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. 

Welcome to Episode 73 of Goulet Q&A! I’m talking about some new video projects, groovin’ with the new media team, and working on launching some fun new products. I’m answering questions on how nib sizes affect how pens write, the first Goulet pen ever purchased, ways to prime a hard starting eyedropper. I’m also demonstrating with a new specialty pen that you can make yourself! Get ready for the show…

If you’re interested in the pattern for the knitted pen featured in this video, be sure to check it out here!



Pens/Writing- (5:32)
1) Matt L.- Facebook- (5:32)
Out of all the nibs you have ever tried which is your favorite?
2) Chris R.- Facebook(8:25)
What gives a nib its number size and what does the size tell us about the writing experience. I was looking at the m1000 and thinking that is a lot of extra expensive material.
  • # size correlates to the mm distance of the nib from the two curved parts at the base of the nib
  • the higher the number, the bigger the nib
  • the size nib doesn’t necessarily mean it will write better or worse, purely by that designation
  • Other factors that matter with a nib’s size:
    • springiness
    • flow (feed design)
    • smoothness of grind
    • how well it’s tuned
    • material the nib is made of
    • shape of the nib (especially the wings)
    • length of the slit
3) Sue M.- Facebook- (12:25)
Does the length of the nib make a difference in the writing experience? I’ve noticed that I have one nib that is much longer than the others, and that pen is especially tiring to write with for any length of time.
  • length of nib doesn’t necessarily mean anything, except that it’s usually on a bigger pen
  • the bigger (really the heavier) the pen, the more tiring it is to write with
4) Vlad Yarotsky- YouTube– (15:36)
What are you thoughts on ink rollers (ink balls)? Why so little of them are made? Does any of manufacturers offer different ball sizes? Exchangeable tip assemblies in case it will wear out (Noodler’s had those, what about others)? What inks are not suitable for them? Why did Kaweco discontinued this type of pens? Are there fiber tipped fineliners of the same kind?”
  • I think they’re okay, they don’t really scratch my itch though
  • best inks are usually lubricated ones, so Noodler’s Eel series, Monteverde, Pilot Iroshizuku, De Atramentis
  • benefits:
    • get to use your lovely fountain pen ink
    • won’t dry out nearly as quickly as a fountain pen when left ‘open’
    • better for carbon copy paper
  • drawbacks:
    • don’t write as smoothly as a fountain pen
    • can leak/get inky just like a fountain pen
    • same wear and tear as a regular rollerball/replace tips
    • usually much more expensive than regular rollerballs
    • very few models to choose from
    • replacement tips are often expensive
    • limited tip size options
 
Ink- (21:13)5) Edith N.- Facebook- (21:17)
If a highly saturated ink has the tendency to dry in the nib and cause flow problems, even when a pen is used daily and capped when not in use, does it make sense to try to dilute the ink with distilled water, or is the tendency to dry in the nib unrelated to the concentration of dye?
  • It’s very correlated to the amount of dye in the ink!
  • yes, diluting will definitely help in this way
  • Noodler’s in particular will help, Nathan Tardif makes his ink so that it will work well diluted, part of his ‘value’ of the ink he makes
  • start with diluting 10%, shouldn’t see much of a difference in ink saturation but will help flow
6) Kurt G.- Facebook- (25:50)
Are certain types of inks a bad idea depending on the nib size? I’ve found that some waterproof inks tend to clog my fine and extra-fine nibs.
  • Not necessarily the waterproofness that affects it, but more the dye concentration
  • could be other factors at play, like feed design, paper absorbency, etc
  • Diluting might help, but really just experimentation is required to find the right combo

Paper
7) Emily W.- Facebook
What are some fountain pen friendly envelopes in larger sizes such as A6/A7/A9 perhaps? Just something larger than the typical A4/A5 or business envelopes.  I am thinking something that will fit greeting cards, invitations, etc.
  • Envelopes have different size ratings than paper does (check out this page here)
  • European paper (like what we have for our stationery) is A4, A5, etc
  • Corresponding envelopes are C-rated, A5 size is roughly C6 (bi-fold), A4 size is kind of in-between C6 and C5 (trifold)
  • bad news, I don’t have anything bigger, or really different at all than these nor do I know where to get them
Personal- (34:12)
8) Karissa D.-Facebook- (34:17)
I go to your videos when I need don’t know something.  Where do you get your information from when you don’t know something about fountain pens or fountain pen adjacent?
  • fantastic question
  • depends on what I’m trying to figure out
  • best bet: get my hands on it
  • for official info, through distributors or manufacturers
  • for product use/preference info, social platforms, customers, FPN, or trusted bloggers like Stephen Brown, Azizah, Matt Armstrong, Liz Steele (document inks), several others I’ll reference from time to time and I can’t name them all here
9) Ted S.- Facebook- (42:43)
Where are you in your reading of the Bible, and what do you think of it?
  • very personal project, something I really just felt I needed to do for my own understanding
  • I finished on March 12, started on Jan. 4, 68 days total
  • Word of Promise app, audio Bible w/ text
  • VERY fast, i realize
  • 50,000ft view of the whole thing, my goal was to get a broad view of the whole thing and experience the whole story
  • I’m a big fan, understand a lot of how various pieces fit together now
  • “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know”
  • reading is one thing, understanding is another, especially with this
  • I look forward to circling back and diving deeper
Business- (50:04)
10) Samuel S.- Facebook- (50:10)
From what I gather you guys carried some Kaweco pens, then stopped carrying them and then started carrying them again a few pens at a time. So far, though, its all Sports. What about Kaweco’s other pens that would fit the Goulet Pen Co. niche?
  •  context: we used to carry them through an old US distributor that had very limited stock
  • we had to special order just about everything but medium nibs, the logistics we’re working out so we stopped
  • changed distributorship, they have more options now so we carry more
  • other pens aren’t yet imported into the US regularly, we’ll have to pace ourselves
  • high minimums for special orders, long wait times
11) Kerry A. – Facebook- (53:50)
What kinds of things do you and your team think about when you are conferring carrying a new brand or product?
  • I feel like I answered this, but Margaret couldn’t find it in the last dozen or so (thanks for checking!)
  • Lots of factors. Are customers asking for it? Is there a hole to be filled or would we just be like any other company carrying a commodity? Is the product any good (get it in our hands). Does it excite us? Is there a values alignment with us and the manufacturer / distributor? Is it practical and economical for us to carry? Is it unique and of good value? Can we handle it right now?
12) Matthew Flick @inkywrist – Twitter- (1:03:00)
What was the first pen ordered from the Goulet Pen Company?
  • A Goulet one, actually! Depends on if you consider Goulet in the former life (making pens) vs. retailing other companies’ pens. Started out with Goulet rollerball pens, sold 900ish of those before getting into fountain pens. Getting into fountain pens in November of 2009, I had several rollerball pens I’d already made, and just converted them to fountain pens.
  • First commercial FP would have either been the Pelican Script or Platinum Preppy.

 

Troubleshooting- (1:07:20)13) Jane Pilecki @PileckiJane- Twitter- (1:07:26)
Why does my Lamy 2000 squeak when writing? I have an Edison and a Pelikan that do as well.

 

  • That’s so weird! Quite uncommon with all these brands, actually
  • something about the nib grind, it’s causing the tines to resonate which causes a squeak
  • I’ve had this happen, mylar paper knocks it out, sometimes brown paper bag can do it too
  • some inks can make it better/worse too

 

14) Ben Wilson @wilsonbt34- Twitter- (1:10:20)
I have a couple of eyedroppers that are really hard starters, is there anyway to prime the feed somehow?

 

  • First, check to make sure your ink level is good
  • several ways:
    • dip the nib back into your ink
    • dip the nib into a bit of water
    • wick it through with a tissue or paper towel
    • hold it high in your hand and tap your hand on a desk (watch for splatter!)

 

QOTW: Where do you go for fountain pen info when you can’t find it at GouletPens?

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