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In this episode, I talk about my go-to pen for trying out inks, if ink choice matters as much for high-end pens, and what’s better for newbies: more pens or more ink!
This week:
  • Joseph’s birthday party

New/Upcoming Products: – (2:37)

Pens/Writing – (12:20)
1) David J.- Email – (12:24)
With all the inks I’ve already purchased as well as getting into blending inks for various colors and shades, what is your go-to pen for trying out inks? What do you use to test out new inks (in small quantities) before you decide to ink up something better?
  • I’m not super consistent about it, mainly because I don’t always have my pens clean and I’m impatient!
  • Lamy Al-Star is my go-to (Vista works too)
  • I can fill it up just enough to saturate the feed, save even getting the converter inked up
  • the clear grip allows me to see how much I’m filling it and if it’s running out
  • Lamy nibs are easily swappable so I can get a feel for different line widths
  • easily cleans out with a bulb syringe, can do at my desk for rapid changing sessions
  • you could really use whatever pen you want, honestly
  • I’d stay away from the more complex filling mechanisms, these aren’t as ideal for changing inks a lot
  • glass pens or dip pens can certainly be an option, too

2) Marino (imarinobr)- YouTube – (17:43)

What is more important at the beginning, have a great variety of inks or pens?
  • GREAT question, for sure
  • My personal experience was that inks were a lot more accessible than pens, so I went with that
  • especially with ink samples, you can get a LOT of ink experience for the cost of one pen
  • pens will last longer, so you may quickly go after more pens, but ink is the best place to expand to get back for your buck
  • I’d recommend getting at least 5 low-priced pens with some research (if you’re really into the hobby), with as much of a diversity of nibs as possible
  • Lamy with additional nibs or something #6 with spare nibs (Goulet!) would be great, too
  • then go nuts with ink, especially if sampling
  • 20-40 inks wouldn’t be crazy (over time) before you really start to find some you like
  • once you start getting full bottles of colors you really like, then invest into more costly pens
  • this is over 6-12 months probably, unless you really dive in head first
3) Karl K.- Facebook – (26:03)
Brian, do you have any tips on how I might keep 3-4 pens in rotation enough to prevent them from clogging up due to disuse? I have three in my Sinclair pouch and at least one in my shirt pocket at all times.
  • 3-4 pens is a great number, that’s very manageable if you’re writing with something every day
  • most pens will go easily a week or few without being used and write just fine, so as long as you writing with each within that timeframe you’re good
  • storing them nib up will cause the nib to dry out a little sooner, horizontal or nib-down helps keep it from drying out
  • choose your ink wisely, certain inks dry out faster than others
  • if the nib dries out a bit but the pen is filled with ink, you can flood the feed or run a little water over it (or dip it in a water cup) to get it saturated again and writing fine, takes 5 seconds

4) spunkmeyer- Instagram – (31:13)

In previous videos, you said you should put ink away in the box it came in or in drawer to keep the ink from breaking down. If I have a demonstrator (like the twsbi eco) should I do the same or is it perfectly fine to keep it on my desk?
  • I really don’t think you need to worry about it affecting ink in your demo
  • of course it’s always better to keep it out of direct sunlight if you can
  • UV from the sun breaks down the dye in the ink, but it’s really more of an issue over the long-term
  • the likelihood of it affective the ink performance in the time it would take to use up that ink (a few weeks) is low
  • my recommendation is to just use it however feels most natural to you, and only go through more extreme storing measures if you find you absolutely need to

5) mnmlscholar- Instagram – (34:38)

I’ve been told that some pens perform better with some inks than others. But I’ve also been told that quality pens will work with any ink. Which is the case in your experience?
  • properly tuned pens should work well with just about any ink
  • that doesn’t mean all inks will perform exactly the same
  • viscosity and lubrication have a lot to do with it, and the design of the feed matter
  • “quality” pens as I’m interpreting it here would function (not skip, start well, etc) with any ink, but the line width, shading, dry time, and other factors could vary based on pen/ink combo
  • a lot will come down to personal preference

Paper – (39:49)

6) bookaddictkatie- Instagram – (39:52)
Will you have the Leuchtturm1917 anniversary notebooks in stock?
  • yes, but…
  • we know they’re going to be hot, we ordered a TON
  • Leuchtturm told us the US market is getting shorted pretty significantly, I don’t know exactly why
  • we along with probably most/all US retailers are not going to have orders fulfilled for them until July
  • you may see them available here and there, but probably not for long
  • we’re super bummed about the shortage, but we’re being told we’ll get our order in full in July (though that could change)
  • I haven’t even seen it in person yet

Troubleshooting – (43:56)

7) nicolas.crews- Instagram – (43:57)

I get a lot of condensation in my TWSBI cap, is that from temperature change or something else? Is there a way to stop it?
  • This happens allllllllll the time, with all pens
  • you usually just don’t see it! it’s from just natural condensation because the cap is sealed and it’s a moist environment
  • it’s exacerbated by temperature, sure
  • I don’t really know a way to stop it, other than cleaning your cap regularly
  • I keep q-tips at my desk for just such occasions
Business – (48:17)
8) Julyvee G.- YouTube – (48:18)
Now that you’re bigger in the Business do you still actively seek new products to carry or do you just go with whatever manufacturers contact you?
  • it’s a combination, actually
  • we definitely have brands we pursue, especially ones that aren’t staples in the fountain pen world
  • things like sealing wax, Cursive Logic, many notebook brands, they’re all used to serving other markets in the writing world so we usually have to pursue them first
  • brands we regularly carry (Pilot, Noodler’s, Lamy, etc) have us on their radar and they will definitely let us know when new stuff is coming
  • we very actively listen to our customers for requests for new products, and we’re buying or receiving samples all the time to test for ourselves
  • we’ll frequently get stuff and pass it around the whole office for people to test
  • we have a Slack channel dedicated to new product recommendations we’re getting from customers
  • we have weekly “new product” meetings to discuss things we’re looking into or have received information on
  • we keep in regular contact with our suppliers who let us know when there’s any new information, and we might get samples or visits showing new stuff that’s coming out
QOTW: What’s been your approach getting into the fountain pen hobby: more pens or more ink? – (1:04:46)

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