In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about how to carry your pens, keeping track of various brands’ converters, and choosing the right nib size for you!

**Due to some technical hiccups, this week’s Q&A is audio only. We’ll be back to the full video format next week.**

This week:

  • Just got back from Heidelberg, Germany this week visiting the Lamy factory!
  • I recorded this on Nov 22, before my trip
  • I wanted some slightly more evergreen questions, and went with covering some of the fundamentals


1) kingofpop771- Instagram
What is the best way to carry an eyedropper pen?

  • there is a lot of appeal for eyedropper pens, it’s a romantic idea
  • if I can carry a ton of ink that’d be amazing!
  • there’s an inherent risk of leaking or burping, so just be aware
  • basically, follow the same rules you would if you were flying/changing altitude
  • the less ink/more air you have in the pen, the more likely it is to burp and get ink in your cap as you carry it
  • it’s best to carry it nib-up
  • try to minimize the jostling, like carrying it around in a purse or backpack that’ll be thrown around a lot
  • Be cognizant of if it DID leak, where it’d leak! keeping it inside a pen sleeve, pocket, back, etc so it is contained somewhat
  • it’s not like these things leak all the time, but the risk is higher with an eyedropper pen so just be aware of it

2) yogatoride- Instagram
What are some of the best ways to carry your pen on your person if you only want to carry one? Many of the cases I see are for multiple pens, but often times I only want to carry the one pen.

  • you don’t have to use a case at all, it depends on your level of comfort
  • clip it into your pocket/shirt, etc
  • pen sleeve works GREAT, this is what I use
  • there are individual pen cases, but they often aren’t popular because they actually cost as much or more to make than larger ones, believe it or not
  • a lot of the cost with pen cases is in the labor, and it’s harder to work on smaller objects than big ones
  • there are some manufacturers that make individual cases
  • We carry Aston slips for $13.90, Visconti single cases for $85
  • I’ve seen a lot of handmade cloth and denim cases on Etsy and other craft sites at a reasonable price, too
  • if there’s a lot of interest in these I can explore, but the leather options have been pretty expensive and hasn’t generated a lot of interest in the past
  • If you carry around a notebook all the time too, consider a pen holder for your notebook, and carry them together
  • Leuchtturm pen holder, Midori

3) suepertonic- Instagram
What makes a flex nib able to flex? (e.g. shape, material, thickness, the way that it’s made, etc.)

  • all of the above!
  • sounds obvious, but flexibility is the key here
  • that can be achieved in multiple ways
  • softness of the material itself, like gold or palladium being softer than steel
  • the shape of the nib, like the Aurora 88 flex having less material than the regular 88 or Optima
  • you can achieve flex by removing material, either by cutting it out (Aurora, Edison) or by shaving the underside to weaken the metal
  • the inherent challenge is in having metal that’s weak enough to flex but strong enough to bounce back to it’s original form
  • that’s where the real artistry comes in!

4) arachnesthreads- Instagram
I bought a Stipula Etruria and it came with a registration/warranty to fill out and send back to Stipula. I did but I never heard back from them. What is this for? What can you tell me about it?

  • I don’t know about hearing back, I don’t know how common that is from any manufacturer, let alone Stipula
  • I don’t have any specific insight into what Stipula’s doing with this information, but I’ll speak in more general terms based on my understanding of why companies do warranty cards
    • better understanding of who their customers are
    • more efficient process in place if warranty service is ever needed
    • ensures legitimacy of the purchase through an authorized retailer (no knock-offs)
  • manufacturers will make their products, and maaaaybe sell direct sometimes, but often sell to different distributors throughout the world, who then sell to retailers
  • the reason there’s this distribution channel is because the world is a big place, there are a lot of regulations, laws, and knowledge required about how to service customers in that region most effectively
  • by the time pens work their way all the way down the distribution chain, manufacturers could be completely out of touch with the end user
  • this is especially true for B&M stores, because they don’t always have the ability to keep record of who their customers are
  • online, you can create an account and save your information, so there’s already a record of your purchase, which serves the purpose of the warranty card (unless the retailer goes out of business)
  • still MUCH of the world is brick-and-mortar, and the manufacturer likely will prefer to have your proof of purchase directly
  • other manufacturers I’ve seen have used these cards to try to gather information about their customers for targeted service or marketing efforts, so there will be demographic information or other questions about which products you’re interested in
  • given how easy it is to do more targeted marketing online these days, this isn’t likely extremely effective
  • most pen companies don’t even do warranty cards
  • when they do, it’s totally up to you whether you want to do them, I haven’t yet heard of someone having warranty service denied because they didn’t fill out the card, but it definitely doesn’t hurt

5) amo21mn- Instagram
How does one refrain from inking up all their pens? I’m asking for a friend.

  • you’re asking MEEEEE?
  • I don’t know, I keep between 20-40 pens inked at any one time, and pen cleaning is basically a second hobby of mine ;)
  • it depends how many you have and how often you use them, you may never have to worry about having less than all your pens inked up!
  • When you get to more than 1 pen cleaning per day, it gets a bit much to manage
  • the best technique I’ve found is to put an arbitrary limit on it, just pick a number that makes sense
  • if you have a physical pen case like an Aston Case 10 or Girologio 12 case, say you will only keep inked pens in there and after that it’s a 1-in-1-out policy there
  • it’s really up to you though, whatever the heck makes sense for you

6) Jim P- Facebook
I have dozens of FPs from a variety of manufacturers. Most of them have converters. Except for my most used pens, I’ve lost track of which converter goes with which pen. Is there an easy way to figure out which converter goes with which pen? Most converters don’t seem to have a company/mfr name etched into them. Thanks

  • easy might be a relative term here
  • We do have a cartridge/converter guide here
  • that’s probably the best way, and you can look up which converter is which on the product pages on our site (I wonder if we could link to them from this guide, I’ll look into that)
  • not all companies put their names on the converter, that’s true
  • when in doubt, take a picture and tag my team on Instagram, FB, or Twitter, or shoot us an email at and we’ll help you out!
  • Also, forums like FPN or FPGeeks can be a resource for help, especially if it’s an older pen or one we don’t carry

7) Roshan- Email
I have a question on nib sizes and speed of writing. I have a Parker Vector F nib and a Sheaffer Safaris M nib. While writing with the F nib I am able to write slowly and produce more beautiful letters than when I write with the M nib. My handwriting is not too small and not large. Does the nib size make the pen a slow or fast writer ? Would you advise buying F nib pens or M nib pens ?

  • I don’t know that inherently the nib size itself slows down or speeds up anyone’s writing
  • it will really depend on the individual
  • physically speaking, the only thing “slowing you down” would be additional friction on the page between the nib and the paper, and that’s going to be so minimal that it’s insignificant
  • there will be a felt difference (super fine nibs feel scratchier than broads, usually)
  • you may feel more comfortable writing with some nib sizes over others, so the answer to this is that yes, it will be factor, but it will be different for every single person and you don’t really know how it’ll impact you until you try different nibs

QOTW: How many pens do you keep inked up at one time? 

Write On,
Brian Goulet