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Review Of Flexible Nib Factory Feed On A Pilot Custom 823



stylophilly

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stylophilly

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.

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Edited by stylophilly
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  • Honeybadgers

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Honeybadgers

The 3 slot feed is not for normal use unless you either use an FA nib for heavy copperplate/spencerian, or you exclusively use extremely dry inks and want them to be super wet.

 

I have both on an Fa nib, and the 2 slot is perfect for lots of flex.

 

I haven't experienced any creep on my FA equipped 823, and I had no problem ensuring the nib and feed were mated together properly.

 

Can you even insert the nib and feed incorrectly, with the nib too far back? it seems to me that the tail of the nib sticks past the stop point at the bottom of the section, and would automatically just push the nib forward until it sat correctly.

 

 

Joey engineered the hell out of those things. The fit and finish are factory perfect.

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

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stylophilly

Hi, thank you for your reply.

 

Yes, it is possible to put the nib and feed into the section with the nib being too far back on the feed. Having said that, it likely would be obvious that something is awry with the position of the nib on the feed if one were to look on the underside toward the tip. It'd likely be obvious because the tip of the feed would be too far down the tip of the nib.

 

Like I said, this is a very small criticism for an otherwise great product. All I'm saying is that the installation wasn't as foolproof as it could be given the current design, especially in comparison to the way Pilot makes its feed. It took me a couple of tries to figure out what I needed to do to make sure the nib position was correct.

Edited by stylophilly
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Honeybadgers

I just checked with mine and I can say with absolute, 100% certainty that you cannot actually insert the nib and feed incorrectly as long as you push them both all the way in.

 

The worst you can do is not press the feed all the way in to create that "feed riding up on the nib" effect in your picture. But you cannot press the nib further back in once they're both seated completely in the section. The same stop of the section that prevents the feed from going further back also prevents the nib.

 

Line up the nib and feed outside of the pen. That first major step down at the back of the feed is a flat surface inside the pen, so it also stops the nib from sliding backwards.

 

So, in a nutshell, your "figure 6" is not possible to do if both the nib and feed are pushed all the way in, like they should be.

 

Sorry if that came across as accusatory :P I didn't mean it to be in the slightest, only meant to merely correct you on one aspect. The more experiences people share, the better!

 

I can't speak to the nib creep. I wonder if maybe it's due to the scrollwork on the nib. My FA is completely unadorned, so that might have something to do with it.

 

I am one of those weirdos who really likes nib creep (the way ink fills in the filigree on a nib is just satisfying as heck to me.) and it does make me really wish the FA nib had actual scrollwork, it's such a boring looking nib (though it writes like a dream and the FnF feed was precisely what it needed)

Edited by Honeybadgers

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

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stylophilly

I see what you mean about that stop on the section and the clear plastic o-ring that goes at the end of the feed providing a check on a nib getting installed too far back. And I have no reason to doubt the results that you get with your pen when you try to replicate what I suggest in what I have labeled as "Figure 6."

 

So with that o-ring installed correctly (with the step down on that ring pointing away from the tip of the nib), I find that I'm able to insert the set up that I show in Figure 6. As far as I can tell, I'm able to insert the nib and feed all the way in. Below is a photo of the bottom of the nib and feed when inserted into the section with the nib being too far down the feed.

 

Now from the looks of it, something is obviously awry with nib and feed installation, so much so that I don't think anyone would use the pen in this way. At any rate, I still stand by my criticism on the way the ebonite feed is designed--that it could easily allow for a faulty installation with the nib being too far down the feed. At best, by not having a full, well-defined well where the corners of the nib heel can nest into means that there is a bit too much play as to where the nib should be placed in relation to the feed. It seems to me that as designed the Flexible Nib Factory feed lacks a positive indication to the user that she or he has indeed placed the nib at the right place down the feed.

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Edited by stylophilly
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Honeybadgers

You can push the feed further in.You likely have it bound a bit because of the hump of the nib and the feed not matching well yet, but you didn't push the feed far enough in. Give it a shove.

Edited by Honeybadgers

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

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  • 6 months later...

The 3 slot feed is not for normal use unless you either use an FA nib for heavy copperplate/spencerian, or you exclusively use extremely dry inks and want them to be super wet.

 

I have both on an Fa nib, and the 2 slot is perfect for lots of flex.

 

I haven't experienced any creep on my FA equipped 823, and I had no problem ensuring the nib and feed were mated together properly.

 

Can you even insert the nib and feed incorrectly, with the nib too far back? it seems to me that the tail of the nib sticks past the stop point at the bottom of the section, and would automatically just push the nib forward until it sat correctly.

 

 

Joey engineered the hell out of those things. The fit and finish are factory perfect.

 

is there something special about the red ebonite model, because the price bump is quite significant! and i was wondering what would happen if you use the 3 time nib on a regular nib, will it leak ?

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is there something special about the red ebonite model, because the price bump is quite significant! and i was wondering what would happen if you use the 3 time nib on a regular nib, will it leak ?

 

Red nikko ebonite is just a much more expensive material. The red ebonite feed in my new wancher dragon maki-e pen was like 5 or 10 bucks pricier.

 

It won't leak. It may be unusably wet though. I would not use the three slit feed under almost any circumstances. no normal user will ever find the 2 slit feed lacking.

Edited by Honeybadgers

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

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  • 1 year later...
Chinchy

Just wanted to add to this thread to say that I don't have an FA nib, but I used the 2-slit ebonite feed on my Custom 823 with Fine nib.  With the stock feed, the ink flow with a Fine nib seemed drier than I am used to with a Custom 823 with Medium nib, which makes sense.  With the 2-slit ebonite feed, the ink flow is much improved for a Fine nib, enough so that I am putting in an order for the 912/742 version to see if it will help my 742 with the size 10 F nibs.

 

Question about the filling of the 823 though.  The stock nib has the feed air channel on the bottom of the feed, but according to the OP's photo, the air channel is now on the top.  Does anyone know how this might affect how deep the nib has to go into the ink well for filling?  Should it still go up to the section?  Just curious...

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Christopher Godfrey

I cannot really answer your question about depth of insertion of nib into ink bottle, Chinchy, since I have only been using fountain pens for sixty-odd years!  No, honestly, I didn't even know about that feed air channel; but I fill my 743 just like any other pen I own.

 

If you like flex, then you simply must find yourself an FA nib (I have the larger one, #15).  I was on the verge of selling my 743 because of persistent frustration with the ink flow; but, since changing to the FNF feed (a couple of years ago?), this has become one of my very favourite pens, right up there with any of my vintage Pelikans, etc...!!

 

I had absolutely no problem with my installation of Joey's feed: I think I accomplished it within two minutes and I left the collar out after I had asked him about its importance (he answered in the negative re the necessity of inserting the collar: his feed was designed to work <without>...)

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The-Thinker
12 minutes ago, Christopher Godfrey said:

I cannot really answer your question about depth of insertion of nib into ink bottle, Chinchy, since I have only been using fountain pens for sixty-odd years!  No, honestly, I didn't even know about that feed air channel; but I fill my 743 just like any other pen I own.

 

If you like flex, then you simply must find yourself an FA nib (I have the larger one, #15).  I was on the verge of selling my 743 because of persistent frustration with the ink flow; but, since changing to the FNF feed (a couple of years ago?), this has become one of my very favourite pens, right up there with any of my vintage Pelikans, etc...!!

 

I had absolutely no problem with my installation of Joey's feed: I think I accomplished it within two minutes and I left the collar out after I had asked him about its importance (he answered in the negative re the necessity of inserting the collar: his feed was designed to work <without>...)

when you say "right there with any of my vintage Pelikans" do you mean in terms of line variation of the nib and the ink flow ? and what version of feed did you get it in ? the 2 slits or 3 slits ?

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The-Thinker
On 2/28/2020 at 11:24 AM, Honeybadgers said:

 

Red nikko ebonite is just a much more expensive material. The red ebonite feed in my new wancher dragon maki-e pen was like 5 or 10 bucks pricier.

 

It won't leak. It may be unusably wet though. I would not use the three slit feed under almost any circumstances. no normal user will ever find the 2 slit feed lacking.

yes, they are unique too in terms of the color! when do you use the 3 slits version ? and  which one are you more gravitated towards ?

 

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Chinchy
On 4/30/2021 at 7:33 AM, Christopher Godfrey said:

I cannot really answer your question about depth of insertion of nib into ink bottle, Chinchy, since I have only been using fountain pens for sixty-odd years!  No, honestly, I didn't even know about that feed air channel; but I fill my 743 just like any other pen I own.

 

I had absolutely no problem with my installation of Joey's feed: I think I accomplished it within two minutes and I left the collar out after I had asked him about its importance (he answered in the negative re the necessity of inserting the collar: his feed was designed to work <without>...)

Interesting, thanks!  I was able to fill partially with the vacuum filler on the 823, not sure if it was because of the difference in air channel, or maybe I'm just doing it wrong.  I'll try again on the next refill.

 

And yeah, the installation is pretty simple.  Out and in!

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Christopher Godfrey

@Chinchy: The push-button should be released after depression with some positivity -- ie, quickly and vigourously!  Repeat the action a few times (x3, x4...)  I can get my converter almost completely full.

 

@The-Thinker: The nib flexibility of the Falcon nib is really quite dramatic: the <feel> of the tines spreading may seem easier to induce than a vintage Pelikan; but this nib is very capable and generous.  I have the 2-channel feed, after being warned about the gushing nature of the 3-.  Some nice person had told me that the 3-channel is more appropriate for those wishing to draw with their pen.  Tram-lining <is> possible; but you need to be trying awfully hard to induce it!  Generally, the feed is perfect.

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