Drone (David), great information about opening the lower slits. I had never tried doing that, nor asked Nathan about it. Your solution does make me wonder if your problem was related to some wax/lubricant in the "blow hole" that comes up in the lengthwise air channel, acting as an ink repelling barrier. I remember Nathan mentioning that reaming out that hole with a paper clip resolved some flow issues when he was troubleshooting the problem, and before he learned that the manufacturer decided on their own to start using cutting lubricants.
I did think that spare nibs/feeds were available from Dick Egolf at the website here. Try contacting him with what you had wrong and ask for replacements. Let us know what happens. Next time I speak with Nathan, I'll ask him about those spare parts, and what cutting the back slits might mean as a clue, and what he has found for the best "bandaid" to fix over done cuts....although beeswax that Kyosu mentioned sounds great. That's something I don't have in the house.
SamCapote, Thanks for the reply.
Sorry for the long post, but there's a lot to say how my Ahab adventure is going...
I did thoroughly clean the "blow hole" as well as the feed hole with some soft wire, then I tossed it in the ultrasonic cleaner for good measure, then blew it clean/dry with some compressed air and re-inspected the feed under magnification. I'm pretty sure there are no lubricants anywhere in the feed. After all I've been through with this pen so-far, I probably have the cleanest Ahab on the planet.
Update on Ahab Performance:
My black Ahab pen has been writing flawlessly since opening up a couple of feed ribs closer to the section (more on this below). I've been through almost five loads of ink since then.
As I mentioned previously, after opening up the new ribs closer to the section, the flow problems have been totally solved, but the pen is a bit too wet; likely due to my opening up too many ribs (3 of them) closest to the nib in the beginning.
A couple of fills ago, I moved the feed back away from the nib, more like it was when the pen shipped. As a result, the flow has decreased somewhat. But I consider the flow to still be a little too wet. Too bad I can't "un-hack" one or two of the cut ribs closest to the nib (hence my desire to start with a new "spare" feed).
I've been running well behaved blue inks (Namiki/Pilot blue and Parker Quink blue) so-far. Next I plan to try some of my slower flowing inks (typically reds) to see how they behave in the Ahab. With the blue inks I get stable flow with normal writing pressure and no railing at all when fully flexed - even with a lot of dramatic flourishes.
Also, I should add that the Ahab has been behaving quite well, even with the high flow rate. So-far, no burps or blobs and almost no nib creep - this even with running with a pen that goes from pocket (cold) to hand (warm) with a near empty ink reservoir. I am pleasantly surprised about this :-)
More Details on What I Did to the Feed:
To be specific, I opened what looks like ribs 7 and 8 counting back from the nib on the feed. Using a very fine (small) pointy X-Acto like knife, I cut the rib channels right down to the lengthwise channel. "Cut" is probably the wrong word, the (Ebonite?) nib material needs to be more-like "chipped" away with the knife edge, then the cut sort-of cleaned out with the dull side square edge of another X-Acto blade put in backwards in the handle.
I used two X-Acto type knife holders, one with the blade inserted properly, the other with the blade put in backwards. This is just to speed up the process. You can certainly duplicate this with one holder and one blade.
Remember, after "hacking" the feed, clean all the chips away thoroughly!
I chose to open feed ribs 7and 8 (again, counting back from the nib-end) so if the feed is seated back a bit further from the nib, the opened ribs would not reside under the section. I did this for fear that if the opened ribs were under the section, the area where section meets the feed might become too wet and leak a bit.
About Spare Ahab Parts:
Funny that you mention contacting Dick Egolf at Luxury Brands LLC via the Noodler's contact form link you provided - I did exactly that a month ago, asking how I can obtain some spare Ahab nibs and/or feeds. I received a prompt reply from Mr. Egolf on 26 March stating:
"Hi David, Please let me know when you will be placing an order with your U.S. dealer and I will make sure that they have some to ship you."
However I was not planning on placing an order with anyone at the time. I sent an Email to Mr. Egolf asking if he could ship me some Ahab parts to my address in the U.S. and also asked for price and payment details via PayPal.
I don't expect to get spare Ahab parts for free - I'm willing to pay a reasonable price for them. But at-least some spare feeds are required as I would like to replace the feed in my black Ahab with one that is hacked to flow a bit less - and new Ahab(s) I order may indeed need a spare feed, just in case.
I did not receive a reply to my second Email from Mr. Egolf. Perhaps the spare Ahab parts are only available through a Noodler's distributor and not directly from Mr. Egolf at Luxury Brands.
A month later, now that I got my Ahab working, I plan to place another order (probably with the Goulet's) over the weekend. I plan to order at least one more Ahab, just to see how it goes the second time around.
I'll send another Email to Mr. Egolf with the details of my next order. Perhaps there is something he can do.
Ahab Nib Tuning:
Note, I think the average Ahab user should not need to "tune" nib. If the nib feels "scratchy" or "toothy", especially when NOT flexed, then make sure the tines are aligned (a magnifier helps) and bend them a bit if they're not (lots here on FPN on how to do this).
But I'm obsessed with how my nibs write and can't leave well-enough alone. So here we go...
A couple of days ago, I decided to tune the Ahab nib - it was writing a little "toothy" for my hand. The tines looked properly aligned under magnification and they look like they taper properly. But I decided to try a bit of smoothing anyway.
I started with a nail buffer then moved to micro-mesh sheets. The nib smoothed out quite a bit, but was still a bit toothy when flexed.
Again, under magnification, I used some micro-mesh sheet to smooth out the nib edges where they meet between the two tines. I've done this before with fine full-flex nibs, and it is a delicate procedure (to avoid "baby-bottoming" the nib). Now the nib is nearly perfect.
I don't recommend doing this unless you've tried this before - or if you have a spare nib just in case. (Hmmm - we're back to the spare parts issue again.) BTW, I always tune my nibs while wet with ink, which seems to produce the best results.
Now with the Ahab working, I'm loving this pen! I'm putting a lot of mileage on it. My other (far more expensive) pens just look-on in envy :-)
Getting to this point has been quite an adventure. The positive outcome would have been impossible without all the help I've received from the FPN community.
That said; at the moment I would still not consider the Ahab to be a "pen for the masses". I would not gift an Ahab to a friend or family member without a good going-over by me first.
The Ahab is a wonderful pen at a wonderful price - once you get it working. Once we have an easy way to obtain spare Ahab parts, I would consider the Ahab to be the ideal pen for someone willing to learn how to tune on a pen and get it working "just right" for your hand.
Everything I've posted in this thread is about my sample of one (1) black Ahab. Reading the many threads and posts about the Ahab on FPN and elsewhere, I get a strong feeling that out-of-the-box Ahab performance can vary widely. After I get my second (or more) Ahab(s), I'll post-back with my findings.
If your get a new Ahab and feel it isn't flowing properly, do the simple step of cleaning the nib, feed, and section thoroughly before starting to "hack" the feed. Heck, clean everything - all the pen parts. There's a lot more on this in this thread.
Even if you think your Ahab is working "properly" out of the box. Make sure you put a lot of mileage on the pen before coming to that conclusion.
If your pen writes good after filling, that is no indication of how it will write once the ink in the feed after the initial fill is depleted. I recommend you fill your new Ahab and then aggressively flex the pen over (at-least) several sheets full of flourishes to see if flow stops (your flexed lines start to look like "rail road tracks").
Another indicator of poor flow is using your Ahab during an important meeting and then half-way through the meeting the pen stops writing - causing you to start into embarrassing bouts of shaking the pen trying to get ink back into the feed (with blobs of ink flying around the room).
IMHO fountain pens are indeed "living" organisms. They will wait until your are in the most embarrassing situation before they stop working! Rule-of-thumb: For example - if you meet a beautiful woman (or man), DO NOT use your fountain pen to take down her/his phone number! The Jealous (bleep) of a pen won't write (he-he)!
Thanks & Best Regards, David