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Review: Noodler's piston-filler


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#1 jpeck

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 01:28

This isn't quite a full review, but just some impression with several pictures. I'd value more being the first to review this pen than being extensive and thorough. I'll defer a full review to other experts.


I went to New England Pen Show today, and got much anticipated Noodler's first fountain pen.
Noodler's debuted several new fountain pens today, and the one I've got is the $12 piston-filler with vegetal resin body .

At the first sight, the pen isn't that gorgeous. Essentially no packaging comes with it, and the finish of the pen is not anywhere near the top-notch. Machining burrs and ridges still remain on the edges and threads. I even had to wipe off some gunky machining oil from the piston-filler knob (no, not lubricant for the piston, but black machining oil). I looked at tens of pens on the table, but all were similar in terms of the finish. If you expected a shiny, glossy, and luxury-looking fountain pen, sorry, you'll be disappointed.
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The design of the pen is pretty nice. It's a mid-sized slim design.
The pen measures 0.4oz empty, 5 3/16in capped, 4 5/8in uncapped, and 5 1/2in posted.
It comes in 5 colors: black, dark brown, teal, dark blue, and red. All colors are not so vivid or brilliant. But they all look quite subdued and kind of dull. As I already stated, the finish looks rather cheap. I don't know about vegetal resin, but the pen isn't shiny or glossy. It seems like they omitted final buffing/polishing process to cut the cost. It isn't sleek to touch, either.
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(size comparison: Visconti Van Gogh Midi, Pelikan M205, Noodler's, and Lamy Safari)

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The metal trims are quite nice, though, and the clip is firm and functional.
The cap is screw-on type, requiring about one and a half turn to put on or take off.
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Piston-filler knob isn't as smooth as those on Pelikans.
But everything works.
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I inked it with Noodler's black (what else would I put?), and tested.
The nib is actually very nice to use. The stainless steel nib comes in one width which is very close to Pelikan's fine.
It certainly writes very smooth, but not buttery smooth. It doesn't write silently as those Visconti gold nibs, but makes quite loud writing sound from resistance on the paper. But the sound is rather low-pitched and pleasant to hear.

The nib doesn't have any flex or springiness. It's rigid.
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Conclusion:
You'll get a $12 dollar pen with a functional piston-filler, a screw-on cap, and decent stainless steel nib. The pen has a "vintage" feel even though it's brand-new. Pretty good job for the first try from Noodler's.

Edited by jpeck, 17 May 2010 - 11:15.


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#2 Chemyst

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 01:29

I'm glad you like it. :)
Chemyst is not and never was a representative of Noodler's Ink. As misrepresentations like this are not allowed on FPN, Chemyst's right to participate on our board was therefore withdrawn, as from March 2016.
 
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#3 Samovar

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 01:34

I want, I want! Thanks for the quick review. If anybody has one or two, I could send you some nice Japanese pens... I would be interesting in a black or teal. Did you see the more expensive model? What was your impression?
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#4 Dan Carmell

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 01:39

Thanks for premiering this here! Any indication of where it's made?

Oh, and add to your list of what you get for $12: a hard rubber feed!

About the slightly unfinished aspects, I imagine Nathan will correct that in short Oder. His ink had a few early production issues as well, but he fixed that quick enough.

Dan

Edited by Dan Carmell, 17 May 2010 - 01:42.


#5 bluemagister

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 02:05

I hope that the unpolished make is fixed for final sale models.

#6 QM2

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 04:22

I picked one of these up today as well, also in red. They are excellent little pens for the price, and I am glad to have a pen with "Noodler's" engraved on the clip. The "dark brown" colour you listed is actually a plum - in the light you can see that it's purple, just very subdued. I am looking forward to using my pen with the inks I picked up. It was a great show this year and Nathan was exceptionally helpful and charismatic.

Edited by QM2, 17 May 2010 - 04:22.


#7 xuan87

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 04:53

these batch of pens are probably from his pilot production, hence he's selling them so cheaply. he'll probably be fishing around for feedbacks so that he can improve his later batches.
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#8 Truppi327

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 12:32

I picked one of these up at the show as well. I also grabbed two of the piston filler demos and the $20 version of the Noodler's Pen, it is a sac filler. As for the vegetal resin pen review I agree with all of the points in the review. All of the pens had a slightly "unfinished" way about them. He encouraged playing with the nib a little since this batch is so new and may need to be broken in a little for adjustment. The nib is the most exciting part, the best part IMO, of these pens, they write nice even fine lines, and for $12 it's a no-brainer. These pens also have great potential for Nib grinding practice. I can't wait until more are made!
Nathan indicated that they had literally just come out of production and they actually kinda smell of freshly machined resins (a little gross, but dissipating fast).
The $20 pen (I need a better name for it), which is a dark green with a black "wood-grain", was the most finished of the bunch and looks very sharp. If I could get pictures off of my camera I'd post.
Best,
Mike Truppi

8/24/10

#9 Truppi327

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 12:35

Any indication of where it's made?


BTW, I was so excited and overwhelmed at the show that I forgot to ask Nathan where the pens were made as I intended. But from what I could infer, his comments about them being FRESH from production I think they may be made in the US...
Hopefully someone thought to ask Nathan at the show.
Best,
Mike Truppi

8/24/10

#10 pkoko

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 14:00

Any idea from where to buy?
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#11 Lloyd

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 14:23

Most were made in regions formerly owned by the British (as Nathen referred to them) including India. Additionally, part of the triumph-style nibs on the ebonite squeeze fillers were made in Canada.


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#12 jpeck

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 14:28

I'm writing with this pen this morning, and I actually like the nib and the feed (hard rubber as Dan pointed out) very much. It writes really smooth for a steel nib, and lays down nice and wet lines with no skipping at all.
I still don't like the unpolished look, but it's getting a little better as it gets polished by my hands, I think. I believe this vegetal resin is a good stuff, but the polish is just not as smooth as today's brand-name pens. Cutting marks still remain on the clear sections of the ink window.

Yes, the pen smells like it was in the machine shop until a few minutes ago, and so does my hand.

As for the country of origin, nowhere on the pen does it say where it's from.

If Nathan can improve on the build quality, make the color a little more attractive (maybe a few more choices, too), put some lubricant on the piston before they leave the factory, and still ask for under $30, I can foresee this pen become a contender for Safari.


I was also interested in the clear demonstrator (for those who haven't seen it, it is a piston filler, but you have to remove the end cap to reveal the knob. Truppi327 may post some pictures.), but I didn't get it because the piston was very stiff to move. The $12 pen (I need a better name for it, too) has a hard-to-turn piston as well, but the larger diameter knob helps a little there.

The $20 pen didn't attract me too much because of the size (slightly longer than the $12 one), design, and slip-on cap. It will be totally up to personal taste, though. I agree that it had the best finish, but still has quite a bit of room to improve on the build quality.

Edited by jpeck, 17 May 2010 - 15:27.


#13 Triplet Mom

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 15:49

IMG_1898.JPG I bought the $10 demonstrator and LOVE it!!! It writes even smoother than the OMAS Black Dama I also bought at the NE Pen Show! My piston was not very stiff on my pen. For this price, a piston filler that holds a ton of ink, and one of the smoothest fine point nibs I've ever used, I plan on getting several more.

Edited by Triplet Mom, 17 May 2010 - 15:54.

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#14 PatientType

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 16:26

The description of the $12 model sounds very much like a Reform 1745. Maybe just a little larger girth? At that price I don't think I'd care whether the colors were striking or the pen is highly polished. If the thing writes smoothly, has good ink capacity and doesn't leak - that's a lot to get for twelve bucks.

The piston filler knob doesn't work as smoothly as a Pelikans? Considering that I can have seven of these for the price of a low-end Pelikan, I could bring myself to accept a working but stiff piston. I'm pleasantly surprised that it has a piston.

By the way, jpeck, your review was just fine. No need to wait for an "expert" review. You hit all the important points. Thank you for the fine pictures and clear description.

Edited by PatientType, 17 May 2010 - 16:27.


#15 Dan Carmell

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 18:28

Most were made in regions formerly owned by the British (as Nathen referred to them) including India. Additionally, part of the triumph-style nibs on the ebonite squeeze fillers were made in Canada.


How do you make part of a nib in Canada (or elsewhere)? Am I misunderstanding or do you mean the feed or some other part of the nib assembly?

Dan

#16 Lloyd

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 18:38

The part of the nib closest to the section (the base of the triumph-style nib) is from Canada. Nathan "The Nib Wizard" connected (welded?) the rest of the nib, including the tines, onto it. He made BBBB (?) nibs, XF nibs, semiflex nibs,...

He gave me the $10 demo which I've been using with BSB. Due to the materials used, he boasted that it copuld be used with alcoholbased inks to permit writing on glass and mirrors. It dissemebles (NOT from the nib end but from the piston end) so the piston can be lubed and cleaned. Also, when the piston stopper wears down, there are two fixes:
1. it can be gently melted and flattend to make it wider to reach the sides again
2. a piece of inner tube can be cut and easily mounted to create a new stopper.

He's a clever one, he is..
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#17 jleeper

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 20:55

IMG_1898.JPG I bought the $10 demonstrator and LOVE it!!! It writes even smoother than the OMAS Black Dama I also bought at the NE Pen Show! My piston was not very stiff on my pen. For this price, a piston filler that holds a ton of ink, and one of the smoothest fine point nibs I've ever used, I plan on getting several more.



That looks exactly like my Dollar demonstrator. So my take now is that some of the Noodler's pens are made in India, some in Pakistan.
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#18 bluemagister

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 21:06

I'm going to be waiting eagerly for the final production models on this. I'd think that Nathan used the NE pen show as a focus group for improving the pens.

#19 Spector

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 21:38

when will these be available for sale online?
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#20 Lloyd

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 01:29

That looks exactly like my Dollar demonstrator. So my take now is that some of the Noodler's pens are made in India, some in Pakistan.


Based on the image of the Dollar I just looked at, I totally agree.
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