In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about urushi pen care, easy pens to clean, and nib smoothness. Enjoy!

This week:

Pens/Writing

1) breetford- Instagram (5:49)

Hello! Just got my first urushi pen (Pilot’s 100th anniversary – Fuji and Meiji-Maru) yesterday. Absolutely thrilled. I have read about avoiding UV to prevent colour change, but do they require any additional special care? Maintain a certain humidity? Special cleaning procedure? Certain material for a pen case/pouch? Thank you in advance! 🌞

  • It’s best to keep any pen out of direct UV rays like sunlight and halogen for long periods of time
  • you don’t need to maintain a particular humidity, but just don’t store it in an excessively dry place
  • cleaning treat it like celluloid, ebonite or any other natural material
  • Best to wipe with microfiber cloth or terrycloth towel
  • clean with dish soap and water, nothing abrasive or harsh chemicals
  • don’t soak it in anything, even water
  • avoid storing in excessive heat or dry environments
  • Nothing special in terms of pen case/pouch, but it’s best to have something soft like leather, felt, velvet, nylon, etc
  • It’s actually a pretty tough material, but you want to exercise care, especially if it has eggshell, raden, or other natural materials in it

2) chartmandesigns- Instagram (15:45)

I’d love to purchase another fountain pen but I’m concerned about the amount of cleaning and upkeep they take. Is there a fountain pen about there that takes minimal upkeep and cleaning.

  • Cartridge/converter pens with a bulb syringe are the easiest to maintain, in my view
  • Avoid demonstrators if you want it to look pristine (they’ll show ink inside that could bug you, or just don’t let it bug you)
  • You can really take your pick, I love Lamy Safaris and Pilot Metropolitans, and TWSBI is great for total disassembly

3) nothingextenuate- Instagram (20:58)

I am wanting to make some fountain pen gift packs for friends. Do you have recommendations for the kind of things I could included? I want something a bit more reliable than a basic beginner pen but I also don’t want a pen that’s high maintenance. Should I include ink samples? What other small things could I bulk the gift out with? It seems too strange to include syringes…

4) @blighttdm- Twitter (27:32)

Cleaning pens question: Rags v Paper towels. I’d like to use less paper goods but what’s a good rag to soak up excess ink?

  • I’m more of a paper towel guy not a rag guy
  • don’t need to overthink it, just a terrycloth or microfiber rag ought to do it! Or an old t-shirt, anything soft

5) Gary R- Facebook (29:51)

I’m new to the fountain pen world. When reading comments on nibs people talk about smoothness and feedback. The first I get and understand why people want smooth nibs, but what is feedback and why do some want it and others don’t?

  • it’s really two terms to describe the same idea, it’s how much you feel the nib on the page
  • it’s a matter of personal preference!
  • some people find smooth nibs to be a really appealing aspect of fountain pens, because they can be smoother than pencils, ballpoints, and rollerballs
  • other people prefer to have some grab on the page, it helps to keep it from sliding around

Troubleshooting

6) Matthew G- Facebook (34:50)

What grit micromesh should you use to safely begin and then finish the process of smoothing a nib and is this the same for any nib of any material of any size (eg EF to Stub)?

  • 12,000 is all you need for smoothing, going with anything more abrasive is more for shaping and grinding
  • that’s why this is all we offer for sale
  • yup, same for all nib sizes, types, etc

Business

7) Meg S- Facebook (42:35)

What’s been the most challenging thing about creating and running Goulet Pen Co? Was it easier in the beginning when it was just you and Rachel out of your house? Or is it easier now?

  • not particular to any one situation, but the hardest part has been getting past imposter syndrome, feeling like we aren’t qualified or know what we’re doing, but having to figure it out and make confident decisions anyway! That’s been a pretty constant feeling ever since we started
  • Running the business out of the house was definitely simpler, not necessarily easier, it was just different
  • It’s very akin to parenting, having a new baby it’s all scary and new and fresh and physically exhausting, we had to do everything
  • now it’s more like when kids are older, making decisions on their own, and we have influence and accountability but our kids are making decisions based on the environment we’ve created and what we’ve allowed
  • Some things are easier, some things are harder, it’s just different

QOTW: What ink color do you have in your collection that you don’t use and don’t really understand why? (53:17)

Write On,
Brian Goulet