Happy Friday fountain pen friends!
There isn’t a new episode of Goulet Q&A this week, but we didn’t want to leave our fountain pen faithful without some FP knowledge! In lieu of the normal Q&A, we decided to serve you up several of the top viewed Q&A slices from 2016.
You all asked some great questions this week, so we’ll be saving them for a future episode. Enjoy, and we’ll be back to our regular episode of Q&A soon.
1. What are your “Must-Have” inks?
For someone newer into fountain pens, what are the most necessary inks that “everyone should have” or very popular? I personally am a fan of Diamine Marine and have been wanting to get an ink sample of X-Feather for school but you are currently out of stock of it. Thanks and keep up the great job!
- Noodler’s Black
- Noodler’s Heart of Darkness
- Noodler’s X-Feather
- Noodler’s Liberty’s Elysium
- Noodler’s Apache Sunset
- Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses
- Diamine Marine is great
- Diamine Ancient Copper
- Diamine Oxblood
- Diamine Matador
- Diamine Shimmertastic, whatever color strikes your fancy!
- J. Herbin Emerald of Chivor, Rouge Hematite
- Pilot Iroshizuku Kon-Peki, Asa-Gao, Yama-Budo
Which fountain pens are the most vs least ergonomic for people who spend a lot of time drawing and writing?
- This clearly depends on the individual
- General speaking, lighter pens are better because they reduce fatigue
- A bit of grip is good, slick materials aren’t as ideal
- Ebonite is great, celluloid, Homo Sapiens, casein (though that has its own issues), acrylic
- Smooth nibs are good but not everyone’s taste, some people like a little bite
- Some that people generally like:
- Lamy Joy, Noodler’s Ahab for drawing, Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Desk pen
- For writing, you will get a lot of answers here!
- For me, Pilot Custom 74, Lamy 2000, Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze Age are all great, also Edison Nouveau Premiere/Collier
- Honorable mention to Lamy Al-Star, Pilot Metropolitan, Jinhao with Goulet nib!
We always hear about the most popular and favorite inks, but what are some of the “not well known” or “understated” inks in your opinion?
Also, what are the top five LEAST popular inks from your store?
- J. Herbin Poussiere de Lune (Brian)
- J. Herbin Lie de The (Brian)
- Lamy Turquoise (Brian)
- Noodler’s Squeateague (Jenni)
- Noodler’s Nightshade (Drew)
- De Atramentis Jane Austen (Jessica)
- De Atramentis Sapphire Blue (Kelsi)
- Noodler’s Kiowa Pecan (Ross)
- Rohrer and Klingner Verdigris (Zippy)
- De Atramentis Aubergine (Susan)
- Pilot Iroshizuku Murasaki Shikibu (Anna)
- Monteverde Green, pretty much all of them (Madigan)
- the stuff that doesn’t sell at all, we usually drop
- Most Stipula ink was unpopular, except Musk Green
- Pelikan Brilliant Red, other pinky reds like that
- Many of the highlighter inks
- Delta ink (recent drop)
- Most yellow inks
Hi Brian, I have a friend who loves their Pilot Plumix- but when I saw her using it for the first time, I had no idea what it was. Turns out, it’s a pretty good pen but everyone seems overlook it (I think it’s because the Metropolitan is so popular.) In your opinion, what are the 5 most underrated fountain pens?
- The Metropolitan is good bang for the buck, which is why it’s so popular
- the Plumix is far less so, because not everyone wants a stub
- the design is a little less conducive for an EDC pen
- this is not an official list, just my thoughts at the moment
- Pilot Varsity
- Pilot Parallel
- Pilot E95s
- Platinum 3776
- TWSBI Eco
How much do you think it hurts your business that there are sellers in various countries that are undercutting the prices that you’re able to offer? For example, I’ve seen Japanese sellers on eBay and Amazon that are selling the VP and 3776 Century for under $100 (with shipping). Is this something that concerns you as you look to the future? Do you think that they’re significantly cutting into your sales by bypassing import/export rules? Thanks!
- it’s definitely something that I know affects me, not sure how much though
- it’s not just overseas, it’s domestic, too
- there will always be someone cheaper, always
- sometimes you have to watch out, they might be fakes, grey market (not warranted), mis-represented, used
- it is pretty frustrating, because they’re not educating or servicing these pens at all
- I put out good free content like this Q&A, they undercut me and take your business away, I end up losing
Hi Brian- I know in the past you’ve made videos showing us your extensive pen collection. You have mentioned that your main reason for getting into fountain pens was to be able to experiment with different inks. I’m curious as to what your ink collection might look like/ how you organize your ink.
- sure! I have regular inks and older LE inks (that I don’t use as much)
- It’s not very organized!
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 email@example.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
8. What ink bottle says, “I Use Fountain Pens!”?
In your opinion, what’s the best bottle of ink to put on my desk at work to say bam! I use fountain pens
- definitely the premium brands
- Pilot Iroshizuku
- Pelikan Edelstein
- Caran d’Ache
- Graf Von Faber-Castell
- all of these look baller, honestly! The Pilot probably wins out for me, though, with that thick glass bottom
We all love fountain pens but what is your biggest complaint about them?
- I hear complains about ink on fingers, having to fill/clean/maintain them, leaking, spilling, you name it
- none of that bothers me, really
- my biggest complaint is actually the thing I love the most about fountain pens, too, it’s a paradox
- the variability of pen, ink, and paper performance as they interact with each other is frustrating when it isn’t acting like you want it to
- it’s also wonderful and keeps my fountain pen experience rich and interesting even after 7+ years of being completely immersed in this world
Hello! I am a college student and I often find myself using not so ideal paper. I find that finer nibs work better on this sort of paper but I am a sucker for super smooth nibs. What pens have you found to be a good balance between fine and smooth? Big fan by the way.
- this isn’t just college students, this is a lot of places in the US
- IMHO, Pilot rocks the smooth fine nibs
- Metropolitan, Custom 74, Vanishing Point, all good
- Lamy 2000 EF is actually quite good
- Goulet EF‘s are pretty darn smooth
- Platinum gold nibs are a bit toothy, but the EF Preppy is surprisingly smooth!