Saturday, November 19, 2011

Noodler's Ahab Writing Test



I thought it might be handy to showcase the difference between the Noodler's Ahab and the original Noodler's Piston-Fill Flex pens in terms of their writing use. I've shown the size and filling differences between these two pens in my other post, here. You can also see the full line of Ahab colors coming out in the first release, here.

My conclusion is that the nibs on both pens have about the same unflexed line width (somewhere around a fine), and they have around the same maximum line width, about 3mm when you really push it to the limits. But to me, the Ahab feels a little easier to flex. It's not an overly dramatic difference, just a slight improvement. I don't know if I can attribute it to the design of the nib itself, or just to the fact that the Ahab's larger size feels better in my hand and gives me more control over the pen. It's probably a combination of the two.

I will be the first to admit that I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to proper use of a flex pen, so I'm really eager to see some of the reviews come out from a lot of you that really know what you're doing with one! My feeling is that the Ahab is a pen that's going to be every bit as ground-breaking as the original Noodler's Flex Pens.

What do you think?

16 comments:

  1. Very juicy! I love how Nathan did the Ahabs - fat pens are cool and he nailed the design for this one.

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  2. Thanks -- very helpful!  I use my 1st-Gen flex pens for copperplate writing practice and ink tests now, but even for people not into calligraphy, the pen is well worth owning--if just for the line variations you can put into your daily writing or signature.

    Super job with your videos--it's the next best thing to being there with the pen.  ;)    And I'll be getting some Ahabs --I think they'll be great to carry around and use every day. 

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  3. A comparison with the Namiki Falcon would be most desirable.

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  4. I think this is definitely an improved design! Nathan's coming up with better ideas all the time.

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  5. I'm glad you like my vid! I feel a little bad that I can't do some kind of magical writing or drawing to show what this pen is really capable of doing. I'll have to leave that to the real artists! But I am a good representation of the 'average' fountain pen user that can still just really have a good time playing with these cool pens. 

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  6. At more than $100 price difference between the two, there really isn't a comparison! If you want our function and ink capacity, the Ahab wins hands down, and the $20 price tag seals the deal. But the Falcon has the fit and finish, a gold nib, and a snazzier design. If I get a little free time though, it would be fun to do a side-by-side comparison though. 

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  7. Game on! These pens bring the art of flex writing back to the common folks, where it was a century ago. (No need to experiment with vintage pens, at least as an entry point.)

    Thanks, Brian! The writing renaissance continues....

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  8. I've got a couple of the piston pens, and after some helpful advice from Brian I got them pretty well dialed in. But they are still unmistakably cheap pens. They burp, they leave railroad tracks. I'm definitely having fun with them, I'm definitely playing with them in my sketchbook (and forgiving the inevitable blobs of ink that occasionally vomit forth). These are not the pens I use at the office, or when writing a letter to a distant loved one.

    Am I the only one that wonders what Lamy could do in this niche for a price somewhere below a Namiki Falcon but more than the Noodler's pens?

    I'll still probably be buying an Ahab, but my expectations will be tempered by the price and previous experience with the other Noodler's flex pens. I'll tell you what, though, I've been lusting for a Namiki Falcon.

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  9. I think this exactly sums up Nathan's ideology with developing these pens! 

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  10. Well you're definitely right about there being a huge price gap...there is really nothing between the Noodler's pens and Namiki Falcons. That's a $120+ price gap between the two pens....there is certainly room for another manufacturer to step in, though I don't know of any company that has plans to do so. I would absolutely love to see Lamy or another major manufacturer develop a flex pen in the $40-50 price range. Flex pens are different than regular pens though, and would require a whole new design (not just a different nib that would swap with the current Lamy pens, for example). 

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  11. I'm not sure how you're getting such great performance out of the Noodler's flex pens compared to me. I've run six different inks through my Ahab now on three very different types of paper. I've washed the thing out thoroughly with dish soap and water, I've even cut a number of extra vents on the feed, but the ink isn't flowing like it ought to, even if I write very slowly.

    I'm really appreciative of what Nathan is trying to do here, offering a utilitarian & maintainable flex pen for very little money, but I'm thinking this probably deserved a little more fine tuning before release to ensure that customers would have a positive writing experience with these pens.

    After a lot of fine tuning, and with the help of your videos, I've gotten enough performance out of the piston pens to at least get some journaling use out of them, or letters to friends that might not mind the occasional hiccup that can be expected from these pens. I've not yet gotten to that level of minimum functionality out of the Ahab.

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  12. I've done a bunch of experimenting, and read up on the physics of nibs and feeds, and I've finally got my Ahab writing nice somewhat consistently.

    The first and possibly most important thing, which I didn't realize for a while(maybe you did though) is that unlike the regular Noodler's flex, there is a notch in the barrel for the nib. There isn't anything on the outside of the pen to indicate which way it is, but if you use a flashlight it is easy to see. After taking the nib out the first time, I thought it was really odd how tight the nib and feed were... I had them in the wrong way. You can make sure the nib is in the right place by turning it around until it locks in.

    The second of course is adjustment. I had a bunch of info and my theories about adjustment, but I realized I wasn't entirely sure of what I was saying. In the midst of typing this I was using the pen again and then a different theory came up. I'll make sure to post again if I figure out a really good understanding of the adjustment.

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  13. Hi,

    Rubber Gloves - Say What ?

    It is officially Goulet Saturday, even though Sunday sounds better I think. Maybe I should say " Saturday is Ahab day". Thanks for all your hard work as I received my Ahab's today. You probably figured that out though huh? The pens are fantastic. Not only do they write well they are awesome looking. I received the Arizona and the Lapis. I obviously received the pens with the original o-ring. I couldnt be happier cause those will be collector's items with all that hub bub going on with them.

    So what's with this Rubber stuff? Well I made a mistake and put the nib in incorrectly and really got it stuck. I tried and tried and couldnt get it out. I was also sitting in my car outsidethe post office too. So any way it hit me, "use a rubber glove". I went home and the nib came out like butter. I think it works better then the scotch tape and if you are the kind of person that doesnt like ink on their hands then you are good too.

    Thanks for all you do to make us Happy
    Katherine

    PS. Do you have other customers, cause I feel like I am the only one.

    :)

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  14. Hi,

    Rubber Gloves - Say What ?

    It is officially Goulet Saturday, even though Sunday sounds better I think. Maybe I should say " Saturday is Ahab day". Thanks for all your hard work as I received my Ahab's today. You probably figured that out though huh? The pens are fantastic. Not only do they write well they are awesome looking. I received the Arizona and the Lapis. I obviously received the pens with the original o-ring. I couldnt be happier cause those will be collector's items with all that hub bub going on with them.

    So what's with this Rubber stuff? Well I made a mistake and put the nib in incorrectly and really got it stuck. I tried and tried and couldnt get it out. I was also sitting in my car outsidethe post office too. So any way it hit me, "use a rubber glove". I went home and the nib came out like butter. I think it works better then the scotch tape and if you are the kind of person that doesnt like ink on their hands then you are good too.

    Thanks for all you do to make us Happy
    Katherine

    PS. Do you have other customers, cause I feel like I am the only one.

    :)

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  15. You're right about that notch, that's something that I failed to mention thus far. I think I may need to do a specific Ahab nib/feed adjustment video like I did with the smaller flex pen, look for that soon with this detail included. As for the adjustment, I had theories too, but really it just comes down to playing with the nib/feed depth in the pen until it just starts working. As for the Falcon, it's a smoother ride, but doesn't flex as drastically as the Ahab. I definitely wouldn't be brave enough to try modifying the plastic feed myself, and I wouldn't recommend anyone else try it either unless you have another $140ish laying around... ;)

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  16. Awesome tip, Katherine! I never thought of doing this myself, I'm so used to having inky hands that I don't even think about gloves anymore ;) 

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