In this episode, I talk about updating old videos, risk of NOT using permanent inks, and why flex fountain pen nibs aren’t as fine as dip calligraphy nibs. 

This week:


1) @franzjpm- Twitter  (12:09)
Will you ever release an updated version of the top 5 starter pens video?

  • I’ve thought about updating it, been asked this question before
  • truth be told, I think the video still holds pretty solid
  • are there others that could be included on this list, sure
  • TWSBI Eco would be the one pen I’d really consider adding in
  • What would I take out though? I LOVE the Eco, and think it’s a great pen, but I don’t know that it’d oust any of my original top 5! It’d be a definite #6
  • Nemosine Singularity
  • Pilot Kakuno
  • Kaweco Perkeo (once it proves itself)
  • Faber-Castell Loom
  • It brings up a bigger question, when should I consider redoing videos? It’s honestly not often that top lists I choose get outdated, though sometimes things get discontinued
  • If there’s a top 5 or 7 list and one or two things change, is that worth a total redo?
  • I could see doing a “top x list of the year” or something like that, intentionally make it refresh

2) j_drag_o- Instagram (18:10)
I’m looking for a good pen for school under $100. I already know about the Metropolitan, Safari, al Star, Twsbi eco, etc. What would you recommend, maybe a matching ink?

3) Bill D.- Email (21:43)

I’ve seen only one mention about cleaning a new nib before using to remove manufacturers’ coatings to prevent poor ink flow. Could you please speak about this on one of you Q&A videos? Also, cover the tip about NOT handling the nibs with your bare fingers to prevent skin oils from contaminating the nib which could lead to poor flow. I’ve seen this matter covered extensively on calligraphy videos on other channels.

  • if you’re coming over from the calligraphy world, this is a common practice, because you’re dealing with very inexpensive nibs that are steel, not stainless steel like fountain pen nibs (or gold, for more expensive pens)
  • calligraphy nib manufacturers put coatings on the steel nibs to prevent rust, and that coating impedes ink flow and needs to be cleaned off in order to be used 
  • fountain pen nibs don’t have any type of coating on it, so they don’t necessarily have to be cleaned in order to function “out of the box”
  • that said, it’s still a good practice to flush a fountain pen before you clean it, because there could be machining oils, bits of debris left over from manufacturing
  • many pen companies clean their pens from the factor anyway, so even this isn’t always a requirement, but it’s good practice

4) christineIsloc- Instagram (24:50)

Why don’t the steel flex nibs out there have narrower unflexed points? The ones I’ve used seem equivalent to a medium nib (Noodler’s, etc). Calligraphy nibs, on the other hand, go almost needle-like. Is there a reason this is the case, to last longer? Which flex nib that you carry has the narrowest point?

  • it doesn’t have to be the case, for sure
  • a fountain pen nib can be ground down every bit as fine as any calligraphy nib
  • calligraphy nibs are significantly less expensive, made of “regular” steel maybe with a chrome coating, and don’t have tipping material on them
  • essentially, they’re disposable, so they don’t have to last nearly as long as a fountain pen
  • you will throw out a calligraphy nib from rusting or bending long before you’ll actually wear away the tip from long-term use
  • if you have a needle point fountain pen that sees heavy use, the tipping will wear away sooner than a larger tip nib (because there’s less surface area) and you’ll need a replacement
  • really thin nibs also feel really scratchy, which might be acceptable when doing calligraphy because you’re often doing that in a really controlled environment
  • fountain pens are made to be more portable, and when writing “on the go”, speed and feel of writing matter more
  • this conversation of calligraphy vs flex fountain pen nibs is something that’s become more of a conversation recently, especially as low-cost accessible flex fountain pens have come to market (like Noodler’s)
  • with historically rare (vintage) flex fountain pens or newer, expensive custom or limited edition flex pens longevity has mattered more than hairlines
  • the pen that we have is the Pilot Falcon soft extra-fine, but it’s just that….soft, not “technically” a flex though that’s what it’s known for
  • aside from that, it’d be Noodler’s

5) jiyonglovesbeer- Instagram (34:18)
I believe there hasnt yet been any intensive reviews on CARTRIDGE INKS. As i travel a LOT(BECAUSE OF work) i happen to prefer cartridges than bottled ink. I might not be the only one. OR I might be THE only one who hasnt seen those cartridge reviews.

  • I am willing to bet most of the reason for that is because most inks are available in both bottles and cartridges, and bottles are just more popular
  • the vast majority of hardcore fountain pen enthusiasts (which pretty much all pen reviewers would consider themselves to be) prefer bottles because they look nice, are more economical, and you can use the ink in any variety of pens (not limited by a proprietary cartridge format)
  • cartridges are what they are…you don’t get a choice about them, because you buy whatever fits the pen…you get some color variation, but it’s usually a lot more limited than bottles
  • and since the ink is often available in both…
  • I also think because cartridges are cheaper, people are more inclined to just buy them, and don’t do as much research on them thus less of a desire for reviews

6) manojpvr- Instagram (39:45)

Will the inks which are not advertised as permanent disappear one fine morning?

  • haha, no, it won’t be like the disappearing ink you may have used as a kid as a joke
  • any disappearance would happen over time by UV exposure or paper degradation
  • you can buy UV-resistant inks, options are much more limited though
  • water exposure could be another thing, that’s often more of the risk
  • the truth is, unless you meet some rather extreme circumstance like dropping your notebook into a body of water or leaving your notebook baking in the sun for months, you don’t “need” permanent ink
  • permanent ink is best for using for important documents or long-term storage writing like memoirs, journals, etc


7) chintan_pandya- Instagram (44:50)

Since the Goulet Pen Company has already contributed so much to the FP community. Once you grow even more, would you consider hosting introductory FP workshops in collaboration with schools or something similar to promote hand writing and fountain pens in the future? Now that the education system itself is gradually doing away with hand writing totally and switching to typing, and even digital textbooks, I believe it is going down the rabbit hole of over reliance on technology.

  • there’s a lot we could unpack here, and I don’t want to fall down a rabbit hole, especially on the whole reliance on technology thing
  • first, thank you for the compliments!
  • we haven’t seriously considered hosting local workshops or anything, mainly because we’re just not skilled for that
  • we’re not teachers, handwriting experts, or anything like that
  • we know pens, customer service, fulfillment, product education…but in terms of teaching handwriting (to kids esp) we’re quite unqualified
  • now we could certainly look to partner up with schools or teachers or organizations that already do this sort of thing, and that’s something for us to contemplate for the future, indeed
  • truth be told, our influence is likely to be greater valued in the online community, and that is our mission statement, so we will always look to serve in this capacity first

QOTW: If you had your choice to have me update any older Goulet video, what would it be? (51:33)

Write On,
Brian Goulet