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Noodler's Ahab Flex Pen

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#321 cobalt



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Posted 15 November 2015 - 10:15

Took delivery of an Ahab. My first and last, so read on.


I undertook the apparently obligatory tinkering:

  • the pen is delivered dirty from the factory which to me means poor post-production quality control.
  • the pen needs to be adjusted to obtain a degree of writerly functionality, but not surprised as the pen is really a kit pen.

I've bought products that had these features in the past, and in the main they are deal-breakers as they impose on the buyer much of the work that should be done during manufacture. I would not recommend it to people who expect things to work out of the box.


Some observations:


Nib: some flex but the pressure needed to obtain flex was more than I consider acceptable. On that basis, I would not characterise the nib as flexible; I would describe it as semi-hemi-demi flexible (i.e. not much).

Fill: mechanism was cleaned but leaked at the plunger end when used. Problem with o-ring? Do I have the energy to buy an o-ring...unlikely.

Manufacture: build quality is very good for the price point. (made by a robot?)

Aesthetics: Zuni version, lovely colour; pen smells something fierce.

Hand Feel: there is a ridge as the barrel steps down which for some will be in the sweet spot for holding the pen and therefore will irritate. It irritates me.

Flow: left pen overnight and it did not start up right away; ink is Diamine Indigo.

Open/close: 2.5 turns to open; too many.

Weight/size: light and quite thick; will not suit smaller hands or thick fingers. Big hands or long fingers might like it.


As I don't believe in naked reviews, I did two head to head comparisons:

  • with an ordinary new Conklin Duragraph: Durograph has physical flexibility but lesser line width variation. I needed to exert much less pressure to achieve line variation with the Conklin. If I want flex, then see next head-to-head.
  • with a semi-flex from mid 1920s (yes gold-ish nib), but cost the same: Old wins.



I'm not convinced this is a great pen but it is a kit pen for people who value that and at this price point a great place to start playing. There are better pens in the price range (e.g. Lamy) ignoring the pursuit of flex, of course. 


If flex is the goal, there are used pens with better nibs. I doubt it can be used for serious writing requiring flexibility


If Noodlers really wanted to address the flex market, they need to rethink the nib. I'd not waste any more product development time on a kit pen, though.


The association with Ahab and the whale makes me wonder if the pen isn't the white whale and we're all being taken for a ride. In the end, Ahab remained damned as he failed to learn.

...be like the ocean...

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#322 Shubhranshu Das

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Posted 05 December 2015 - 18:52

Great review hitting all the highlights!

1. Nib: I just wanted to add a few things about the flex nib. First, without pressure it writes a very fine line and with medium pressure it goes to a decent BB. What I've found to be extremely important in playing around with flex nibs (my limited experience and info from Mauricio's website biggrin.gif) is that in order to get the script to look amazing you need the nib to "snap" back to its original shape. Thus making the thick to thin lines more pronounced, but most importantly to go back from a thick to thin line. I've been playing around with it for several days and the new ahab nib does this really well. While applying pressure to lay down a really thick line it doesn't leave a blob of ink as you return on the upstroke. The ink flow easily keeps up with whatever I'm writing without flexing it, but also with flex biggrin.gif. I rarely railroad now.

One last thing about the nib. It's extremely smooth to write with. I mean all the previous noodler's fp nibs were smooth as well right out of the box (very little scratchiness).

2. Smell: So it's still got that initial smell, but certainly not like the first noodler fp that I bought months back. I barely smell it unless I place it a few inches away from my nose. I know from the previous noodler's pens that the smell even got on my hands and it sort of took over my room. None of that this time :thumbup:

Thanks... This is on point with respect to the ahab... I have 4 and more will be acquired... The Ahab nibs are in general smooth, wet writers... No issue on that front... I use my fountain pens daily and the Ahabs that I have are invariably inked up...

The spring back of the nib is lacking... The pen delivers line variation but it doesn't spring back to its fine configuration fast enough so I find that after applying pressure to get the flex and width variation there is little difference in the line width once the pressure is removed...

These are really great pens for daily use... I have one with a Goulet fine nib and one with a Goulet stub... Both are really good.. The other two retain the Goulet flex nibs... It is truly a flexible pen to enable these swaps...

A bit more spring back is what's needed to get the line variation between strokes while writing....

Love the Ahab and truly appreciate Nathan's efforts in bringing this out and his inks...

But I can't get the Neponset no matter how much I try... Well till then the Ahab and Konrad will be used as often as possible...


#323 Shubhranshu Das

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Posted 05 December 2015 - 18:55

Errata... Not Goulet flex nibs but Noodler's flex nibs...

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