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.I’m working through the camera drama and testing out a sweet new little one with this Q&A! This week I answer questions about why nibs need tipping material, whether a Pilot Metropolitan or TWSBI Mini is better, iron gall vs. bulletproof inks, and why you don’t want to clean your pens with hot water.

New/Upcoming Products – (2:49)

Pens/Writing – (9:22)
1) ‏@vientocorre – Twitter – (9:29)
I’m a lefty and I love soft nibs – smudging galore! Any ink/paper recommendations for sheen the OMAs extra flex nibs as lefty?

  • Yikes, not really, you’re wanting two conflicting things
  • all the sheening inks I know are longer dry times, basically
  • I will be putting out top 10 sheening inks video (next week)
  • to cut dry time with paper, you’ll need something more absorbent, which is exactly what will kill the sheen
  • check out FP101 for lefties
  • check your hand position, if you’re a side-writer or over-writer, you may want to consider adjusting your paper or retrain yourself to be an underwriter
2) Mark Z. – Facebook – (12:38)
Why does a pen need tipping material and why is rhodium such a common material for that task?

  •  clarification: rhodium is actually just the silver-color plating on some gold nibs (or other metals for the trim), not the tipping
  • iridium is used for the tipping
  • actually, it’s usually an iridium alloy, with other really hard metals
  • the point (pun!) of tipping material is that it’s harder-wearing than gold or steel, and the friction that’s caused by writing on paper will take longer to wear an iridium alloy than the other metals typically used for a nib
  • paper is essentially a very fine, very delicate abrasive that will wear down a nib over time
3) Angel A. – Facebook – (15:52)
What could be some contributing factors to a pens flow reducing? For example, notes during class and the ink gets lighter. Doesn’t completely stop, just fades a fair amount.

  • could be the ink, some tend to shift color a bit when exposed to air for a while
  • some inks that are drier will flow wetter at first when the pen’s been sitting, and doesn’t keep up as well with continuous writing
  • some pens don’t have as generous a continuous flow
  • ink usually comes out darker after a fresh inking up
  • if you’re writing in a long class (hour or more) and keeping the pen uncapped most of the time, the ink could be drying up on the nib/in the feed as it’s sitting there exposed to air for periods in between your writing, over time that could build up to restrict flow
  • most student paper isn’t great, so it could be paper fibers/crud building up in your nib/feed and restricting flow
  • clean the pen, see if it still does it
4) John W. – Facebook – (20:22)
I would like to try a piston fill pen. Thinking of a Pelikan800 series but I’d like an entry level pen to practice with first before I shell out the “BIG BUCKS” Any recommendations?

  • you DEFINITELY don’t need to spend that much to ’try out’ a piston pen, for sure!
  • Noodler’s has the most cost-effective piston-filling pens, but they’re all plastic and noticeably different in quality than, say, a Pelikan
  • TWSBI has a really good piston for the price at a good quality
  • TWSBI Eco
  • TWSBI Mini
  • TWSBI 580
  • TWSBI Classic
  • Lamy 2000 is also a great pen, with a gold nib
  • Pelikan m200/205/215
5) Christian V. – Facebook – (24:10)
As a student who is tired of emptying Varsities, I’m wondering what to invest in: a Pilot Metropolitan (F) for its durability or a TWSBI Mini (EF) for its design and size. The pen would be for both writing and avid sketching, most likely with a bottle of Noodler’s X-Feather (which will probably go in a brush pen as well), and will probably spend a lot of time in my pocket.

  • Metro is cheaper, more “durable”, writes great and would be less likely to be snatched up by someone in your class
  • TWSBI Mini will hold more ink (a little bit), looks cool, you’d definitely want the EF nib
  • either one could work, it’s really going to come down to preference and what’s more important to you
  • purely based on function, the  Metropolitan probably makes more sense
6) Prachi S. – Facebook – (26:46)
Soo, let’s say you have a pen sitting with ink in it for one or two weeks and the ink hasn’t completely evaporated. What do you do? Do you:
a) Continue to write with it if it writes (usually the case for me)
b) Add some water to the partially evaporated ink in the converter and continue to write
c) Throw the ink away, flush and refill
d) Put the ink back into the ink bottle and refill
I am never sure which one is the best to do. I usually stick to a) or b) to not waste ink as this happens sometimes with a fully filled converter. What would Brian do?
  • if it still writes, then write with it!
  • if it’s really dry and hard starting, then dip the nib in water and try at it again
  • often the ink will evaporate off the nib, dry a bit in the feed, and the rest of the ink in the pen will be okay (in this timeframe)
  • I generally wouldn’t recommend dumping the ink back into the bottle if it’s getting all dried up, unless it’s a converter and you can remove it and dump it straight into the bottle
  • If that was the case though, I’d pull off the converter, flush the nib unit with a bulb syringe, reinstall the converter and keep on going!


Ink – (30:37)
7) @TwitlessDan – Twitter – (30:42)
5 best lubricating inks. Preferably not Noodler’s or Private Reserve

  • The only brands I know that actually advertise an ink as lubricated in any way are Noodler’s (Eel and Polar inks) and Monteverde (ITF)
  • De Atramentis inks in general are very wet
  • Aurora Black and Blue are very, very wet
  • most Pilot Iroshizuku are known to be pretty lubricated
  • Diamine has some inks that are pretty wet, check individual product reviews to see which people feel generally are
8) John B. – Facebook – (33:00)
Is there a pigmented grey ink for fountain pens?… if not, can one be made by diluting a pigmented black ink, such as platinum carbon black?… if not that, then can one make mix pigmented blue and pigmented black ink to make a pigmented grey ink?

  • there is not a pigmented grey than I’m aware of
  • I have honestly never tried diluting Carbon Black, but theoretically, sure! Dilute a black in enough and it should start to look gray
  • this might be your best bet
  • mixing black and blue won’t get you gray, it’ll get you more of a blue-black/navy color
  • if you don’t particularly need the pigmented aspect but just want a permanent gray, consider De Atramentis Document Fog Grey, or Noodler’s Lexington Gray
9) Ricky J. – Facebook – (35:03)
I want to use an ink on cream Tomoe River paper journal (for a diary entry) and wanted to give it a vintage look? I really like Diamine Autumn Oak and Noodler’s Apache Sunset. Unfortunately both those inks are not in stock for The Goulet Pen Company or WonderPens. Is there any other ink that you suggest that can give the vintage look and give lots of shading? Also what Green ink with lots of shading do you recommend?

10) Marina M. – Facebook – (37:06)
What is the difference between an ink being classified as “Iron Gall” and “Bulletproof”/”Eternal” (in the case of Noodler’s inks)? …I know all of these terms indicate that the ink in question will be a permanent one, but is this something I should be paying attention to when shopping for a permanent ink (i.e. do Noodler’s Bulletproof/Eternal inks have any advantages/disadvantages compared to ‘standard’ Iron Gall inks, and visa versa😯). Finally, will it make a difference in terms of cleaning (Iron Gall vs Bulletproof/Eternal)?

  • Wikipedia has a great page on iron gall inks 
  • it is more natural, very acidic so it requires more maintenance in pens and can cause more wear and tear on nib and pen parts
  • Noodler’s inks are cellulose reactive, dyes that bond to cellulosic fibers in paper, not particularly harmful to pens or nibs
  • there are only a handful of iron gall inks, and mostly for a reason
  • iron gall is an older and more traditional way of attaining ink permanence, most common with dip pens and aren’t as popular for fountain pens as the Noodler’s inks
  • cleaning Noodler’s is easier and required less often than iron galls
Personal – (41:35)
11) ‏@GrammarNaziABC 2h –Twitter – (41:37)
What is your most used ink, pen, and paper? Also, what is your favourite ink, pen, and paper?

  • I use a lot of everything, so this is kind of tough to really narrow down!
  • ink: Noodler’s Black, use for Nib Nook
  • pen: Lamy Al-Star for ink testing/reviews
  • paper: Rhodia dotpads, Nib Nook, ink reviews, to-do lists, you name it!
  • my favorite changes constantly, it’s like choosing my favorite child, can’t do it :)
Troubleshooting – (46:52)
12) @SvenEricsson2 -Twitter – (47:01)
Why use just cool H2O to clean a fountain pen? Is there a max temp? I’d figure the hotter the better. Hot tap H20 OK?

  •  from a technical/physical standpoint, yes hot water would clean the ink out of a pen better
  • HOWEVER, many pens have parts in them that could be damaged by hot water (maybe not instantly, but over time)
  • certainly anything with ebonite, natural materials like celluloid, wood, etc would be worse off with hot water
  • anything with glue/shellac (vintage stuff especially) would be worse with hot water
  • do whatever you want, but lukewarm/slightly above room temp is ideal for the best cleaning and safest operation of the pen
QOTW: What is your favorite pen, ink, and paper?  – (50:00)

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