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Ahab Woes.


rmizrahi
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I own several Noodler's Creapers [edit] and love them, swear by them and promote them constantly... just sold one of my unused ones to a new enthusiast!!! [end edit:)] and several bottles of Noodler's Ink. I have had two Ahabs. I sent the first one back with a defect. My second one just won't keep writing.

 

I have followed the steps suggested by TanaLasta and reviewed another similar one from Oilwerko. I added silicon grease to all connections, reseated the o-ring with a little silicon grease, cleaned the pen several times with J.B.'s, water, etc. Tried with the breathing tube on/off, repositioned the nib and feed several times, opened the fins on the back of the nib (using a brand-new X-acto #11, as suggested), etc., etc., etc. I love my Noodler's creapers, but have had nothing but bad luck with the Ahabs.

 

I was so disappointed, I made my first (really crappy) YouTube video about it... Note that it's pretty hard to film a video with a phone in one hand and a pen in the other... please go gently on my film directing abilities... ;)

 

Any help on this is appreciated... I'd like to get the pen working instead of sending another one back.

 

R

Edited by rmizrahi
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I'm thinking that maybe you got some silicone grease in or on the feed. Go ahead and take it all apart, wipe everything off, then use an old toothbrush and some 409 or ammonia water and scrub the hell out of the feed. Wash it off - scrub - wash - reassemble. Be sure to scrub the nib too.

 

Clean out the inside of the section - where the nib and feed fit - as well as possible.

I used silicone grease a while back, just as you did, and it didn't work afterwords. A good 409 flush and scrub later and it was working like it should.

 

Now - also note - you may need to use a fine xacto knife to clean out the ink channel - NOT cut the channel - so use the back side of the blade, and scrape gently, trying to remove any solid junk that may be down in there.

 

Once it's all clean again, try it out and hopefully it will work for you.

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To clean silicone grease off of the TWSBI (plastic) feed, I used naphtha (lighter fluid). Would this work for the Ahab's ebonite feed?

"Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination."

Oscar Wilde

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Adjust the nib and feed so that the tipping is about 4mm from the tip of the feed (which is about 9 fins sticking out).

 

Let it sit overnight, horizontal and see how it writes in the morning. This is after the obligatory clean and ensuring you have cleaned all crud from the feed. Also ensure the feed channel is clean and aligned to the nib slit.

In Rotation: MB 146 (EF), Noodler's Ahab bumblebee, Edison Pearl (F), Sailor ProGear (N-MF)

In storage: MB 149 (18k EF), TWSBI 540 (B), ST Dupont Olympio XL (EF), MB Dumas (B stub), Waterman Preface (ST), Edison Pearl (0.5mm CI), Noodler's Ahab clear, Pilot VP (M), Danitrio Densho (F), Aurora Optima (F), Lamy 2000 (F), Visconti Homo Sapiens (stub)

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Thanks for all of the replies.

 

I disassembled the pen again. Stole a toothbrush from the bathroom... washed the entire pen with J.B.'s paying special attention to the feed with the toothbrush after clearing the channels with the backside of a blade. Been sitting half the night... will try to reassemble in the AM.

 

I did note that there is a defect in the tip of the nib. From one angle, it appears that there is a little chunk out of the point, but that's obviously not the case after looking from other angles.

 

I also noticed that the breather tube has a defect on one end. It looks a little darker and seems to be tapered, or closed down a little. How important is the breathing tube? I noticed in your original post, Tanalasta, that you hucked your breathing tube down the tube, :). Did that help a lot?

 

Last, I have been using Noodler's Kiowa Pecan. Could that be a contributing factor?

 

Once again, thank you all for your posts and I wish a very safe, healthy and Happy New Year to each of you and yours...:)

 

R

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If this is the case, why are my results so intermittent? Ink... then no ink. I would think that silicon grease in the feed mechanism would result in no ink at all... What am I missing about the way the pen works that would cause an intermittent issue like this?

 

Thanks!

 

R

 

I'm thinking that maybe you got some silicone grease in or on the feed. Go ahead and take it all apart, wipe everything off, then use an old toothbrush and some 409 or ammonia water and scrub the hell out of the feed. Wash it off - scrub - wash - reassemble. Be sure to scrub the nib too.

 

Clean out the inside of the section - where the nib and feed fit - as well as possible.

I used silicone grease a while back, just as you did, and it didn't work afterwords. A good 409 flush and scrub later and it was working like it should.

 

Now - also note - you may need to use a fine xacto knife to clean out the ink channel - NOT cut the channel - so use the back side of the blade, and scrape gently, trying to remove any solid junk that may be down in there.

 

Once it's all clean again, try it out and hopefully it will work for you.

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When I had grease in my pen flow was a come and go thing. Like you describe. Cleaning it fixed that.

 

The breather tube is really only to fill the back end of the cartridge. You don't need it. Ink should still flow through the feed even if the tube is completely stopped up. The channel is on the top of the feed, not through the middle.

 

Cheers!

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Awesome! Thanks!

 

Would you recommend dumping the breather tube altogether? Does it really serve some purpose?

 

When I had grease in my pen flow was a come and go thing. Like you describe. Cleaning it fixed that.

 

The breather tube is really only to fill the back end of the cartridge. You don't need it. Ink should still flow through the feed even if the tube is completely stopped up. The channel is on the top of the feed, not through the middle.

 

Cheers!

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Also makes the pen easier to flush.

 

The breathing tube helps the ink be drawn up into the piston rod and thus helps the pen fill fully.

 

It also therefore makes it a lot easier to flush by cycling the piston up and down under a running faucet... otherwise ink gets stuck in the piston rod cylinder thing and has to be flicked out (much like a mercury thermometer).

I lost my breathing tube and had reassurance from Brian goulet, my own testing and Noodler's that otherwise it does not significant alter writing... so the tube isn't really essential.

 

I do keep mine in though.

In Rotation: MB 146 (EF), Noodler's Ahab bumblebee, Edison Pearl (F), Sailor ProGear (N-MF)

In storage: MB 149 (18k EF), TWSBI 540 (B), ST Dupont Olympio XL (EF), MB Dumas (B stub), Waterman Preface (ST), Edison Pearl (0.5mm CI), Noodler's Ahab clear, Pilot VP (M), Danitrio Densho (F), Aurora Optima (F), Lamy 2000 (F), Visconti Homo Sapiens (stub)

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I am still puzzled why you need to wash your newly-bought pens so thoroughly (instead of dipping the nib k to get the possible test ink off the nib). Even my cheap Lamy Safari / Al Star pens started right off the bat without going through such cleaning regiment.

My collection: 149 EF/F/B/OBB, Collodi B/Twain F/Mann F, 146 M, Silver Barley F, M1000/M800 B'o'B/M800 Tortoise/Sahara/415 BT/215/205 Blue Demo, Optima Demo Red M/88 EF & Italic/Europa, Emotica, 2K/Safaris/Al-Stars/Vista, Edson DB/Carene BS, Pilot 845/823/742/743/Silvern/M90/Makies, Sailor Profit Realo M/KOP Makies/Profit Makies/Profit 21 Naginata MF&M/KOP/KOP Mosaiques/Sterling Silvers,Platinum #3776 Celluloids/Izumos/Wood pens/Sterling Silvers,YoL Grand Victorian, and more (I lost counting)

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Why wash? Well - in India, where these are made, they have to use a lubricant on the drill bits that cut the tiny hole in the back of the feed where the tube goes. Why lube? So the drill bits don't melt the ebonite feeds.

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I am still puzzled why you need to wash your newly-bought pens so thoroughly (instead of dipping the nib k to get the possible test ink off the nib). Even my cheap Lamy Safari / Al Star pens started right off the bat without going through such cleaning regiment.

 

The bottom line is whilst some Ahab's write out of the box ... for some ... they don't for others.

 

The culprit has been much debated and current consensus is from a combination of manufacturing oils/lubricant etc... which repel ink and stop it from travelling down the narrow feed channel to the nib as well as it should. A thorough clean and letting the ebonite feed settle in after a feed initially has solved the problem (once it has been adjusted well) for most. I believe from reading other posts that Nathan of Noodler's is trying to get the process right although given the location and cost of manufacture, the fact he has overcome so many challenges to produce the pen for a $20 sale price alone is somewhat admirable!

In Rotation: MB 146 (EF), Noodler's Ahab bumblebee, Edison Pearl (F), Sailor ProGear (N-MF)

In storage: MB 149 (18k EF), TWSBI 540 (B), ST Dupont Olympio XL (EF), MB Dumas (B stub), Waterman Preface (ST), Edison Pearl (0.5mm CI), Noodler's Ahab clear, Pilot VP (M), Danitrio Densho (F), Aurora Optima (F), Lamy 2000 (F), Visconti Homo Sapiens (stub)

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The big advantage this pen has over others, is the ease of dismantling. All one needs before the initial start up is a tiny amount of dish wash soap in a small container of warm water, just place the dismantled parts in and gently stir them around. Then rinse in clear water dry each part before reassembling.

 

I have had mine for over a month now, and it hasn't given me any problems, I like the way I can adjust the feed. Changing ink colours? This pen can be easily rinsed clean very fast without any recourse to dismantling.

 

I've mentioned in several threads that I've been using an ink in my Ahab which came in small solid tablets, one tablet produces an ounce of ink. It's named, "Gates Concentrated ink" and must have been made in the first two decades of the twentieth century. The instructions claimed this dissolved tablet is fountain pen friendly. So far I've proved that to be true. If this isn't the ultimate test, then let me know!

 

My Ahab has become my favourite pen amongst the other high quality ones I own, because I write a lot of letters to my friends and relatives, and I have found I can write for long periods without tiring my hand.

 

Incidentally, I bought my first fountain pen at age eleven. that was in 1949 {which dates me!} and have been using dip and fountain pens on and off over the years. Noodler's Ahab is one of the most innovative pens I've discovered, it's unbeatable for the price.

 

Kind regards,

 

Pickwick

They came as a boon, and a blessing to men,
The Pickwick, the Owl and the Waverley pen

Sincerely yours,

Pickwick

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I am still puzzled why you need to wash your newly-bought pens so thoroughly (instead of dipping the nib k to get the possible test ink off the nib). Even my cheap Lamy Safari / Al Star pens started right off the bat without going through such cleaning regiment.

 

The bottom line is whilst some Ahab's write out of the box ... for some ... they don't for others.

 

The culprit has been much debated and current consensus is from a combination of manufacturing oils/lubricant etc... which repel ink and stop it from travelling down the narrow feed channel to the nib as well as it should. A thorough clean and letting the ebonite feed settle in after a feed initially has solved the problem (once it has been adjusted well) for most. I believe from reading other posts that Nathan of Noodler's is trying to get the process right although given the location and cost of manufacture, the fact he has overcome so many challenges to produce the pen for a $20 sale price alone is somewhat admirable!

I understand it is a challenge to work with anyoverseas subcontractors. But, unless Noodler indicates on its packages to wash its products thoroughly before use with a big warning "!" sign, many buyers would end up experiencing unplesant surprises with their purchase of Ahab products, which are price low in the pen-dom. But, from the consumer's point of view, the seller's difficulty with its subcontractor is none of his/her business, to be frank with you.

 

I engage in the supply chain management and I will make sure to punish suppliers for their inconsistent performance, while, of course, praising them for their good behavior.

Edited by Pen2009

My collection: 149 EF/F/B/OBB, Collodi B/Twain F/Mann F, 146 M, Silver Barley F, M1000/M800 B'o'B/M800 Tortoise/Sahara/415 BT/215/205 Blue Demo, Optima Demo Red M/88 EF & Italic/Europa, Emotica, 2K/Safaris/Al-Stars/Vista, Edson DB/Carene BS, Pilot 845/823/742/743/Silvern/M90/Makies, Sailor Profit Realo M/KOP Makies/Profit Makies/Profit 21 Naginata MF&M/KOP/KOP Mosaiques/Sterling Silvers,Platinum #3776 Celluloids/Izumos/Wood pens/Sterling Silvers,YoL Grand Victorian, and more (I lost counting)

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Thanks for all of your insights... This is very helpful information, indeed.

 

Ahab is clean, dried overnight, etc. Going to reassemble now and ink up...

 

Thanks!

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Seems to be working now, though it's pretty wet and the ink has stopped a couple of times. Not nearly as bad as before, as far as I can tell. Will leave it horizontal for a while and come back to it, as suggested.

 

I inked it this time with Black Swan in Australian Roses. Noticed that it writes with a less fine point now. Not sure if that's because of how wet it's writing? I'll try again later...

 

Thanks for all of the help and suggestions and Happy New Year to all!

 

R

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Well hopefully your Ahab works out for you!

 

I just took one of mine to some 3200 grit and then 6400 grit micromesh (yes, I know what I am doing) to roughen up what appeared to be a slight baby bottom and to see if I could resolve skipping on the downstroke.

 

Seems to have done the trick. I like a little feedback which is why I went for the 6400 grit micromesh (gives the nib a bit of tooth... a polish with 12000 would have made it smooth as butter).

 

It's almost like a model kit. $20 to tinker and learn a little bit about fountain pen adjustment is well worth it I think! :)

In Rotation: MB 146 (EF), Noodler's Ahab bumblebee, Edison Pearl (F), Sailor ProGear (N-MF)

In storage: MB 149 (18k EF), TWSBI 540 (B), ST Dupont Olympio XL (EF), MB Dumas (B stub), Waterman Preface (ST), Edison Pearl (0.5mm CI), Noodler's Ahab clear, Pilot VP (M), Danitrio Densho (F), Aurora Optima (F), Lamy 2000 (F), Visconti Homo Sapiens (stub)

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Well hopefully your Ahab works out for you!

 

I just took one of mine to some 3200 grit and then 6400 grit micromesh (yes, I know what I am doing) to roughen up what appeared to be a slight baby bottom and to see if I could resolve skipping on the downstroke.

 

Seems to have done the trick. I like a little feedback which is why I went for the 6400 grit micromesh (gives the nib a bit of tooth... a polish with 12000 would have made it smooth as butter).

 

It's almost like a model kit. $20 to tinker and learn a little bit about fountain pen adjustment is well worth it I think! :)

 

I think I agree, though I am a total newb. Only been at this for about six weeks. Can you provide more information on how to polish/roughen the tip? Not sure what some of your lingo means, such as 'slight baby bottom'. Sounds like the tuchus on a skinny infant! :) I'm learning. You guys have been awesome!!!

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Probably not something for the uninitiated ... I went through several expensive nibs tinkering!

 

However, a $20 Ahab nib isn't a bad place to start. Just be very careful with micromesh as you can easily destroy (irreversibly) the writing characteristic and tip. However, you can purchase some micromesh cloth and I generally follow the curvature of the nib and evenly make a few strokes on 6400grit and then polish with the 12000 grit (or forgo the last step if you can't be bothered). Checking with a loupe to make sure the tines are aligned before starting and to examine the effect on the tip.

 

I'm being called away elsewhere but there is a lot of discussion on baby bottom on FPN! There is a bit of info http://www.richardsp...nibs/primer.htmat the very bottom.

Edited by tanalasta

In Rotation: MB 146 (EF), Noodler's Ahab bumblebee, Edison Pearl (F), Sailor ProGear (N-MF)

In storage: MB 149 (18k EF), TWSBI 540 (B), ST Dupont Olympio XL (EF), MB Dumas (B stub), Waterman Preface (ST), Edison Pearl (0.5mm CI), Noodler's Ahab clear, Pilot VP (M), Danitrio Densho (F), Aurora Optima (F), Lamy 2000 (F), Visconti Homo Sapiens (stub)

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