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In this episode, I talk about snap caps vs screw caps, J. Herbin vs Atelier Gargoyle sealing wax, and what in the world have we done to Monday Matchup.

This week:
  • Jen our new HR Manager started this week!
  • Joseph finished first week of first grade, loving it

New/Upcoming Products:  – (4:43)

Business – (11:39)
1) j1448- Instagram – (11:46)
Why did you decide to change the way people enter Monday Matchup Giveaways?
  • We could have been clearer on the rules
    • I apologize! we were not trying to pull a fast one over on anyone, we hope with all the deposits we have tried to make in the trust bank that you can give us the benefit of the doubt here
    • one entry per email, our contest rules page was unclear about this, we actually do have a way to enter on each
  • Rafflecopter legitimacy came into question
    • we are the only one who see the email list
    • we don’t do anything with this except pick a winner
    • it helps prevent spamming and cheating
    • we have done others without this raising concern (like Thursday Things 1-year anniversary)
    • more fair selection of winners
    • Instagram changing the algorithm has made it harder for us to see who has entered in
    • This was a move that was really to help us manage it logistically and make it more fair to select a winner on the platform
  • It also allowed others to participate off Instagram, as we’d gotten a lot of pushback about it being an Insta exclusive
  • Comments about the changes killing the community aspect of Instagram, and that’s something I want to be really sensitive to
    • I don’t know that there was full understanding at first that the hashtag is still there and isn’t going away, it’s just not the official entry into the contest
    • we did make it harder for Insta users to enter the contest, and that is the truth, it was a major compromise in the whole process
    • we have been reading through every response on Instagram and responding, seeking to understand what the sentiment is (both initial reactions and after there is some better understanding)
  • Whenever making a change like this (especially after two years of doing it this way), there will always be pushback, and we certainly have learned from this experience that we can be clearer if we make a change of this scale
    • please give us a chance to try it a few weeks, and we will reevaluate. If it’s a total bomb, I will fess up and we can figure out where to go from there
  • We will be doing a blog post on this to make the rules clear and centralize feedback
  • Email social@gouletpens.com for even more personal feedback

Pens/Writing – (28:53)

2) Pavel V.- Facebook – (28:56)

Hi Brian, could you recommend a fountain pen for med student – good ink capacity and possibility to disinfect the pen without worries of damaging the pen are the main points.
  • I am definitely not a medical professional so take everything I say with that in mind
  • I have never had a customer in the medical profession tell me this is a particular factor for them
  • I did look up the CDC Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities and I believe pens would be considered a noncritical item
  • The only thing you really want to avoid is solvents (and concentrated alcohols) on plastic pens, and chlorine on anything metal (especially aluminum), otherwise you’ll probably be okay
  • Any docs out there who want to comment, please do!
  • recommendations, definitely TWSBI, Pilot Metropolitan, Lamy Safari/Al-Star, Nemosine

3) George H.- Facebook – (32:54)
Over the last 6 months, I’ve ordered quite a few pens. Many of them came with cartridges that I don’t use so my desk is rolling with them. Is there a way to tell a standard international from a proprietary by sight?

  • Yes, but it takes somewhat of a trained eye sometimes
  • our website is a great way to tell, we have pics of them all
  • Proprietary ones are easy, they will have the brand
  • Standard Internationals you can filter on the ink cartridge page
  • Brands include Diamine, Kaweco, Pelikan, Visconti
  • the opening is usually the most drastic


4) @MoveTrue- Twitter – (36:24)
What are the pros and cons of snap cap verse screw cap?
  • Snap cap:
    • Pros: quick draw, one-handed, no threads on the body, smaller step
    • Cons: can weaken over time (on some models), less secure (especially while carrying clipped), may not seal as well
  • Screw cap:
    • Pros: very secure, last a long time, can usually seal better
    • Cons: usually take two hands, threads on the grip, takes longer

5) Mylo M.- Facebook – (41:32)

What is the name of the flat top piece of the nib on the Pilot Justus 95? Also in your opinion does it make a small or big difference in line variation? I actually bought that pen from your team months ago but I have not used it because It has been the moat expensive pen I ever bought and I don’t want to ruin it in any way. Am I alone in that state of mind? Also do you know of any other pens similar to the Justus 95 with the flat top piece on top of the nib? Thanks for introducing me to fountain pens.
  • I don’t know the official name, but I would call it an adjusting bar
  • it just provides support on top of the nib, to make it stiffer when it’s out
  • retracted it allows it to operate as a soft nib
  • it’s not any more flexible than a Falcon, but it can be adjusted to be stiffer like a normal pen
  • it’s pretty cool, and you should definitely use it! try using it with the bar all the way out to start, and limit your pressure until you gain confidence with it
  • I don’t know of any other pens like this

Ink – (45:29)

6) Kelly Peeples- YouTube – (45:31)

I’m brand new to fountain pen inks, so perhaps I’m naive, but I’m surprised that ink companies don’t run quality control tests. Maybe the more expensive inks are quality tested, but in an ideal world, I would think each batch could be checked and adjusted, or checked and re-branded, if the original hue is impossible to recreate. Are hues really that volatile?
  • I empathize! We wonder the same thing around here :)
  • the truth is, the processes at most ink companies are proprietary and we don’t really know to what degree they do quality control
  • some of the dyes used come from other trade industries like textiles or printing, and those companies sell dye by the trainload
  • fountain pen ink makers, even the big ones, are really pretty puny in the grand scheme of things
  • dye manufacturers will change components slightly without warning, and it can affect ink in odd ways
  • reds appear to be the most unstable, in general
  • ink companies do the testing they feel they need to based on what they have, and many of them do a lot to adjust things when there are issues
  • it’s not hard to make ink, but it’s hard to make it consistent!


Sealing Wax – (53:26)

7) thedeskoflori- Instagram – (53:28)
Hey Brian, I’m getting married next year and would love to do some wax seals on invites. Can you talk about the Atelier Gargoyle wax and how it compares to the J. Herbin wax? Do you have a favorite?
  • AG is scented, that’s the biggest difference
  • It’s longer, more colors
  • a couple of the colors (the lighter ones) soot up a little more, that’s not as great
  • I feel like AG takes a little longer to heat up
  • Herbin sticks are smaller, and leave really crisp lines
  • honestly, there’s not a huge difference between the two brands, they both work great and are really respected among wax seal users
  • I personally like certain colors of both best, like the Herbin silver and the AG blue
Troubleshooting – (1:01:05)8) Joel W.- Facebook – (1:01:06)

OK, this is going to sound weird since everyone goes bananas over smooth nibs, but is there any way to make a nib slightly *less* smooth? I have a couple of pens that have that “glassy” feel to the nib, but I’d a like a bit more feedback (since really smooth nibs are like fingernails on a blackboard to me). So… any way to reverse the ole micromesh smoothing process?
  • absolutely you can do this
  • it’s not a common request, so I don’t sell the supplies to do it!
  • you just need a coarser grit of micro-mesh
  • you can get the finest (12,000gt) which is what we have, all the way down to 1500gt, which basically feels like rubbing your nib on an asphalt parking lot!
  • you’d want to buy a variety pack, and step down until you get just the right toothless (probably 8,000)


QOTW: What fountain pen has surprised you the most, for the better? – (1:05:49)

Thanks so much for joining us this week! You can catch up on any old Q&A videos you missed here.
Write On,
Brian Goulet