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.

In this episode, I talk about tacky holiday sweaters, I compare the Visconti Opera Master to the Pilot Custom 823, and which pen I’d use if it could only be one for a year!
This week: 
  • Tacky Sweater day!
  • Coming up on shipping deadlines, check our blog for details
  • No Q&A next week, we’ll be closed on Friday for Christmas but we’ll pick it up on the 30th

New/Upcoming Products – (5:36)

Pens/Writing – (10:00)
1) Lennox F.- Facebook – (10:01)
Hi Brian, I am currently looking to purchase a premium pen. I was wondering, in your subjective opinion, how big the difference between a 1000 dollar pen like Visconti Opera Master and a 300 dollar pen like the custom 823, in terms of just the nib smoothness and quality. Thank you very much! Love your videos and happy holidays
  • there is a law of diminishing returns when it comes to nibs
  • spending over a certain dollar amount (usually a couple hundred dollars) won’t get you any better nib
  • there are a lot of other factors that influence price, like theme, design, materials used, craftsmanship, etc
  • the Visconti Opera Master is a beautiful pen, and has many different colors/designs to it
  • it’s quite heavy, and very backweighted when posted
  • squared circle design is unique and more difficult to manufacture
  • both pens use vacuum to fill, have large reservoirs
  • Pilot nibs are notably thinner in their lines, are springy but not as much as the Visconti, and a bit drier
  • 823 only comes in 1 color (in the US), has fewer nib options
  • Getting down purely to writing experience, the Custom 823 dollar for dollar is a better value, IMHO
  • Opera Master is not the pen for everyone, it’s a beast with a hefty price tag
  • Opera Master really feels more like a work of art, and is worth the money if you have that kind of “pen money” laying around
2) @luke.mmm- Instagram – (15:26)
I’m not looking for a big pen investment yet, but I am willing to spend up to $60 on one. I don’t like the plasticky look of pens like the Lamy safari. Are there any suggestions you have for low budget beginner pens that don’t look very cheap and maybe aren’t plastic?
3) @halfapx- Instagram – (19:16)
I love asian extra fine nibs. would love to give some european extra fines a try though, what are the ones you would recommend below $200?
4) @thoughtsalonglifeshighway- Instagram – (21:30)
If you’ve never used a fountain pen and love a very fine line but not a scratchy pen, what do you suggest?
  • most EF’s will sacrifice a little bit of smoothness, it’s just physics
  • make sure you hold the pen at a lower angle than you’re used to holding ballpoint/rollerballs
  • go way light on the pressure, use only the weight of the pen itself
  • start with something fairly inexpensive, like the Platinum Carbon Desk Pen ($12) or Pilot Metropolitan in F ($15) to get your feet wet
Ink – (26:21)5) @vicksnish- Instagram – (26:22)

I’m obsessed with sheening inks! i’m not talking about the shimmery stuff with metallic dust added but real sheening inks. so what makes certain inks sheen and why don’t any noodlers inks sheen even though they are highly saturated? also, is there an extensive list of sheening inks out there somewhere?

Troubleshooting – (29:04)
6) Anthony T.- Facebook – (29:06)
OK Brian riddle me this. Over time the nibs on my Lamy Safari are not fitting as snug as they originally did. Some of my most used nibs will shift laterally while I write causing the center slit to be out of alignment. Is there a procedure for adjusting them to again fit right??
  • it’s not really a riddle, the plastic on the feed has been ever-so-slightly bent in over time so the nib isn’t fitting as snugly
  • this happens more rapidly when a lot of writing pressure is applied, because it puts increased pressure on those wings that hold on the nib
  • depending how long it’s been you may be able to send it in to Lamy to replace the feed, if it’s worth the hassle for you
  • you could slightly bend the wings on the nib to get it to fit more snugly, it’s a calculated risk but not a huge one
7) @sy_sheng- Instagram – (33:25)
For pens with a threaded cap, like the Pelikan M400, can easily get scratch marks on the pen barrel, where the cap and barrel are in contact. Do you have any suggestions to prevent/minimize the scratching?
  • best way to minimize scratches: don’t post!
  • seriously though, it’s not a huge deal
  • you can just post a little more gently, but then you risk losing your cap which would cause way worse scratches
  • you can buff those out pretty easily with a jeweler’s cloth or plastic polishing compound

Personal – (39:01)
8) Aaron S.- Facebook – (39:03)
Happy Holidays, Goulet Team!! Inspired by your classy Christmas sweater collection, I’d love to hear what Christmas morning traditions the Goulet’s have? At our house, you can always count on mimosas, a lit fireplace, soft Christmas music playing in the background, and the smell of cinnamon rolls in the oven. Thank you for all you do!!
  • growing up my family got onto a Christmas Eve tradition, because we’d drive up 9 hours to Connecticut each Christmas morning
  • Rachel’s family had much more of a Christmas morning tradition involving coming down the stairs to see all the presents under the tree, cooking cinnamon rolls, and opening presents as the parents sipped their coffee
  • Rachel’s parents live further away, so we end up basically blending the two traditions, we do Christmas Eve with my parents, then Christmas morning with hers
  • We like to draw out the Christmas presents though, we open one at a time and take turns, so everyone gets to see/react to every gift
  • we have a special Christmas day meal too, a roast chicken with potatoes, peas, and onions

9) @planny_mcplannerson- Instagram – (43:07)

If you could only use one pen for a year, which one would you choose? why?
  • I normally don’t like these questions at all because I love changing pens a lot!
  • changing pens a lot is one of the best parts of being in my place as a pen guy
  • I have two pens I’ve been favoring pretty heavily as my EDC pens the past year, the Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze Age in fine and the Lamy 2000 in EF (that cap tho!)
  • It is a really tough call between those two, really tough
  • the Lamy 2000 might edge it out a little bit though
    • because the nib is not as wet (so it works on most papers)
    • it has think window which is real nice
    • and it’s really easy to clean which would probably be important with only one pen, as I’d want to change colors a LOT to keep things fresh
  • darn you for making me choose!
QOTW: What Christmas or holiday tradition do you cherish in your family? – (48:51) 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