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This week we faced a mail holiday, a rare southern snow day, and an email glitch. But the roads and gremlins are now clear. And we’re excited to answer your questions and tease some cool new pens and notebooks in the latest installment of “Goulet Q&A.”

Pens/Writing: – (5:57)1) Samantha W.- Facebook – (6:00)
I’m looking to branch out into a clear demonstrator under $55. It seems like that generally means the Ahab, the Konrad, the TWSBI Diamond 580, or the Lamy Vista. Which would you pick and why? And what did I leave out? (And how can I search for demonstrators on the GPC website?!)
2) Hector Laureano- Blog – (13:47)
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.
  • that’s pushing it!
  • keep the pen close to your chest, body heat will keep it okay
  • use Noodler’s Polar inks
3) Michael P.- email – (17:06)
As a college student I managed to break my pilot metropolitan, Jinhao x450 and one safari. To be fair I only broke the clip on the metropolitan and it still writes. The Safari is inoperable and the I broke the Jinhao’s cap so it doesn’t really stay capped. Is there any other durable pens I can try?
  • these are some of the more affordable and durable pens
  • spending more doesn’t really mean more durable, you’ll have to figure out a way to take better care of them, or just keep buying these lower cost ones and replace them as needed
4) Jonathan D.-Facebook – (19:15)
I read on FPN among other places that a true stub nib has tipping material left, as opposed to an italic that has none. Are there any brands you’re aware of that offer a stub nib WITH tipping material, not just the stainless the rest of the nib is made of?
  • stub/italic doesn’t have anything to do with whether there’s tipping material or not
  • it’s more about the way it’s ground
  • stub-rounded corners, (cursive) italic- slightly sharper corners, (crisp) italic- very sharp corners
  • Check out FP101 Nib Sizes and Grinds
5) Winnie U.-Facebook – (24:41)
My husband and I will be attending the Long Island Pen Show in March. Any tips for novice pen show people?
  • check out who will be there ahead of time, get there early if you want any nib grinding done (they book up quick!)
  • check out FPN for any previous years’ walkthroughs and discussions about who else will be at the show, meet ups
  • go with a plan, and a budget in mind
  • plan to ‘do a lap’ first, spending no more than a minute at any table, make note of where you want to come back
  • early in the event = more product options, later in the event = better deals
  • take pictures!
6) Stephanie P.-Facebook – (30:59)
Where would you point a collector looking for discontinued pens? Are you guys able to track them down for special order?
  • eBay/FPN
  • We can’t get any old stuff any more than you can
7) Daniel D.-Facebook – (32:49)
Can Brian give some tips on pen hold/nib positioning for optimal line variation when using a stub or italic nib?
  • 45 degrees from paper, 45 degrees from writing line, watch for over-rotation
  • experiment a bit with angles, different nibs are ground differently, some experimentation will be in order
Paper: – (37:13)8) Jane B.-Facebook – (37:16)
I am DYING to hear more about the filofax notebooks soon to be offered…more details PLEASE!!!
  • removable pages
  • pretty okay paper, not the best but satisfactory
  • dividers, ruler
  • multiple colors, two sizes
  • lined, graph, blank
Ink: – (43:32)9) Aaron D.-Facebook – (42:36)
What is the difference between the noodlers black inks?
10) Kathie M.-Facebook – (54:046)
For those interested in playing around with ink mixing, are there any huge no no’s to be aware of?
  • mix in small batches
  • mix separately and let sit for several hours before putting in a pen
  • don’t mix Baystates with non-Baystates
  • check FPN for recipes and tips
QOTW: If you could go back and visit your past self on the first day you discovered fountain pens, what would tell yourself knowing what you know now?

Write On,
Brian Goulet