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Noodler's Boston Safety Pen (Review, With 14K Flex Nib Swap)


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#1 Honeybadgers

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 19:54

These are starting to trickle out to the masses. Short version? This is not just a gimmicky pen for artists that want a fountain pen that uses speedball. It's genuinely a nice pen that will regularly be in my daily use pile.

 

Buy it. It's a steal. 

 

 

Overall, it's a fun, truly retro design. Largely unadorned apart from saying "Boston Safety Pen Noodler's ink company" on both the cap and sleeve of the barrel. Personally, I think I'd only want it on the barrel, since the clip also says "noodler's ink" and is largely identical to the clip on the konrad, albeit shorter. I love the vintage feel, it genuinely feels like a new old stock pen from the 1910's-20's. The gold nib swap further enhances it.

 

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The pen is ebonite, though it's not an overwhelmingly strong ebonite smell out of the box like a ranga. That kind of bums me out since I love the smell of fresh ebonite, but most people would disagree.

 

The cap unscrews with a 1.75 turn screw. For how short the thread section has to be, this is not bad at all. I will say the cap has to be pressed on a little bit to help it search for threads, it's not the most effortless, but the threads are small, unobtrusive, well cut, and deep enough to really feel well made. But this is obviously not the quick cap-uncap pen you want for grocery lists and quick note taking (and if you bought it for that, you need your head checked.)

 

Nathan was not wrong about this cap. you can SHAKE the thing like crazy and nothing is going to leak or get out. Just make sure you open the pen at least a tiny bit upright. I have done some experimenting with a full pen and found that as long as it's past about fifteen degrees off sideways, you won't risk a leak. So basically, not sideways or upside down and you're good. I was under the impression it needed to be vertical, and that is not the case.

 

The one thing I'm really annoyed by is the rod in the cap. it's steel. Which means no hardcore iron gall inks. I will experiment with this pen and standard FP iron galls like platinum classic, KWZ, R&K, and diamine registrar's, but I bought a second one of these pens just in case this does not go well for the internals. Every other part of this pen's guts is ebonite. I tried unscrewing the rod, but I think it may be friction fit. I don't really think the rod is that important in the design, actually. Yes, it prevents you from crushing the nib. But it is really unpleasant to try to cap the pen with the rod pushing the feed down, and the rod has to kind of search for the notch on the feed. So it's just a precautionary piece and I personally would not mind at all if it was removable.

 

The feed is (apart from the tiny drilled slot for the rod) completely identical to the nib creaper feed, just about 4mm shorter. So modifying a nib creaper feed would require little more than sawing it down a few MM (you wouldn't have to drill a slot as long as you retradt the nib yourself) Flow is fantastic and well metered. Initially my pen had some ink starvation issues, but I hadn't flushed it, so I pulled the feed and washed it in some warm soapy water and problem solved.

 

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Nib creep haters should be aware of the obvious fact that the nib is bathed in ink and will never come out "clean" because it's not supposed to. The benefit of this is that you always have a charged feed full of ink and ready for flex writing. I love this part of the pen SO much. 

 

Nathan clearly spent a lot of time on this nib retraction mechanism. it's WONDERFUL. Just the right amount of friction, the first time you open the pen it will be stiff but it broke in within ten slides. Filling the pen is simple, just grab the included eyedropper and fill it up. it isn't the most cavernous ink capacity, but I've run a full eyedropper down and it does not burp. If you're using this for flexing and drawing, make sure you have ink handy, because this little guy chews through it. the action of getting this pen out is so unbelievably satisfying, it feels like every time you want to write something, you're doing something important.

 

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Mine had a couple quirks. Firstly, the feed was a TINY bit over-set, which was spreading the nib a tiny bit. a quick dip in hot water resolved the issue no problem (be careful not to get the pen in the water) second, I got a quite rare occurrence from noodlers, my nib had a teeny tiny bit of baby's bottom. Again, easily solved. Noodlers pens are all tuners, after all, and this is nothing compared to the nasty vishnu victory music nib. So once I got mine writing well enough, I got around to the thing I really wanted to do with this pen - a gold nib.

 

The standard steel nib is unremarkable. it writes, it flexes a bit, I'd say a stiffer semi-flex. If you can't afford a good nib for this pen and are disappointed in the standard nib, look at an FPR #5 flex nib. they're a little better in most people's eyes. You can also look into a #5 gold nib from JoWo or Bock (FPnibs.com can modify them for a lot of flex, but it'd be cheaper to pick up a vintage flex nib'd pen from greg minusken.) Width wise, since the nib retracts, the widest nibs I have, a Knox and a bexley gold nib, both clear just fine, so I don't think you'll run into any issues swapping nibs around. And for non-flex writers, the good old delike alpha bent and EF nibs fit great and write superbly (look on ebay for "delike bent nib" and you can get a pack of two, one EF and one architect for about $5 shipped. both smooth, superb writers) If I was going to use this for daily writing and didn't have a great gold nib to put into it, I would use a standard steel nib. I don't love the noodlers flex nib for daily writing.

 

In went a #2 waterman ideal flex nib (it's a stiffer wet noodle, but it still noodles hard) that I found on etsy for about $45. The feed and nib are a match in heaven, just as good as the original spoon feed. Flow is perfect, wet but not firehose and keeps up easily. This is going in my daily flex writer pile alongside the other waterman noodle in a lecai eyedropper and my ribbon noodle custom  TWSBI vac700R.

 

Feel in the hand is outstanding. it's thin, for sure, but the grip section is quite thick for a pen so narrow. Balance is superb, the cap posts (quite securely but very shallow. don't push it on, when it decides to stop that's where it'll be. there's no cap band so for longevity, don't go nuts.) and since the cap is so tiny and all ebonite, it weighs less than nothing and doesn't do anything to harm the balance. Posted or not, the balance is spot on. The section has a tiny taper to the knurled edge where the threads are. This would not be great in a plastic pen, but since ebonite is such a grippy material, it's actually fantastic, and lets you hold the pen anywhere.

 

I don't think I missed anything. I filled it up with waterman blue and it sings. Definitely one of the coolest pens in my collection, and my first safety. It's pretty much everything I'd hoped for.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-8AaJm5Gh4

 

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If you have any questions or want me to do more with the steel nib, I'll do my best.


Edited by Honeybadgers, 30 December 2017 - 20:10.


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#2 jchch1950

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Posted 31 December 2017 - 08:57

Thank you for the review as a user pen.I will buy one or two soon.



#3 inkstainedruth

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Posted 31 December 2017 - 17:02

Hmmm.  From your comparison photos it looks to be a pretty skinny pen.  How comfortable is it to hold for long-haul use?  I ask because much as I love my Parker Vectors and even my Parker 45s, I would not want to use them for long writing sessions (and I have pretty small "girly" hands) -- my Parker 51s (and some of the Vacs, like the Silver Pearl Major), Pelikan M400s,and Noodler's Konrads are a perfect fit, so I was wondering how the Boston compares to something in that size range.

Very jealous of people who have gotten theirs, BTW -- I signed up for the notification at Pen Chalet for when they're back in stock, but of course haven't heard anything yet.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

#4 Honeybadgers

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Posted 31 December 2017 - 20:30

I don't have an M400, but I can say it's wider than a parker vacumatic, a little wider than a nemosine singularity, on par with the loom and konrad, and similar to the vac700R. I think it's more of an optical illusion. If you like the konrad, this would fit the bill.



#5 inkstainedruth

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Posted 31 December 2017 - 21:39

Thanks -- that's exactly the information I needed to have.  Now all I have to do is wait for someone to get them back in stock and get one (fingers AND toes crossed) before they run out....  Again....

I thought that they were interesting on general principle (and I really like the feel of ebonite).  I haven't seen the first video Nathan Tardif put up about them, but I saw the second one he did and was immediately hooked.  

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

#6 benborgmeyer

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 20:01

Anyone know if anymore are being released soon?

#7 benborgmeyer

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 20:10

Didnt see same question asked on other thread. Sorry.

#8 benborgmeyer

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 20:10

Didnt see same question asked on other thread. Sorry.

#9 Barak145

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 20:18

The pen is a copy of the Moore's Fountain Pen from 1899! I bought a functioning pen when I first started collecting, now I get to compare it to the new pen. I was able to buy the Noodler's pen on eBay. Although my next statement may sound reversed, I may not put ink in the NEW pen, but I will soon fill the century+ OLD pen.



#10 Dave_g

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Posted 29 June 2018 - 16:48

Hi,  Very nice review.

 

I have a few of these and they are all great.  Be careful pushing up or down the nib too fast.  If you do it too fast, a rush of ink will come out.  I reset my nib, flossed it and cleaned the feed.  The pen writes very well. 

 

One last tip,  My caps fit a bit tight and they don't seat to the bottom of the end of the barrel.  I used a pair of metal dial calipers to open up the diameter of the bottom of the cap 0.001 inch at a time.  This makes the cap give a snug fit all the way down to the seat on the bottom without the fear that it will get stuck or crack.

 

Using a metal set of dial or vernier calipers...

Step 

1) Measure the bottom of the ben where the cap fits.  Notate the measurement.

2) Close the calipers a bit and then using both of the inside measurement blades, scrape out tiny, I mean tiny, bits of ebonite in the bottom of the cap,

3) Make sure you never measure larger than the measurement in step 1 or the pen cap will be too loose.

4) Fit the cap.  If it is still too tight for your liking repeat step 2. to 3.

 

My cap fits perfect on all three of the pens using this technique. 

 

Cheers,

Dave








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