Goulet Q&A Episode 170, Dip Nibs in Fountain Pens, Grip Diameters, and Lamy Extra-Fine Nib Availability

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In this episode, I talk about dip nibs in fountain pens, grip diameter, and Lamy extra-fine nib availability.

This week / New Upcoming Products: – (1:02)

Pens/Writing – (6:49)
1) Ultimate Pixel- YouTube – (6:51)
There are a lot of fancy dip nibs that are super-flexible or have 5 lines and stuff like that. Are there any fountain pens that could hold such nibs without the need to always dip them? Or are these nibs just plainly incompatible with regular feeds?
  • Anytime you’re putting a dip nib in a fountain pen, it’s a hack
  • it can be done, though almost always with tradeoffs
  • Zebra G, Brause Rose nib I’ve heard used the most
  • flow issues are common
  • feeds often can’t keep up with the ink demand
  • the curvature of the nibs is sometimes an issue, even if it’s technically the same “size” nib
  • ornamental nibs really aren’t compatible, there’s just no design around ink flowing through them
  • it’s fun to mess around with them, do some calligraphy at a desk, etc
  • they’re not stainless steel, just regular steel, so they won’t last that long
  • these nibs definitely aren’t meant for carry around/daily use in a fountain pen
2) molindela- Instagram – (16:40)
How do you measure grip diameter for your site? Many (most?) grip sections are tapered, some flare out a bit at the end etc.
  • it’s a judgement call, and not always easy to assess because few of them are straight
  • in general, we tend to measure the thinner part of anything concave or with a flare
  • tapered is a little more difficult, we try to measure it at about the point where most people would end up holding it
  • we do get a lot of questions about which pens will/won’t fit into the Visconti Traveling Inkwell, and this is sometimes hard to gauge just by our grip diameter dimension, especially with a flare or taper
  • should we test every pen to see if it fits in the Inkwell? Maybe, that’s a lot to keep up with though, thoughts?
3) pro_echo_12- Instagram – (21:37)
I have this really burning question. how many fountain pen deaths/accidents have occurred?
  • in general? No idea
  • I personally have never dropped or destroyed a nib
  • my team has though! and customers have, so it definitely happens
  • cheaper nibs are often unsalvageable, though could be a good opportunity for nib tuning practice
  • swappable nib pens shine here, like Lamy, Goulet, Noodler’s
  • more expensive nibs might be worth repairing from a pro
4) Andrew W.- Facebook – (25:05)
Will the new Duo-Cart from Aurora be able to hold two cartridges inside the barrel like the original, hence the name Duo-Cart?
  • That is the origin of the name, true
  • the design is different though, so no, it will not hold two cartridges anymore
  • the cartridges now are “supersize”, longer than the originals anyway
  • the name harkens back to its origin but doesn’t have the same dual cartridge capability
Troubleshooting – (27:08)
5) Ginger O.- Facebook – (27:08)
Why does my fountain pen make such LOUD scratching noise when I write?
  • nib tines could be out of alignment, one is dragging/scratching
  • if it’s that obvious, you may see indentations/scratches/paper fibers being torn up
  • it could be due to your writing angle/rotation/pressure
  • nibs when writing will have some audible to it, but it shouldn’t be loud, something’s up there

6) @dongzefei- Twitter – (35:34)
Any idea about how to solve a wobbling nib after a swap? Haven’t decided to buy a Goulet Nib yet for many previous wobble experience…
  • there’s a certain degree of wobble that might be considered normal, it depends on the pen/nib
  • if it’s a little side-to-side, it’s probably okay
  • wobbling up and down or in/out is more problematic, often accompanied by other signs of trouble (poor flow)
  • Lamy nibs can wobble sometimes
  • Goulet nibs can wobble, but often fit pretty well with most pens

Business – (40:41)

7) kittytoug- Instagram – (40:43)

I recently read on another distributor’s blog that Lamy was doing away with EF nibs on Safari and Al-Star. What have you heard about this? Would it still be possible to purchase EF nibs separately or would they disappear from the FP landscape for good? Would love to hear your thoughts.

  • check out the blog post we put on the blog earlier this week
  • they aren’t doing away with them, they’re not able to meet demand and are limiting distribution to Germany and Asia
  • we’re pretty bummed here in the US
  • we don’t know if this is permanent, we have no news to prove otherwise at this point

QOTW: If you could go back in time to talk to yourself on the first day you discovered fountain pens, what advice would you give? – (47:41)

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
2017-10-11T14:03:26+00:00 May 26th, 2017|Goulet Q&A|30 Comments
  • Kate

    I bought a replacement EF nib for a Lamy Safari (in Europe) to replace the F it shipped with and frankly felt I’d wasted my money, there was so little difference between them. There certainly isn’t the difference I’d expect – it’s broader than any other EF I own, European or Japanese.

  • Thudthwacker

    QotW: “Get good paper first.” I briefly tried a fountain pen, then stopped, because I thought the horrendous feathering and bleeding was my fault — that I was holding the pen wrong, or moving too slowly, or was just not precise enough in my movements. Turns out it was just really bad paper.

  • spillthesunshine

    not going to lie, when I saw “fountain pen deaths” my first thought was ‘people who were killed by fountain pens’ haha

    • David L.

      I did too!

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      That was my initial thought when I read the question while putting it in the sheet of weekly questions!

    • Tom Johnson

      I thought so too!

    • zolivia

      I thought so too! And the technical answer would be “hundreds of thousands,” in that fountain pens presumably were used in the past to sign death penalty verdicts, declarations of war, etc.
      On a less technical level, here are fountain pen deaths/injuries within the realm of possibility, if not probability: (1) rolling an ankle after slipping on an errant fountain pen; (2) scratching the cornea by peering too closely at a misaligned nib; (3) slowly poisoning oneself by tasting inks containing the fungicide phenol; and (4) giving self concussion after accidentally staining bathroom sink while cleaning ink from pen, cleaning up with bleach, forgetting to ventilate room properly, fainting from fumes, and banging head on door jamb. 🙂

    • Lisa Vierra

      Same here!

    • AnneP

      Me too!

    • Uniotter

      I thought so too, and I’m not convinced that the original poster didn’t actually mean that! *LOL* However I’m glad Brian decided to interpret as he did, as the question would’ve been too morbid otherwise. However, Zolivia — that was a great answer! 😀

  • David L.

    QOTW: I would tell myself to get a Metropolitan. I take that back. I would tell myself which brands tend to have the better pens and steer myself to the best starter pen, the Pilot Metropolitan. But honestly, talking to a younger version of myself would be… odd. I’d probably just jump back into the Way Back and head home. Great video as always. Thanks!

    • Tom Johnson

      I’m not sure I would take myself seriously if I was visited by a future me.

      • David L.

        I know!! I would probably pass out if a future me came out of nowhere and started to advise me on pen selection.

  • Turtlegeuse

    Three points I want to make even though I haven’t listened to the whole show yet. Don’t hate me, I’m a slow listener. One, Lamy, like many vendors, has a history of successfully driving consumer interest by imposing arbitrary limitations. Just saying. For an interesting insight into how simply calling something limited edition can lead to phenomenal success read this Wired article https://www.wired.com/2017/05/using-bots-to-buy-supreme-limited-edition-streetwear/ . Two, Lamy’s steel ones are the most irregular nibs vis-a-vis size and character of tipping that I’ve seen. Don’t get me wrong – I like them for what they are, but you are practically speaking just as likely to find a F or M nib that seems like XF so don’t despair. Thirdly, Germany may have XFs but we have Arkansas stones. Rock facilitates material removal from scissors and other hard metals. Lets hope nobody shoots paper.
    Also: can’t decide if pen death is cause or effect ?

  • MP

    Don’t hate me for this, but I would tell myself not to buy a Noodler’s Flex pen. Wait until you are a little more experienced. A year in and with all the Goulet info, I didn’t think I would have that much trouble, but I did. Maybe I’ll give it a whirl again in a few years, but right now, it’s just not a good fit.

  • Lisa Vierra

    Advice to myself? I was 8. Didn’t have many options besides the Sheaffer school pens. So…don’t jump on a trampoline with one in your pocket…

    • Julie Paradise

      Same here: Use the pen you have and don’t go jumping with it.

      Another thing would be: Back in 1986 in first grade at age 6 in the GDR (East Germany) I had a wonderful Pelikano from Western Germany, a real treasure. I usually put it away whenever I left the classroom, but the one time I didn’t Lydia (I still know you, gnargh!!!) used my beloved pen and thus it was never the same again. The second thing would be to not throw it away in later years, as I am sure it would be possible to bend it back in shape if I only still had it.

  • Ximo Palomares

    Please! Clean the pen every now and then!

  • Tom Johnson

    Q# 5 – the scratching noise is much louder if your paper is sitting on a rigid surface, like a hard desk top. When the paper is on a softer surface, like a pad, there is not as much noise. Personally, unless the noise is excessive or from one of the problems Brian describes, I enjoy hearing the nib as it walks across the page. QOTW – I got into using fountain pens daily in 1996. Probably the first thing I would tell myself is how to handle pen troubleshooting issues, like discussed in Brian’s videos. Even at that time I was using a syringe to fill ink cartridges with bottled ink. The second thing is that there are fountain pen friendly paper available, something I did not know until I discovered Goulet Pens! Great Q&A, always a highlight of my Fridays.

  • Laura B.

    I really appreciate that you measure the grip diameter. Too small of a grip is painful for me.

    • Brooks Martin

      Laura I have same problem. My fix was to buy some “Pencil Grips” from Staples (office supply store in US). These are thick, rubbery tubes designed to slip over pencils so that little kids can hold the pencil more easily. I modify a pencil grip to fit the too-narrow grip of my Noodler Creeper pen:
      a) measure length of grip on your pen, then cut the tube to same, or slightly shorter length. I use a razorblade or an Exacto knife.
      b) cut a slit in the tube from one end to the other (be careful, if the razor blade slips you’d get a bad cut). This long slit allows me to slide the tube over the pen’s grip from the side, avoiding the inky nib and feed.
      The tube will probably have a gap once it’s in place on the pen. I rotate the tube to put the gap where it does not bother my fingers.

      Hope this helps, if you have questions, email me (put Pen in the heading so I know it’s not a spam) bkmart@hotmail.com

  • Helen S.

    QOTW: I’d tell myself to save up and buy an OMAS Milord in the brown arco celluloid. Maybe a Visconti Opera Elements with the gold nib.

  • Katherine Smith

    QOTW: You will love that Green Al-star. But don’t buy that Sheaffer Prelude. It is too heavy and will make you avoid all fountain pens but Lamy for the next 5 years. Try the Pilot or the Pelikan instead.

  • Mark Bruskin

    QOTW: I’ll admit that I went in big with my first fountain pen because after getting a Pelikan 800 rollerball it only seemed natural to get a matching 800 fountain pen… no regrets there at all. However, I never thought about ink and for years only used 4001 Royal Blue… it’s only been recently I’ve discovered the variety of colors and brands available. Thanks to you Brian and the way you display your inks I have evolved..😊 A couple of irishozuku inks and some Caran d’ache ultra violet and I feel more expressive. Of course that meant a second pen so I always have a choice of colors my original blue M800 now has an M800 red sister! So yeah, inks… I would tell myself to explore inks.

  • Uniotter

    I’d tell myself to be more selective, not buy so many Noodler’s pens, and save up for my grail pen sooner. Also, I’d tell myself to recognize when the orange Delta Unica was a bargain too good to pass up, and to jump on it right away! 😀

  • Sarah M Ravely

    QOTW: I’d tell myself, don’t worry, you can get a Japanese EF nib eventually, but you’ll fall in love with this Lamy despite the width versus tiny handwriting. And don’t carry it in those jeans with the weird pockets — you’ll lose it. I’d also tell myself to hang on, TWSBI will be along in a couple years. 🙂

    Q3: I’ve not killed any pens, but I did drop a Pilot Penmanship with EF nib, nib-down. I was in my bathroom, just after reassembling it after cleaning, and it slipped right out of my hand towards the floor — and stuck like a dart in the linoleum. I pulled it out and it was no worse for wear. Really glad we don’t have hard tile!

  • Brooks Martin

    Ultimate pixel, Question 1 – I’ve modified several dip pen (and fountain pen) nibs to fit my Noodler pens. The process is explained in these threads:



    If you want to make your existing pen’s nib more flexible, this EMF (Ease My Flex) mod, invented by Pterodactylus, works very well:

    Hope this helps

  • Brooks Martin

    Question 6 – Wobbling nibs: I have used tape to reduce wobbling in nibs I’ve modified to fit my fountain pens. The process is described in this thread:


  • Ken White

    QOTW: It really isn’t necessary to have All of them!

  • Robin Mosenfelder

    QOTW…buy a Parker 51 and save it for later…