In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about Grippy Grips, Why Waterproofness Matters, and Why Pen Turning Started Goulet.

This week:

Pens/Writing
1) @KedzieStark- Twitter (12:58)
Can you recommend some pens with especially “grippy” grip sections? Like, with knurling or made our of materials with a lot traction? My hands get tired bearing down on slippery pens

2) @vivekvs1992- Twitter (21:22)
Why is screw capping still a predominant capping mechanism even on premium? I have a pilot cavalier that starts wet even after a week, so sealing is not a problem.. Also why aren’t there many pens with magnetic capping?

  • durability and security, mainly
  • you can be very versatile in terms of what materials and design you use with a screw cap, it’s more limiting with other cap mechanisms (especially demonstrators)
  • This is especially the case with heavier pens, which is most of what you see with larger, premium pens
  • they are less likely to accidentally come out of their caps, get dropped, and damaged
  • it’s not so much about how they seal, it’s about security and longevity
  • magnetic caps are somewhat limiting, because you have to have room for the magnet!
  • they often require big steps, like the Monteverde Regatta

Ink
3) Ray C.- Facebook (29:06)
I’ve watched a lot of ink reviews and I’m wondering, what is so important about the water test? Are people writing in the shower? In the rain? By the pool? While crying?? I don’t get it.

  • this is such a polarizing issue for fountain pen people!
  • the most important reason for the water test is because manufacturers of the ink often don’t provide any information on the water resistance of ink, so to even know if you have that option, you have to see a test (or do it yourself)
  • most people’s desire for it is that if they’re drinking something, writing outside and it stars to rain, they have kids or pets who create messes, they won’t lose their writing
  • it’s totally not a requirement and something up for debate about how essential this is, but there are plenty of people who desire this aspect in their writing

4) @shelbinator- Twitter (34:51)
Is looking for “water resistant ink” a fool’s errand because it depends so much on the paper? Rhodia coating makes resistant inks wash off, while Leuchtturm clings to even non-resistant ones.

  • I just had to take this question after the last one 😉
  • it’s certainly not a fool’s errand!
  • paper does play a big factor
  • most water resistant inks achieve this by cellulose reaction, the dye in the ink has to make contact with paper cellulosic fibers by soaking into it
  • ink resistant papers have coatings that resist ink soaking into it, to avoid feathering and bleedthrough
  • it’s kind of a catch 22, but most papers will eventually absorb the ink
  • the type of paper and type of ink matter a lot, but usually you’re just looking at extended dry time or diminished permanence (but still there)
  • pigmented inks like Platinum Carbon Black and Sailor Kiwa-Guro sit more on top of the paper, and work best for really ink resistant stuff
  • generally speaking though, you’ll want to balance out the ink resistance of the paper with your need for ink permanence

Troubleshooting

5) Karl K.- Facebook (40:28)
I am willing to try heat-setting an uncooperative nib-and-Ebonite-feed unit when necessary. But how can I sure when the feed is Ebonite and not plastic?I can’t tell them apart.

  • they can be subtle sometimes! If it’s a new pen, it’s almost always going to be plastic, ebonite is rare
  • if it’s new and has an ebonite feed, that’s usually going to be advertised because it’s rare and a selling point for the pen
  • vintage pens are harder to tell
  • ebonite can look a lot like plastic when it’s polished!
  • Aurora (ebonite), Edison (plastic)
  • one way around it is to smell it (when it’s clean), it’ll smell like rubber
  • plastic feeds will often have finer fins, ebonite are chunkier
  • worst case, ask my team or on FPN or Goulet Nation about your specific model and someone usually knows!

6) M Hyde. – Twitter (46:53)
I’m new to fountain pens and got a bunch of ink samples and a glass dip pen to test them with. The inks looked gorgeous, heavily saturated. But when I put the inks into my pen, they came out looking completely different, way more watery! I made sure there was no water in the pen and wrote with the pen a bunch, nothing changed. I’m so disappointed. What’s going on? Is there something I’m missing, or a trick to get the ink to look like it does using a glass dip pen? I have half a mind to journal using the dip pen, but that’s not always convenient.

  • glass dip pens will usually put down a LOT of ink, so they will look more saturated in color than a fountain pen
  • broader, wetter nibs can sometimes mimic the effect
  • flex pens can put down the most ink, not even flexing but just that volume of ink
  • it could depend how you’re filling the pen how watery it looks, if you filling the converter or cartridge and put it onto the pen vs filled through the pen
  • another hack you can do is flood the feed! You’d have to do it somewhat often, but far less than dipping a glass pen in ink

Personal

7) Paul X- YouTube (53:58)
We all know you started turning pens (and power washing houses because/with your father) but you’ve never said what started you on the path of pen turning… Why pens basically? Thanks

  • why pens? great question
  • sometimes you stumble into things without even thinking about it leading to anything, and that’s my story
  • I was into wood working, and wanted to build stuff so bad
  • Norm Abram’s New Yankee Workshop was part of my weekly routine, and I would record every episode that came on
  • I wanted to build furniture, but it was entirely impractical in my space
  • I had a HUGE Grizzly tool catalog that I would spend hours flipping through, drooling over giant planers with spiral cutter heads, dust collectors, table saws, jointers, routers, you name it!
  • Everything in there was a fantasy for me, except for two pages in their catalog which was for pen turning
  • there was a small lathe, some lathe chisels, and pen kits, and it was all small, quiet, and affordable
  • Rachel somehow went along with it, and I bought about $500 of pen making tools to start
  • from there I started turning pens, sold some, bought more tools. Sold more, bought more wood. Sold more, bought more tools and wood.
  • pens were a fairly universal medium because everyone knows what they are, and I could have an easy conversation piece with anyone about it
  • as I got finer in my craft, I priced myself out of casual users, and needed to find a more discerning clientele!
  • that’s what eventually led me to the fountain pen community! And the rest is history!

QOTW: Ink waterproofness…does it matter? (01:01:32)

Write On,
Brian Goulet