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Hey pen friends! It’s Goulet Q&A 94 this week, and it’s been a busy one. Be sure to check out this video where I talk about oblique pen holders, what ink will match your Pumpkin Spice Latte, and what pen/ink/paper combo you’d want to use when home brewing beer!

Here are some highlights this week at GouletPens.com: –

  • had Monday off this week for Labor Day
  • been short-staffed, team’s been really busting it hard
  • Joseph started Kindergarten Tuesday, that’s been pretty smooth but has changed our routine!
New/Upcoming Products –  (4:07)

Pens/Writing – (6:01)

1) @TKNikhilSeeni- Twitter – (6:08)
What is the difference between toothiness, feedback and scratchiness?
  • toothiness and feedback are more or less interchangeable terms, as far as I use them
  • both mean a feeling of resistance, as opposed to feeling smooth and glossy
  • they are this way because they’re not ground with as fine of a grit of abrasive as other nibs
  • scratchiness is kind of an extreme case of both of these
  • Usually due to some defect in the nib, whether it’s misalignment of the nib tines or a sharp edge of some kind
  • in extreme cases will cut the paper
2) Kevin L.- Facebook – (11:01)

Does a fountain pen perform any better with an ink from the pen manufacturer than with another ink of the writer’s choosing?

  • fountain pen companies pretty much always say you “should use their ink in their pens”, some are more firm about that than others
  • it really all comes down to warranties, pen companies that make really expensive pens and have strict warranty policies will be more firm about using their ink, not because other inks will hurt them (necessarily), but because that’s all they’ll really be able to test/guarantee when putting out their pens into the world
  • in their minds, it’s a CYA thing, or perhaps they want to sell more of their own ink but I doubt that’s really the motivating factor, as ink is really not the focus for most pen companies
  • as far as performance, it’s going to vary depending on the ink and the pen, no matter the brand
  • some pens and inks just don’t play well together, others are amazing, and personal preference comes heavily into play
  • in general though, matching up the manufacturer of the pen and the ink is up to you, but you can pretty easily emulate a similar writing experience with one ink over another when switching brands, there’s just SO much ink out there!
3) Peter M. – Facebook – (16:00)

What about a 101 on oblique pen holders and nibs suitable for newbies, who want to try flex writing with something like that?

  • “outside my swim lane”
  • getting into dip pens is really a whole other world, even though it seems a bit like a logical progression from fountain pens
  • it’s as different going from fountain pens to dip nibs as it is going from ballpoints to fountain pens, maybe even more!
  • check out this great blog post from my mancrush Jake Weidman called “Tools of the Trade: Calligraphy
4) John F. – Facebook – (19:20)

Would you think that it would be safe to keep TWSBI pens and other non metal pens (specifically the new Eco, but all in general) inside your pocket? Assuming that you’re not gonna do anything risky with the pen in your pocket. Just using the pocket as a storage place between work or class.

  • oh sure, especially if it’s the only thing in your pocket
  • I’d be careful maybe if you’re keeping it in a pocket with other stuff (especially keys!)
  • jeans pockets aren’t ideal, can stretch the clip
  • more or less though, don’t fret
  • TWSBI especially is treated to resist scratching, other pens might get some fine scratches just over time
5) Joshua T.- Facebook – (22:39)

Brian. Love blue pens but still don’t own any — yet! How would the Omas Cocktail Blue Angel compare with the Pilot Custom 74 in blue, which I know you really like? I know about the price difference but was interested in your take on the different writing experiences.

  • oh boy! tough comparison!
  • both fantastic pens, honestly
  • great writing experience with both pens, the nibs are soft on both, a tad softer on the Omas though
  • the nib will be about the same smoothness on both pens, but flow is more generous on the Omas
  • nibs are broader on the Omas, but has more nib options, too
  • check out the Nib Nook to compare the Custom 74 and Omas Ogiva
6) @jarot186- Twitter – (27:06)

I have one TWSBI Classic and one TWSBI 580, both has fine nib, but they write with different line size. Why this happens?

  • these two pens actually use different nibs
  • 580 is #5 size nib, Classic, Mini, and Eco use #4 size nib
  • may be slight difference there just with the different type of nib
  • also, there can be reasons for some variation of nib sizes from one pen to another (even with identical nibs)
  • not sure if you’ve had them the same amount of time, but if you’ve been using one pen longer and write with a heavy hand, you can actually spread the tines/increase the flow
  • ink also can make a huge difference, a wetter ink can look broader on the page, especially with more absorbent papers
  • use consistent ink and paper to really see how different they are
7) Thomas W. -Facebook – (31:43)

I’m nuts about the Conklin Duragraph for its awesome finish and oversize flat-top vintage styling. Since I’ll only buy from Goulet, what other pens on your shelf will make me as excited as the Duragraph, knowing now why I’m in love with it?

  • not a lot of flat-top, vintage-style pens out there!
  • Delta Unica, perhaps? a little modern, but still flat top
  • Edison Beaumont, has a beveled top, but definitely had a vintage look
  • Monteverde Jewelria
  • Noodler’s Konrad…flex pen, but could be made non-flex with a nib swap
Ink – (35:10)
8) Sandra R. – Facebook -(35:12)
Is it possible for the ink in cartridges to dry out/thicken? I bought a package of Platinum Preppy Fine pens (03) from another company and a couple of the colors flow ok but most skip a lot. I emptied the red pen, cleaned it, refilled it Pilot Iroshizuku Yama-Budo (a sample I bought for you), & it is like a totally new pen. The flow is no longer a problem & the nib no longer skips. Is it possible the Platinum ink was old or is this normal for Platinum inks?
  • it’s never a bad idea to clean a new pen before inking it for the first time, anyway
  • this isn’t something I’ve heard about happening a lot, especially with Platinum
  • if the ink was dried out, you’d really notice a drop in the ink level inside the cartridge
  • the type of plastic that’s used in cartridges can leech out moisture over a long period of time (years), so if it was old stock, it’s possible
Paper – (39:18)
9) Leonard A. – Facebook – (39:21)

I’m looking for a pen/ink/journal combination to take notes on regarding my homebrewing. It will be treated roughly and must open easily and lay flat, and will occasionally get splashed with beer. What would you recommend?

  • there isn’t really a paper (that I carry at least) that will withstand wetness…ink is made of water and paper needs to absorb it, so it has to absorb liquid
  • go for a journal that is good for the purpose (and don’t focus on the water), I think a Leuchtturm notebook would be good, with the page numbers, table of contents, dot grid option, room for the date, etc
  • pen, go with something with a slightly finer nib, but no other special consideration really needs to be made
  • ink will matter most, you want something steadfast
  • Noodler’s Black is great, Namiki Blue, any De Atramentis Document ink, Platinum Carbon Black, Rohrer and Klingner Salix or Scabiosa
10) Brigido R.- Facebook – (43:34)

Question for Brian: what are your thoughts on using the passport size Midori Traveler’s notebook as a wallet (with built in writing capabilities!)? How feasible is this? Does it fit well in one’s back pocket? Also, would any accessories be adequate for carrying around a license, credit cards, and some cash? I’ve been meaning to get one for that purpose, but I’m also a little skeptical. Any insight on this would be greatly appreciated!

  • it’s feasible, but I maybe wouldn’t probably say this would be the most ideal way to go
  • think of it more as a notebook that can hold wallet-y things in it, not a wallet that has a notebook in it
  • there are a couple of accessories that would be most helpful, like the card file and zippered pocket
  • these would be ideal for holding a passport, some train tickets, slips of paper with hotel info/etc on it, but maybe not ALL your cash and ID stuff
Personal – (47:11)
11) Adrian T. – Facebook – (47:14)

Question for this Week’s Q&A, what do you think of Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte and what FP ink do you think would pair good with it (just a fun question)?

  • I gotta admit, I enjoy pumpkin but I WAY overdid it a couple of years ago and I’m still kinda sick of it
  • that said, I did find some Pumpkin Spice Latte M&M’s at Target, totally bought them for the Media Team and they’re getting enjoyed :)
  • as far as pairing an ink…I don’t remember, is it colored any differently than a non-pumpkin latte?
  • it’s clearly a curveball question but I’ll see what I can do with it!
  • De Atramentis Khaki
  • J. Herbin Lie de Thé
  • J. Herbin Café des Îles
  • Diamine Dark Brown
  • Pilot Iroshizuku Ina-Ho
Business – (49:54)
12) Scott R. – Facebook – (49:57)

Can we get a sense of how long we have if we’re still considering buying a Fireball Premiere? Or maybe a few days warning before the fall edition drops to help jog the decision?

  • you have a bit of time, probably a couple of months
  • usually they are really popular and we end up selling out right around the change of the seasons, we’re well-stocked on Fireballs though
  • our arrangement is that we produce them until we either 1) run out of material or, 2) the season changes and the next pen comes out
  • if we stop production due to the season change, then we stop making them when the new pen comes out, but we may have a few or a bunch of the ‘old’ one, it all depends
  • we’re okay being a little more stocked up on Fireballs, having them available into the start of the holiday season isn’t a bad thing
  • in general though, the trend has been that we run out right as we’re getting to the next pen!
13) Angel A. – Facebook – (52:06)

Is the process of adding a new manufacturer to your list of brands a difficult process? What sort of things can get in the way? Congratulations on adding Visconti!

  • yes and no :)
  • sometimes it’s very difficult, we end up pursuing a brand for years, and have to earn a reputation to prove we’re a match for the brand’s image
  • we faced some resistance initially from Lamy, Pilot, Visconti, but they’ve all been wooed ;)
  • sometimes it’s a stock issue, TWSBI didn’t sell to us initially because they didn’t have adequate stock, still is an issue with many of their newer pens
  • the distribution network (or lack thereof) can get in the way, like with Tomoé River, De Atramentis, Rohrer and Klingner, Kaweco (for a bit)
  • values actually are a factor, sometimes we just don’t see eye-to-eye, won’t name names but this happens and we usually recognize it before we carry the brand or even publicize we’re pursuing it
  • there are a lot of logistics behind-the-scenes that make it really challenging for us in a niche, but we’re really proud of the way we treat our vendors and represent our brands
  • it’s a huge part of our mission, the “products we believe in”
14) Malgorzata R. – Facebook – (58:08)
Will Goulet pens carry any storing solutions for fountain pens? Like maybe plastic cases or drawer inserts?
  • y’know, I’ve always thought about it but haven’t pursued it because 1) I don’t have an obvious source (other than Venlo which is nice but pricey) and 2) I haven’t been asked a lot!
  • basically, I’m looking for how I can best serve the writing community (my customers) in this way, and I just haven’t seen the obvious opportunity for that yet
  • we have some cases, like Aston Leather, we intend to carry Nock when they’re ready, I’ve been using Visconti cases which are nice
  • we also have access to Lamy, Pelikan cases
  • these are all portable cases though
Troubleshooting – (1:00:25)
15) Lev N. -Facebook – (1:00:28)

I have had my TWSBI mini for a week now and the clip on it swivels like hell. It is so loose that I am scared that it will fall out of my backpacks inner pocket and will get scratched up. Is there anything that I can do to fix the clip? Is there a way I can tighten it down? Pls help!

  • This really isn’t something I’ve heard about a lot
  • I’m betting the finial unscrewed somehow, put the clip into the clip slot and tighten that finial back down and it should be okay
  • worst case, contact twsbiinc@gmail.com and they will help you out with that!
QOTW: How do you store your pens? What could Goulet offer you that would make your pen storage life better? – (1:02:26)

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