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 shading inks, the ultimate journal, and why manufacturers don’t make videos!

(We’re aware of the audio issues in this week’s episode. We’re looking into the root cause of that currently, hopefully we should be issue free going forward! Thanks)

This week:
Pens/Writing – (8:35)
1) Julia M.- Facebook – (8:37)
Not sure if this has been covered before but here goes: How do you really feel about Montblancs? I know someone who only owns MBs as a status symbol. In your opinion, why has the MB has achieved such status? And is there any other pen that works as well as a status symbol yet is also a great pen? My little Platinum Preppy never fails me but status symbol, it is not
  • I own several, they’re nice! 
  • I haven’t been following them for years, I’m told the heyday was more in the 70’s/80’s (in terms of value/writing quality)
  • they’ve done a respectable job marketing, and they charge a premium for their brand recognition
  • they were very intentional about their branding, and they spend a LOT to position themselves that way
  • in terms of what most of the hardcore writing enthusiasts see valuable, the pens are too expensive, because part of what you’re paying for is the brand recognition
  • pretty much every non-pen person I know (especially in the business community) asks me if I carry Montblanc when I say I’m in the pen business
  • In terms of the general population, no, I think MB has the most brand recognition
  • there are plenty of fantastic writing alternatives, obviously
2) Karl K.- Facebook – (15:15)
You make wonderful, easy-to-follow instructional videos — as a retailer. But I have not seen many made by the actual manufacturers of their own pens, except Noodler’s. Have they conceded that retailers and pen enthusiasts might be the best instructors of their products?
  • most manufacturers are focusing on what they do best, making pens
  • I completely believe that they could benefit from shooting videos, clearly I’m very much in that camp!
  • it takes a lot of time, energy, and resources to make it happen
  • it’s not just a matter of shooting videos, but also engaging with the community that takes a huge commitment
  • it’s especially challenging for global brands
  • the traditional model has been for manufacturers to use distributors to do marketing more targeted to local areas
  • this is being challenged with the internet, and while it’s not anything THAT new, it’s still working its way through the fountain pen community
  • Truth be told, I think they’re still grasping what we’re doing, it’s quite different from the typical marketing models that they’ve been used to
  • some understand and embrace it more than others, but the ones who “get it” will continue to see growth with new fountain pen users in the future
  • if they were to embrace this type of marketing themselves, it would take a bit to gain some traction but they would really seem some impact in the community! 

3) Danielle S.- Blog – (23:14)

In the spirit of the Vanishing Point special going on, which vanishing point model and finish would you consider most durable for daily use? I want one that won’t easily get scratched, nicked, or dented in my fast paced, multi tasking office. I am constantly picking up and putting down my pens and do so quickly; I just don’t have the time or attention span to be conscientious and delicate. I want to avoid the disgust with myself when I realize later my carelessness marred the finish.
  • the most durable version would be the raden, as the urushi is the hardest finish!
  • it’s also most expensive
  • next would be any of the shiny versions, they’re lacquered and pretty darn durable
  • the matte finishes will be the least durable, though they’ll still hold up okay

Ink – (27:51)

4) rachelcdlf- Instagram – (27:53)

Is there an ink that has as much shading color variation as Apache Sunset but isn’t in the orange family? I love how Apache Sunset is almost 3 colors depending on how much ink you lay down.
Paper – (31:22)
5) chris.percifield- Instagram – (31:24)
If you could only use one journal/notebook for all daily writing/business/school related tasks what would you choose and why? Thanks!
  • this is a tough question to answer! 
  • there are a lot of great notebooks, and the specific use you have for them could change the correct answer here
  • what I end up using most for versatility is the Leuchtturm A5 dot grid
  • it’s durable, nice paper, good sheet count, nice features, and very versatile

Troubleshooting – (34:07)

6) niewiadomski13- Instagram – (34:08)

I love a pristine looking clean nib. But I have many pens where ink gets on the surface out of the slit and then I swipe to clean, only to draw more ink out. Sigh- mechanical feature of capillary action, or just me? Also on demonstrator pens I always have ink on top of the nib where it is secured in the grip- just gotta live with that too I guess?
  • it’s called nib creep, and it’s very common with a lot of pens and ink
  • it’s kind of a given that you’re going to experience this
  • you can cut it down a little bit by diluting the ink, but it’s honestly not worth the trouble (to me) 
  • different pen/nib/ink combos will be affected more than others
  • it’s honestly easier just to embrace it!
  • for demonstrators, yeah, you’re just going to have to get used to that
  • it’s a feature, not a bug! ;) 

7) nick_conkling- Instagram – (40:18)

If I leave my pens in my car, at what temperatures would it start to be an issue? Could the ink freeze in my pen? If so will this alter the ink properties in the pen? Can inks start to have problems as they get too hot as well? Thank you!
  • I can’t tell you an exact temperature because I haven’t tested it scientifically
  • it gets pretty hot where I am in the summer, easily 100+ in the car
  • if you leave it in direct sunlight, that’s an issue
  • keep it inside a case or bag, and that helps
  • I think 100 is a pretty good threshold, but the type of pen and ink and especially the level of ink inside could be a factor
  • for freezing, that’s probably more an issue
  • freezing is not great, mainly if it freezes inside the pen (could crack/damage parts)
  • ink that freezes and thaws is okay though, as long as the expansion doesn’t damage anything
QOTW: What’s your ultimate notebook and why? – (45:41)

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