In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about his Japan trip, if nib tines should touch or not, and how he collects and uses pens. Enjoy!

This week:



1) _davide.caruso_- Instagram (13:09)

Have you ever heard of ink staining grip sections? I’ve just received a Homo Sapiens as a gift and I fear that the porous material will stain if I use high sheening inks

  • I have heard of it, sure, but not with this pen
  • I’ve been using a Homo Sapiens daily for over 3 years, and haven’t permanently stained it with any of the crazy inks I’ve put in it
  • generally, black grips of any kind won’t stain, at least not permanently
  • I do find after filling it, that I need to wet a cloth to absorb the excess ink out of the grip, ideally
  • white grips, on the other hand, might
  • the lighter the color grip the more likely to stain
  • certainly the material it’s made of makes a difference, but I haven’t ever had much of an issue with anything hygroscopic like the volcanic rock or ebonite so I think you’re good!

2) kelvs77- Instagram (16:30)

Should nib tines be touching together. Or should there be a space between. Wondering how big a space is the sweet spot. As i notice buying fp lately… The nib tines are sometimes wide apart while others or touching together…. Confused on what to check when buying

  • this is a great question
  • technically ink will flow to the tip of a nib with parallel tines, but it’s usually not ideal to have a nib tuned with parallel tines because any amount of pressure will spread them and work against the capillary action
  • a slight taper is ideal
  • talking to different nibmeisters, there seems to be some debate and personal preference in terms of whether the tip of the tines should actually touch
  • some say “barely almost touching”, others say it shouldn’t, others say they should, and it depends on the pen
  • soft nibs (gold, palladium) are perfectly fine lightly touching, because they’ll spread easily and flow well with normal writing pressure
  • really tight tines with a stiff stainless steel isn’t ideal, that’s pretty universal
  • there really just needs to be room for the ink to flow through, so if the tines are touching they shouldn’t be touching any more than at the tip (that’s when it’s too tight)
  • don’t write off a nib just because it’s touching
  • honestly though, the best guide will be to dip the nib and try writing with it if you’re able, as that’ll tell you the cold hard facts!


3) Dale R- Facebook (22:20)

Whats ur favorite pretending to be black ink?


4) Renee O- Facebook (25:39)

If I’m traveling abroad to a country where a fountain pen brand is made will sales prices generally be cheaper? Are there “deals” to be had?

  • Prices will usually be cheaper in a product’s country of origin, because you don’t have import fees, shipping, distribution, environmental regulations, tariffs, and currency conversion factors at play
  • In Japan, Pilot, Sailor, and Platinum were all cheaper, but all the US pens were double the price as they are here, Europeans were comparable or more
  • In Italy, brands like Pineider, Visconti, Aurora, Montegrappa will be cheaper
  • In Germany, Lamy, Pelikan, Montblanc (maybe?) will be a little cheaper
  • In the US, Noodler’s, Monteverde, Conklin will be cheaper
  • That’s not unusual at all, and it’s just because there are real costs with moving things across the world
  • So when you’re traveling to any country, think about where the homeland is for the brand you’re looking for and budget accordingly!
  • Now it’s also likely there could be some regions of the world where prices are lower simply because of lower cost of living, but I am less knowledgeable of these, just something to keep in mind


5) Victoria L- Facebook (29:56)

What has been your favourite pen-related place/shop/anything during your trip to Japan?

  • I went into detail a bit on my trip to Japan in Write Now episode 115 from 3/13/19
  • I went to 3 stores while I was there
  • Itoya, Eurobox, and Maruzen
  • They were 3 very different experiences
  • Itoya is huge, in the heart of the Ginza, which is like New York’s 5th Avenue
    • Their new store is 12 floors and is between Bvlgari and Tiffany’s, if that says anything
    • 3rd floor is basically all fountain pens, and it was magnificent
    • lots of higher-end stuff, like Namikis, Platinums, Sailors, Caran d’Ache, MontBlanc, etc
    • Everything was under glass, I didn’t get to touch/hold anything because it was crowded, I was tired, and I was pretty familiar with a lot of what I was seeing so I didn’t ask anyone to see anything
    • I was more just taking it all in
    • You could really make a full day trip of this store, it was huge, and even had a cafe on the top floor called Cafe Stylo, which I ate at and it was really good!
  • Itoya had what I guess was their old store, which is 4 floors, and the first one is the only one I went to bc I was short on time
    • lots of lower-end stuff, like Preppies, Pilot Petit1’s, Cocoons, and tons of rollerballs and stuff
    • I bought stuff at this one, not the other one
    • Lots of Petit1’s, some Cocoons, and a couple of Multipens because of the designs
  • Eurobox was almost as different as an experience as you could get while still being in a pen store
    • only vintage
    • total hole-in-the-wall store, didn’t even have a sign from the outside!
    • it was deep inside an old building from the 1930’s, which there aren’t many of there
    • you could pretty much stand in the middle of the room and touch all the walls, it was small! But packed with fun
    • I actually found two of my most treasured finds there
    • Vintage Pilot VP in blue swirl (not sure of the real name) that I’d never seen before
    • Platinum Prime from 1968 or so, sterling silver with 18k broad nib that writes great!
    • there’s more I would have likely bought, but he only took cash! I had to borrow a few Yen to finish the deal ;)
  • Maruzen was yet another experience
    • in store event, and it was busy!
    • not sure how many pens they normally keep set up there, it seems like they must have a pretty good number of them often
    • I got to see more Japan-exclusive things from the big 3 brands than I’d seen at the other stores
    • everything was under glass here too, and there were a lot of reps and stuff around so it was pretty intimidating being there and not speaking any Japanese, I had to use my translator app a lot
    • I was also with my coat and giant backpack and like a big ogre in the store! I was in everyone’s way
    • I ended up picking up a Sailor King of Pens because blue, a Sailor Promenade because I’d never seen it before, it was affordable, and blue, and a Pilot Grance I’d never seen before, also blue
  • It’s hard to say which was my favorite because they were all so different! I really enjoyed Eurobox though, because it was such a spontaneous little diamond in the rough, and I had a couple of really good finds there


6) Eric L- Facebook (46:45)

Do you collect pens for fun (never ink or write with them) or you actually used all your pens in your collection?

  • haha, isn’t all this fun? ;)
  • yes, I definitely am collecting pens that I’m never using
  • not that I’d be opposed to it, but I certainly have more pens than any reasonable person would ever use, so I just don’t need to ink up every Lamy Safari or Al-Star I ever get, for example
  • there are some pens I’m pretty much on auto-pilot now in terms of “collecting”, mainly Lamy’s and TWSBI’s, as well as VP LE’s, Retro 51 poppers, and any exclusive pen that we come out with of any brand (in each color)
  • at this rate, I can use a different pen every day and not repeat for almost 3 years, I’m clearly into “collecting” mode and not just using them for practicality
  • but I am WILLING to use all of them, so there’s nothing I’m particularly preserving and unwilling to ink up!

QOTW: Have you ever bought pens as a souvenir? Which and where? (49:53)

Write On,
Brian Goulet