since childhood, in beautiful natural places, is am amazing re-bonding and reminder of our love and gratitude for one another in our lives.

  • Julie

    As to William S.'s multi-part form problem, I am not convinced that he can't use a fountain pen for them. I don't know about modern nibs, but I looked up old fashioned manifold nibs, and they were used for multi-sheet carbon copies. They are extremely firm, in fact they are rigid, and meant to be used for bearing down hard. I, therefore, don't think they will be easily sprung, if at all, using them for what William wants to do. There are fine and medium manifolds available from Esterbrook, and possibly other manufacturers. He would need to get a vintage pen, which would be a lever fill one, but be able to use a fountain pen, if he wants to. I find myself thinking that a ballpoint pen or a rollerball might also tear the top sheet, which was a possible problem mentioned. In the end, it is up to William, but I think that an Esterbrook with a manifold nib is something he shouldn't dismiss as a possibility.

  • Scott W

    Question for next Week.

    I noticed another online shopping site had the Iroshizuku line of inks available in a 15ml size do you have plans to carry this size?

  • GimmeeCookiee

    Q for Q and A: Congratulations on (almost) reaching 20000 subscribers! Which youtube channels do you (or other team members) personally enjoy watching (Pen related or otherwise)?

  • Diana

    Sorry – this comment ended up in the Conklin pen page somehow. It belongs here: J. Herbin does sell a converter for that rollerball. I own four of them. I thought I bought them from you years ago. It will not convert to an eyedropper because of the holes in the top. Been there tried that, messed up a shirt.

    Clearly I love this Q & A because I listen to it every week while I work on my art. I even go back and binge listen to the whole list occasionally. Love the new organized format. Would love it even more if you had stuff ready. I know some of it is off the cuff but you searching for something and not finding it to show is a let-down on this end. Sometimes I think, "Dude! You knew you were going to talk about that pen/ink/paper!"

    Keep writing on. I'll keep listening and sending people your way.

  • Brooks Martin

    For #12 Marcus P – Another seal maker with a good rep on FPN is Dexter in the UK. I've not purchased anything from them, but they do beautiful work:

    For simple, or experimental seals, you can use a heat-setting, plastic "clay". You can get this at most craft stores. I've made a couple seals, using a toothpick to cut my letter in the clay. Nothing elaborate, just a flex-type initial, but I was happy with the results. I drew the letter on thin paper, then flipped it over so as to see the letter in reversed format (which I then copied/cut into the clay).

  • Eric Bethard

    Brian, What size of bike do you ride? Road bike, Mountain Bike or other? If you are ever thinking about upgrades or need cycling advice, drop me a line.

  • Mary Bucklew

    Brian, I have watched your videos where you disassemble the various nibs/feeds/barrels to clean the various pens. Up until I discovered GPC, I had no idea that pens could be cleaned by anyone other than a Pen Doctor. I have a variety of nice pens from when I started collecting them about 20 years ago – everything from Cross and Waterman to Mont Blanc and Montegrappa – and never once have I tried to disassemble the nib/feed section from the barrel of the pen. Many of these older vintage writing instruments have lever feeds or fill from the bottom of the barrel/piston feed? Are all pens unscrewable? Or is it very specific to each pen? Needless to say, if there isnt a converter then the pen has NEVER been cleaned thoroughly since I've owned it. I flush the pens that are flushable, but never have I taken them apart the way I see you do on the videos. Should I attempt it or is it just as possible that these pens are glued together, and trying to twist the feed off will break the pen? Help!

  • Tom Johnson

    Mary, I would never try to disassemble a pen unless I knew how it was done. You can go to Fountain Pen Network, register (free) and ask for all kinds of help. Or search thousands of threads to find out how to disassemble a certain pen. FPN has something like 80,000 members and individual forums for all types of vintage or new fountain pens. A search might turn up just what you are looking for, or individuals who specialize in restoring vintage pens.

    These vintage lever pens are disassembled by people who know how to do it safely. There are people who replace the rotted sacs in the lever pens. I know sometimes a heat gun us used. But I would never experiment unless it did not matter if you ruined your pen. Not sure it is really needed just to clean out a pen. I bought a small inexpensive ultrasonic cleaner that I use when I feel that flushing with pen flush and a bulb syringe might not be enough. It really clears out the most minute crevices and recesses quickly.

  • Hector Laureano

    Hi Brian!

    I have a question about carrying pens around during the winter months. I'm currently living in Boston and we've had quite the winter, seven feet of snow and wind chills hitting -25. I usually like to carry a pen on my person but these cold temps have had me second guessing doing so. I walk one mile to and from work and am curious if a pen and its ink exposed to these temps for this length of time could be bad for the pen. Thanks to you and your team for keeping or cold New England a bit warmer with all these great videos!

  • nickdanny

    good post..v nice.
    gifts for men

  • Mary Bucklew

    Thanks, Tom. My suspicion is the same as yours, that twisting them apart will be a disaster. I may call Fahrney's in DC, that is where I purchased most of my collection (not the lever pulls) and the pen doc there can add his thoughts. But the FPN is also a good lead. Thanks again.

  • I appreciate the offer! I have a Giant Yukon mountain bike (I don't ride that much) from college, but my main bikes are a Fuju Gran Fondo 2.0 and Scattante CFR Comp. I ride a pretty good amount, about 4,000 miles a year.

  • cool, thanks for sharing!

  • What Tom said! I only take apart pens that I've either seen other people take apart, or are inexpensive/replaceable enough where I feel okay scrapping it if I break it. With the pens you're describing, I'd make sure you have some tutorial you've found about the specific model showing you how to take it apart before you just go for it. Most pens made today are more made to be disassembled, I find.

  • Thanks Diana. I hear ya, I know it's a let down. Truth be told, I'm spread too thin right now and just can't prep like I need to when I plan to show 20+ pens. The ones I was searching for were ones that I didn't have planned to talk about, but ones I thought of as I was shooting the vid, which is why I didn't have them planned out. I take about 2-3 hours to plan each vid before I shoot it, and that's really all I can afford until I get some help from my team (which is coming). Next time I'll just mention the pen and not bother searching for it.

  • Absolutely! These are coming in to the US soon, we'll have them as soon as we can possibly get them. We were originally told they'd be coming in January, that's obviously not the case. We're still waiting to hear what's up with that.

  • Aw! You and your husband sound adorable 🙂 Rachel and I have the same kind of thing going on, living out each day with love. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Jenni and I will be experimenting with the zoom/editing stuff here in the coming weeks. I'm glad you like it though, it's a total proof of concept right now.

  • I asked them for silver flecks, that would have been amazing 😉 But I'll take gold! Aw, you incorporated me into your V-day plans! I'm honored 🙂 Thanks for sharing about Etsy, I didn't even think to check there! We're toying with the idea of different locations, I'll think on that.

  • Yup, laid paper and cotton paper are pretty similar in terms of suffering 😉 But it's worth it for the end result…sometimes! That's cool about your kids helping clean your pens, that's raising them right!

  • We've been asked about this a lot! I'm not opposed to it, I just want to be very intentional about doing it. Gimme some time, I'll think on it some more.

  • Amber

    Don't hate on your old-school videos! Your newer ones are great, and I respect how much work you and your team put into them, but I admit that sometimes I miss that down-to-earth realness that comes from a guy, whatever camera he happens to have on hand, and the passion to share what he's learning about writing. In a way, those old videos are kind of like the difference between dashing off a nice handwritten letter vs. the slickness of an email. You can see the wobble of the lines maybe, or the misspelled word crossed out, but those things just add value to the personal connection. Again, I still love your new stuff, but feel good about the old stuff too!

  • Randal C

    Hey, Brian, regular watcher of Goulet Q & A here. Feel almost all of your statements are right on. But a bit of amplification is needed once in a while. A Lamy Safari is not the same as a Lamy Studio. Yes, the two pens use the same feed and nib, write a lot alike. But the grip on the Safari is triangular and causes some writers trouble, the Studio grips are round and either rubberized or smooth stainless steel. So the writing experience is not the same. Although I have multiples of both pens and love them both.

    Keep up the good work!

  • Eric Bethard

    Hi Brian.

    Let me know what size stem you use (length, rise and clamping diameter). I may have a nice present for you. Probably more for the Fuji or the Scattante. Send me a message on Facebook or to my email (I have an account with Goulet Pens) with the details.