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In this episode, I talk about the origin of standard international cartridges, cool ways to catalog your inks, and frankenpens.


This past week:
  • Jenn has been integrating in nicely
  • She helped me get a bunch of stuff straight last week, took that good energy home and Rachel and I went on a tear organizing our home
  • Lots of good kid time
  • I’m at that stage in life where “relaxing” is getting help watching the kids so I can clean the garage and do grocery shopping!
  • Got to see some really cool upcoming Visconti pens, launched the Manhattan Wall Street
  • Launched Namiki maki-e pens, put out a couple of awesome videos and have great pictures
  • Will be spending time with family this weekend for the Memorial Day holiday, looking forward to that

New/Upcoming Products – (2:11)



Pens/Writing – (4:29)

1. shabbyann_knits- Instagram – (4:32)

So I was gifted a Mont Blanc fountain pen le Grande 4810 I believe, so I have fallen in love with fountain pens, what is a girl to do?? I ordered the pilot metros from you in fine and I am OK with those and also 2 Lamys one in fine and one in medium, still none of these even come close to the feel of my mont blanc, looking for some pens at a more affordable price, I am an accountant and need lots of pens and different colors in my life all at the same time !! #help #fpissues
  • I think what you have is probably a 146 or 149, they say 4810 on the nib
  • These are nice pens, definitely priced at a premium, in the $700-900 range
  • Your Metro and Lamy pens are on the affordable end, $15-30
  • Going with a lower-priced gold-nibbed pen will be a happy medium
2) Lrothermund- Instagram – (9:47)
What are your favorite frankenpen combos (one brand pen with different brand nib)? Aside from Noodler’s/Goulet nib and Jinhao/Goulet nib combos. Is there a good way to set a plastic feed from one brand to a different brand nib? Can you heat like the Noodler’s ebonite ones for a good fit?
  • Swapping nibs and feeds is far less universal than you might think
  • Typically, feeds aren’t very interchangeable
  • The one exception is certain #6 nibs like Edison, Jinhao, Monteverde, Conklin, Goulet, and certain #5 nibs
  • The real reason I took this question: You CAN heat set a plastic feed! It’s just a little harder to do
  • Different types of plastic are harder than others, so it’s easier to mess up
  • If you overheat it, it can melt or permanently distort and ruin it, so beware
3) andreas.cammin- Instagram – (23:57)
Who invented the standard international cartridges? I’ve known them as Pelikan cartridges for 40 years, but did they actually invent them?
  • GREAT resource for cartridge history, Richard Binder’s website: Filling System Histories: Cartridge Pens
  • Cartridges date back to the 1920’s, very experimental
  • Didn’t really catch on until Waterman and Parker latched on to the idea, Waterman really nailed down the process but they were smaller and had less of a presence, Parker seemed to make it a staple in the mid-1960’s in the US
  • There wasn’t one international standard that everyone agreed on, companies were all vying for creating their own cartridges
  • Pelikan was definitely in the mix in those early days
  • There doesn’t appear to be an official ISO listing for ink cartridges, so the term may be more of a marketing term than a true international standard
4) vegan_piper- Instagram – (30:39)
When it comes to pen prices, where would you draw the line between noticeably better quality for the money and a pen hobbyist’s passion? In other words: where does reason end and the pen nut begin? #gouletqa
  • This will be relative, and you’re asking someone who’s really fallen deep down the rabbit hole so my answer will be different than most people!
  • Most people view pens as just ink sticks, and you shouldn’t pay anything for them (or only if you’re absolutely forced to) because they’re ubiquitous
  • Some people say $15 for a Metropolitan is completely insane, why would you ever pay that much???
  • Other people think a $500 Visconti pen is a bargain (for what you get)
  • It’s all relative, and I could make a case to say that anyone into fountain pens today is in it for the pen hobbyist’s passion
  • Really though, spending more than $40 seems to be a demarcation, or owning 5 or more pens (whichever comes first)
  • But you run into gift scenarios where someone gives a pen for its name (like MB) and it’s expensive but not a hobbyist thing
  • The rule of thumb, if you have to justify it somehow to yourself or someone else, it’s a hobby! And you should embrace it


5) LorenzoXesquire- YouTube – (36:15)
I’m trying to find options on faceted or fluted pens at less than $100. My favorite pen has been discontinued. I feel that a faceted or fluted body helps maintain orientation especially with stub nibs. Love to hear your suggestions and thoughts on the matter. Perhaps Karas customs with flutes may be an idea. Thanks.
  • Lamy Safari/Vista/Al-Star has sort of a faceted grip
  • Kaweco Sport is hexagonal, that’s a facet
  • Pilot Plumix, sort of
  • That’s about all I can think of, not a ton of options
  • These are all injection-molded plastic
  • The trouble with something like Karas Kustoms or another machined or hand-turned pen is that faceting takes a lot of time and won’t often be under $100


Ink – (39:45)


6) K.M. Alleena of One More Chapter- YouTube – (39:47)
We spoke about ink collections and ink samples these last couple of weeks — now — what are some fun ways to catalogue a collection of inks/ink samples? I know SBRE Brown has a couple of notebooks filled with swatches and reviews and Gouletpens.com has the swab shop and so on — and one can always google an ink, as I do — but what are some of the coolest ways you’ve seen folks keep reviews or swatches on hand for reference? How do you figure out which ink you want to use based on your past reviews?
  • I honestly go a lot by memory, I don’t have some masterful catalog of inks
  • I had intended to start an ink journal 5 years ago, gave up on it
  • I’ve seen ink journals, those are great because they give you everything at close reference
  • Ink swabs or swatches/cards are great
  • Some of the more creative folks with journal, sketch, or do some kind of artwork with them and keep them archived (think Liz Steel)
  • I’ve seen some really creative stuff with ink sample storage, like using swabs on top of the vials for quick reference


7) csf_photo- Instagram – (49:56)
After seeing such an impressive ink collection on the last Q&A I couldn’t help but wonder how could one possibly get through all that ink in a lifetime before the ink dries up in the bottle? Does ink have a shelf life? I have a mere 4 bottles of ink and haven’t made a dent into any of them after months! If ink begins to dry either in the pen or bottle can it be salvaged?
  • There is no possible way I will use all this ink in my lifetime, no way
  • I must have 80 bottles of ink, that’s a lot
  • Properly stored it should last decades, though eventually it may start to evaporate especially if it’s in a plastic bottle
  • If it begins to dry it can usually be salvaged by reconstituting it with distilled water, just use caution not to overdo it

Paper – (52:56)

8) Larry Thibodeaux- YouTube – (52:57)

I’m finding that my pens are skipping the more I get down to the bottom of my Webnotebook (summarized). In your experience, do you find that the thicker Rhodia paper in the webbie is more likely to be finicky across most pens / nibs? What notebook would you recommend as a replacement? I have filled 3 webbie’s completely thus far and am about to fill my 4th one, so this would be an opportune time to switch notebooks if you think that the webbie is just not ‘compatible’ with my pen / ink / writing style.
  • This is generally pretty slick paper, and it’s an issue for some people more than others
  • It’s a combination of the oil in your hands, the coating of the paper, and the ink and pen itself.
  • There could be a variety of factors here that I could speculate on, what I can say though is that slick paper like this is generally less forgiving with ink flow if there are any issues with the pen/ink
  • I think the paper may be testing the limits of your particular pen/ink, and maybe your particular writing style
  • I hear of some issues with Rhodia or Clairefontaine, but it’s not universal, so it has to be a “perfect storm” kind of combination
  • Switching notebooks often helps, I recommend Leuchtturm as a go-to, Quo Vadis Habana is close to Rhodia, of maybe Apica Premium (regular Apica is less slick, even)

Personal – (57:34)

9) kong urous- YouTube – (57:36)

What kind of water bottle does Brian keep with him?
  • I use a Thermos HS4040CHT6
  • 18-ounce cold water thermos
  • The only reason I took this questions is because I love this bottle and have been using it exclusively for about 4 years now (replacing the body once and cap twice)
  • I love ice cold water and it does great for that
  • For coffee, I love the Contigo (in Goulet Blue, of course!)
  • Found both at Target, as well as a zillion other places I’m sure
  • No affiliation whatsoever, just a happy customer

Business – (1:00:36)

10) losterbaan- Instagram – (1:00:28)

In the world of comic books, there is Free Comic Book Day, where you can walk into most any comic book store and pick from a selection of titles for free. The idea is to get more people into the hobby by making it very easy to try it without worrying about “wasting” money on something they may not like. If there was analogous Day in the fountain pen world, what products (pens, inks, papers, other accessories) would you put in the selection? What do you think would hook someone’s interest with a first try? (assume you have a fairly generous anonymous benefactor who will finance this whole endeavour)
  • This is an interesting concept and something I’ve never been asked
  • Comics are a little different because you can do all you need to do with a single comic (ie: read it)
  • Fountain pens are a little different, because you need several things to really get going, mainly a pen and ink (paper is easy enough to find anywhere)
  • A free pen with a cartridge preinstalled would be about that equivalent, like a Platinum Preppy or even a Pilot Varsity (this is actually my preference)
  • Sort of an equivalent concept of this is at most fountain pen shows, there will be an ink testing table of some sort, so assuming you have a pen (which you can acquire rather easily) and dip-test a lot of different inks
  • If i was in the brick-and-mortar store business I’d probably think on this a little harder, this just isn’t something I run into quite as much online
  • Ink samples would also be something to throw into the mix

QOTW: What system do you use to catalog all of the inks you use? – (01:05:36)

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