I just want to share my initial experience with the replacement ebonite feed for the Pilot Custom 823 and 743 I purchased from Flexible Nib Factory. The one I got is a black ebonite feed with the “2 Slit Ink Slot.” Attached photo is a top view of the said feed, showing the two “ink slots” or ink fissures in the feed air channel (see Figure 1). I have this ebonite feed installed on a Pilot Custom 823 fitted with a broad nib. Having used this pen on long writing sessions in the last few days, I am happy to report that the feed works splendidly.
As I had hoped, the pen writes much wetter now than with the original Pilot feed. And though I have never had any problems with ink starvation with the 823, I have seen the ink flow noticeably ebb from time to time with the original Pilot feed in use. With the ebonite feed, I have found the ink flow to be consistent. Thus, it seems that the ebonite feed makes not just for a wetter writer but also a consistent one at that. For what it is worth, I have noticed the comb feeds to the ebonite to be constantly full of ink. By the same token, ever since installing the ebonite, the pen has also become prone to nib creep, that spontaneous pooling of ink on the nib surface. Often the nib creep happens around the breather hole, sometimes on the shoulders (see Figure 2). In any event, this ink pooling does not affect the functioning of the pen, just the looks of the nib maybe.
While the ebonite feed works well, the installation is not as foolproof as it could be because of the way the nib goes onto the feed. It all has to do with the way Flexible Nib Factory makes these ebonite feeds. As with the Pilot feed, the ebonite feed has side wells toward the rear where the two corners of the heel of the nib nest into (see Figures 3 and 4). However, unlike the Pilot feed, the ebonite feed lacks a rear stop to the side wells, meaning it is possible to have the corners of the heel of the nib in the well, but have the nib sitting too far back in relation to the feed (see Figures 5 and 6).
There is a simple workaround to this design feature, which is to set the corners of the heel of the nib against the front of the well where there is a stop or wall that prevents the nib from moving any further forward (see Figure 7). With a firm hold to keep the nib in place, the user then just needs to insert the nib-feed assembly into the section, in order to put the pen back together. Note though that given there is no back stop to the well where the nib heel fits into the feed, the user has to make sure to have a firm hold on the nib and feed once the whole assembly is set in place. After all, the greatest chance that the nib could shift further back on the feed is when one is pushing the nib-feed assembly back onto the pen section.
Other than this one quibble, the feed fits well overall. Maybe a little too well with the one I got, as it took quite a bit of force to install the nib and feed into the section. Well the force was nothing outrageous, at least nothing that indicated to me that something was going wrong with the installation. Rather it was definitely more that what I had to expend if it were with the Pilot feed. At any rate, one indication that the nib on the 823 is in far enough into the section is if the date code imprinted on the bottom left of the nib appears just above the section (see Figure 8).
In all, the ebonite feed is definitely worth considering if you are looking to turn your 823 or 743 into a consistent wet writer. Flexible Nib Factory also offers the “3 Slit Ink Slot” should you want an even wetter writer. But from the way my “2 Slit Ink Slot” performs, I am guessing the “3 Slit Ink Slot” would be too much of a good thing, at least for a “normal” nib (i.e., a non-Falcon nib). At any rate, both “2 Slit” and “3 Slit” models are available in red and black ebonite. Ordering from Flexible Nib Factory was a smooth process all the way. My feed was promptly sent by USPS first-class mail the day after I ordered online. I received timely updates on the status of my order via email. And after only a couple of days, I received a padded envelope with a the feed encased in a small plastic tube.
Thanks for reading, and I hope this review proves useful.
Edited by stylophilly, 26 July 2019 - 19:44.