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.Thanks for joining me for Goulet Q&A Episode 95! This week I’m answering questions on the best pens to use while sketching in the mountains, how to clean the outside of a Lamy 2000, and how to start conversations with fellow fountain pen enthusiasts. You won’t want to miss this one!

New/Upcoming Products – (2:08)

Pens/Writing – (8:22)
1) Kate D.- Facebook – (9:05)    
How does a Jinhao x450 compare to a Jinhao x750 in weight? I like the x750 but its just too heavy for me. Also, are there any differences in standard international converters? The Jinhao one is flimsy and I’d like to replace it with something more sturdy. Love the Q&A!
  • they actually weigh exactly the same
  • all the Jinhaos we have at Goulet are heavy
  • there is definitely a difference between some of the standard international converters
  • Jinhao converters are standard international, but they are flimsy for sure
  • upgrading the converter is a good idea, this one is good
2) @glassglue- Twitter – (13:04)
Can you recommend a good, inexpensive way to try out an UEF or needlepoint nib?
3) Jc S.- Facebook – (17:11)
I drive to the mountains once a week for my music & like to take some pens for sketching. Once one leaks will it always leak or is it a hit & miss thing?
  • no fountain pen is completely leakproof in all circumstances, it depends a lot on what’s going on
  • changing elevations can bring out slight leakage (whether flying or driving)
  • one leak could be a result of a pen that is prone to leaking, but it’s not a guarantee
  • the orientation of the pen, how much it’s thrown about, and how much it’s filled all plays a part
  • keep it nib-up when traveling and that will pretty much take care of it
Ink – (21:52)
4) Michael T.- Facebook – (21:59)
I’m about to have a Visconti Van Gogh starry night. And I want an equally stellar dark blue ink that isn’t pigment based or has any particulate in it. I want the ink I put into this pen to amaze me as much as the pen will. Any suggestions? I know your list of favorite blue inks is endless, but if you could limit it to the darkest blues without going too black, that would be great. Thank you!
Personal – (25:22)
5) mikef- Email – (25:27)
You keep mentioning that in the beginning you were a starving student MAKING pens. HOW do you Make a pen ? I am not going to do it but I sure am interested in that as your background.
  • I wasn’t a student, I started making pens post-college graduation
  • started turning pens and was active on penturners.org forum, like the FPN for pen turners
  • essentially, buy a pen kit, turn the barrel and cap, press it together, voila!
6) Alex W.- Facebook – (33:14)
If I see someone using a fountain pen what are some questions that make for good conversation starters with that person? (I live in a very friendly part of the country so casual conversations with strangers is not considered rude)
  • most people using fountain pens aren’t really expecting strangers to come up to them, but if they’re really into pens, they’ll likely be thrilled to talk to someone about them!
  • ask them questions about it:
  • Is that a fountain pen?
  • What brand?
  • What nib size is it?
  • What ink?
  • Where do you get your pens?
  • How’d you get into fountain pens?
Troubleshooting – (37:43)
7) Neville S.- YouTube – (37:48)
Two Pilot related questions. 1) Whats the best way to clean out a Custom 823? 2) How can I get ink out of my Custom 74 cap insert?
  • Custom 823 cleaning, flush and flush and flush, or take apart (a TWSBI wrench fits it!)
  • Custom 74 insert can pull out with a pencil and rubber band
8) William S.- Facebook – (47:27)
We all talk about cleaning the insides of our pens, but what should a person use to clean the exterior parts of the pen?
  • Microfiber cloth works great for dirt and fingerprints
  • jeweler’s cloth works for find scratches
  • anything more than that, and it’s really more restoration/repair than cleaning in my opinion!
9) Marina M.- Facebook – (51:39)
Is it possible to completely disassemble a Lamy Z24 converter? (Looking for a lazy-person’s shortcut when cleaning my Safari & Vista converters😶)
  • yes, it is possible!
  • I have yet to do a video on it, actually, until now!
  • Goulet Grip helps here
  • yank off the black shroud, it’ll all come apart from there
10) GimmeeCookiee- Blog – (56:25)
I recently got a Lamy 2000 and after cleaning it out for the first time there are dark stain lines on the body (as seen in the attached photo). I’ve tried cleaning it with soap and water but it does not make any difference. Any suggestions?
  • your photo was posted on the Q&A #94 blog post, and I could see exactly what you’re talking about
  • it wasn’t actually stain lines (from the ink) but wear from use/scuff that happens with use over time
  • using a Scotchbrite pad rubbing end-to-end restores the original brushed finish and will remove those marks
11) @cuchlan- Twitter – (59:06)
My Jinhao pens have trouble starting and are rough, scratchy writers. How do I improve them at home?
  • sorry to hear that! This isn’t often the norm, I hear it from some but most are surprised how good the nibs are
  • that said, these are perfect pens to ‘mess around’ with, since the whole pen is cheaper than most replacement nibs from other brands
  • try aligning the tines, that’s most often going to be the case (a loupe will help)
  • micro mesh can smooth after that
  • swapping out the nib (with a Goulet one, if you like) can make a huge difference, it’s a big reason why we carry the Jinhao pens we do
QOTW: How do you strike up a conversation with a fellow fountain pen user when you don’t know them? – (1:05:48)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