In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about huge nibs, his favorite Diamine inks, and sterilizing your pens. Enjoy!

This week:

Pens/Writing

1) peptis_gizmo- Instagram (07:13)

How long does a pen have if uncapped and you’re trying to find it?

  • find it, huh? If you’ve lost it, it’s too long!
  • fountain pens have water-based ink that needs to stay wet to work well
  • the longer it sits, the more it dries out, it depends on the pen and on the ink and the environment it’s in
  • really, you’re talking a matter of minutes, not hours or days
  • if it sits for a little too long and is just sort of dry, you can flood the feed or wet the nib and be back to normal
  • if it’s been longer, you can refill it and be good to go (with the same ink)
  • too long, it completely dries up and needs to be cleaned, with water (at least), maybe with a little dish soap, or a pen flush if it’s really dried up

2) @ZedZedTop- Twitter (11:34)

I hear a lot of people saying not to eye-dropper pens with metal components that would be in contact with the ink. So how come vacuum fillers are ok, like the TWSBI vac700? Thanks!

  • it really has to do with the type of metal
  • vacuum fillers are using stainless steel or titanium rods that are not going to corrode
  • it’s the same with nibs, they’re made of non-corrosive metals and are okay with exposure to ink
  • many pens with metal components on their threads or finials are using some sort of plated corrosive metal, like brass, chrome, or aluminum, that will not hold up well long-term to complete saturation in ink (due to either pH or salts in the ink)
  • manufacturers could make pen components out of non-corrosive parts, but they would be more expensive as stainless steel and titanium are more expensive to manufacture than other metals like brass

3) asherlewis- Instagram (18:54)

Aside from the Montblanc 149, what other pens have nibs larger than a size 6?

  • this won’t be an exhaustive list, but here’s what I can think of….
  • Namiki Emperor (biggest I can think of)
  • Pilot Custom Urushi
  • Sailor King of Pens
  • Pelikan m1000
  • Montegrappa #8 like we had on our Shiny Lines
  • Delta Dolce Vita oversize (discontinued) also #8
  • Danitrio
  • Waterman 10, Parker 12?
  • nibs larger than #6 are rare, and only on very large pens as they need to accommodate these massive nibs!

4) @ExiledTexan86- Twitter (24:35)

Is there a safe way to clean or sterilize pens without risking the material or color (for example the Conklin Nights)? I’m unsure what cleaners are harmful to pens. Thanks!

  • it’s best to stay conservative with cleaning supplies on pens
  • water and dish soap are a pretty safe pen on any pen material and you shouldn’t need more than that in most cases
  • pen flush has ammonia base which is safe for most pens, but you should limit soaking in aluminum, but will be okay for a short cleaning session
  • you pretty much don’t need anything apart from this unless there are extreme circumstances, like Noodler’s Baystate inks (clean with bleach) or mold growing in a pen (rare), where bleach would be needed
  • no sterilization should be needed, most inks have biocides and you’re not ingesting or using them for anything medical, so general cleaning will be enough to get the pen working properly

Ink

5) etavirp_40fejn- Instagram (35:29)

What Diamine inks does brian suggest/like and why?

  • this is tough! There are so many good ones, and I haven’t used every single one, so this will be a pretty subjective and personal list of mine
  • Diamine Marine, love love love it- great color, amazing shading, and it’s just been love at first sight for me for so long
  • Diamine Red DragonOxblood is more popular, but I just love this red…honorable mention to Syrah, great wine color alternative to Red Dragon
  • Diamine Majestic Blue & Blue Velvet– I’ve loved Majestic Blue for so long, but Blue Velvet is so good too and a little more vibrant, it’s really a toss up with these because both are deep blues with a heavy red sheen, which I’ve always loved
  • Diamine Golden Sands– lots of great shimmers, I don’t use them often just in practicality, but I have an odd draw towards this one
  • Diamine Pumpkin– just a great true orange, it crusts up a little on the nib like many oranges of this shade
  • Honorable mention to Diamine Ancient Copper!

6) Tyler V- Facebook (45:20)

I’m an artist who is becoming obsessed with ink chromatography and I find it interesting, but understandable that most fountain pen users and even experts seem to not know much about this aspect of fountain pen ink. That being said, is chromatography something that you pay any attention to in inks and if so can you recommend the ones that you find most interesting?

  • you’re not alone in this, and I’ve always been intrigued by chromotography
  • I think it looks cool, but can’t really determine a practical, meaningful conclusion from it
  • you can sort of see what dye colors are used to make up a given color, which is kind of artsy and interesting, but doesn’t necessarily mean much in practicality when using an ink in a pen
  • maybe it’s helpful for doing ink washing and artwork, so you can see what effects it has, but you can do that by just doing ink washing…
  • I haven’t personally heard of anyone drawing conclusions about permanence, water resistance, flow, etc from chromotography, so it remains right now in kind of the experimental fringes of the pen world

Business

7) johnny_hu1- Instagram (53:56)

Who gets to decide on the content of your social channels and YouTube?

  • I’ll explain some of the logistics and give you all sort of a twist ending 😉
  • in the days of old it was me, with Rachel weighing heavily or contributing her own content
  • 0ver time we built up a team, starting with social media, photo, then video, and we’ve expanded each of these roles in scope and number as we’ve grown
  • the short answer is it’s a team effort, and we’re all working together to develop the most relevant content possible for you all
  • we have a pretty sizable team now with John as Director of Marketing, Margaret and Media Manager, Andi on Video, Sarah Lead Photo, Whitney Photo, Lydia, Colin, and Jen on social channels, email, and making content
  • the exact type of content depends on what it is we’re producing and where
  • YouTube is most involved with Andi, me, and Colin, but Drew and Rachel are on regularly, others may collaborate, have ideas, even develop their own video stuff
  • with so many products, so many channels, and some specialized technical work it can be an interesting challenge to try to balance it all with so many people and ideas, which is largely where good communication comes into play
  • this is all just trying to put a process around what is ultimately the end goal…to produce the content that YOU want…and with your attention, likes, comments, shares, views, and other means of engaging with the content we create it informs us as to what you want and need to see, so really, YOU ultimately decide! We are here for you, not just to express ourselves or our ideas, we’re not doing this in a bubble, it’s to help you learn more about these products

QOTW: What are your top 5 favorite inks right now?  (01:07:48)

Write On,
Brian Goulet