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In this episode, I talk about how to become a nibmeister, showing ALL the Premieres, and tips for using fountain pens on cheap paper!

This week:
  • very crazy, very busy last week personally
  • low-key Father’s day, was nice
  • Summer has begun (for Northern Hemisphere!)
  • toured my local Amazon Distribution Center

New/Upcoming Products – (3:11)
Pens/Writing – (7:58)

1) joe.robs- Instagram – (8:02)

I am fifteen and am extremely interested in fountain pens. I have decided that I would like to take a step further into fountainpendom and become a nib smith or nibmeister (someone who grinds nibs or does nib work on pens, I don’t know the proper name for them). I was wondering how can I take this step and how would I learn. Thanks, Joe.
  • nibmeister is a fairly appropriate term, the most commonly I’ve heard used any way
  • there’s no official training/protocol for it these days
  • it’s a true “trade” craft, so learning it from someone that already does it would be most ideal
  • there are really only a handful of individuals who do it, and they’re tough to get a hold of because they’re so busy
  • the best way to do it is to teach yourself, quite honestly
  • there are some videos out there where people do tuning and grinding, watch as much as you can
  • scour the internet
  • get your hands on as many junk nibs as possible, play with them!
  • you’ll want a good loupe, micromesh, and a grinding wheel setup of some kind (dremel with diamond wheel is probably easiest to come by)
  • if there are any pen shows near you ever, go and see if you can plant yourself by a nibmeister and watch what they do
  • sometimes there are training classes at pen shows, like Richard Binder’s class at DC
  • if this is something you REALLY want to do, you’re going to have to make it happen, it will not be handed to you on a silver platter
  • you’re 15, you’re very young, and most people who would be your potential clients will find your age to be a barrier, so just mentally prepare yourself for that
  • in order to make up for that fact, you will need to become exceedingly excellent at your craft
  • learn everything you can, find every book that even mentions a nib and memorize it, practice and learn everything you can in all the free time you have
  • if you even have moderate talent, you can at least pay a good portion of your way through school doing it
  • if you’re good and practice a ton, you can probably make a career of it…go get it

2) Athena- Email – (21:12)

With summer coming up and a new Edison Nouveau Premier due, I was wondering if you could do a round down of all the Edison Nouveau Premieres (regulars and special editions). In the past I could not picture myself spending $150 for a pen. Now that I have could to appreciate their value, I have missed out on many (Fire Ball, Cobalt and the Arctic Currents). Then, I found out there was a matte black that was sold as a regular edition. How I wish I had come into the fountain pen scene earlier. 
  • Let’s look at all the pens!

3) James- Email – (36:25)

What does the feeder tube do, and why might it play a role in controlling ink flow?
  • it assists in the capillary action of the ink
  • ink can have a tendency to hang up at the end of the converter, so the feeder tube will assist in drawing the ink from inside the converter through to the feed
  • without it, the pen could have a tendency to dry up with certain inks that don’t flow as freely

4) perogata- Instagram – (38:26)

The way we talk about nib feedback is rather one-dimensional. There seem to be other qualities to feedback than the “magnitude”. How can we better classify feedback, and describe the difference between e.g. a Platinum 3776 and an ill-tuned IPG nib pen? Maybe we can borrow inspiration from the photography community, where they have invented all kinds of terms to explain good versus bad bokeh types?
  • There are some terms I commonly associate with feedback (which is admittedly a very general term)
  • Smooth/buttery/glassy- a highly polished nib will glide across the page, and any of these terms could be used to describe what that feels like
  • Toothy- this is generally where nibs such as Platinum 3776 14k nibs, Kara Kustoms Titanium, and Aurora Ipsilon fall. It doesn’t cut the paper, it just feels “grabby” evenly in all directions
  • Scratchy- this is where something feels “wrong”, especially if it’s worse in one direction than another. It may cut the paper you’re writing on, gathering up paper fibers into the slit of the nib
  • We could probably come up with something more granular, like the “x out of 10” ranking that’s often used to describe wetness/flow

5) kuyaxdr- Instagram – (43:52)

What are some tips for using FPs on cheap, everyday paper?
  • this is a really popular question, because especially in the US, we don’t have great FP paper as a standard in most places
  • “cheap” paper will be more absorbent, often feather and bleed more
  • because of the absorbency, it will almost always spread more, making your lines appear broader than they do on more ink-resistant paper
  • go with as fine a nib as you can stand, ideally EF or F, Japanese nibs in this size will generally be ground a little finer
  • go with pens that don’t gush ink, especially be conscious when using flex nibs
  • steel nibs will often put down a little less ink that gold nibs, because gold is softer and will put more ink down with pressure 
  • try not to write with a lot of pressure, that puts down more ink
  • some ink will perform better than others on cheap paper, and you often need to sample it to see how it does perform (this is where ink reviews can help a lot)
  • be prepared to only use one side of the page, because of bleed through
  • this is where you can almost always cost-justify nicer paper, because you can actually use it on both sides!
Troubleshooting – (51:52)
6) Lesley S.- Blog – (51:53)
how do you know when you are running out of ink? One of my worst fears is running out of ink when I am in the middle of a meeting or somewhere else when I am taking notes. What are the signs that ink is low, especially where you can’t see how full your pen is?
  • it depends on the pen
  • if it’s truly running out, it will usually start to run dry, lines will be weak, color will lighten, flow will start to break/hard start
  • cartridge/converter pens are easy, a quite open up and look into the pen body will tell you what’s going on
  • some piston/vacuum pens have ink windows, that tells you there
  • if you have a sealed body (usually piston, could be eyedropper too, lever or cresent) with no ink window, that’s when it’s tough to tell
  • one trick is to turn your piston pen upside down, and screw the piston down so it squeezes out the air (have a paper towel handy) and see if it’s all air, or if ink’s coming out
  • Depending how far down the piston goes, will tell you how much ink is in there
  • eyedropper you can turn it upside down, open it up and look down in there
  • lever or crescent, similar to the piston pen but requires a little more finesse to keep from blobbing the ink everywhere
  • my favorite solution? Keep a backup pen with you in case you run out!
Business – (1:01:55)
7) sarahabetz- Instagram – (1:01:56)
Is it a job requirement for Goulet employees to like fountain pens? Or can they *gasp* prefer ball point?
  • haha, no it’s not a job requirement, though it is often a consequence of working here
  • not everyone here becomes a complete pen fanatic, though there’s a very high proportion
  • most of our team uses them on a regular basis, or at least really appreciates and gets excited about new ones that come out
  • we seldom hire anyone with previous pen experience (just the odds), though it can help if they’ve used them before
  • we do provide pens to everyone when they start work here, we want them to experience it themselves if nothing else, so they can appreciate what we have going on here

QOTW: What’s your favorite summertime ink? – (1:04:33)

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