In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about Omniflex improvements, colorful Lamy 2000s, and making nibs less smooth! Enjoy.

This week:

  • No Q&A next week but we will have a special video of Garth Callaghan, the Napkin Notes Dad
  • still continuing some summer deals, but we’re still getting settled in on our new software so it’s been quieter this week, it’ll pick up soon
  • Monteverde Sweet Life ink and DC Supershow Teal
    • 10 bottle set of 30ml for $72
    • individual 30ml bottles at $8
    • all dessert themed, not scented though!
    • Birthday Cake, Blueberry Muffin, Blue Velvet Cake, Cherry Danish, Chocolate Pudding, Iced Cookie, Keylime Pie, Mango Mousse, Pumpkin Cake, and Strawberry Shortcake
    • new colors, no extreme properties, just nice saturated inks
  • Diplomat Aero Turquoise with gun metal trim, slick!
    • Goulet exclusive, special edition
    • steel nib $156, gold nib $280
  • Finally restocked Mark Bacas Cursive Smooth Italic grind Homo Sapiens, though they may be gone when this publishes…
  • Pineider Hollywood journals, match Avatar (non-demo) colors, soft cover notebooks
    • paper is Pineider but it’s not thick cardstock and is slightly different than what you’d get in their stationery
    • 90g, offwhite, lined only
    • performs well with fountain pen ink, but flex pens do push it to the limit
    • $39 with 192 pages (96 sheets) of paper
  • TWSBI Diamond 50 Polished AL Ink Bottles soon?
  • Pelikan Maki-e Five Lucky Bats soon
  • Visconti Mirage and Breeze in EF soon too

Pens/Writing

1) Donna T- Facebook (11:37)

I want to know if Goulet will sell the new Omniflex nib or nib unit replacement. In one video, he mentions the “Freedom” model, which, underneath the video it says it has the newer nib… I don’t really want ANOTHER form of the same pen… A lot of us who were disappointed in the original omniflex nib would probably like to replace their nib with the newer, more flexible nib. Will you be carrying that option, and, if so, is there a sort of time frame projection?

  • There’s been some talk about a “new” version of the Omniflex, which is true, sort of
  • Conklin has been making iterative improvements on the nib, and it would seem that somewhere in the iterations it reached a turning point
  • Ever since the Sunstone Duraflex in April 2019, it’s gotten a lot better
  • I’ve heard a lot of buzz about it since Pen Boy Roy started raving in the last couple of weeks
  • The truth is there wasn’t a major redesign with an intentional version change, it’s been iterative
  • Newer versions of the pens coming out should be better than they have been, but I can’t guarantee that…
  • buying a flex nib there’s always a degree of patience, risk, and (pun intended) flexibility that you need to have
  • there is no such thing as a hassle-free flex nib pen, and if that’s your expectation you’ll be frustrated by pretty much every pen out there at some point or another
  • now with that in mind, there are certainly factors that make it less work, less frustrating, and Conklin’s been working to make the nib a better performer and it seems to be working
  • what’s difficult for us is we can test and try some, but it’s largely not something we can universally say is “better” until a lot of people have tried them and used them over time
  • There isn’t a specific time frame projection I can say right now, since it’s been iterative changes, and there hasn’t been a clean cutover…so nibs will likely be better performing on newer pens coming out, but they aren’t labeled or date stamped, so we have no way of knowing which pen is which one, it’s just a rolling change
  • We do returns and exchanges for just this scenario, we want you to be happy with your pen, so if you really want it, get it, be patient and try it, and let us know what you think

2) bradthebear1- Instagram (22:20)

Isn’t standardized parts less fun? JoWo nibs and Schmidt converters seem unexciting.

  • that all depends! Surely some people feel that way
  • it’s great to have some variety, yes, but I have a different perspective on it
  • with standardized parts, it’s allowed for more designs from custom pen makers, faster production of nibs, and more reliable performance so that more brands can make good pens
  • it’s really only the larger, older, more established companies that have custom nibs and filling mechanisms, which I do love, but it’s a high barrier to entry
  • the standardized parts have allowed for a wave of smaller brands to come on the scene, which is a really good thing!

3) itsajerrilife- Instagram (26:39)

Why does LAMY not make a 2000 in pretty colors?

  • I think there are several reasons, partly it’s because they’re pretty conservative with their traditional pens, and this one is the most traditional and truest to the Bauhaus design principles
  • I asked them in Germany why they don’t do other colors, they said they prototyped some and they didn’t work well, partly because of the stainless grip and the way the metal affects the material when they sand it
  • boy would I love to see some of what they’ve tried!
  • I don’t know how much of a factor this is, but they’ve had limited production of the Lamy 2000, so it could partly be a capacity thing (though the pen’s been out for 50+ years so that’d be a temporary reason)
  • the one color they are doing is blue, you may have heard
  • It’s a limited edition for the 100th anniversary of Bauhaus, and the vast majority of these will be staying in Germany
  • we’ll get so, so, so few so we’re doing a lottery, look at the product page on our site for more details
  • I’m going to continue to encourage them to broaden their colors, but there’s no guarantee

4) @danielsworlds- Twitter (34:04)

I personally see a rise in the attention for the architect nib. But with the grind being more complicated and the angle being fairly specific for the person do you ever see a version of the nib available from manufacturers for regular retail like other nibs?

  • I would love to see that, I really would, but I highly doubt that’ll be the case
  • for one, it’s time consuming to do this grind, so it’d have to be charged at a premium, which you really only see on a few pens (fancy grinds at a premium)
  • it’s finicky, I mean not really, but it has to be held at a more specific angle than a stub, which someone has to kind of know what they’re getting into (though flex nibs are the same boat…)
  • largely though I think it’s that the nib actually isn’t popular enough to warrant mass production, as popular as it seems it’s dwarfed completely by conventional nib sizes
  • if you think about what it takes for a manufacturer shipping globally to produce, educate, supply, distribute a specialty nib, it requires a LOT of effort and customer demand
  • as popular as flex nibs seem and how they are still hard to come by from most companies, and going back 10 years now, there’s not even the interest in architects now than there was in flex nibs 10 years ago so I doubt it’ll be mainstream probably ever
  • that said, I’m seeing more nibmeisters doing them than ever before, so I think there is room for a custom nib option, and I could see working with some who do them to offer them in a limited capacity, at least that’s what I’m hoping, we’ll see!
  • In the meantime, you’ll need to send your pens to a nibmeister to get an architect grind

5) Shrish J.- YouTube (45:01)

Hi Brian! I was wondering if there’s anything I can do to make a nib less smooth. I have a pen that’s just too slippery on the page. Thanks for your help and keep up the good work!

  • yeah, absolutely, and it’s relatively simple depending on just how “less smooth” you’re trying to get
  • essentially, you just rough it up (evenly) over whatever grit of rough abrasive that suits your desire
  • doing this will void your warranty, for sure
  • it’s possible to mishapen your nib, cause it to feel scratchy, and do some damage that might need a professional to repair
  • most people find 12,000 grit micromesh (like what we offer) to be a desirable smoothness, you can go rougher, though we don’t carry anything rougher
  • the next “step down’ from there brings you into “nail file” territory, if you’ve seen any of those multi-grit abrasive nail files, go with the smoothest version of that and see how you like it
  • make sure you’re not sanding just in one spot, keep the nib rotating as you go over it, and don’t press hard
  • stop and test it regularly, go just a couple seconds at a time
  • that’s essentially the process, but of course there are nuances for sure…this is basic principle though for a conventional, rounded, tipped nib
  • do at your own risk!

6) Javier D- Facebook (52:17)

What will be a good first time vintage pen?

  • I’m not a “vintage guy”, I’ll be the first to admit
  • there is likely a large debate in the vintage community, and I would not go toe to toe with anyone there on this
  • this is purely from my perspective!
  • Esterbrooks have a great fan following, they are plentiful, and they have a lot of interchangeable nib options
  • they were economical at the time, and they’re still fairly affordable though in recent years there has been a lot more interest in them so they’re not as much of a bargain
  • for me though the most iconic first time vintage pen would be the Parker 51
  • hooded nib, simple design, reliable writer even today
  • it was the most popular pen of its time so there are tons of them around
  • you can restore them, you can find parts for them and good information on them for the most part
  • it’s just a nice pen to use

Ink

7) Sangeeta D- Facebook (55:47)

Is it true that given the precision of technology and science today, that one can make inks of any and all colors that exist?

  • I would think so, and perhaps technology exists to make this possible, though the economics and feasibility of doing so likely isn’t there
  • I doubt it’s a matter of technology existing, it’s a matter of practicality
  • fountain pen ink isn’t something there’s a lot of research and development in from large companies with access to the latest technology
  • the innovation in the pen world comes from boutique artisans and chemists who are experimenters, and won’t be able to take advantage of bleeding edge technology
  • all that said, we’ve seen more of a color explosion in the ink world in the last 10-15 years than ever in the fountain pen world, so honestly, if there’s one technology that’s pushed the ink availability, it’s been digital media and communication, sharing knowledge, spreading interest, and allowing risk-taking ink artisans to be able to promote and distribute their ink more economically than ever before in history
  • while I don’t know about the future and what the upper limits on ink colors are, I’m certainly appreciating this era we’re in

Troubleshooting

8) mauricioperez5- Instagram (01:01:19)

Is there an easy way to clean a Pilot Custom 823?

  • the “Pilot recommended” way is to just fill and flush lukewarm clean (ideally distilled) water through the pen over and over until it’s clean
  • I wouldn’t remove the nib/feed, they recommend against that and it voids warranty but if you want to take your pen’s life into your own hands, it’s friction-fit and you can pull them out
  • I TRULY wouldn’t recommend trying to unscrew the grip from the body, that’s not a good idea and definitely voids warranty
  • They aren’t crazy about people taking the pen apart at all honestly, so if you want to totally play by the rules, you shouldn’t take it apart
  • however, if you’re a renegade, there is an 8mm nut on the back of the filler mechanism just like the TWSBI Vac-700R, and you can unscrew the mechanism out of the back
  • once that’s off, you can use a bulb syringe and flush in through the pen body like you would a cartridge/converter pen, and even use a cotton swab to clean out the barrel if it needs it
  • if ink gets behind the cap insert, that comes out with a pencil and rubber band, so that’s pretty easy
  • my personal recommendation is to use less troublesome inks in this pen and don’t change inks as often
  • any vacuum filling pen, it’s main benefit is large volumes of the same ink, this is not a great tool for ink sample testing, for example
  • Jinhaos, Lamys, Pilot Kakuno/Explorer/Metro, these are great lower-priced pens for that type of use
  • make it easier on yourself and keep easier maintenance inks in your harder to clean pens like this one…but above all do what makes you happy 😉

QOTW: what’s your breakdown of vintage vs. modern (within the last 10 years?) pens in your possession? (01:09:02)

Write On,
Brian Goulet