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Noodler's Ahab Flex Pen


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#271 SamCapote

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 02:09

Drone, I think you did this, but make sure to scrape out the lengthwise top air channel and bottom ink channel several times, firmly with something like the backside of an Xacto blade from front to back, then back to front. You don't have to cut into the ebonite, but according to Nathan some of these have a waxy type of lubricant that can get lodged in the channels, and won't easily clean out. He also suggested using a stronger cleaner like Formula 409 or Simple Green which are household countertop spray cleaner/degreasers, and then rinse with water.

Apparently the remaining waxy machining lubricant acts as a hydrophobic barrier that makes it hard for ink to move past it. This almost has to be the problem. And while you are at it, thoroughly clean the inside of the section, including with the 409 type cleaner on a Q-tip in case lubricant got on that. I had no harm to my ebonite feeds or section when cleaning with this Formula 409 or Simple Green being in contact for at least 30 seconds.

One other tip that helped me was to gently (stepwise) push the nib tip against paper with it upside down, trying to bend it a tiny bit closer to the feed. I had experimented with checking the flexing a bit too much and while the tip did not get "sprung" back, it was tilted up a bit. Bringing it back down make it work perfect with flow again.

Good Luck
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#272 Phormio

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 02:35




I just jumped on the Ahab bandwagon. Today a clear demo hit my mail.

The first thing I did was to change the O-ring. No problems, greased, assembled.

Then I did an overkill flushing - I took it apart, cleaning every single part with dish soap/water solution and then clear water; then I washed the nib and feed with soapy water using a toothbrush - multiple times. The feed was literally full of ebonite pieces. As I said, I paid extra attention to the feed, cleaning the fins and the channels with a hard toothbrush.

Then I assembled the pen and flushed it with soapy water using the piston. Then flushed again with clear water, disassembled the whole thing, dried with paper towels AND let to dry completely.

The whole process until I left it alone took an hour or so.


I assembled the pen again when dry and inked with Herbin Vert Empire. So far, it railroads a lot when flexed. The ink can get to the tip alright, but the flow is too slow. I tried various feed positions, and now I have the 9-fins-visible configuration. Still problems with flow. Readjusted several times, no help.

I'm letting it settle overnight, and if nothing helps, I'm taking it apart again tomorrow to repeat the cleaning process, and possibly running the blunt side of an xacto knife through the feed to be sure there's nothing left there. Do you have any better ideas what to do with it when the flow won't be satisfactory?

Oh, one more thing - I noticed that the tip of the feed is a bit asymmetrical. I mean, the tip of the feed is not centered with the central "edge" that comes down from the end of the bottom channel to the tip. So when aligning the feed, I can either position the whole feed in line with the nib (and have the tip leaning on one side), or align the tip of the feed with the nib, having the whole feed twisted a bit. What's more important when adjusting, the position of the whole feed, or of the tip itself? I guess this irregularity is not that significant and is just a result of the feeds being handmade, but I want to be sure...

Thanks! :)


I just got my Ahab and I am suffering similar issues. Mine feels a bit dry, and I can get it to railroad fairly easily. Tonight I am going to flush it again, possibly adjust the feed fins and re-align the feed to the nib to see if that helps. Given that I am trying it with Waterman's Florida Blue and given the feedback here, I think it is definitely a pen issue and not anink issue.


Right, update time- I got home and I cleaned it, disassembled it, wiped each individual piece, attacked the feed with a toothbrush, then a razor over vents 1-3, then a toothbrush again, reassembled and....

Preliminary tests show I now have a gusher, and I had to push down fairly hard to make it railroad. It took a few moments to start working properly but once going, it didn't stop. I will now try it over the next few days. If there are any problems, i'll post. Otherwise assume the best!

P


Picked it up again tonight and - difficult again. I've scribbled with it and got it to flow again but it started dry.In saying that, I wrote fine and consistantly but was scratchier and would railroad at flex. After a while of doodling I could get it to be generous with the flow. This inconsistancy is a little frustrating. For my next step I'm thinking this one may benefit from a Eel ink.


To add to this comment further I've just come from a meeting where I took 17 pages of notes. The pen still has ink in it and it wrote almost perfectly the whole time. For the most part, the pen was wet and juicy and smooth. From start up I can still make it railroad but once going railroading is an effort. The only difference between today and the other day was I turned the pen over and pushed the tines back a little as per SamCapote's suggestion.In fact,after todays meeting I capped the pen, out it in my bag, then in the car and drove nearly an hour back to my office. When I removed the cap, I noticed a ink residue and drops on the feed and grip that I hadn't seen before. I think I may have cracked the Ahab Code!!

P
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#273 jor412

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 06:03

I had no problems with my clear Ahab. But the other day, I decided to try it out as an eyedropper. I had the ink (Sailor epinard) in the barrel for about a week and then decided to switch colors. After cleaning the pen, I noticed that the barrel was no longer the same clear "color" as the cap. It now has a pinkish hue. I doubt it's the Sailor ink. (My second Ahab is black. The filling mechanism inside is, of course, clear. But the threaded part also has that same pinkish hue.) Anyone have a clue if I can do anything about my barrel?
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#274 JonSzanto

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 06:27

Drone, I think you did this, but make sure to scrape out the lengthwise top air channel and bottom ink channel several times, firmly with something like the backside of an Xacto blade from front to back, then back to front. You don't have to cut into the ebonite, but according to Nathan some of these have a waxy type of lubricant that can get lodged in the channels, and won't easily clean out. He also suggested using a stronger cleaner like Formula 409 or Simple Green which are household countertop spray cleaner/degreasers, and then rinse with water.

Apparently the remaining waxy machining lubricant acts as a hydrophobic barrier that makes it hard for ink to move past it. This almost has to be the problem. And while you are at it, thoroughly clean the inside of the section, including with the 409 type cleaner on a Q-tip in case lubricant got on that. I had no harm to my ebonite feeds or section when cleaning with this Formula 409 or Simple Green being in contact for at least 30 seconds.

One other tip that helped me was to gently (stepwise) push the nib tip against paper with it upside down, trying to bend it a tiny bit closer to the feed. I had experimented with checking the flexing a bit too much and while the tip did not get "sprung" back, it was tilted up a bit. Bringing it back down make it work perfect with flow again.

I quoted the above, and respond as follows, but this isn't specific to Sam. Many people have jumped through similar hoops, many others have read varying paragraphs of what-to-dos about a pen like the Ahab. I've been a fan of Nathan's inks for a good long while, but the trouble with my very first Noodler's Flex pen put me off for these very reasons. It causes me to ask:

Sam, would you be both this forgiving, and willing to go to those lengths, if the pen in question cost $100-200? And if not, at what price point do we figure that, hell, it's an inexpensive pen, I guess it is up to me to do some of the work that should have been done by the manufacturer?

Frankly, it seems to be a bit much to ask. For heaven's sake, what about the people that don't have the resource of FPN? If earlier, mainstream manufacturers had put out pens like this we'd never have vintage pens to find.
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#275 Phormio

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 14:03


Drone, I think you did this, but make sure to scrape out the lengthwise top air channel and bottom ink channel several times, firmly with something like the backside of an Xacto blade from front to back, then back to front. You don't have to cut into the ebonite, but according to Nathan some of these have a waxy type of lubricant that can get lodged in the channels, and won't easily clean out. He also suggested using a stronger cleaner like Formula 409 or Simple Green which are household countertop spray cleaner/degreasers, and then rinse with water.

Apparently the remaining waxy machining lubricant acts as a hydrophobic barrier that makes it hard for ink to move past it. This almost has to be the problem. And while you are at it, thoroughly clean the inside of the section, including with the 409 type cleaner on a Q-tip in case lubricant got on that. I had no harm to my ebonite feeds or section when cleaning with this Formula 409 or Simple Green being in contact for at least 30 seconds.

One other tip that helped me was to gently (stepwise) push the nib tip against paper with it upside down, trying to bend it a tiny bit closer to the feed. I had experimented with checking the flexing a bit too much and while the tip did not get "sprung" back, it was tilted up a bit. Bringing it back down make it work perfect with flow again.

I quoted the above, and respond as follows, but this isn't specific to Sam. Many people have jumped through similar hoops, many others have read varying paragraphs of what-to-dos about a pen like the Ahab. I've been a fan of Nathan's inks for a good long while, but the trouble with my very first Noodler's Flex pen put me off for these very reasons. It causes me to ask:

Sam, would you be both this forgiving, and willing to go to those lengths, if the pen in question cost $100-200? And if not, at what price point do we figure that, hell, it's an inexpensive pen, I guess it is up to me to do some of the work that should have been done by the manufacturer?

Frankly, it seems to be a bit much to ask. For heaven's sake, what about the people that don't have the resource of FPN? If earlier, mainstream manufacturers had put out pens like this we'd never have vintage pens to find.


This is a very valid point. I am happy with my Ahab now but it took some work. Now it is working, at $20 it's a bargain! But you're quite right, if it was from another manufacturer or cost more there would be cries for blood.

I think what makes it acceptable for this pen is 1. how cheap it is 2. the goodwill of Noodlers and the appreciation of what Nathan is trying to do with these cheap pens and 3. the joy that comes from the pen when its working right.

I think if we could get them consistantly working out of the box, this pen would have a devastating impact on the fountain pen world.
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#276 P.A.R.

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 15:15

I had no problems with my clear Ahab. But the other day, I decided to try it out as an eyedropper. I had the ink (Sailor epinard) in the barrel for about a week and then decided to switch colors. After cleaning the pen, I noticed that the barrel was no longer the same clear "color" as the cap. It now has a pinkish hue. I doubt it's the Sailor ink. (My second Ahab is black. The filling mechanism inside is, of course, clear. But the threaded part also has that same pinkish hue.) Anyone have a clue if I can do anything about my barrel?

Mine had the same pinkish hue and it was due to the ink. I used a cotton swab and more or less scrubbed the pink off the sides after wetting it. Not too difficult. I wasn't able to reach the very bottom of the barrel, so it's still a bit pink. I'm not really bothered by it.

You might try letting the barrel sit filled with some dilluted ammonia if the above doesn't work. I dunno.

After getting the newer o-rings, the Ahab's syringe filler refills so quickly that the smaller capacity vs eyedropper mode isn't really an issue and there's very little chance of ink burps due to heat changes.

Edited by P.A.R., 17 April 2012 - 15:16.

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#277 jor412

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 15:54

Mine had the same pinkish hue and it was due to the ink. I used a cotton swab and more or less scrubbed the pink off the sides after wetting it. Not too difficult. I wasn't able to reach the very bottom of the barrel, so it's still a bit pink. I'm not really bothered by it.

You might try letting the barrel sit filled with some dilluted ammonia if the above doesn't work. I dunno.

After getting the newer o-rings, the Ahab's syringe filler refills so quickly that the smaller capacity vs eyedropper mode isn't really an issue and there's very little chance of ink burps due to heat changes.


Thanks. I'll try the ammonia solution. Posted Image
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Issy

#278 JonSzanto

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 16:41

I think if we could get them consistantly working out of the box, this pen would have a devastating impact on the fountain pen world.

Precisely. I really wouldn't even bother with the topic at all if it wasn't for Nathan's stated opinion that most of the fountain pen world is too expensive, and that he was out to rectify that. If at least some large part of his goal is to bring these tools to the uninitiated, they simply can't come saddled with a bunch of issues that are mostly sorted out amongst people who have the time, inclination, and knowledge base to get them working as they should have in the first place.

All kudos to what he has done, but I'd like to see these potential game-changers actually be contenders.
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#279 Phormio

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 22:10

All kudos to what he has done, but I'd like to see these potential game-changers actually be contenders.


Agreed. :thumbup:
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#280 SamCapote

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:15

Jon/Phormio, thanks for your honest comments.

First let me stand up for myself. If you read many of my posts on the Ahab, I am not forgiving. Rather, I am being helpful. I'm not a Noodler's representative, just someone who took the time to build a relationship with Nathan over several years...which started 4 years ago with the locked, infamous "Baystate Blue Ruined My Yellow Lamy" thread. I now regard him as a friend, and someone I have a great deal of respect and appreciation for. I have been quite blunt with Ahab problems, and supportive of those trying to fix them. I have said repeatedly that the enhanced, double edge piston O-ring should have been included free either in the box, or in place of the crappy one that sticks like a warped wood door.

My offering help or suggestions to FPN members does not in any way condone the failure of proper QA being done. it comes from taking my time speaking with him about the problems and learning things that others may not know--which I then share. Everyone knows that Nathan is a Yankee tightwad, and he errs on the side of having problems and dealing with them laboriously (including maintaining his operation alone) in the interest of finding the cheapest alternative. I have made almost all the QA problems known to him that have been reported, and they upset him deeply...but essentially this is the "cloth he was cut from," and people need to find the good in what he intends, rather than expecting perfection.

Now the other relevant issue, given the enormous quantity of Ahabs that he has sold worldwide, and using my own experience (buying 12 of them from Goulet & IsellPens) is that most of them did work out of the box. It's not like every single one of them is lathered up with waxy lubricant and ebonite debris scattered all about. There have also been innumerable users who pulled out the nib and feed, looked it over to learn from it (try that with your $100-200 pens), but then jammed it back in without paying attention to the recessed cutout nib slot. There are many other versions of people unfamiliar with the parts of a pen in general, and with a flex nib in particular, making beginner's mistakes such as not knowing how hard to press down on the nib, and unintentionally bending it up a tiny bit and messing up the flow. Is that all Nathan's fault too?

What I find most curious however is the fact that there have been even more structural, design, and failed QA problems with the TWSBI pens and glass bottles, which are more than twice as expensive, but I don't see them getting the same amount of vitriolic grief as does Nathan. I have 3 530's, 3 540's, and all 6 of the glass inkwell bottles. Do you want me to start listing all the problems with the o-rings leaking, cracks developing in the section of two, cracks in the piston metal anchor area, ink not going through the tiny hole from the barrel into the section, etc. etc. All told with my TWSBI pens, there has been over a 50% QA/design failure rate. Then there is their failure to post in a proper, balanced manner, and not onto the piston filling knob. I ordered all 6 colors of their glass inkwell bottles and 100% of them leaked because they did not make the top edge of the glass threads flush so it seals against the lid. Their response has been great, willing to fix or refund, and I recognize these are new designs...but with new custom designs come problems. Same was true with all major name brand pen companies early in their product development history--but we didn't have an internet back then to collect and voice all the issues publicly.

Out of the three $100+ Stipula Passaportos I ordered from Fahrneys & Bertrams, one had the chrome electroplating flaked off on the outside of the cap, and the second one leaked (dripped) out of front section where the nib/feed apparently had too loose of a fit. I had to pay return shipping on both to get replacements. Two of my Pelikans had to be returned for significant scratchy nibs before I learned how to do some adjustment and smoothing on my own, or pay a higher price getting them from Binder or Mottishaw. Other than Noodlers and TWSBI, no self-repair, assembly, cleaning, or self-maintenance guidelines were issued with any of the major brand pens.

You want more examples of supposed quality $100-$500 brand name pens that had QA issues? I also have had a slew of problems with pens that were under $25 in the skipping, cracking, clips breaking off, and leaking type categories. My point is that all this Ahab attitude needs to be kept in a proper perspective, and just because there are vocal complainers in threads here at FPN does not mean that any one brand has major problems. How many retail pens arrive with complete disassembly, nib adjustment, ebonite feed slit cutting instructions (which encourages learning, self-service, and user control), resin body, novel filling mechanism...and for only twenty bucks?
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#281 JonSzanto

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:46

Jon/Phormio, thanks for your honest comments.

No problem, and I'll state very directly, if it wasn't clear, that in using your example I wasn't singling you out for any particular reason. I completely am aware of your large amount of help to the community, just as I was totally *unaware* of your relationship with Nathan. As to one point:

What I find most curious however is the fact that there have been even more structural, design, and failed QA problems with the TWSBI pens and glass bottles, which are more than twice as expensive, but I don't see them getting the same amount of vitriolic grief as does Nathan.

I've tried to maintain a very diplomatic tone in my discussion of these issues, so I am not even mildly offended at the term "vitriolic grief". However, you do throw out that "fact" without any kind of statistical backup, other than your anecdotal reference to your TWSBI purchases. I think we all know that anecdotal evidence is just that.

I have had one TWSBI pen and one Noodler's. The former worked from day one, and to this day, nearly a year later, not one single issue. The latter never worked well, and in spite of every hint and amount of work I felt I was interested in, never did. It sits unused. Having said that, I would never either compare the two, nor make assumptions based on those two pens.

We all have to look to ourselves, our habits, and our biases, and determine whether we are taking a "real-world" viewpoint. In my case, I love to tinker and mess with, but I know my spouse, and other friends I've gotten hooked on fountain pens, will have none of it. I'm not sure at this point that I'd ever feel comfortable recommending an Ahab to them, no matter it's relatively cheap price. And I'd love for that to not be the case.
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#282 fncll

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 04:55

The bottom line is that *anyone* who could reliably put a reasonably priced fountain pen out the door that worked as often as Preppies and Pilot Petits and Varsities would make serious inroads into a significantly larger market. TWSBI isn't doing it. Noodler's isn't doing it. Neither is Pelikan or Lamy, though in my experience Lamy might be the closest.

But that's the whole problem... this is all based on our individual experience and each is far too small a sample to have any statistical significance. So while it is a little interesting (and a lot cathartic) to share our experience here, I don't think any trends can be reasonably extrapolated from those experiences.

I have a half-dozen Noodler's pens and anticipate getting a good dozen more in time. But I have to say that if I am giving a new pen to someone who doesn't know anything about pens--and I don't have time to check and adjust myself--I'm not going to give them a Noodler's pen. Or a Pelikan. Or even a TWSBI, though if I had to choose just one of those blind I'd probably have to bet on the last.

P.S. I think the term "vitriolic grief" is a bit over the top, if not an outright misrepresentation. It's just people sharing their own experience, and whether that experience were technically an outlier or not, they have a right to share--and to their frustration. I commend everyone for being most reasonable about things here.

#283 JonSzanto

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 05:36

Well said, fncll.

Wow, are Pelikans that whacky? We've just gotten the first Pel in the household, but it is both a vintage pen (somewhere 1957-1965) and a *fabulous* writer.
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#284 Phormio

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 06:25

OK I'm not going to do multi-quotes on this one, but Sam - chill!!

On re-reading the posts mine and Jon's views (anecdotally) are in summary 'like the pen, wish it was a little more reliable out of the box'.

Speaking for myself, I am not having an anti-Noodler's dig. I am a Noodler's fan boy but I'm not going to not criticise something just because someone may get upset.

For the record I LIKE MY AHAB. But let's be fair, I had a lot of issues to overcome with the pen to get it to work properly and I am not the only one. Now it works I like it's look, I like the amount of ink it holds and I like the way it writes. But it didn't start that way and if it wasn't for this forum and people's helpful suggestions, such as your own, I'd be stuck with a pen that doesn't work properly.

And when you exchange money for goods, you expect that the goods you purchase should work as intended without further work.

But please, do not take it personally. I think Nathan is doing a good job with this pen, just a little more QC is required.

I note your comments about TWSBI. My own experience, I bought 2 530's when Speedy first offered them here. They have been superb writers from the outset, with the only quibble being not able to post the cap properly and my pens tend to leak a little through the nib into the cap. Outherwise quite a good and cheap pen. Now when the Micarta was released, a large amount of fanboys/girls have gone nuts over it. I like the look but I have been very vocal in my criticism about it's limitations and have even emailed Speedy about it. To say TWSBI isn't criticised isnt correct. They do and I have done so myself.

Oh, finally, I intend to get 1-2 more Ahab's now I know what to do with them.

Cheers,

P
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#285 SamCapote

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 08:44

Guys, I am chilled even if it didn't sound like it. I started out responding to JonSzanto's question/assumption directed at me several of his posts back, which I felt was chiding my sincere efforts trying to help people solve their issues, and somehow turning that into an admonition that I shouldn't be doing this because the Noodler QA issues should never have been allowed to happen?

Sam, would you be both this forgiving, and willing to go to those lengths, if the pen in question cost $100-200?


Listen, if you guys don't like this or any other pen, then state your own personal position without feeling the need to impugn other people's motives who are making posts trying to help others out--apparently because you are not happy with your own experience. Did I say I was forgiving? Did I say anyone should be willing to go to any lengths about any pen, regardless of its cost or reputation? What I do not understand is why you feel the need to keep berating the pen, the maker, the failed QA process, and now even people who are trying to help others get a problem solved after you already made your point. That says more about you than it does me....even if there are several of you ganging together.

For clarification, my own characterization of "vitriolic grief" is a reflection of what I have seen play out repeatedly over the years, and uniquely towards Noodlers and/or Nathan Tardif. It is not drawn from this thread alone. I'm not going to dredge up all the garbage that has been hurled his way, but the large, red, bold, pinned warning that has been sitting atop the Inky Thoughts section for almost a year should give you a clue of what I referenced with my characterization. Isn't it interesting that the last three of you posting all clearly supported TWSBI, despite the small sample sizes or even having problems with it. It leaves an incorrect generalized impression about one brand vs. another.

I have had one TWSBI pen and one Noodler's. The former worked from day one, and to this day, nearly a year later, not one single issue.


I'm not going to give them a Noodler's pen. Or a Pelikan. Or even a TWSBI, though if I had to choose just one of those blind I'd probably have to bet on the last.


My own experience, I bought 2 530's when Speedy first offered them here. They have been superb writers from the outset, with the only quibble being not able to post the cap properly and my pens tend to leak a little through the nib into the cap. Outherwise quite a good and cheap pen.


My response is not to challenge the validity of your objections and specific issues about your Ahab or other pens. That is your right, and I respect it. If you don't like it and/or would never recommend the Ahab or any Noodler's product (or any other brand) to a new or inexperienced users, that is your choice. However I do object to using your sample sizes of 1 or 2 pens, and drawing large, sweeping conclusions for all readers to take note of, without keeping your personal choices or issue in the proper context.

For example, if you get bored, you could research the entire FPN forums to see how many people had a problem or issue with their Ahab. Let's say it's 100, or 200, or 300--I have no idea how many, nor how of those issues had a legitimate QA problem (vs. their own inexperience with taking apart/reassembling or using a flex nib).

Do you have any idea how many Ahabs Nathan has sold? You can reference the end of my first post (point #5) in this thread to see that back in December, 2011, it was over 20,000. 200 FPN problems divided by 20,000 is a 1% rate. As far as I'm concerned for a new product that gives all these features for $20, I would expect a 20-25% problem rate. It has already been well established that Nathan has radically altered the QA procedure and guidelines, some of which were initially violated by the manufacturer without his knowledge. TWSBI has had to do the same....like all companies developing a new product that don't have multimillion dollar R&D departments.
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#286 SmoutKa

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 08:54

Dear FPN friends,

The OP is an inspiring article about the Ahab. And yes, I am intrigued.
But... What is it that makes it so unique? I wonder the more, because it looks like the Camlin Signature SD is on the market for years, and is the straight parent of the Ahab. I can see it has a different nib, and is chiefly sold as a C/C setup. But is it really that different?

#287 Phormio

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:28

Guys, I am chilled even if it didn't sound like it. I started out responding to JonSzanto's question/assumption directed at me several of his posts back, which I felt was chiding my sincere efforts trying to help people solve their issues, and somehow turning that into an admonition that I shouldn't be doing this because the Noodler QA issues should never have been allowed to happen?

Sam, would you be both this forgiving, and willing to go to those lengths, if the pen in question cost $100-200?


Listen, if you guys don't like this or any other pen, then state your own personal position without feeling the need to impugn other people's motives who are making posts trying to help others out--apparently because you are not happy with your own experience. Did I say I was forgiving? Did I say anyone should be willing to go to any lengths about any pen, regardless of its cost or reputation? What I do not understand is why you feel the need to keep berating the pen, the maker, the failed QA process, and now even people who are trying to help others get a problem solved after you already made your point. That says more about you than it does me....even if there are several of you ganging together.

For clarification, my own characterization of "vitriolic grief" is a reflection of what I have seen play out repeatedly over the years, and uniquely towards Noodlers and/or Nathan Tardif. It is not drawn from this thread alone. I'm not going to dredge up all the garbage that has been hurled his way, but the large, red, bold, pinned warning that has been sitting atop the Inky Thoughts section for almost a year should give you a clue of what I referenced with my characterization. Isn't it interesting that the last three of you posting all clearly supported TWSBI, despite the small sample sizes or even having problems with it. It leaves an incorrect generalized impression about one brand vs. another.

I have had one TWSBI pen and one Noodler's. The former worked from day one, and to this day, nearly a year later, not one single issue.


I'm not going to give them a Noodler's pen. Or a Pelikan. Or even a TWSBI, though if I had to choose just one of those blind I'd probably have to bet on the last.


My own experience, I bought 2 530's when Speedy first offered them here. They have been superb writers from the outset, with the only quibble being not able to post the cap properly and my pens tend to leak a little through the nib into the cap. Outherwise quite a good and cheap pen.


My response is not to challenge the validity of your objections and specific issues about your Ahab or other pens. That is your right, and I respect it. If you don't like it and/or would never recommend the Ahab or any Noodler's product (or any other brand) to a new or inexperienced users, that is your choice. However I do object to using your sample sizes of 1 or 2 pens, and drawing large, sweeping conclusions for all readers to take note of, without keeping your personal choices or issue in the proper context.

For example, if you get bored, you could research the entire FPN forums to see how many people had a problem or issue with their Ahab. Let's say it's 100, or 200, or 300--I have no idea how many, nor how of those issues had a legitimate QA problem (vs. their own inexperience with taking apart/reassembling or using a flex nib).

Do you have any idea how many Ahabs Nathan has sold? You can reference the end of my first post (point #5) in this thread to see that back in December, 2011, it was over 20,000. 200 FPN problems divided by 20,000 is a 1% rate. As far as I'm concerned for a new product that gives all these features for $20, I would expect a 20-25% problem rate. It has already been well established that Nathan has radically altered the QA procedure and guidelines, some of which were initially violated by the manufacturer without his knowledge. TWSBI has had to do the same....like all companies developing a new product that don't have multimillion dollar R&D departments.


Just stop Sam, this over zealous defence is not warranted. Furthermore whilst I appreciate your viewpoint, misquoting me really annoys me. What I said about TWSBI was:



I note your comments about TWSBI. My own experience, I bought 2 530's when Speedy first offered them here. They have been superb writers from the outset, with the only quibble being not able to post the cap properly and my pens tend to leak a little through the nib into the cap. Outherwise quite a good and cheap pen. Now when the Micarta was released, a large amount of fanboys/girls have gone nuts over it. I like the look but I have been very vocal in my criticism about it's limitations and have even emailed Speedy about it. To say TWSBI isn't criticised isnt correct. They do and I have done so myself.


Then I went on to say:

''Oh, finally, I intend to get 1-2 more Ahab's now I know what to do with them''

I think its fair to say I support TWSBI, but your view is that I support TWSBI despite problems and not Nathan and Noodlers. This is incorrect. The point I made, and fairly clearly I thought, is that I support BOTH but I will also criticise if I think their product isn't good enough AND I HAVE DONE SO!!

Your zeal for defending NAthan/Noodlers is commendable but your devotion is causing you to find insult in any comment and, quite frankly, you're making a dick of yourself.

Sam, you're a great contributer to this forum and someone who's comments are valued. But you are becoming hyper-sensitive to these comments which are, as far as I am concerned, are general praise for the Ahab with a request, politely put, for an increase in quality control.

And for the record, there have been some negative comments on FPN over the years re:Noodlers, but this thread is for the Ahab only - it is not designed to dredge up the past.

P
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#288 tanalasta

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 12:56

Dear FPN friends,

The OP is an inspiring article about the Ahab. And yes, I am intrigued.
But... What is it that makes it so unique? I wonder the more, because it looks like the Camlin Signature SD is on the market for years, and is the straight parent of the Ahab. I can see it has a different nib, and is chiefly sold as a C/C setup. But is it really that different?


Unique is a combination of factors, put together which make it a pen that no other really replicates. The vegetal resin (as opposed to standard acrylic) has a softer, warmer and smoother feel. It is also more environomentally friendly I believe, made of more natural byproducts. There is a large range of colours, an ebonite (as opposed to plastic) feed. The nice syringe style filler. And a nib which when adjusted well, is delightfully smootha and wet to write with as an EF but with moderate pressure can give handwriting and signatures a bit of flair. All this for $20 and the pen is user adjustable and easily disassembled - mine is sitting there in just such a state after I wrote it dry today and flushed it!

Despite initial problems with flow, now that they are worn in and cleaned ... I suspect indeed machining oils which were resistant to my initial cleaning attempts - now works great. I find my Ahab smoother and nicer to write with than my TWSBI 540. The TWSBI is a very beautiful pen and exudes class past it's pay point. But my Ahab is a nicer writer. Not as nice as my my Danitrio soft-fien which also has character, nor my Montblanc 146. But this morning, I could have reached for any other pen and put the Ahab in my pocket for work.
In Rotation: MB 146 (EF), Noodler's Ahab bumblebee, Edison Pearl (F), Sailor ProGear (N-MF)
In storage: MB 149 (18k EF), TWSBI 540 (B), ST Dupont Olympio XL (EF), MB Dumas (B stub), Waterman Preface (ST), Edison Pearl (0.5mm CI), Noodler's Ahab clear, Pilot VP (M), Danitrio Densho (F), Aurora Optima (F), Lamy 2000 (F), Visconti Homo Sapiens (stub)

#289 SmoutKa

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 15:10


Dear FPN friends,

The OP is an inspiring article about the Ahab. And yes, I am intrigued.
But... What is it that makes it so unique? I wonder the more, because it looks like the Camlin Signature SD is on the market for years, and is the straight parent of the Ahab. I can see it has a different nib, and is chiefly sold as a C/C setup. But is it really that different?


Unique is a combination of factors, put together which make it a pen that no other really replicates. The vegetal resin (as opposed to standard acrylic) has a softer, warmer and smoother feel. It is also more environomentally friendly I believe, made of more natural byproducts. There is a large range of colours, an ebonite (as opposed to plastic) feed. The nice syringe style filler. And a nib which when adjusted well, is delightfully smootha and wet to write with as an EF but with moderate pressure can give handwriting and signatures a bit of flair. All this for $20 and the pen is user adjustable and easily disassembled - mine is sitting there in just such a state after I wrote it dry today and flushed it!

Despite initial problems with flow, now that they are worn in and cleaned ... I suspect indeed machining oils which were resistant to my initial cleaning attempts - now works great. I find my Ahab smoother and nicer to write with than my TWSBI 540. The TWSBI is a very beautiful pen and exudes class past it's pay point. But my Ahab is a nicer writer. Not as nice as my my Danitrio soft-fien which also has character, nor my Montblanc 146. But this morning, I could have reached for any other pen and put the Ahab in my pocket for work.


Thanks for the good answer. I saw so heated debate, that I didn's dare to ask for a couple of days. Just afraid that 'they' would place me in the camp of the haters.
I can see the combination is quite unique. The pricepoint is more an American issue, I think. Camlin or Ahab - I'd have to ship them anyway. In India the Camlin would be even cheaper, at about €12.
But the Ahab's plastic (a celluloid derivate, I suppose) and colors are way better, and there aren't many affordable flex-nibs out there neither.
Ha - but I happened to find a vintage celluloid flexy in a drawer, so I'm in no hurry B) . (http://www.fountainp..._1#entry2302495) Is being restored as we speak :puddle:
Thanks again!

Edited by SmoutKa, 18 April 2012 - 15:22.


#290 tdeecy

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 15:25

Update on my previous post:
After deciding to flush out the brown ink and soak the innards in ammonia, DW detergent and water, I gave it a try the next morning and the pen flowed like Niagara Falls. I guess the chemicals in the brown ink dissolved the manufacturing lubricants.

T.
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#291 fncll

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 16:42

Dear FPN friends,

The OP is an inspiring article about the Ahab. And yes, I am intrigued.
But... What is it that makes it so unique? I wonder the more, because it looks like the Camlin Signature SD is on the market for years, and is the straight parent of the Ahab. I can see it has a different nib, and is chiefly sold as a C/C setup. But is it really that different?


Many pens are similar. So, I guess my reply would be: what does it take to be different enough? I mean, by definition any change technically makes a line "unique" (an overused term), so let's set that aside.

A different material, filling system, clip, and nib...seems like enough for *me* :ltcapd:

#292 P.A.R.

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 17:03

Unique is a combination of factors, put together which make it a pen that no other really replicates. The vegetal resin (as opposed to standard acrylic) has a softer, warmer and smoother feel. It is also more environomentally friendly I believe, made of more natural byproducts. There is a large range of colours, an ebonite (as opposed to plastic) feed. The nice syringe style filler. And a nib which when adjusted well, is delightfully smootha and wet to write with as an EF but with moderate pressure can give handwriting and signatures a bit of flair. All this for $20 and the pen is user adjustable and easily disassembled - mine is sitting there in just such a state after I wrote it dry today and flushed it!


Adding on to the customization options, one should also note that the Ahab's nib can be replaced with one of any six sizes of Knox K35 nibs from xfountainpens.com, which look nice, are inexpensive, and write very smoothly. (see topic linked in signature.)

I'm a huge Noodler's fan. Their inks are great in my experience, and their pens have gotten progressively better. Especially since the discovery of those Knox nibs, the Ahab has quite possibly become my perfect pen for general writing and drawing.

I don't mind supplementing a low cost product with a little elbow grease so long as solutions and advice are readily available. Others may believe otherwise, and that's fine. I love my Ahabs after tuning them according to advice found here.

SamCapote, you mentioned that over 20,000 Ahabs were sold, but I can't believe that all of the people who purchased an Ahab are members here (even though we have more than 60k members) or knew about FPN, and knew what to expect when buying an Ahab. While not being a member of FPN certainly doesn't mean you have no knowledge of the inner workings of fountain pens, it certainly helps to be a member here in this hobby.

Perhaps the problem is that not enough people know where to find the information or what to anticipate. Noodler's Ink is far from an imcompetent brand - especially with its size and prices for its products (which often have enormous potential, as seen with the Ahab.)

A solution, then, might be for Nathan to mention FPN as a resource for assistance with all things pen related in the inserts he already includes with all of his pens' boxes. For those products that do experience problems with quality control, one cannot completely blame Nathan - sellers should accurately represent the quality of the items they sell. Customers interact with and trust the seller when they make a purchase, not necessarily the original manufacturer. GouletPens has made commendable and notable efforts towards the Ahab specifically, mentioning that the pens require more intensive cleaning and providing resources for other areas of its maintenance (the newer double walled o-rings, for example.)

Anyway, I'll probably get my uncle an Ahab as he appears to like the Preppy I got him for Christmas. I'll be sure to tune it first if needed though.

Edited by P.A.R., 18 April 2012 - 17:09.

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#293 JonSzanto

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 17:13

Wanting to reply to Sam, because I not only don't want this to go out of control, but also to reiterate my support for Sam's efforts, and anyone similarly inclined.

Guys, I am chilled even if it didn't sound like it. I started out responding to JonSzanto's question/assumption directed at me several of his posts back, which I felt was chiding my sincere efforts trying to help people solve their issues, and somehow turning that into an admonition that I shouldn't be doing this because the Noodler QA issues should never have been allowed to happen?

As I stated, I used your post as something of a jumping off point, but it was the general principle of the production of the pens I was referring to. In NO WAY was I chiding your efforts, and if in any way it came off as such (though I think a clear reading would show it not to), you have my sincere apologies.

Look: I've only been at the pen stuff for a little bit more than a year, and in that time the greatest resource I've found was FPN. And what is FPN but it's individual correspondents, helping each other. You, Sam, are a big part of that, and the community is rich for your helpfulness.

Jon: Sam, would you be both this forgiving, and willing to go to those lengths, if the pen in question cost $100-200?

Listen, if you guys don't like this or any other pen, then state your own personal position without feeling the need to impugn other people's motives who are making posts trying to help others out--apparently because you are not happy with your own experience. Did I say I was forgiving? Did I say anyone should be willing to go to any lengths about any pen, regardless of its cost or reputation? What I do not understand is why you feel the need to keep berating the pen, the maker, the failed QA process, and now even people who are trying to help others get a problem solved after you already made your point. That says more about you than it does me....even if there are several of you ganging together.

This is definitely you reading more into it than I wrote. I certainly wasn't attacking you, but asking a very pertinent question: at what point to we, as consumers, go to *any* length at all to make up for a manufacturer's product's faults? It is more than reasonable to expect that a new car owner wouldn't be gladly going under the hood if the car wouldn't start, or ran rough, etc. I brought up a talking point - initiated with an Ahab, but could have been other Noodler's pens, or Visconti Homo Sapiens, or TWSBI... any number of new items: what should the reasonable expectation be for a new product that you have purchased.

I didn't "impugn" your motives in the least; as to whether you said you were forgiving or suggesting how much work people should do on their own, no: you didn't state such things, which was why I asked!

I'm sorry if I chose this moment and by chance, others chimed in. It was not my intent to "gang up" on anything, but to ask honest questions about the product and the efforts to make it go. As I stated: I have not used an Ahab.

For clarification, my own characterization of "vitriolic grief" is a reflection of what I have seen play out repeatedly over the years, and uniquely towards Noodlers and/or Nathan Tardif. It is not drawn from this thread alone.

Well, look, that is neither my fault nor my problem. Please don't dump years of boorish behavior on me, because frankly, I've not said anything but good things about Nathan previously. And I *still* support his efforts, which is the ENTIRE reason I would spend any amount of energy trying to figure out how to make this a better product. I like having discussions, but I don't like having a multi-year set of baggage paint my comments in a light with which they were never intended.

Do you have any idea how many Ahabs Nathan has sold? You can reference the end of my first post (point #5) in this thread to see that back in December, 2011, it was over 20,000. 200 FPN problems divided by 20,000 is a 1% rate. As far as I'm concerned for a new product that gives all these features for $20, I would expect a 20-25% problem rate. It has already been well established that Nathan has radically altered the QA procedure and guidelines, some of which were initially violated by the manufacturer without his knowledge. TWSBI has had to do the same....like all companies developing a new product that don't have multimillion dollar R&D departments.

Sam, with all due respect, nothing in the above paragraph actually sheds light on the size of any percentage of problem pens. You compare a global number of sales vs. the number of problems reports on the site. Apples and oranges. However, your bolded statement suggests what I had wondered all along - you actually are OK with about 1/4 of an inexpensive product being defective in some way. I would see it differently, but that is just something that we differ on, nothing more, nothing less.

Sam, again: I value all of your efforts, and it is obvious to any clear-headed reader that you are motivated by a helping nature, and a desire and passion for these tools and creative outlets. Over and above everything else, you have my respect for that, in spades; please don't let any discussion points cause you to think otherwise.
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#294 SamCapote

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 17:43

blah blah blah...

Sam, you're a great contributer to this forum and someone who's comments are valued. But you are becoming hyper-sensitive to these comments which are, as far as I am concerned, are general praise for the Ahab with a request, politely put, for an increase in quality control.

And for the record, there have been some negative comments on FPN over the years re:Noodlers, but this thread is for the Ahab only - it is not designed to dredge up the past.


I didn't misquote you, rather I selectively quoted you in addition to the other two. I did read the rest of your post, and agree you have the most balanced view among the three I quoted. I then had to explain why I used the term "vitriolic grief" which included the larger forum & historical context, then respond again when my explanation wasn't deemed acceptable. I can and did bring up the larger attitude towards Noodler's because as the persisting big red bold pinned warning continues, it rears its head over and over currently, with threads being locked and warnings given, and is not relegated to past years. People who determine this is heated, overzealous, needing to chill, are not reflecting my reality. Again, I am not upset, heated, angry, or harboring ill will towards anyone in this thread. Not even towards someone who calls me a "dick." I know their using such terms says more about them than me. This is how I stand up and speak about what I believe in. Sorry if that is causing difficulty.

For the record, what you all are missing is that my persisting reaction here started after JonSzanto's post #214, in which people trying to help others fix their pen issues were singled out, belittled, and taken to task under the faux guise of this isn't about Sam....but I'm quoting Sam, and directing my rant to Sam (and others), despite their doing nothing more than spending their own time helping others solve their problems...followed by your post #215 saying you agreed with him. For me, the heart of this interchange was never about the Ahab, it was fundamentally about reacting to the unapologetic attack on people who were helping others. The rest was pointing out the lack of a proper perspective using small sample sizes with now 30,000 Ahab's sold to date, and misrepresenting the magnitude of the problem, and failing to recognize the reality that any new product design will have unforeseen issues.

Ordering someone to stop and proclaiming that my overzealous defense is unwarranted doesn't work with me (or most people), anymore than if I commanded you to stop and characterized your actions likewise. Most people sit back. I have never been a sitting backer. I am passionate, but I have not called anyone names, nor denied you your right of having your own opinions.

My response may seem out of line to you, but to finish my piece in this topic why don't you give some thought to how you would feel if you were doing volunteer work at a local soup kitchen, and when you began walking home, some dudes out front are asking "Why you are being so forgiving and wasting your time helping out the poor since the kitchen is just co-dependently enabling people who are not helping themselves?" or "Why are you being so forgiving and supportive since this kitchen isn't run as well as the one on the south side, plus it is promoting religion while passing out food to the vulnerable?"

Edit: I saw the most recent post from JonSzanto while I was composing this post, including his apology for the heart of my issue. I appreciate that, and will not respond about all this further.
==========================================================================================

Tanalasta, SmoutKa, & tdeecy, great news that you were able to get the flow working! I have noticed after Nathan told me about it that for some reason new ebonite feeds perform better after being in contact with an ink for a day. I also remember our admin Wim say in point #4 in his Stipula Tips post here some similar steps for "breaking in/priming" feeds.

Helping you guys is what this thread is about.

Edited by SamCapote, 18 April 2012 - 18:00.

With the new FPN rules, now I REALLY don't know what to put in my signature.

#295 JonSzanto

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 19:04

Edit: I saw the most recent post from JonSzanto while I was composing this post, including his apology for the heart of my issue. I appreciate that, and will not respond about all this further.

Thanks, Sam. From my perspective, and my reason for posting, it was always about the product, and NEVER about the people, most specifically those that are doing the good work of assisting others.
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#296 Phormio

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 04:40

blah blah blah...

Sam, you're a great contributer to this forum and someone who's comments are valued. But you are becoming hyper-sensitive to these comments which are, as far as I am concerned, are general praise for the Ahab with a request, politely put, for an increase in quality control.

And for the record, there have been some negative comments on FPN over the years re:Noodlers, but this thread is for the Ahab only - it is not designed to dredge up the past.


I didn't misquote you, rather I selectively quoted you in addition to the other two. I did read the rest of your post, and agree you have the most balanced view among the three I quoted. I then had to explain why I used the term "vitriolic grief" which included the larger forum & historical context, then respond again when my explanation wasn't deemed acceptable. I can and did bring up the larger attitude towards Noodler's because as the persisting big red bold pinned warning continues, it rears its head over and over currently, with threads being locked and warnings given, and is not relegated to past years. People who determine this is heated, overzealous, needing to chill, are not reflecting my reality. Again, I am not upset, heated, angry, or harboring ill will towards anyone in this thread. Not even towards someone who calls me a "dick." I know their using such terms says more about them than me. This is how I stand up and speak about what I believe in. Sorry if that is causing difficulty.

For the record, what you all are missing is that my persisting reaction here started after JonSzanto's post #214, in which people trying to help others fix their pen issues were singled out, belittled, and taken to task under the faux guise of this isn't about Sam....but I'm quoting Sam, and directing my rant to Sam (and others), despite their doing nothing more than spending their own time helping others solve their problems...followed by your post #215 saying you agreed with him. For me, the heart of this interchange was never about the Ahab, it was fundamentally about reacting to the unapologetic attack on people who were helping others. The rest was pointing out the lack of a proper perspective using small sample sizes with now 30,000 Ahab's sold to date, and misrepresenting the magnitude of the problem, and failing to recognize the reality that any new product design will have unforeseen issues.

Ordering someone to stop and proclaiming that my overzealous defense is unwarranted doesn't work with me (or most people), anymore than if I commanded you to stop and characterized your actions likewise. Most people sit back. I have never been a sitting backer. I am passionate, but I have not called anyone names, nor denied you your right of having your own opinions.

My response may seem out of line to you, but to finish my piece in this topic why don't you give some thought to how you would feel if you were doing volunteer work at a local soup kitchen, and when you began walking home, some dudes out front are asking "Why you are being so forgiving and wasting your time helping out the poor since the kitchen is just co-dependently enabling people who are not helping themselves?" or "Why are you being so forgiving and supportive since this kitchen isn't run as well as the one on the south side, plus it is promoting religion while passing out food to the vulnerable?"

Edit: I saw the most recent post from JonSzanto while I was composing this post, including his apology for the heart of my issue. I appreciate that, and will not respond about all this further.
==========================================================================================

Tanalasta, SmoutKa, & tdeecy, great news that you were able to get the flow working! I have noticed after Nathan told me about it that for some reason new ebonite feeds perform better after being in contact with an ink for a day. I also remember our admin Wim say in point #4 in his Stipula Tips post here some similar steps for "breaking in/priming" feeds.

Helping you guys is what this thread is about.



I agree that this thread is about helping others. That's why I was posting here, explaining my difficulties and what I was doing to overcome them, including following your advice.

Selectively quoting me is little different than misquoting. By taking it out of context you're changing my meaning. And this then started feeling like a personal attack, hence why I referred to you as a 'dick'.

Of course, I do not think you a dick for helping others - that's part of the joy of using FPN - the help and sense of community that's here. But my support of Jon's comments were supporting his view about product QA. I never once saw it as a personal attack nor did I think he wrote it that way. I note what Jon says when:


""For clarification, my own characterization of "vitriolic grief" is a reflection of what I have seen play out repeatedly over the years, and uniquely towards Noodlers and/or Nathan Tardif. It is not drawn from this thread alone.

Well, look, that is neither my fault nor my problem. Please don't dump years of boorish behavior on me, because frankly, I've not said anything but good things about Nathan previously. And I *still* support his efforts, which is the ENTIRE reason I would spend any amount of energy trying to figure out how to make this a better product. I like having discussions, but I don't like having a multi-year set of baggage paint my comments in a light with which they were never intended.""

I think Jon is quite right. You've gone on the defensive due to past issues people have had with Noodler's products and your own closeness to Nathan. If I were Nathan I would be quite please to have such a loyal friend.

But your emotions cloud your judgment. Your example of the volunteer at the soup kitchen is poor. Nathan runs a business, not a charity, and as such is bound by the various trade practice laws of each country he trades in and obliged to produce a product that is of a certain quality.

My comments, Jon's and others are supportive of Nathan and the Ahab, but all we seek is slightly higher quality control. Not an unreasonable request.

Moreover, I note your comment about FPN users probably being only 1% of Ahab users. When statistical analysis is done, it often only targets a small portion of any community as the statistical science has proven that reasonably accurate data can be drawn from small sample sizes. Often with overall populations, sample sizes are often smaller than .001% of the population. From that, given the problems experienced by the less than 1% here, it can be extrapolated that there is a significant quality problem with the Ahab. So why do we care to talk about it here?

The answer is because we LIKE the Ahab and believe in Nathan's mission. We want quality to be better so the pen can be enjoyed by more mainstream users rather than a minority who visit FPN or like to tinker with pens. I Like Noodler's products and I intend to buy more Ahabs. Moreover NONE of my comments were part of an ongoing attack against Noodlers.

SO in summary Sam, let me make these points abundantly clear for you, so they cannot be taken out of context:

1. I like Noodlers
2. I have discussed the shortcommings of the Ahab as I like it and want a better product, not to run Noodlers down.
3. I referred to you as óverzealous'and a 'dick'as you misrepresented my comments intentionally, or 'selectively quoted'to use your phrase. EDIT: Acknowledging in your quote'of me 'blah blah blah'actually came from you and not me would be appreciated.

And I don't know what it says about me that I called you a dick, but like you I speak my mind and I often call things as I see them.

Now I appologise if you have been offended. But understand I was talking about the product and not the person (i.e. You) until you started to misquote me to prove some point. I do not want a flame war here. It's not appropriate and is beneath all of us, considering you, Jon and me all support Nathan's Ahab project. It's just that we are all coming to this pen from different directions but with similar goals in mind.

P

Edited by Phormio, 19 April 2012 - 04:42.

Lots of wants, limited funds!

#297 fncll

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 05:51

The fact that small samples sizes CAN be statistically significant doesn't mean they always are, and no one has gone any distance toward showing that they are in this particular case. So can we please just drop the idea that the reliability of Noodler's pens vs any other is being predicted by what is played out in threads here?At least until someone does the real number crunching to get beyond the abstract ideas of what might or might not be true. There are many other potentially productive ways to move forward, imo.

#298 Phormio

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 06:36

The fact that small samples sizes CAN be statistically significant doesn't mean they always are, and no one has gone any distance toward showing that they are in this particular case. So can we please just drop the idea that the reliability of Noodler's pens vs any other is being predicted by what is played out in threads here?At least until someone does the real number crunching to get beyond the abstract ideas of what might or might not be true. There are many other potentially productive ways to move forward, imo.


Sure thing :) I was only making a counter argument anyway.

Oh and since following Sam's and everyone else's advice my Ahab is still working great!
Lots of wants, limited funds!

#299 tanalasta

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 14:47

Bottom line is the Ahab is not perfect. It's potentially temperamental... is not real vintage soft, dip nib flex and writes like a normal pen and actually quite stiff unless you purposely place pressure on the nib - after which it flexes nicely and springs back quickly. And cheap enough that you don't care too much if you spring it. Mine railroads if you flex it too hard. Heck, I even lost my little breather tube but good ol' Noodler's made that right with great afterservice by sending me not only two replacement tubes but also a new pen so now I have two!

But at $20, even with it's idiosyncracies - I like it. And that's that. Mine is now a reliable work writer and the colours are pretty, it's dead easy to clean and fill as well as adjust. It's ergonomically comfortable (even though not a great poster, I write unposted), fits in my pocket and writes reliably now that I have hit it's sweet spot. The only reason mine is not filled is that it's drying out waiting for me to decide what ink to put in it next!

I even got a compliment the other day 'hey, that's a nice pen' to which I replied 'yep, and only $20'

Edited by tanalasta, 19 April 2012 - 14:49.

In Rotation: MB 146 (EF), Noodler's Ahab bumblebee, Edison Pearl (F), Sailor ProGear (N-MF)
In storage: MB 149 (18k EF), TWSBI 540 (B), ST Dupont Olympio XL (EF), MB Dumas (B stub), Waterman Preface (ST), Edison Pearl (0.5mm CI), Noodler's Ahab clear, Pilot VP (M), Danitrio Densho (F), Aurora Optima (F), Lamy 2000 (F), Visconti Homo Sapiens (stub)

#300 Drone

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 14:56

Drone, I think you did this, but make sure to scrape out the lengthwise top air channel and bottom ink channel several times, firmly with something like the backside of an Xacto blade from front to back, then back to front. You don't have to cut into the ebonite, but according to Nathan some of these have a waxy type of lubricant that can get lodged in the channels, and won't easily clean out. He also suggested using a stronger cleaner like Formula 409 or Simple Green which are household countertop spray cleaner/degreasers, and then rinse with water.

Apparently the remaining waxy machining lubricant acts as a hydrophobic barrier that makes it hard for ink to move past it. This almost has to be the problem. And while you are at it, thoroughly clean the inside of the section, including with the 409 type cleaner on a Q-tip in case lubricant got on that. I had no harm to my ebonite feeds or section when cleaning with this Formula 409 or Simple Green being in contact for at least 30 seconds.

One other tip that helped me was to gently (stepwise) push the nib tip against paper with it upside down, trying to bend it a tiny bit closer to the feed. I had experimented with checking the flexing a bit too much and while the tip did not get "sprung" back, it was tilted up a bit. Bringing it back down make it work perfect with flow again.

Good Luck


@SamCapote, Thanks for the suggestions, but I've been there and done that. I've been through each and every thing I can find on FPN to get the Ahab to work. But...

GOOD NEWS: Today I got my Ahab to work - Yup - IT WORKS!

Here's what I did...

First of all, I've cleaned and cleaned all parts of the pen (even ultrasonic), scraped the channel on and on. I even opened up the FIRST three feed nibs (closest to the nib tip) right down to the channel. After ensuring the feed and nib were in good contact, the pen was still starved for ink once the feed ran out after the initial fill. Yes the feed is positioned as far as possible up toward the nib tip; and I've tried may nib-feed positions. Yes, I've tried various paper and ink types, combination's of which I know should work properly.

Light-Bulb Moment!...

Thinking about it for awhile and closely looking at how the nib flexes. It occurred to me that what may be happening is that the feed is not storing enough ink when the nib flexes a bit (gets pulled away from the nib).

So I decided to open-up feed ribs CLOSER to the section. First I opened one rib about two thirds up the feed closer to where it meets the section. The flow improved after long term writing, but not quite enough. I would still get railing when flourishing and over-all the resevoir of ink in the feed was still causing poor flow - but only occasionally.

Then I opened up another rib, again, close to the section.

This seems to have done it. I've been through two converters of ink now with many pages of various styles of writing. The pen is now usable - but I still run into bouts of poor flow and a bit of railing - but infrequently.

The problem is that the flow is now too wet with normal writing. I attribute to my being too aggressive by opening three ribs close to the nib-tip as often recommended here on FPN and even alluded to in the (poorly written IMHO) enclosed instruction sheet that came with the pen. What I needed to do was open up some ribs closer to the feed. I wish I only opened one or two ribs closer to the nib tip - but unfortunately that was a one-way trip :-(

So - progress, but not perfect. I wish I could start over with a new feed and get it right. But...

What I really need is a way to buy spare nibs and/or feeds for the Ahabs. That seems impossible. I suggest everyone please pressure the Ahab resellers to offer spare Ahab nibs and feeds.

We need to be able to buy spare Ahab feeds and nibs rather than toss Ahabs in the trash and buy a whole new pen to start over!

I'll post again after this pen has been on the road for awhile to verify my fix worked. We're looking good so far.

Thanks to everyone for all the help so-far. Fingers-crossed, this fix will stand up over time...

Regards, David