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 getting into nibmeistering, rules of pen etiquette, and the blackest of the black inks!
This week:
  • crazy warm weather here, lots of illness too


New/Upcoming Products: – (:53)


Pens/Writing – (1:41)

1) Karl K.- Facebook – (1:42)
Are there any hard and fast rules, i.e., do’s and don’ts, regarding pen etiquette when someone asks to examine my fountain pen — or my examining theirs? I am not sure I want someone “trying out” my pen. Would it endanger my nib?
  • there aren’t really “hard and fast rules”, it varies person-to-person
  • some people aren’t comfortable lending their pens, ever
  • there’s long-standing ideology that a nib is unique to your writing and anyone else writing with it could ruin it
  • I take a common-sense approach to it
  • if it’s an inexpensive pen, give some basic instruction and give it to everyone!
  • if it’s more expensive, only do it if you really trust the person, they’ll understand
  • I instruct how to hold it, and don’t write with a lot of pressure
  • It’s the pressure thing that you most have to worry about
  • Usually if I can set it up right, I have people writing more cautiously than brazen
  • you have to determine what’s comfortable for you and the individual you’re sharing with

2) Melissa R.- Facebook – (5:39)

If you were to get a nib ground to something new that you’ve never tried before (I personally want to try an architect grind), what nib would you use? Something replaceable in case you didn’t like the grind (like a Lamy nib or a Goulet nib) or something maybe less replaceable on a pen you love in hopes of ending up with a really awesome pen?
  • great question, there’s definitely an element of risk involved here
  • this depends if you’re risk-averse or reward-seeking
  • grind a cheaper nib if you suspect you may not like it, or have no idea, to limit your loss
  • go nuts on a more expensive pen if you expect to love it
  • a more known/expensive pen with a custom grind could have better resale value, too, if you really just don’t like it
  • I’d strongly consider you get a pen that whatever nibmeister has worked on a lot or recommends for that grind
  • You can always reach out to whomever you’d like to do your grind and see what they recommend, because after all, it’s very custom work
Ink – (9:20)3) the_nice_devil- YouTube – (9:22)

Can you buy ink concentrate? is it possible to make ink powder and just put it in a bottle and just add water?
  • ink powder, not really- dye can be powder but is only one component of FP ink
  • other components used to make inks are liquid only, and couldn’t easily be made into a powder
  • some fountain pen inks are more saturated than others, and can be diluted and still very usable as pen ink
  • Noodler’s has very concentrated inks and often recommends diluting them to maximize their value
4) aga.wy- Instagram – (11:46)
Ink question: which is the darkest of them all?
5) chinyan_pandya- Instagram- (13:53)
What are your thoughts on boiling the ink for a few seconds to evaporate some of the water and make it more saturated? Perhaps bring out a bit more of the sheen? Is it even possible? Waiting for your interesting insights!
  • boiling? yikes, I don’t think I’d want to do that, never tried though
  • technically, the water will evaporate just leaving the cap off for a while
  • will it bring out more sheen? That I don’t really know, I don’t think so
  • you can’t squeeze blood out of a rock, if the ink doesn’t sheen it won’t sheen
  • putting down more ink will make it sheen more, and technically if you have less water that could get a similar effect…
  • I doubt ink that’s evaporated enough to really make a difference in sheen would perform well in a pen, it’d probably write too dry and clog up
  • I’ve never tried it though, I’d be curious to test that out!

Business – (17:26)

6) Matthew M.- Facebook – (17:33)

Do ink manufacturers ever have a problem with you repackaging and selling the ink as samples?
  • nope! not at all, they think it’s great!
  • as an authorized retailer for all our brands, we are helping them out by getting their ink into as many people’s pens as possible, and since the barrier to entry is lower with samples we can help with that
  • the samples combined with the Swab Shop is a big win for ink companies, and they are really appreciative of that exposure

7) Joshua W.- Email – (20:47)

I was wondering how it would be best to look into nibmeister work. I have done a little bit of antique watch repair at a friend’s shop, nothing professional, but helped him out a bit, and working on fountain pens sounds like a similar vein of work. It doesn’t seem like the kind of thing you could go take a course on, at least not here in the US. Any suggestions?
  • this is something I’ve been trying to figure out myself!
  • there’s definitely no school for it, and very limited information available in books, videos, or online
  • basically, there are a handful of people doing this work in the world, and they’re all really really busy and not mentoring others a lot
  • it’s really a trade/craft, and either needs to be passed down or learned through trail-and-error
  • pretty much, you can read some of the resources out there (Richard Binder is a good one) and get a bunch of cheap nibs and practice your little heart out
  • the only other alternative would be to link up with a pen company that does it in-house, and that’s going to be VERY tough, especially as most of them are outside the US
QOTW: How do you feel about loaning your pen out to other people? What’s your process? – (28:34)

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