In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about ink sample longevity, interviews & collabs, and using food coloring as fountain pen ink!

This week:


1) Kenneth S- Facebook (7:19)

I keep hearing gold nibs being described as “springy”, but I’m having a hard time visualizing exactly what that is since I don’t own any gold-nibbed pens (yet). Is there a way Brian could demonstrate this phenomenon or is it one of those things you just have to experience in order to understand?

  • it’s really very simple, a springy nib just bends a little bit, to have some “give” to it
  • the tines stay together, unlike a flex nib  where tines separate and provide line variation
  • I don’t have a great way to show it, it’s very, very subtle and has more to do with feel than visual
  • it’s not something everyone cares about or even likes


2) Auston R- Facebook (10:35)

How long will ink samples maintain their properties in sample vials. I guess I’m curious if I should use the whole sample within a specific time period or whether I can let them sit for a while.

  • that’s a good question, and I haven’t done any scientific testing to say exactly
  • I’ve had some stored for years, that still have held up
  • given that they are in plastic vials, eventually, moisture will leach through the plastic, but I haven’t seen any observable difference in  vials I’ve had for 7-8 years

3) apollo_photograpy_ap- Instagram (13:18)

Is it smart to use food coloring as fountain pen ink? I know a certain someone who does it all the time…

  • yes and no
  • at some level it’s not that different, it’s water and dye
  • I don’t know the exact chemical composition, so I have to surmise a little bit
  • the degree of biocides are different, it’s my understanding food coloring lacks sufficient biocides for regular pen use
  • it also lacks the same surfactants and lubrication, so it may not flow as well
  • you might experience more feathering/spread
  • certainly you’ll see no degree of permanence or lightfastness
  • it’s something that I’ve seen around Instagram especially with dip/calligraphy pens for people doing ink mixing and multimedia artwork, and it can look good for that
  • it’s not something I would recommend for regular use in a fountain pen though


4) @jgilcher- Twitter (18:22)

I liked the interviews you’ve done in the past; Noodler’s, Edison Pens, Pineider, etc. Do you plan on doing any others in 2019?

  • potentially! I haven’t lined anything up yet at this point
  • a lot of times these things just kind of work themselves out, so there will surely be some
  • I can seek some out though, who would you want to see me interview?

5) eleanor.justice- Instagram (19:46)

What kind of collaborations have been your favorite (special ink colors, etc) and what’s that process like? Is there a dream collab you’d love to do but haven’t yet?

  • Collaborations can take a lot of different forms, and each one’s different depending on who it’s with
  • what’s tough is most of them are virtual, since we’re all operating online
  • most of the time it involved lots of emails and phone calls back and forth, sending samples, etc
  • We love doing them here, and will not stop anytime soon!
  • Anything with Nathan is a real experience, Liberty’s Elysium was really special
  • Visconti Opera Master Luna was pretty cool
  • Edison and Herbert pens have been really fun for me because get to relive my penmaking days
  • The Montegrappa Shiny Lines Dove was great
  • It’d be really cool to do something with TWSBI, Lamy, or Pilot, I don’t know if that’ll be a possibility
  • I do have one in the works that I can’t talk about yet that’ll be really cool for me personally!
  • It’d be great to collaborate with Jake Weidmann on a pen in the future

6) allthingsepistolary- Instagram (26:12)

Have you ever thought about carrying pen rests?

  • yes, sort of
  • we honestly don’t get asked a whole ton about them
  • I have a few that I use on my desk, but they’re all made by independent makers, not big enough to retail
  • help me out, what do you want to see?

QOTW: What’s the most important property of an ink to you? (29:54)

Write On,
Brian Goulet