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Ahab... Does The Flex Improve?

ahab noodlers flex

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18 replies to this topic

#1 sitnstew

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 03:13

I received a Noodler's Ahab for Christmas and it writes beautifully. It did from the moment I inked it up. However, I don't get as much flex out of it as I expected. I find that when I really push it, it tends to railroad. Is this something that will improve with use? I get no dry starts or skipping when I'm not flexing so I don't think the nib is bad at all. Maybe I just need practice...?

 

I tried to search for others topics about the Ahab but there were just too many threads to weed through so I apologize if this topic has been beaten to death.


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#2 Waski_the_Squirrel

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 03:50

Someone will come along eventually and post that "if you want real flex, buy a vintage pen." But I think you're more interested in the Ahab.

 

My experience with Noodler's pens is that the flex improves as you use them. But, the railroading is an issue, so I've had to find some workarounds.

 

One workaround is that I learned some inks railroad more than others. Knowing this helped me pick inks for my flex pens. I discovered that playing with the seating of the nib and feed helped with the railroading. Some brave people have increased the size of the ink channel, but I've never gone that far.

 

With a very small handful of pens, I've found that heat-setting the feed works wonders. I hold the feed and nib in boiling water until the feed goes soft. Then I press it to fit better. One Konrad went from not writing at all to being awesome. There are threads out there that will help you do this.

 

But, I suggest playing with the placement of feed and nib first.


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#3 wallylynn

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 03:57

I've been using my Ahab for about a year.  Yes the nib gets softer.  But it'll never be a full flex.  I rarely flex it but there's enough give to give a little variation.

 

If you're interested in getting it to flex more, you'll have to start taking away metal.
http://www.fountainp...se-my-flex-mod/



#4 Brian C

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 04:06

If you want real flex, buy a vintage pen.



#5 MINItron

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 04:41

I have had my Ahab for about a month. It flexes enough to suit my hand. I have started slowly filing the sides to find the sweet spot. I didn't go for the Falcon Nib as in the "ease my flex" mod. rather I have take off the shoulders to ease the restriction on flex that the change of radius near the edges creates. I would be happier if the tip were a bit finer. I occasionally have issues with railroading, but typically it is more a matter of adjusting the feed and nib to adjust for either flexing or not.

 

I do hope for a vintage gold nib pen one day, but for now the Ahab works for me as my daily carry pen, and for more decorative writing.



#6 sitnstew

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 03:13

Thanks for the replies. I'm not really all that interested in getting in the vintage game and a little bit of flex suits my needs just fine. Thanks for the suggestions!


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#7 WirsPlm

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 15:42

FYI, here's a link to the shoulder shaving method: http://www.fountainp...x-modification/

#8 framebaer

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 15:49

Without alteration to the shape/thickness of the nib, an example above,

There is absolutely NO METELURGICAL REASON THAT THE NIB WILL " GET SOFTER/MORE FLEXIBLE" --WON'T HAPPEN,

 

What will happen is you will in effect train yourself to the nuances of when and how hard to press while writing after using a while. This will make it seem the nib has gotten more flexible but in fact it is your "hand" that has gotten more flexible.


Edited by framebaer, 02 January 2014 - 16:02.

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#9 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 21:45

A fine poster with some time on his hands made my Ahab a much easier flex writer by taking his Dremil and making Angle Wings on it.

It went from semi-flex pressure to flex the nib....which is actually sort of hard;  to Easy Full Flex, which is two flex stages easier...and it makes a big difference.

semi-flex, 'flexi'/maxi-semi-flex, Easy full flex and then come wet Noodles.

Pendleton Brown does that sort of work. There is in one of the two pen sections a good thread on how to do this too, if you have a Dremel.

 

It appears simpler and easier than sloping shoulders or thinning metal.

My Ahab is now in rotation, with Golden Brown.


German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,

 

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#10 wallylynn

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 23:36

Without alteration to the shape/thickness of the nib, an example above,
There is absolutely NO METELURGICAL REASON THAT THE NIB WILL " GET SOFTER/MORE FLEXIBLE" --WON'T HAPPEN,

Fatigue. Get some metal and bend it back and forth. It gets softer and easier. Do it too much and it breaks. With a nib, the effect is just not very pronounced.

#11 MisterBoll

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 23:46

Perhaps we should consult with the Uri Geller of nibs.



#12 discopig

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 07:39

My Ahab and Nib Creaper definitely started improving over time and are a lot easier to flex now (or maybe my fingers just got stronger?).

 

Also, you could try this if you have a dremel: http://www.fountainp...se-my-flex-mod/


Edited by discopig, 03 January 2014 - 07:39.


#13 JonSzanto

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 07:50

Yes, over time, the use of the Ahab will become much easier. You may be asked to demonstrate your penmanship on television!

 

article-1220536-06D40AE6000005DC-59_468x


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#14 framebaer

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 22:20

Ah, but is it the chicken or the egg?

 

Metal Fatigue on a steel nib would take years, decades to have any effect.... IMHO.


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#15 Sinistral1

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 22:21

Without going into a spheal on the atomic composition of steel, the metalergical dynamics of alloys or the physics of stress repeditity over a given span of time, let me interject that while they are mass produced and supposedly identical, each of the three Ahab nibs I have "flex" differently and require different amounts of pressure to produce similar flex. I hope this explanation is clear and reinforces the pen's maker's intent that these pens were made with tinkering in mind.

Please excuse not only my spelling but my slight tone of sarcasm, as neither were intended to be hurtful!

Breathe.  Take one step at a time.  Don't sweat the small stuff.  You're not getting older, you are only moving through time.  Be calm and positive.


#16 Ursus

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 12:15

Dragging the nib a little forward on the feed will make it more flexible. If you want more you would have to modify it.



#17 Brooks MT

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 04:36

If metal gets "softer and easier" with bending back and forth, it is because micro cracks are forming in the metal. These cracks reduce the amount of metal resisting the bending, so it could get "easier" to bend. But of course, the cracks weaken the metal, leading to failure, obviously not something you want with a nib.

 

Most metals don't get "softer and easier" with bending, though. As the metal bends, atoms of the metal slide over one another. When the metal is allowed to spring back to it's original position, the line of atoms slides back to it's original site...if it can. All metals have crystalline defects: the neat line of atoms has been disrupted by impurities, alloys (different sized atoms), or just missing atoms (entropy at work during cooling and crystallization when the metal is poured at the foundry). When a nice line of atoms sliding along meets a crystalline defect, the line stops sliding, and may get snared by the defect. With repeated "extreme" bending, more and more lines of atoms get snared, and can no longer slide freely. Thus, for most metals, repeated flexing past a "certain point" causes the metal to become brittle (most lines of atoms are snared and unable to slide). Enough snares, and the metal breaks. Just before the break, the metal seems to bend easier, but that's because it's already started cracking.

 

Metal such as steel can be bent zillions of times if the bend does not go past that "certain point" (the elastic limit). As long as your steel flex nib is not flexed too far, you are safe. Non-ferrous metals, such as gold and copper, have lower limits, so these nibs should be treated with more care. Micro-cracks are common in vintage gold nibs, according to some pen repairmen. I think some micro cracking of gold can be repaired, but I'm not a repairman.

 

Unfortunately, I can't give you a good handle on the "certain point." This is something that I learned by feel while working with metals, and I suspect most pen users learn similarly. A key nib symptom for "bending too far" is when the nib tines won't return to their normal position. This problem usually can be repaired a few times, but further bends past the elastic limit will eventually weaken the metal so that the nib fails, alas.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Nice article comparing gold and steel for nibs:

http://www.pentrace....icle.asp?id=418

 

For information on metal fatigue:

http://en.wikipedia....i/Metal_fatigue

http://en.wikipedia....i/Fatigue_limit


Edited by Brooks MT, 18 February 2014 - 04:47.


#18 Sinistral1

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 12:31

Brooks:

Very good way of explaining what happens when you "flex" metal. Thank you.

Breathe.  Take one step at a time.  Don't sweat the small stuff.  You're not getting older, you are only moving through time.  Be calm and positive.


#19 Fabienne

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 13:55

I have vintage pens with semi-super flex and I have Ahabs. First, the Ahab does not get more flex over time. You might be imagining it does because you want that to happen but it isn't really softening up. 

 

Second, the vintage pens are very flexy but you can make the Ahab very flexy,too and you get the great feeling of having accomplished the impossible! Search for "Ease My Flex Mod" on this board for explicit instructions in excruciating detail as we are renowned for on FPN, your one stop OCD forum for arcane items. Here you will be told the tools you need, the time it takes, the speed at which to proceed complete with pictures, commentary, clever observations, diversions into the World of Physics, and moar. 

 

Also, please remember that you will most probably have to modify the feed as well as the nib. Ahab feeds are ebonite and you can really carve them up easily using simple tools like Exacto knives. 

 

A couple of infallible observations about modding your Ahab: work in the kitchen near the sink, work on a cleanable surface, buy a pair of rubber gloves (like for dishwashing) and put them on to pull the nib and feed out so you can get a great grip and not be drenched in ink when you perform this maneuver over and over (which you will), you can use hand files but a Dremel tool is relatively inexpensive and makes a much cleaner cut, you will need "needle files" for the feed and they are pretty inexpensive on amazon.com, make sure the feed is clean of all debris (including the hole which makes an L turn at the base of the feed). Go slow.

 

Finally, there are inks which are great choices for flex, as was mentioned before, and there are inks which are not. i am going to start a topic about that (if no one else has) because i found out the easy way that some unlikely choices were great flex pen inks! And some were not! All that work was for nothing when I loaded up my Arizona Ahab with Habanero from Noodler's---the surface tension wasn't pronounced enough to keep the sheet of ink flowing during full flex, it popped and the flow dried up. Filled the pen with Hero 232 (!) and it took all the flex I could give it and kept on writing! 

 

So welcome to this topic which promises a rich cornucopia of frustrating fun! My Ahabs are my favorites now because I turned them into great flex writers, and they write just the way I like! Good luck! 



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