Noodler’s Ahab Flex Nib Review (It stinks…..Well, smells bad)

29 04 2014


I finally took the plunge and picked up a Noodlers pen. I’ve been a fan of their ink for years but I haven’t taken the next step of getting one of their pens.

To be honest, when the first generation of pens hit the market, I wasn’t super excited about their looks. more importantly, the reviews I was reading online were decidedly mixed. The second generation hit, and though they looked the same, the reviews definitely got better. Then came the Ahab….

 

This is a completely new pen. Aproximately 5.5″ capped, just a hair ove 9/16″ in girth (capped) and 6 ¾” posted. It’s light, but substantial. Two negatives almost immediately struck me. First, it stinks. No, I mean it stinks – it smells bad. Really bad. It’s made from something called “vegetal resin”, and….it stinks. Everything I’ve read is that this occurs with new pens and that the smell eventually dissipates. I sure hope so. did I mention that it smells really, really bad? Second, the cap posts, but not completely securely. I’ve had other pens where the cap didn’t post well, but those were always due to a lack of friction. That’s not the problem here. The cap will post, and seems like it will stay in place, but it doesn’t easily post straight and correct. It wants to be angled if you’re not careful. (Oh my gosh this thing stinks. Hard to concentrate on writing here…)

This is the first “modern” flex nib pen I’ve ever owned. I like it! I like it a lot! (Dumb & Dumber. Anyone? Anyone?) I have some vintage pens with flex nibs and I’ve just been ok with them. I tend to exert just a bit too much pressure and thus tend to get a lot of railroading (the tines spread too much and instead of getting a wide wet line, you get two thin ones at each tine tip). This one has railroaded on me but I was able to quickly figure out just how much pressure to use. Basically I don’t have to bear down really, but I do have to use considerably more pressure on this pen than my vintage ones if I want to achieve flex (that is, wider) strokes. The nib is large, stainless steel and very smooth. There’s no breather hole, instead a line running the entire length of the exposed portion of the nib. It’s very attractive I think.

Another really cool aspect (just one of many), it that the pen is designed from the get-go to be easily converted to an eye drpper fill pen. You simply remove the included piston filler (which holds a lot of ink on it’s own, by the way), slap some silicone grease around the body threads, fill ‘er up, screw the section back in and you’re ready to go. It holds probably a pint of ink. Finally, no special tools needed! for cleaning, for anything really. All parts are either thread together or friction fit together. Sweet.

 

Overall, Other than the horrible, awful, terrible, unholy, eye-watering, nauseating, bung-hole oder that this thing currently gives off, I give it two BIG thumbs up! This is a whole lot of quality and good looks for very little $. I’ll do an odor follow up in a few weeks.

 

There are a lot of really good, informative reviews on this pen out there. Here are a few I really liked (some video):

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3 responses

29 04 2014
J. Alberto Perez Zacarias

My first pen was one of these… I hated it…. I went on to buy me a Kaweco AL-Sport,, a TWSBI DIamond, then Mini…

Then i tried these again, and now i love them. I usually swap out the Nib for one of the Gouletpens’ 1.1 Stubs.

These pens are definitely caught in a weird spot. They are affordable, like mad affordable, so they attract many newbies, but they are designed to be customized, and tweaked, which is not something newbies would be good at.

23 12 2015
Jasmine

hi you didnt write a follow up on the smell. Does the smell go away? Did you do something to get rid of the smell? How would the Ahab compare with the Konrad? I am thinking of getting one but cannot decide which (newbie) and am also worried about the repulsive smell. But I want a flex nib to do some calligraphy on the go when I work (since it is inconvenient to dip pens at work).

23 03 2016
wtisaac

Missed that there had been a comment on this post. Sorry! As to the smell. It’s still there. Although to be fair, it has subsided quite a bit. A lot actually. But lift it to your nose and inhale deep……. you can definitely still smell it. As to my preference between the models, I definitely prefer the Konrad. It uses the same nib and feed as the Ahab, but posts much more securely. And there’s the issue of no smell really.

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