Workshop with Francis Goossens
Arguably, one of the foremost vintage Montblanc repairers in the world, Francis Goossens was kind enough to allow me to visit his workshop in Belgium and learn some advanced repair techniques. It was an honour to meet my mentor in person and have him instruct me live!
The workshop resides in a beautiful little backhouse cottage behind his lovely house. It has everything one might need, and more - tools and spare parts collected over years and years of repair work. I was like a kid in a toy store!
We worked on a few important repairs like how to re-coat celluloid onto barrels that were faded, celluloid crack repair, and the tightening of loose cap rings.
We had a long day ahead of us and so his kind and hospitable wife brought us some delicious coffee and chocolates to keep us going!
We then proceeded to make - from scratch - a replacement barrel for one of my 644s that was damaged beyond repair. I chose none other than the rare Tibaldi material for this purpose.
As if the day was not good enough, I was then treated to a delicious lunch by his wife! It was the best food I had eaten through my entire visit to the Netherlands and Belgium, and I had dined at some pretty fancy restaurants! It seems his wife has the same high standards for her cooking as Francis sets for his repair and design work!
Francis also showed me his small but very tasteful vintage Montblanc collection, including some fantasy 13x replicas that he made using clear acrylic and also Tibaldi and Visconti material.
We went back to making my Tibaldi barrel. Some final touches, hand polish, and voila! Francis somehow made my 644 better than the original, and he gave it to me as a gift!
The only thing that surpasses Francis' technical knowledge and skill is his generosity. What a guy! What a day!