In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about our new, oblique nibs, and what he’s reading lately.

This week:


1) @cr4ckthesky- Twitter (4:32)

How can you get a full fill on a Visconti Homo Sapiens with a 2ml ink sample?

  • With difficulty!
  • It’ll barely fit in the vial, hold it at a slant, and go for it
  • it’s a huge pain, quite honestly, it’s really just not a pen made for filling in sample vials like this
  • even if you fill it higher, there’s so much displacement it doesn’t fill great
  • If you’re really determined, you can remove the nib unit and syringe it in there (at your own risk)
  • otherwise, filling as best you can, or dipping it might be your best bet

2) pen2paperplans- Instagram (11:20)

How do you maintain your ink syringes and bulb syringes? I had trouble drying out my bulb syringe and had to throw it out because it grew mould. I’m worried about using a bulb syringe on my pens now!

  • ink syringes I usually wipe dry after I use them, but not always
  • I haven’t ever noticed any issue with my ink syringes
  • they’re easy enough to take apart and clean
  • bulb syringes are a little more work, but honestly it’s not something I’ve ever noticed as a problem for myself, not to say it couldn’t be
  • if you suspect you have anything going on in there, put some bleach and dish soap in water (NOT ammonia) and suck it up in to the bulb syringe, leave overnight
  • bleach kills mold, that’ll get it all straight

3) umair_- Instagram (14:03)

Does oblique medium of Lamy 2000 get any stub-like line variation? What would be point of oblique if there were absolutely none because if the tip is round with zero variation it doesn’t matter whether pen is held like this: \ or this: | (which is what the obliques allow, right?)

  • obliques aren’t for everyone, that’s for sure
  • they do offer a slight bit of line variation, but it’s subtle, especially in the medium size
  • it becomes slightly more pronounced the broader you go, and the crisper it’s ground
  • Lamy’s obliques are not crisp at all, they’re very rounded
  • I don’t find a very noticeable difference in line width with the OM, slightly with OB and OBB
  • there’s a reason companies aren’t offering these grinds stock on pens, because it’s very niche and the few people out there that know they prefer oblique nibs will get them custom made

4) Barbara G- Facebook (20:24)

Are flex nibs and soft nibs the same thing? If not what’s the difference?

  • they can be, or not :)
  • there’s no definitive point for when something goes from soft to flex, it’s very subjective
  • soft usually means “springy” but doesn’t necessarily have line variation
  • Pilot Falcon is kind of an exception here
  • flex you can usually assume line variation is the goal
  • Drew and I are covering this a bit in our upcoming flex video

5) Melissa H- Facebook (23:51)

My Pineider La Grande Belleza in EF has a ‘sweet spot’. If I am writing and the nib turns even the slightest bit, no ink. Is there a way to fix this, or do I live with it? I’m thinking it’s b/c of the flex in the nib (I have one other gold nib in EF, but it’s a VP which is, like, impossible to turn in my hand while I’m writing).

  • that’s definitely a sweet spot
  • I’m interested to hear if this is common with Pineider, as this is a new brand with a whole new nib, we’re still learning how they work for most people
  • I tested the EF and didn’t find it to have a particularly small sweet spot, but that could have just been the pen I used
  • if you got it from us, we’re more than happy to double check it, especially while we’re still learning the nuances of how these nibs write

6) jonathanhansson89- Instagram (29:09)

Is there Any way to do tine alignment without a loupe?

  • yes, it’s just harder!
  • eagle eyes might be able to see, but it’s hard
  • any type of magnification can help
  • you can eyeball it and go by feel, but that’s going to be tough unless you have a lot of experience (or luck)
  • bottom line, a loupe helps a ton


7) @_not_a_real_dr- Twitter (32:24)

The range of FP inks is vast, so how about a tool that suggests the closest colour match to a set of RGB values? Would love to be able to write in a colour that’s as close as possible to that of my university (or Brian’s shirt, for that matter).

  • that’d be cool!
  • yeah, we’ll definitely look into stuff like this with our new site
  • we had to take one step backwards before taking two steps forward with the new site
  • we have developers lined up to help with this as soon as we’re stable on the new site
  • new Swap Shop enhancements are a summer project for us
  • RGB or Hex code isn’t a definite, but we’re going to explore it as a possibility
  • any other ideas? we’re all ears

8) @HenryStein81- Twitter (34:41)

Is there any way you can tell if a specific ink will work with your fountain pen? I know inks will vary in dryness/wetness but how can I tell which type my nib or pen will handle best without having to trying out hundreds of inks? Thanks and keep up the great work!

  • specifically? It’s tough
  • you can generalize, like if you know you like a certain color IRL you might like it in an ink
  • there aren’t a lot of reliable scientific, repeatable technical specs on any fountain pens inks, so unfortunately it’s largely up to experimentation
  • finding reviews of the ink help, going off others’ experiences
  • the more specific property you’re looking for, the more you’ll have to search
  • my team is here to help, online and live chat, email, phone
  • we’ll do everything we can to help, but there are so many variables, it’s hard to know for sure until you experience it
  • it’s like trying on clothes, painting a room, tasting food or wine, you can get close but nothing is like trying it for yourself


9) Eugenia M- Facebook (38:13)

I like to change ink often. is it ok to fill the pen only halfway or should you fill it all the way up and just release what you don’t want when it’s time to change inks?

  • you do whatever the heck you want ;) full filling is not in any way required, or even beneficial other than the ink will last longer
  • heck, you can just dip it if you want to (though that might vary the flow a little bit, be a little heavier at first dip)
  • you do you, I do half fillings all the time!


10) Kanak K- Facebook (39:42)

I suppose this would be a huge undertaking in all areas of your business but would you consider taking preorders? I live in such a time zone that when you release new pens I am fast asleep. Only to wake and receive the email notification but the pen or ink has already sold out.

  • this SUCKS, and is one of the reasons I wish we could do preorders, because we end up favoring the US market and those in other countries (especially Australia & Asia) lose out on timed releases
  • as it is right now, the hottest of new releases (that sell out in minutes/hours) preorders wouldn’t help unless we found a way to curb demand (loyalty club, VIP, charge a premium)
  • if we took preorders right now, we don’t have a way to guarantee stock, so we’d likely oversell preorders even
  • basically, unless we can guarantee stock, we can’t even think about it
  • as we grow and do more exclusives, we could consider that
  • the fountain pen industry as a whole is short-stocked, that’s our single biggest challenge we face as we grow
  • part of our site move was so that we could have more options for creative things like product launches
  • we could consider lotteries, or some other high-demand management
  • what have you see other (non-pen) companies do to manage high demand products during launch?

11) @Just_Pat_111- Twitter (45:45)

Hello Brian! Leaders are readers – in addition to Pens & the business questions, I would appreciate to get some suggestions / references in (business-) books, too, as it seems you also read alot. Greatings from Germany! You are great at GPC – thx alot!

12) @DanielDiBatt- Twitter (50:37)

Can you explain why you don’t carry certain pen manufacturers? Are some companies very difficult to deal with or they place too many constraints on the wholesaler?

  • it varies, there could be any number of reasons
  • many manufacturers are international, and distribution is complicated, more than you’d think sometimes
  • language barriers, limited capacity, lack of desire to expand, too many conditions, economics don’t work out, etc
  • There are so many variables at play, especially for us to carry things like we do, and things have to line up in certain ways to make sense
  • there’s a bit of a disconnect with new products you see online and ability to distribute globally
  • a single-person operation can make a pen in their garage and we start getting asked about it, but they might only make 20 pens a year, but it could be all over the internet which creates FOMO and fuels the fire
  • there are some brands I love that just don’t have capacity for us, or have a business strategy around selling direct and there’s nothing at all wrong with that (Conid, Franklin-Christoph, Kanilea, Akkerman)
  • others wants brick and mortar presence (Montblanc, Hippo Noto)
  • others are small and just don’t have capacity to produce what we need (pretty much all independent pen makers, Herbert, even Edison to a degree)
  • maintaining good vendor relations and working out smooth logistics behind-the-scenes is a HUGE part of providing a steady and stable supply of pen products, and we spend way more time than you might think doing that so you don’t have to think about it or be affected by it

QOTW: What’s the next pen brand you’d want us to start carrying? (01:03:14)

Writing Prompt: Write about the nicest thing anyone ever did for you. (01:03:27)

Write On,
Brian Goulet