In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about his favorite mid-priced pen, scratchy stubs, and what he thinks of picky pen buyers!

This past 2 weeks:

  • Christmas! Tons of family time
  • Really unplugged pretty hard
  • Team did our year-end physical inventory, nailed it!
  • I’m shooting this one this week on Tuesday, pretty out of the loop
  • next week’s will be something I end up shooting at Edison!
  • I’ll be traveling to Laguna Beach for a conference, considering a meet up there on Thursday morning on Jan 11, any interest?
  • Heading to Milan, Oh to see Edison pens hq!
  • shoot some vids, shop tour, Q&A, nib stuff


1. @Evrim_Binbas- Twitter (8:06)
We hear a lot about the anatomy of nibs; wet, dry, baby bottom, smooth, flex, etc.. but what about the anatomy of feeds? Why do some feeds keep ink flowing in long writing sessions, or when if we keep the cap open for a long time, but why other’s don’t?

  • this is a complex question, as it’s not JUST about the feed
  • the feed is the delivery system of the ink to the nib from the ink chamber, so to a degree is impacts flow
  • the nib itself also impacts flow, and that’s the part you see and can more easily adjust, so it gets talked about more
  • what can impact the drying out of a pen when uncapped is the ink, for one, the feed design, the nib design, relative humidity in the air, nib housing design, etc
  • the truth is I don’t know enough about the engineering and physics behind it all to explain every facet of it, and I’m not sure even the manufacturers know and test for all different kinds of inks and environmental factors, there are just so many
  • I think pen designers are doing the best they can to try to come up with the best pens in as many factors as they can influence, and the rest is up for us to discover in use

2. @ilfereti- Twitter (16:49)
Are fountain pens safe to use on cotton paper or will the fibers get stuck in the nib?

  • it’s totally safe, sure
  • paper’s more absorbent, so it flattens out the look of the ink a bit, especially terrible for shimmering inks
  • cotton paper can be more fibrous, so you just want to clean your pens regularly
  • make sure you aren’t writing with hard pressure, kind of a general rule but more applicable here
  • watch out for fibers caught in the tines, pretty easy to see
  • pen flush when cleaning helps
  • brass sheet helps with fibers in the tines
  • overall though, just enjoy!

3. kolecoomer- Instagram (21:27)
What is Brian’s favorite pen between $50-$100? Im pretty sure he hasn’t answered this one yet… Maybe. I hope.

  • I don’t know if I’ve answered this specific one…so here goes
  • TWSBI 580AL, pretty hands down
  • GREAT pen for the money, easy to maintain, nib size options, good ink capacity, workhorse, fun to fiddle with
  • honorable mention to TWSBI Vac700R, Conklin Duragraph, Lamy Aion

4. @shelbinator- Twitter (27:09)
Are stub nibs more likely to feel scratchy and require a certain finesse to use? Or am I just unlucky?

  • basically, yeah
  • they’re somewhat less forgiving in their rotation
  • if they’re misaligned at all, they feel scratchier, especially if you write with a heavy hand
  • you need to be able to write with them without over-rotating (something more of us do than we realize)
  • it takes a little practice, but is well worth the effort!


5. @classicURGE- Twitter (36:10)
In your estimation how much ink (in letters) is wasted when cleaning/wiping the pen/nib after filling? Full tweet perhaps?

  • it really depends, some nibs let out a lot more ink than others, and it depends if you’re really holding it on there and soaking up the ink out of the feed vs just wiping a couple of drips off the nib
  • I’d say a tweet’s worth is fairly accurate!
  • in the big picture, it’s not but a few cents worth, even after many wipes, so it’s really not anything to sweat over


6. @Morgan_Josh_C- Twitter (39:56)
Why does my fountain pen (F and M nib; Noodlers and Pelikan inks) will “skip/jump” on Rhodia paper but will move smoothly on Leuchtturm paper? I love the almost non-existent bleed through of Rhodia but the skipping/jumping happens so often I’ve not resupplied.

  • this is one of the bigger complaints I hear about Rhodia/Clairefontaine (in addition to dry time), so I’m not shocked
  • there are couple of factors at play here
  • 1) nib tuning, if there’s any baby’s bottom on your nibs (over polishing that can impede ink flow and cause excessively smooth nibs) it will skip worse on smooth, ink-resistant paper than more absorbent paper
  • 2) drier ink, Pelikan especially is drier, some Noodler’s can be, certain other inks (mainly from pen manufacturers) tend to be a little on the drier side
  • 3) hand oils, especially if it’s happening more at the bottom of the page than the top
  • it’s really a personal preference thing, and there won’t be one perfect paper for everyone
  • Rhodia is amazing and my favorite workhorse paper, but you gotta enjoy whatever you’re using

7. franzjpm- Instagram (47:35)
What’s Brian’s thoughts on picky buyers.

  • haha, what a question!
  • I LOVE them, I wouldn’t have a business without picky buyers
  • Picky buyers end up coming to Goulet Pens because we have deep knowledge resources, a friendly staff, and an exclusive focus on fountain pens
  • We want to be the #1 online resource of fountain pens, so we will inevitably attract the pickiest of pen people and we love it that way
  • Now, the nature of the question is probably more negative than that, I get it…I would probably spin it and use the word “discerning”
  • We do get some people that are somewhat past reasonable in their requests, and we just communicate honestly with them about what we can do
  • We exist to serve the most passionate, dedicated, and determined fountain pen users out there, so you’ve come to the right place!

QOTW: What are you most looking forward to in 2018? (56:19)

Write On,
Brian Goulet