In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about interesting pen materials, inks for colorblind people, and what to gift an experienced pen enthusiast. Enjoy!

This week:

Pens/Writing

1) @_BatMN_- Twitter (05:28)

What are some new and interesting materials you would like to see pen bodies made out of? I’d like to see a canvas micarta or maybe a sandcast pen.

  • I still think there’s a lot that can be done with cast resins, there’s so much to explore there with various pigments, ribbons, etc
  • canvas would be interesting, maybe denim?
  • I’d love to see some modern celluloid (cellulose nitrate) alternative, I guess resin is that
  • stone is cool as heck, granite would me amazing (all heavy and expensive, but I’m just dreaming here)
  • ceramic or porcelain, I have one Lamy Lady made of that, and I like it though it has drawbacks as a material
  • lots of cool things I’ve seen done with carbon fiber, like Pineider’s Forged Carbon Fiber
  • Mammoth tusk is pretty crazy
  • Aerogel would be cool….I have no idea how feasible in a pen, but google it, it’s sweet
  • 3D printed diamond (why not)
  • G10, popular in knives
  • damascus steel
  • surely there’s other cool stuff out there

2) Alan D- Facebook (14:15)

Fountain pens are a bother. Cleaning, tuning, nib decisions, misbehaving inks, burps, leaks, stained desks, stained fingers, expensive, etc. Yet we love them. Why do we love them anyway? Is there something psychological going on?

  • Undoubtedly there’s something psychological going on
  • Fountain pens aren’t the mainstream anymore for just these reasons, most people don’t care enough about their writing experience in order to put up with all the fuss
  • Those of us who really appreciate that experience are willing to spend the extra time and money to get it, and as it turns out, the more you invest into the hobby the more rewarding it is!
  • I could make a similar argument for many hobbies, there are often so many easier ways to generally accomplish the things you can do
  • I was into car audio when I was younger, and would go to rather extreme measures for sound quality and volume in my car, taking the whole thing apart, replacing speakers, amps, even reinforcing door panels to insulate the sound better
  • For most people, they just want music, and if they can hear it, that’s fine, but a select few will go through a lot of trouble to improve their sound, it’s similar with pens
  • How many people get really into cooking, getting knives or pans that are more maintenance but that brings them more cooking pleasure?
  • I don’t think it’s any type of disorder underlying it here, I think it’s just that we all have our weird things we’re into, and for some of us, that’s pens!
  • These things you mentioned are all a labor of love, and are just part of the fountain pen experience that is a right of passage for us all

3) sanctuary_agg_eldin- Instagram (21:17)

Is the Noodler’s Triple Tail pen only available in clear? Can the nib fit in other Noodler’s pens?

  • Drew and I talked about this in Write Now
  • Yes, for now it’s only in clear
  • I am rather willing to bet we’ll see more colors (resins, maybe ebonite) if the pen is popular, if the other Noodler’s pens are any indicator!
  • The nib can fit in a Neponset, Ahab, and Konrad, but the shape of the feed is a little different
  • I’ve tested for general fit, but not thoroughly ink tested it for flow, etc

4) pieceofcraft_leather- Instagram (26:12)

Which pens would established hobbyists not likely have? (Gifting to fellow hobbyists is hard!)

  • this TOTALLY depends on what someone’s already into, there isn’t a universal answer
  • Niche hobbies like this are notoriously hard to buy as gifts for someone who’s really into it, because the choices are SO personal and they likely have a lot of what they’ve already found an interest in
  • I’m this way with all my interests…fountain pens (of course), puzzles, woodworking/tools, photography gear/technology, Lego Technic…I’m impossible to buy for without my being very explicit
  • ask for a list of 10+ pens they have their eye on, and see what connects with you as the giver…they may not be totally shocked, but they’ll still get a surprise
  • sometimes you can find there’s a fairly staple pen like the Pilot VP, Lamy 2000, TWSBI 580, Conklin Duragraph, Diplomat Magnum, etc that they just don’t have, maybe they skipped it/missed it, or thought they might not like it so didn’t want to buy it for themselves
  • that’s a bit risky, but they’re pretty tried and true, so your odds are good they’d like them
  • buy a duplicate pen you know they love in another color, or another nib size (or both)
  • custom pens like you’d get commissioned from Edison, Herbert, Carolina, etc maybe (but they could take a while, so plan way ahead!)
  • something vintage perhaps? Parker 51, Esterbrook J, Waterman 52, Sheaffer Snorkel, could but fun to add to their collection
  • You didn’t ask about these, but peripherals make great gifts too, like pen cases, sealing wax, ink, paper, blotter, pen books
  • ask them to share their wishlist!
  • fallback…giftcard!

Ink

5) Vee F- Facebook (38:21)

What are the main ink qualities? Are there objective/quantifiable ones, or are they all subjective? I find that I like thick, saturated, wet inks. Or is that even a possible combination? Can ink properties be independent of the pen one uses them in? 🤔 My recent musings fueled by my unorthodox preferences. 😅

  • like all things fountain pen, ink qualities are a blend of objective and subjective!
  • there are certainly objective things about ink like pH-level, viscosity, dye content, permanences, dry time
  • the more subjective aspects, saturation, shading, flow, feel, etc
  • the challenge is, there are too many factors for these things all to feel consistent, such as the pen being used, writer’s speed and angle, paper type, relative humidity, etc
  • even if we objectively were to rate them or test them in a controlled way, they wouldn’t perform similarly with all the “real life” ways that people use them, so it’s largely unquantifiable and has been since the creation of pen ink
  • Some people find a specific pen and ink to pair perfectly, and they don’t prefer to use that specific pen or ink apart from the other
  • I think part of what makes this hobby so intriguing is the endless combinations and discovery you get to have with it

6) @RPoetic- Twitter (44:09)

Inks for colorblind people! What would you suggest for someone who can’t see 90% of reds and greens, or for one of the other kinds of color-deficiency?

  • this is honestly difficult for me to answer! I think colorblindness is so personal, it’s hard to really get a recommendation because of the different types and severity
  • apparently 8% of men and 0.5% of women have some form of colorblindness
  • there’s red-green, blue-yellow, or total
  • my recommendation, as it would be for anyone, is use whatever makes you happy! whatever looks good to your eyes, go for it
  • I recommend you use what ink excites you whatever the color
  • that said, I’d probably avoid reds and greens in the scenario you proposed, and stick with blues/yellows that might jump out more
  • I’m a bit ignorant on this topic but it’s come up before, and I’d love to know more. If you have any experience as a fountain pen user with colorblindness, do please share!

Business

7) Miguel R- Facebook (49:27)

Which company do you wish you would see more from? In your opinion which company isn’t using the momentum they build to their advantage?

  • I pretty much wish I could see more from everyone 🙂
  • I’d love to see more from Pilot, Namiki, or even just seeing more into the US that they have in Japan (more raden please)
  • I don’t know if anyone has underutilized momentum in my view, I have such a pragmatic view on what it takes to manufacture now having toured 8 factories
  • Actually, I think some of the brands we actually don’t even carry anymore like Waterman, Parker, Sheaffer, and Cross all have established names with some relevance left that just aren’t lighting up the pen world (at least in the US)
  • Esterbrook is an iconic brand and I’ll look forward to seeing more from them
  • honestly, probably the biggest one is Goulet! we have so many ideas and aspire to create our own products, but it’s not what we do everyday and so it takes away from our core so we only do it in our slower times
  • Of all the companies with momentum, I hold myself most accountable!

QOTW: If you could have a pen made out of any material, what would it be? (59:21)

Write on,
Brian Goulet