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In this week’s Goulet Q&A, I talk about how to ease into nib tuning, the lightest pens with the finest nibs, and which products have been a total flop. Enjoy!New/Upcoming Products – (1:10)

Pens/Writing – (3:10)
1) Michael T.- Facebook – (3:11)
I’m wanting to start learning to tune my pens more than aligning the tines. I’m curious. In what order should changing each aspect take place? does it go flow, alignment, smoothness? could you go into a little detail on the process from beginning to end of that 10 second process of turning a bad pen to a great writing pen?
  • it’s a little more complex than I’ll explain it, but here’s roughly the order I feel from easiest to hardest:
  • Increasing flow- easy to do, easy to overdo!
  • Alignment- need a loupe, pretty straightforward
  • Smoothness- micromesh/mylar
  • Decreasing flow- varies a lot by nib type
  • Shaping/honing- takes a lot of practice
  • Grinding/changing nib size- takes a lot of practice, specialized tools
2) @Marimuguet- Twitter – (11:50)
What are your recommendations for people who prefer lightweight pens with fine tips? Thank you :)
Ink – (15:23)
3) Bruce L.- Facebook – (15:25)
Specialty inks collaborated with manufacturer’s seem to do quite well, but not only that, PERFORM well, maybe even the best. For instance your Liberty’s Elysium is a top notch blue! However, this seems to be the trend when other companies do it as well (e.g. the Sailor Bung Box inks for Bungbox in Japan are also top notch). It seems that your (the Retailer’s) input and perspective seems to take those inks to the next level.
Some questions:
1. Is this a sign that the ink companies need to be communicating more with the community/retailers to know what we all are looking for? (Shimmertastics and J.H. 1670‘s were admittedly proof that they do, but those are not fair because we’re all weak to the awesomeness that is sheen/sparkle/… etc.)
2. Do you provide feedback of sales/inventory age to the ink manufacturers to note what sells well and what doesn’t? Do they ever respond with changes or discontinuing the ink?
  • I think most of the “performance” aspects of the ink are somewhat coincidental
  • most of the feedback we give is general in terms of desired performance, not related to specific formulations and chemistry
  • ink makers are pretty particular about their ink properties
  • our input is most valued to them in terms of interest/demand, and perspective on the market as a whole
  • my experience has been that most manufacturers are not as engaged with the end users as their retailers, as is pretty much the case in all retailer models
  • this is a pretty normal occurrence, look at Lego as an example (Brick by Brick book)
Paper – (25:00)
4) Jeremy F.- Facebook – (25:04)
What is the best ink and paper combination to write down something that you want to last forever?
  • Paper is debatable, really you just want something pH-neutral and acid-free
  • Vellum is usually best, but honestly, I’m not an archivist so I can’t say definitively what’s the best
  • how it’s stored matters a TON
  • Noodler’s has arguably the most permanent inks available, in combination with archival paper
  • Noodler’s Black, Warden’s Series
5) @Corelliz- Twitter – (29:17)
If ink spreads a bit when you write, is that more to do with the ink or the paper?
  • both are a factor, for sure
  • Paper seems to be the much larger variant, specifically the coating on it
  • quick dry and permanent inks tend to feather the worst
  • inkjet paper, some planner paper, Moleskine, and recycled paper is usually pretty absorbent/feathery
Personal – (32:22)
6) Joyce Z.- Facebook – (32:26)
Hey Brian and Rachel, I’m wondering if you let your kids use fountain pens. I keep thinking, they must be surrounded by fountain pens, do they ever ask to use them? If you let them use FPs, do you have a list of kid-friendly pens?
7) Kevin L.- Facebook – (35:57)
What percentage of your personal pens are blue?
  • wild guess, about 10%
  • I’m pretty picky about my blues, actually
  • I really love interesting/unique colors, so I have a really wide range of pen colors
  • certain blues I find irresistible, like the Pelikan m805 Vibrant Blue
Business – (38:08)
8) Sam F.- YouTube – (38:10)
what are some products (pens particular, but anything really) did you decide to carry on a speculative basis that turned out not to be as popular as you thought it would?  Do you think they were primarily “flops” (although I think that’s kind of a harsh word, I can’t think of a better one) because the community just didn’t feel the same way about the product as you did, or because awareness never really reached critical mass, or maybe it was a product that you thought would be great initially but reconsidered yourself after some period of time?  I’m sure all three of those scenarios have happened, but I’m just kind of curious about some examples if you don’t mind sharing.
  • Cross, pretty much across the whole brand
  • didn’t have a lot of demand for them, but there was good brand awareness
  • we tried it, it didn’t do well, they’re discontinuing all our best sellers, we’re dropping it
  • Monteverde Invincia Deluxe Stainless Steel, total flop
  • Sula Jane & Earl leather pen cases
  • Scribal Workshop ink
  • Organics Studio ink
  • rollerballs, pretty much all of them
QOTW: Do you have a tendency towards a particular color when you are shopping for fountain pens? What is it? – (49:36)

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