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.
It’s been several weeks off, but I’m back this week with another Goulet Q&A! Today I talk about troubleshooting a bunch of different pens, what’s so great about dot pad paper, and how to overcome the hurdles of buying a pen online.
New/Upcoming Products – (4:53)
Pens/Writing – (8:31)
1) Denise K.- Facebook – (8:31)
I finally got, in my latest Goulet box, my long-wished-for Pilot Vanishing Point with the 1.0mm stub and am disappointed with it. I know Japanese nibs tend to be ground finer but in comparison to the 1.1mm stubs from both Lamy and TWSBI this one feels “sloppier” in the writing. I have small writing and a light touch but expected to fall in love with this and I didn’t. Do you think it’s likely to be a nib issue or an expectations issue? I loaded it with Liberty’s Elysium and have liked that ink just fine with the other stubs. I expected this one to be finer and more precise but it just looks more like a mushy medium than a 1.0 stub.
  • I feel your pain! it’s tough to have high hopes for a pen and be let down
  • This is a different feeling stub than Lamy or TWSBI
  • This stub is ground to be more stubby when held in a more upright position, different than German nibs
  • It might not be quite as thin because of the tipping material (which the steel nibs don’t have)
  • Try adjusting your pen angle up and down to see if that changes your mind
  • Try a different ink, always a good approach when diagnosing if it’s really the pen or just an odd combo
  • It could just not be for you, which stinks but happens sometimes…
2) Russ D. -Facebook – (21:27)
My Conklin pen is the most expensive pen that I own and it is the worst writing pen that I own. I just replaced the nib and it does not write much better. My Lamy Vista (very inexpensive) is as good as any other pen that i have tried. How do you suggest buying a pen online, especially when you get to the top end, without trying it out first?
  • I would reach out to whomever sold you the pen, get it troubleshooted/inspected/exchanged
  • if it’s us, email info@gouletpens.com or returns@gouletpens.com
  • I don’t know the specifics of your situation to comment on what’s going on
  • Shopping online is tough for any type of tool like this
  • Online, pens sell for 20% less than MSRP to compensate for ‘risk’ of buying without holding it first
  • Educate yourself as much as possible
  • Read reviews, on the product pages as well as blogger’s
  • Find a retailer you trust and build a relationship there if you buy regularly
  • We have a restocking fee for inked up/used pens, but not for new-condition pens
  • You can hold them, dry test them, etc as long as they’re in new condition we’ll take them back no charge
  • Look at Nib Nook for writing samples
  • Use Pen Plaza to compare sizes
  • Participate in discussions in forums for advice
  • This is a big barrier to cross and I want to help bridge this gap as much as possible
Ink – (38:53)
3) Kricket K. -Facebook – (38:58)
Right now I have Caran d’Ache Vibrant Green from the December Inkdrop inked up in the TWSBI 580 that I got for Christmas, and I’m LOVING it! Could you recommend a more affordable green that not only looks similar, but flows similarly? Sorry for the weirdly specific question! Thanks for all you do!

4) @MatiMastermc- Twitter – (40:34)

What temperature does ink freeze at approximately?
  • Approximately 32 degrees F
  • perhaps a tad lower because there is salt content in most inks
  • ink is mostly water though
  • Noodler’s Polar inks would be the exception, they’ll go below 0 and still work
  • This is true temp though, just because it’s that outside doesn’t mean your ink will freeze
  • Ink in your pen is somewhat insulated, and if you keep the pen in a bag or your pocket, even more so
5) Cynthia M. -Facebook – (43:22)
So I had a Twsbi Vac 700 full of ink that I wasn’t using so I decided to clean it and empty out its contents. I was sure it was Rohrer and Klingner Salix and I emptied it out into the bottle. Now I’m convinced it was Montblanc Blue Hour. Q: How bad is the R&K ruined? On a side note it was very difficult to operate the vacuum system to empty it out. The rod was not operating smoothly, so I dusted off my twsbi wrench and took it apart to clean and will grease accordingly. Q: Do you think this was caused by R&K Salix ink or just the lack of use with ink?
  • This is a great question, and I’m honestly not sure!
  • Blue Hour is not iron gall (from what I can tell), Salix is
  • Keep an eye on the ink, if it stays mixed okay and works normally, you’re probably okay
  • Test it in an easily cleanable, not too precious pen
  • If you really want to play it safe, dump the bottle (that’s a personal choice though)
  • For the pen, it’s good to grease it up every several months, especially with heavy use
  • I’d say it’s probably just regular maintenance but Salix could have accelerated that need a little
Paper – (48:45)
6) Matt T. -Facebook – (48:45)
A bit of a subjective question, but why exactly is dot ruling so popular? I’ve never really understood the appeal (although granted I have never actually tried it). I do have some graph ruled Rhodia paper, but for my size handwriting, the 5 mm ruling is about the worst size–too small for me to fit into one line, and skipping every other line leaves too big of a space.
  • because dots are the BOMB!!!
  • while 5mm ruling is tight for many, it’s good with finer nibs, which are most popular in the US (because of our absorbent American paper)
  • like graph, the dots are consistent vertically and horizontally, so it’s convenient for lots of outlining, drawing, to-do lists
  • the dots are subtle, especially compared to graph
  • I personally prefer a 7mm ruling generally, but love dots for a general notepad on my desk
7) @physicsvalkyria-Twitter – (52:44)
What hardcover and durable notebooks would you recommend for wet fountain pens?
  • Look at GouletPens.com, Paper>Binding Type>Hardbound
  • Clairefontaine is really good stuff
  • Clairefontaine makes a hardcover, which we don’t carry but probably will pick back up soon
  • Rhodia Webnotebook
  • Quo Vadis Habana
  • Leuchtturm pocket or medium (A5), the Master is okay but the paper’s not as great
Troubleshooting – (54:34)
8) Benjamin S. -Facebook – (54:34)
I find some really beautiful inks like Sargasso Sea and to a lesser degree Liberty Elysium very hard to clean out of a pen. I have decided to use these two inks in the same two pens all the time so that cleaning them enough to use a different color won’t be an issue. So the question is this: should I still clean these pens (careful Brian, the one for Liberty Elysium is a blue Pilot Custom 74, so I know you’ll want to get this right!), and anticipating your responding that I should clean these two single ink pens, about how often should that be done?
  • some inks are definitely more stubborn to clean than others
  • many blues/purples/pinks/reds seem to ’stick’ the most
  • you should definitely still clean it because there’s still junk that build up, maybe once a month depending on use
  • don’t go nuts on the cleaning, just a couple of flushes will do it, and wick the water out of the feed
  • dedicating pens to certain inks is not a bad idea, but it’s really your preference
  • a pen like the Custom 74 won’t really show any worse if you were to change colors, so don’t feel like you have to dedicate an ink to it just because you can’t get it “like new” cleaning easily
9) Maeli Z.- Facebook – (58:51)
I’m curious which pens have the easiest nib units to clean? I’ve had a lot of issues getting non-swappable nib units like the Sheaffer 100 nib unit totally clean, so I’m hesitant to use them with the new diamine shimmertastic inks. I’ve got a Jinhao 750 and a Lamy Safari that are both easy to take apart and completely clean. (I’ve also disassembled and cleaned my TWSBI 580, but can’t actually get it back together. That’s another question for another day!)
10) Sabine B. -Facebook – (01:00:55)
What’s your recommendation on how to clean the TWSBI Vac Mini? Disassembly the whole pen? Is there an easier way to do it?
  • basically, take it apart which is super easy
  • or just pump and pump and pump
QOTW: What are your hurdles for buying a pen online and how do you overcome them? – (01:04:48)
Thanks so much for joining me this week! You can catch up on any old Q&A videos you missed here.
Write On,


Brian Goulet