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Desiderata Woodglass Flex Pen: A Quick First Impression

desiderata pens flex zebra g-nib eyedropper dip nibs drawing pen de atramentis document ink

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59 replies to this topic

#1 Linda Medley

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 09:42

Today I received my new WoodGlass from Desiderata Pens,  which Pierre described on his website as "the first wooden demonstrator pen". I like wood; I like demonstrators. But what I really like about the WoodGlass is that it's an eyedropper filler--the 'tank' goes all the way down into the wooden end of the barrel and holds 2.4 ml of ink. I use my flex pens for drawing, as opposed to writing, and use up ink pretty fast. If you're not familiar with Desiderata pens, the concept is simple: they're fountain pens designed to take super flexible dip pen nibs...that look and work great. The feed is designed to keep up the steady flow of ink needed to produce lines with extreme width variation. 

 

Here's a look at my WoodGlass:

16120186327_73bd474e0a_c.jpg

 

The design is simple and understated; the barrel isn't really glass, of course, it's acrylic. The walls are thick enough to help insulate the air inside from the heat of your hand, to help guard against the dreaded low-tank ink burp.

 

16305176512_99cd26eb3a.jpg

 

The crossgrain gives the ends a bit of character.

 

16118666510_2c5c6819b1_c.jpg

 

The pen came fitted with the standard chromed Zebra G-NIb, which I'll eventually change out for a titanium one; but I was too impatient for that and wanted to test it out right away. I flushed the nib and feed and greased the section threads as instructed in the included manual, then filled the tank and primed the feed with a De Atramentis Document homemix I dubbed "Blood Oath". I'm happy to report that everything is sealed perfectly, the pen doesn't leak at all; however...

 

16304250951_52f843ed35.jpg

 

...I've got to clean THIS up before anybody gets the wrong idea.

 

Anyway. I then capped the pen and let it stand nib down long enough for it to, you know...become one with itself, man. After a couple of false starts--and a few shakes from me--it got its groove on, and I took it for a spin.

 

16119885069_d2fc166931_c.jpg

 

I doodled all over an 11" x 14" sheet of Borden & Riley #234 Paris paper. The lettering is fairly large--much bigger than normal handwriting. I didn't feel I was working particularly slowly, and the ink flow kept up with all but my most extreme flexing, and even then I felt the problem was due to speed more than feed. I did experience some clogging due to the super sharp nib catching paper fibers between the tines, but that will happen with any untipped flex nib. Just pick the hairball out of the nib and you're good to go.

 

16280107606_357cc1e0db_c.jpg

 

Detail of above, showing the scale. If you're familiar with G-nibs, you know how they perform; if not, the widest 'swells' above measure between 2 and 3 mm. The nibs will flex wider than that, after a bit of breaking in, but I don't usually push them that far. 

 

16119884299_82f40d1ac8_z.jpg

 

And even after all that doodling, I still had 2/3 of a tank left!  

 

To sum it up, I feel this is going to be one of my favorite 'workhorse' pens. It does what it's supposed to; it's attractive, the nibs are easily (and inexpensively) replaced, and Pierre is easily approachable if you have any questions or concerns. The only real drawback I can foresee is that the section is a bit slim for my mutant grip--I'm most comfortable with plump pens. But that's not a dealbreaker.  I'm looking forward to finding out how the WoodGlass compares to both my vintage flex and custom flex pens.

 

 



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#2 fraafreg

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 13:47

Congrats on your pen :)

 

I just ordered a Delrin Daedalus yesterday. I'd like to order this, too, but I can't seem to find it on the website.

 

What's the lifespan of a titanium G nib compared to a reguar nib? 


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#3 Ergative

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 17:34

Wow; that is really impressive. (And I refer both to the pen and your drawing!)



#4 NobleDel

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 19:01

Beautiful pen and art work!  I wonder if Desiderata will make this pen again?



#5 benbot517

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 20:13

Woah... Both the pen and doodles are amazing!


"Oh deer."


#6 Linda Medley

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 22:02

Thanks, everybody, for the kind words!

 

Congrats on your pen :)

 

I just ordered a Delrin Daedalus yesterday. I'd like to order this, too, but I can't seem to find it on the website.

 

What's the lifespan of a titanium G nib compared to a reguar nib? 

 

The WoodGlass was a short-run production that just shipped last week; I believe Pierre does re-offer past models from time to time, though.

 

The titanium G nibs (actually, it's "titanium nitride coated" steel) are supposed to last 4 times as long as the regular nibs, but my guess is it's a 'your mileage may vary' situation. If you flush and dry your nib/feed every night, it'll last much longer than otherwise. After finishing the samples for this review I removed the section from the pen, set the barrel securely upright in my pen holder (actually a test tube rack) and then replaced the cap to prevent the ink from evaporating. The cap screws on very tightly. I then flushed out the whole section, shook all the water out of it, and set it to dry. The next time I use it, I'll just have to prime the feed then put the section back on the barrel and it'll be good to go.

 

Beautiful pen and art work!  I wonder if Desiderata will make this pen again?

 

You can ask Pierre--he's onboard here at FPN as PrestoTenebroso, or send him an email. I see there's also a place on his website where you can subscribe to updates (it's down at the bottom of the page).

 



#7 pictogramax

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 22:48

This is great, both the pen and what you made with it. Never heard of Desiderata pens and it's awesome news for me. Thanks!



#8 overwriter

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 22:54

Truly wonderful handwriting. I am impressed and a little jealous.



#9 Linda Medley

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 00:20

This is great, both the pen and what you made with it. Never heard of Desiderata pens and it's awesome news for me. Thanks!

 

I'm glad I could help, pictogramax--your work is fantastic!

 

Truly wonderful handwriting. I am impressed and a little jealous.

 

Naw, don't be jealous; it's not real calligraphy, or anything--I just put extra swells and frills on my regular handwriting. Sometimes it looks good, sometimes it's impossible to read. It's all a matter of practice.



#10 TeaHive

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 02:56

Excellent review, and a super sweet drawing of Vlad the Impaler! Who I will always think of as Gary Oldman's past life, thanks to the movie version of Bram Stoker's "Dracula."

Yay for more seductive pictures of Desiderata pens and what they can do! I'm in love with mine, for writing as well as drawing. The line variation.. My god.

#11 Linda Medley

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 06:22

Excellent review, and a super sweet drawing of Vlad the Impaler! Who I will always think of as Gary Oldman's past life, thanks to the movie version of Bram Stoker's "Dracula."

Yay for more seductive pictures of Desiderata pens and what they can do! I'm in love with mine, for writing as well as drawing. The line variation.. My god.

 

I know, right? It's like suddenly having the width of a brush, with the control and feedback of a pen. And maintaining flow during long, wide strokes...that one "swoosh" in the upper right corner is close to 4" long; with a regular dip pen, I'd have to hold my breath and pray that I didn't run out of ink halfway through a stroke that long. You can watch the ink film descending down the tines like a veil...

 

+1, Oldman's Dracula!



#12 Polanova

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 20:13

Very nice  :)

 

I do wonder, though: How useful do you find very flexible nibs for drawing?

 

Now this is somewhat of a subjective thing, I know. Every artist has his/her own preferences & even I prefer different nibs for, say, a quick sketch or for inking a more elaborate pencil drawing. I don`t own a  wet noodle-nib, but have experimented with semi-flex and flexible nibs & feel most comfortable with semi-flex steel nibs. Steel nibs are more forgiving than gold nibs. I`ve done a few drawings with 100 year old eyedroppers, but the thing is: Calligraphic writing is (to me) a much more controlled process than drawing. Sketching is even less controlled. For example, I might want to do a broad horizontal line or a broad upstroke. These are no-go`s with flexible nibs.

 

So I´d be really interested: For how much of your drawing do you use this nib?


Edited by Polanova, 21 January 2015 - 20:16.


#13 Tootles

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 20:33

 

For example, I might want to do a broad horizontal line or a broad upstroke. These are no-go`s with flexible nibs.

 

You could try reorienting the nib to achieve this. Just a thought.



#14 Polanova

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 20:39

Not sure what you mean by reorienting the nib?

 

Of course, one could also rotate the drawing paper, but I find this a bit cumbersome.

 

I find these pens also quite pricey, especially if one incl. shipping to Europe & 19 % tax.

 

The nibs probably could fit the Noodler`s Flex Creeper. Course, the feed would need some tinkering!

 

(Just wondering here if it`d be worth it for ME to get one or not  :unsure: )


Edited by Polanova, 21 January 2015 - 20:46.


#15 Tootles

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 20:46

To draw a broad horizontal line you could drag the nib sideways like you would with a paint brush. I have seen calligraphers do this when producing horizontal swells on a flourish.

 

Sorry, it was the first thing that popped into my head when I saw your post. I don't really knwo what I am talking about. Just a silly idea.



#16 pictogramax

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 21:03

Polanova,

 

I'll permit myself to jump in before Linda gets to answer :-) I agree that it depends on one's drawing style and the effect wanted. I tend to use semi-flex mostly, also, especially for detailed commercial work, but having a wide line variation in one pen has it's upsides too. It will give a different look and feel to drawing, denser, probably more loose, usually filled-in with brush strokes...

 

For the cases you described, a natural brush (or a pocket type synthetic one when you are on-the-go), might be ideal, to fill in the line art in looser manner where it might suit you. You can drag the brush tip in more liberating ways.

 

Here's an example of sketch made with a flexiest pen I used to have, a vintage Waterman 12. You can see the range from the faintest on the helmet to the broadest on the fur. Still I filled some even stronger blacks with pocket-brush:

 

PICTOGRAMAX-ESQUISSE-DE-JOUR-2013-01-08.

Goes to show the personal character, I guess, cause even when I have a really flexy nib on my pen, I tend to use it in it's fainter spectrum as I don't really like to press hard with my tools. It might be that I'm wary of flexing "my precious" too much, so I'm kind-of restraining myself while drawing.

 

That is the appeal of Desiderata, cause I can replace the Zebra nib whenever I might want it, if I understood correctly. So it might be a valuable addition to my arsenal.



#17 pictogramax

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 21:05

Linda,

 

thank you for your kind words!

 

I checked the preview of your Castle Waiting series at Fantagraphics and it looks mighty fine. Bravo!



#18 Polanova

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 21:31

To draw a broad horizontal line you could drag the nib sideways like you would with a paint brush. I have seen calligraphers do this when producing horizontal swells on a flourish.

 

Sorry, it was the first thing that popped into my head when I saw your post. I don't really knwo what I am talking about. Just a silly idea.

Ah I see! Sure, that`s possible but it would mean a very awkward hand position.

I could imagine doing that for calligraphy, not so much for drawing.

 

pictogramax:

 

Nice drawing!

 

I`m not looking for recommendations, really. I`m experimenting with a variety of nibs & the jury is still out, as it where, which nibs are most useful to me, personally. For outdoor sketching I find a Fude nib pen the most satisfying. I never liked dip pens, which is perhaps the main reason for me to having gotten into FP`s in the first place. Of course I also use brushes!

 

I`m just curious about artists using mainly very flexible nibs for drawing.



#19 TeaHive

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 21:35

Not sure what you mean by reorienting the nib?

 

Of course, one could also rotate the drawing paper, but I find this a bit cumbersome.

 

I find these pens also quite pricey, especially if one incl. shipping to Europe & 19 % tax.

 

The nibs probably could fit the Noodler`s Flex Creeper. Course, the feed would need some tinkering!

 

(Just wondering here if it`d be worth it for ME to get one or not  :unsure: )

 

Pictogramax explained nicely above. But I wanted to comment on the fitting a G nib into a Noodler's Nib Creaper:

 

You CAN do it, but you have to cut and grind much of the nib off. (The problem would not be fitting the nib with the feed, but the diameter of the nib itself is too wide to fit into the pen's section.) It takes a long time to get the measurements just right. For me, it's worth it to pay more money for a pen that's easier to put together.

 

Now, you can fit a G nib into a Noodler's Ahab or Konrad by shaving the sides of the feed, as I have detailed in this topic: http://www.fountainp...-noodlers-ahab/

 

That said, while my hack is cheaper, it's not as consistent an experience as using a Desiderata pen. The Desiderata's feed does a better job in keeping up with the required ink flow, too.



#20 pictogramax

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 21:39

OK, Polanova, sorry.

 

I've been using flex dip pens for years and moved away from them in favor of springy nib + brush combination. Because brush gives me even broader strokes and more ways of texture without pressing hard. And for the convenience of fountain pen instead of inkwell.

 

Fude nib was another thing I thought of mentioning, but you use it already.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: desiderata pens, flex, zebra g-nib, eyedropper, dip nibs, drawing pen, de atramentis document ink



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