In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about Pilot Converters, Lamy 14k gold nibs, and how he breaks down his pen/ink/paper budget!

This week:

  • Lego Brickfest!
  • Rachel’s parents were in town
  • I was sick the last two days, ugh
  • we launched the Monteverde Monza, big hit
  • done some live video stuff on Insta and FB, got Drew on there, it was fun!
  • Bonfire really took off! sold out, getting one more shipment in that I suspect will also sell out fairly quickly…this one is hot (pun!)
  • Robert Oster African Gold is coming in
  • TWSBI Mini AL Gold in next week!
  • Lamy Aion will be in about two weeks, I’m told
  • Deals!
    • Flash sales and giveaways on Instagram, Facebook, and our newsletter so make sure you subscribe to those
    • Free silk Visconti pen case with a Medici
    • Next week through Thanksgiving free Iroshizuku with any Custom 74 or Stargazer
    • We’re working out a cool thing for Fountain Pen Day, stay tuned in a couple of weeks for that
    • More to come, we’re going to be doing all kinds of cool stuff through the end of the year!


1) Nerissa D.- Facebook (4:42)
What is the most thorough way to flush a Pilot pen that has a squeeze converter?

  • Pilot’s moving away from squeeze converters now, though there are a lot of you that still have them out there
  • everything’s going to be moving to either the Con-40 or Con-70
  • I personally find the best way to clean them is to remove the converter, and flush it either with a solid “shake” or ink syringe
  • flush the pen with a cut-off bulb syringe, there’s nothing more effective

2) Vicki N- Facebook (9:30)
can you fully disassemble a pilot con40 converter for cleaning? i haven’t been able to find anything online and can’t figure it out on my own.

  • Unfortunately they’re not made to be disassembled
  • If you take it apart, you’ll likely damage it, it’s not worth the risk in my opinion
  • the best way to clean it is like I just described with the Pilot squeeze converters, either use an ink syringe or shake the heck out of it full of water

3) suannp8- Instagram (14:00)
Now that Lamy has gold replacement nibs… for my first gold nib pen, would you recommend getting that nib for my Safari or buying an entry level gold nib pen. Which pen would you recommend?

  • Great question! you’ll pay close to the same price for both
  • it’s purely going to be a matter of personal preference
  • If you go with an entry-level gold nib pen like the Pilot VP, Lamy 2000, Pilot E95s, or something similar, the pens themselves may have a little nicer fit and finish than a Safari with a 14k nib
  • One of the really nice things about the Lamy 14k nib is that you can swap it, so you can put that nib on any of your non-2000 pens!
  • the 14k nib with the Lamy is a little more of an incremental step into gold nibs, and I really love the way those nibs write
  • I still think you’ll need to evaluate it on a per-pen basis, as many of the entry-level gold nib pens are pretty different from each other

4) hobbysgirl5741- Instagram (19:10)
Any more previews of the Monteverde Monza?

  • sure!
  • I’ve gotten to play with it a little more, and it’s a pretty cool little pen
  • you’ll notice how similar it is to the Jinhao 992, that’s undeniable
  • I pointed that out to the folks at Monteverde, and they recognize the similarities too
  • I don’t exactly know the arrangement of the pens, but I do know the QC, nib, and feed are different from Monteverde. and you get full warranty support on them
  • The pens themselves are surprisingly solid
  • Pen caps well, posts well
  • very light overall
  • clear feed is really cool!
  • fine and medium nib, and write quite well, especially given the price, write slightly wet but not gushing, pretty comparable to most European nibs (not as fine as Japanese)
  • #5 size nib, so you can even swap it if you desire
  • does come with a converter…it’s not THE BEST, but it’s okay
  • replaces with the Monteverde clear converter, slightly shorter than the Standard International
  • take SI short cartridges
  • 4 different demonstrator colors, $16, with free $15 bottle of ink now through the end of the year
  • pretty dang good pen for the price in my opinion, it’s definitely worth a look especially given the ink deal
  • we’re running low on them right now, but we’ll get restocked soon


5) Ryan D.- YouTube (26:11)
My question is, why aren’t all fountain pen inks permanent? I love the colors De atramentis and Diamine inks has to offer, but their not permanent! What’s the deal? Does it have to do with pen cleaning maintenance or ink production cost? Thanks for doing QandA.

  • it’s funny, because I often have other people ask me the exact opposite, why there is so much fuss around permanent inks!
  • the reason there are both is because people have different needs
  • the dyes and components used to make permanent inks are more limiting in terms of colors and properties, so that’s a huge reason why non-permanent inks exist
  • it’s also that the chemistry wasn’t really around (or at least not used) to make ink permanent except in blues or blacks for a long time, so other color inks were only available as non-permanent
  • still look at many of the more vibrant colors, like pinks, reds, oranges, purples, greens, etc, they’re all mostly non-permanent
  • I think a lot of it has to do with that components are available with permanent qualities in which colors, cost (probably), as well as maintenance and performance


6) Kevin G- Facebook (33:41)
If you were to divide your stationery budget (I know you probably don’t have a budget, but work with me) into three for pen, paper and ink, what percentage of the whole budget would each one get?

  • I think it’s very wise to budget! My stationery budget is likely greater than most, but it’s also what I do…
  • Whatever your budget is, say it’s $100 because it’s a nice round number
  • I think if you’re JUST starting out, go with $40 for pens, $35 for ink, and $25 for paper
  • Over time, your paper budget will likely go way down, as you’ll learn what you like and you’ll find things like journals actually go pretty far
  • Down the road, you’ll likely be more of a $55 pens, $30 ink, $15 paper
  • I’m personally more in something like a 80pens/12ink/8paper these days, just because I use about the same ink and paper but my pen budget has grown quite a bit


7) @ExiledTexan86- Twitter (38:50)
I enjoy the business Q&As. Has Goulet Pens ever experienced a make or break moment for the company’s future? If so, how did you face it?

  • oh my gosh, have we! many, many times over, yes
  • first one was taking on the first corporate pen order when it was just a hobby…aka, starting at all
  • deciding to go “full time” with it about 2 years in – not easy, Rachel had to pull our financial wagon
  • deciding to go full into fountain pen retailing and stop making pens, that was both tough and easy (because it was obvious it needed to happen) – this was hardest for me personally, as I saw myself as a craftsman in my mind’s eye, and I knew this would divert me away from that path
  • Rachel quitting her job and both of us going full-time into it, that was the single biggest “do or die” moment with a mortgage and a new baby – we faced it with an appropriate dose of fear and apprehension, a lot of gumption, and the mentality of “we have to do this now while we’re too young and ignorant to truly understand how hard this will be!”
  • we’ve faced more scenarios since, like our first hire, moving the business out of our house, moving up every time since then, upgrading our website, it’s all been and continues to be a series of “make or break” moments
  • because you’re never truly “settled”, never really “there”, you are constantly making these types of decisions as a business lives on, which is why so few are able to stick around for the long haul, you have to be a special breed to take that on

QOTW:  What’s your pen/ink/paper breakdown look like? (50:51)

Write On,
Brian Goulet