In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about Visconti QC, stub nibs, and his dream interview guest!

This week:


1) @CosseyGroup- Twitter (10:44)
My pens have been tuned to perfection and I love them. Sadly, this means I’ve plateaued. What can I do now? Buy other pens that I don’t need? Get weird pens for the sake of their weirdness? I love having great pens, but miss the naive wonder of novice pendom.

  • I empathize, as I’ve been in this for a bit
  • surely the magic wears off a little bit as you gain experience
  • there’s ALWAYS a place to feel novice in the pen world!
  • Here are some solid ideas:
    • technical geekery- filling mechanisms, obscure materials, repairs and restoration, nib tuning
    • historical- go vintage, dive deep into particular brands, countries, or periods of time where history shaped the pen world (WWII for example)
    • artistry- Maki-e, handmade stuff, sterling silver
    • collector- get into a certain brand, and go on the hunt to collect Lamy, Pilot VP’s, Esterbrooks, Parker 51’s, Sheaffer Snorkels, or go higher end if you want to stay feeling novice!
    • creative- use them as tools, improve handwriting/drawing, produce creative works and that may drive your pen passion in a new direction
    • benefactor- the best way to learn is to teach! share your knowledge with others, that will inspire you to grow your own knowledge as an “expert”, build a community, great a Facebook group, bring others in the community together
  • I find Instagram to be a great place to find “inspiration”
  • Click around the hashtags people are using around fountain pens, start liking and bookmarking things that hit you in the right way

2) Gabriel P- Facebook (20:55)
Are stub nibs sizes consistent between brands? It would make sense they did since stubs explicitly say how broad the nib is in milimeters but it doesn’t seem that way from the nib nook pictures.

  • Yes and no
  • The width of the overall nib tip is usually consistent, but the line it draws may not be
  • it depends how it’s shaped, especially rounded corners may draw a line significantly smaller than the advertised width
  • this was a big reason why I wanted to do the Nib Nook in the first place
  • I aspire to do some more measuring of the differences between physical nib size and line on the page
  • what it actually looks like on the page is really what matters, of course!

3) Scott S- Facebook (33:14)
Brian, Why has no one, like Noodler, designed a set of pens that have interchangeable parts: 3 types of nibs, 3 types of finger grips, 3 types of fills, 10 different barrels. I imagine they would add more barrel designs and finger grips through the year and so forth.

  • People can’t handle that many options (I learned this in early GP days)
  • 3 options are usually best, more than that and demand drops off significantly
  • trying to stock all these parts and pieces, understand how they work together, and distribute them through retailers is very unappealing, logistically
  • Selling direct, manufacturers can offer something more like this
  • Karas Kustoms have interchangeable parts
  • Tactile Turn, too
  • Edison Pens can adjust custom parts
  • Several pen makers have done sets and kits, and they usually aren’t super popular, honestly
  • Osprey Pens Milano has the closest to what you’re describing

4) Kathleen P- Facebook (41:00)
Thoughts on how quality control is going at Visconti? I see some great new Van Gogh and Rembrandt colors are planned

  • I just met with Coles of London (Visconti’s US distributor) last week
  • QC is going to be a focus for them, we’re already starting to see it improve
  • it takes time to address some of these issues
  • a lot of issues are exacerbated by the price of the pens, bad news travels faster and farther for high end pens
  • they have some really, really cool stuff planned for this year!
  • some lower-priced stuff, reworking their nibs, new LE’s
  • QC is going in the right direction, we will continue to make this a huge focus, and increase our own knowledge (especially nib) in 2018

5) Kevin L- Facebook (47:59)
Shouldn’t demonstrator fountain pens be piston fillers and not cartridge/converters to be the real deal?

  • not necessarily
  • demonstrator is a fairly loose term these days, just to mean “clear pen”
  • I don’t know if there are hard and fast rules of what makes something a “demonstrator”
  • I would consider something a demonstrator if you can see the inner mechanics of the pen, whatever they may be
  • Conklin has a clear crescent filler, that’s a demo
  • Lamy Vista, demo
  • Pilot Custom 823, demo
  • TWSBI 580, demo
  • I don’t think it is exclusive to pistons, at least not in my book, not how we have them at Goulet Pens, and not how I’ve general understood it to be in the general pen community


6) @HattiePalms- Twitter (54:19)
I’ve noticed over the past few months the number of interviews you’ve done and places you’ve traveled to interview and tour. Question: Where would you love to go next (place or tour)? What would your dream interview (or interviewee) be?

  • I have definitely been traveling more, it kind of just stacked up that way
  • I’m an opportunist, so if I’m traveling somewhere, I usually try to combine it with a video interview/meetup/etc
  • honestly, I’m very content, I travel REALLY well, but I’m also 100% comfortable as a homebody
  • Rachel and I have talked about going back out to Colorado, we honeymooned in Estes Park
  • I love seeing pen manufacturing facilities, so I’d love to tour everyone’s (eventually)
  • Pilot would be amazing, Visconti, Aurora, Stipula, Pineider, Montegrappa, Pelikan, Clairefontaine, J. Herbin, Conid, just everybody!
  • Going to Rome/Vatican would be pretty cool
  • Dream interview was Jake Weidmann, bucket list complete! Honestly, probably him again!
  • Gary V would be pretty rad, 1-on-1

QOTW: What’s the next ink you think you’ll finish? (1:02:42)

Write On,
Brian Goulet