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Can you believe it’s almost episode 100? Number 99 coming at you today, and I’m talking about how cold temperatures affect pens, eyedropper converting metal pens, biocides, and how many pens I get for free.

What we’ve been up to at GouletPens.com the last week:

Pens/Writing – (10:24)

1) Raymond H. – Facebook – (10:26)
I live in a small, walkable town. I carry my fountain pens in my nylon messenger bag. The temperature can get down into the low teens during the winter. I’m concerned about my pens cracking. I carry 2 Pilot CH 92’s and 1 Custom 74. I’m never out in the cold more than 30 minutes. Should I be worried? Thank you, Brian!!

  • you’ll probably be okay, it’s pretty rare I hear of pens freezing and causing any real harm
  • teens temperature is not THAT cold, when get to -10 to -20 it becomes much more of a concern!
  • to be safe, you can put it in your inner coat pocket, your body heat will keep them warm
2) Michael T. – Facebook – (13:03)
I’ve noticed some pen reviewers, when performing writing samples, will write with a piece of plastic under their palm. I can only assume that this is to prevent the oils from their hand transferring to the paper. Is this really that big of a worry in respect to fountain pens? Or are these people just very particular as to what gets put on paper? Will oils from hands affect ink in a noticeable way?

  • is this a trend with a lot of reviewers?
  • I know Stephen Brown does it
  • yes, hand oils can affect your writing a bit, for me it’s only an issue in the summer when I’m really warm
  • it’s honestly probably more of a habit for most reviewers, since they’re likely wanting to eliminate hand oils as a factor in affecting the way an ink dries on the paper
  • when I’ve seen it as an issue it’s that the pen could skip or the ink not dry as quickly on the page
  • it’s more of an issue with really smooth papers
  • I wouldn’t worry about it too much, unless you’re noticing any skipping/smearing issues with your pen/ink, especially towards the bottom of your pages
3) Samuel J. – Facebook – (16:23)
I’m currently in the market for a gold nib pen in the around $150 range and am considering a Pilot VP or perhaps a Lamy Studio Platinum Grey/Palladium. Are there any other recommendations that you have in this price range? On another note, how does the 1.0 stub of the VP compare to something like the Lamy 1.5 or 1.1 stubs (I have a Studio so I’m thinking of trying the 1.1 before committing to a gold stub)?

  •  these are both great choices
  • alright #GouletNation, go ahead and fill in the blanks for me! I’d recommend the Pilot Custom 74 and Lamy 2000! I also really like the Pilot E95s, as a very different pen
  • I do like the Pilot 1.0mm, it is different than the Lamy steel italics…I like the VP better, but the 1.1 Lamy would be an easy way to see if you like it before committing to the VP stub (which is out of stock now anyway)
4) Lev N. – Facebook – (24:17)
And how do the Pilot metropolitan fine and Platinum preppy EF compare in line variation on cheap paper?

  • They’re actually not all that different from each other, the Platinum is a tad finer
  • On cheap paper, which will be more absorbent, I doubt you’ll notice a drastic difference between the two
5) Sterling W. – Facebook – (26:16)
Why are pens with metal bodies/threads not recommended for converting to eyedropper use? Is it concern about potential corrosion? After all, nibs are metal, and those are definitely one part of the pen we want to contact ink!

  • it is a concern about corrosion, yes
  • nibs are metal, but not all metals have the same corrosion resistance
  • most metals used in pen bodies are made of brass, nickel, (non-stainless) steel, or aluminum, which are all going to corrode with prolonged exposure to ink
  • gold, stainless steel, titanium, palladium, and other metals used in nibs are more resistant, but too expensive to use for other pen parts
Ink – (29:07)
6) Dee Dee – YouTube -(29:09)
I would like to know which modern inks contain biocides to prevent the growth of mold. Are there any precautions I should be taking when filling pens from full bottles of ink to make sure the inks don’t get contaminated?
  • a lot of modern inks contain biocides, though I honestly don’t know which ones and what they use, as it’s all proprietary
  • some I know are “all natural”, like J. Herbin (and no biocide is used there), and I am 98% sure De Atramentis doesn’t either
  • you don’t really need to take any precautions, just make sure you’re cleaning your pen out every now and then so you’re not flushing junk back into the bottle
  • if you really want to play it safe, decant your ink into a vial and only fill your pen from the vial, that way your bottle remains untainted
7) Beth S. – Facebook – (35:24)
Regarding the shimmering inks, while I love my new J. Herbin Emerald of Chivor, I don’t see myself using it often enough to merit filling up a pen and risk gumming it up, or wanting to go through the trouble of washing it every time I use it. A glass dip pen seems a great solution to utilize those inks for small projects. Can you tell me more about how the glass pens you carry differ in feel and grip etc? Also, I know you have discussed previously how some inks are a little more “”sticky”” than others, I would expect that from the shimmering inks, will I need to clean the glass pens differently when using shimmering inks to get all the glitter and gunk out?

  • glass pens are pretty neat, though they’re definitely not the same writing experience as fountain pens
  • they’re very wet, typically, which makes them actually really good for shimmering inks
  • we carry two J. Herbin pens and Rohrer and Klingner pens
  • They’re not vastly different in terms of feel and grip
  • the smoothness of the tip varies a lot from one pen to another, and they can be smoothed with really fine sandpaper (just don’t overdo it, you can’t undo it!)
  • the shimmering ink itself isn’t sticky, but the glitter does tend to hang around
  • it’s super easy to clean off a glass pen though, a little dish soap with an old toothbrush and you’re clean in seconds
  • the sooner you clean the glass pen the better, it’ll be harder to clean if you leave it to dry up on the nib completely
Business – (42:36)
8) Jodi M. – Facebook – (42:41)
About how many products that are yours (Brian’s) personally do you pay for/how much do you spend, and how many have you received for free?

  • It’s pretty rare actually that I get products for free, though it does happen from time to time
  • a lot of preview-type products you see me with (Ogiva Cocktails, Metropolitan Retro Pops) are samples that are on loan and I have to send them back
  • I spend my wholesale cost (which varies from one product to another), which definitely makes it easier for me to justify a purchase (and enables my addiction!)
9) Donovan P. – Facebook – (47:11)
Is there a way I can get Q&A in a audio format, or a way to download the videos? I am watching them all from the beginning but it would be helpful if I could watch them when I am out and about and don’t have WiFi

  • absofrickinglutely! We already have it!
  • We have an audio podcast for Goulet Q&A on iTunes or you can do a direct download from the link on our blog post each week
  • We have a video podcast for all our videos (including Goulet Q&A) on iTunes
Troubleshooting – (48:37)
10) Carolyn H. – Facebook – (48:40)
I have a Kaweco Classic Sport Demonstrator Pen that I have converted to an eye dropper fill. My first fill of ink went great, but with my second fill, I have leaking from the section (toward the nib). The section is also FULL of ink. I have tried everything I know of to clean it out, but can’t seem to get the section to empty out. Any advice?

  • This pen is clear, and you can see ink coming into the grip of the pen around the nib housing, which is normal (you just don’t see it on most pens)
  • I can’t tell from your question if it’s literally leaking out of the pen, that’s not normal and would indicate an issue
  • try pulling the nib and feed out, and resetting it, this can work sometimes
11) Ben C. – Facebook – (52:32)
I have a friend who is having the (in)famous Baystate Blue ink leak from his converter through the section of his Pilot Metropolitan. The only diagnostic I can think of is to try a different converter, because there must be air leaking in somewhere. What diagnostic recommendations would you make?

  •  I don’t think this has anything to do with the fact it’s BSB
  • check the converter, it may not be seated on all the way, you have to really push it on to seat it
  • it’s rare there’s a defective converter out of the box… try a cartridge and see if it does the same thing
  • you can pull the nib/feed out and push it back in, sometimes that’ll help, too
  • try another ink, see if that makes any kind of a difference
  • worst case, reach out to whomever your friend bought the pen from and initiate an exchange
QOTW: What would you like to see in the 100th Q&A? – (55:59)
That’s all for this week, thanks so much for watching! Be sure to catch up on any old Q&A videos you missed here.
Write On,
Brian Goulet