Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Review: Noodler's Ahab Crow Fountain Pen - Flex @AndersonPens

This Ahab was sent to me from a reader after he read my tragic blabbing about my not functioning Nib Creaper and Ahab fountain pens. Peter very kindly offered to send me a working Ahab so I could actually experience the fun and joys of one. I graciously (hopefully it was gracious anyway) accepted and not too long after, this pen was in my hands!
Review: Noodler's Ahab Crow Fountain Pen - Flex @AndersonPens
ABOUT

Body Material: Celluloid Derivative
Trim: Metal
Length (capped): 5.47"
Length (uncapped nib-end): 5.01"
Length (posted):  6.56"
Barrel Diameter: 0.54"
Section Diameter: 0.40" - 0.47"
Nib material: Steel
Weight: 20 g
Fill type: Plunge-filler/Eyedropper
Price: $20.00USD
Where to buy: Anderson Pens
Review: Noodler's Ahab Crow Fountain Pen - Flex @AndersonPens
PACKAGING
Review: Noodler's Ahab Crow Fountain Pen - Flex @AndersonPens
I actually really like Noodler's packaging - it's very simple and wastes very little. This pen was a gift from a reader and came in the box with Noodler's art work. Inside the box is a sheet of paper with information on the pen, which also has information on how to take care of it. Personally, I would rather not pay extra for fancied up packaging, so this stuff makes me happy! Plus, I find it interesting to read a little about the pen.

APPEARANCE
Review: Noodler's Ahab Crow Fountain Pen - Flex @AndersonPens
The Ahab is a large pen with a round body and a torpedo shaped body. There is no finial. The clip is large and looks a little like a whale! It says Noodler's Ink on it. The clip and center band are chrome coloured metal. The body is dark - a deep purple that is almost black, with shimmery, purple-silver streaks in it. It's really pretty, actually, which is something Noodler's does well: pretty, affordable pens. The section is the same colour and material as the body. It tapers towards the nib gradually. There are no significant steps and it's a nice design.
Review: Noodler's Ahab Crow Fountain Pen - Flex @AndersonPens
Inside, there is a plunge-filler that can be removed if you want to turn the pen into an eyedropper. Overall, it's pretty good looking.
Review: Noodler's Ahab Crow Fountain Pen - Flex @AndersonPens
NIB & PERFORMANCE
Review: Noodler's Ahab Crow Fountain Pen - Flex @AndersonPens
The nib is pretty basic and simple in its appearance: it's a solid #6 steel nib that says Noodler's Ink Co on it. It has a single slit all the way up the center, and there is no breather hole. The feed is ebonite and the nib and feed is friction fit so it can be adjusted as you wish.

Performance of these pens vary. First of all, because of residual machining oils in cutting the feeds, it is highly recommended these pens are thoroughly flushed with water and soap or pen flush or a water and ammonia solution. The feed can also be scrubbed with a toothbrush or ultra sonicated. If this doesn't get your pen writing, you can heat set the feed, since it is ebonite. If this doesn't work, you probably should just get another Ahab and give it another shot.

My first Ahab just didn't work. I flushed the pen with water and soap. Then a water and ammonia solution. Then I rinsed it with distilled water. Then I tried many different inks. No luck. Then I scrubbed the feed with a toothbrush and new solutions. No luck. Then I ultra sonicated the entire thing. Tried a variety of inks again. No luck. Then I cut the feed. Nothing. Then I got a new feed for it. Tried all these things again on it. Still no luck. Sent it to a friend to work on it - he tried to heat reset the feed. He got it to write at least a sentence or two but it couldn't flex. That's cool - it writes, but it can't flex. So I gave up and sadly resigned myself to not having an Ahab, ever.

In swooped Peter, who kindly sent me this lovely working thing! This one performed quite well. It was ready to go when it arrived, after Peter cleaned it, reset the feed, and sent it off to me. I inked it with Montblanc 90th Anniversary Permanent Grey. The nib wrote nicely, a little dry but it never skipped, it was consistent, and it could even flex if I wrote slowly. Ink flow kept up with flexing. To flex, I had to exert a fair amount of pressure but the nib is not yet broken in.
Review: Noodler's Ahab Crow Fountain Pen - Flex @AndersonPens
Following the guide included on the sheet with the pen, I opened up some of the fins on the feed. This made the pen write much wetter. It doesn't make it flex easier but the ink flow was able to keep up much better as I flexed the nib, allowing me to write longer before the nib railroaded.
Review: Noodler's Ahab Crow Fountain Pen - Flex @AndersonPens
IN HAND

First of all: the smell had already worn off this particular pen. When I had bought my own Ahab new, it definitely had the dreaded smell. Personally, I like it. Yeah, I'm a freak, I know. I like the smell of solvents and other peculiar things. However, the smell will fade as it gets washed, touched, used, etc. (Or it'll be transferred to whatever is touching it...). If this is a deal breaker for you, buy one used so the smell is already gone.

The Ahab is a large pen but it's light weight and comfortable to use. I prefer to use it unposted, because if posted, it becomes very long and unwieldy. It can be posted and the cap will stay on snugly and securely, if you choose to do so. The section is smooth but doesn't get slippery.
Review: Noodler's Ahab Crow Fountain Pen - Flex @AndersonPens
Review: Noodler's Ahab Crow Fountain Pen - Flex @AndersonPens
During the breaking in period of the nib, it's a little tiring to use it. It's hard to exert so much pressure on the nib constantly - at least, it is for my hands. It tires my hand out quickly, so I can't use it for long writing sessions. On the other hand, it's also good training!
Review: Noodler's Ahab Crow Fountain Pen - Flex @AndersonPens
Review: Noodler's Ahab Crow Fountain Pen - Flex @AndersonPens
PROS & CONS
Review: Noodler's Ahab Crow Fountain Pen - Flex @AndersonPens

Another pro I didn't list here is you can put on other #6 nibs, should you wish to have a non flexible nib, or a stub, for example.

OVERALL
Review: Noodler's Ahab Crow Fountain Pen - Flex @AndersonPens
Well, previously I would have hesitated to recommend an Ahab, and since I've still never gotten an Ahab working myself, I'm not sure I can safely say a novice can do it (which is what I consider myself). However, at $20USD, if you can get one working, they can be a lot of fun. On the other hand, I learned quite a bit about fountain pens and their working parts, how to disassemble and reassemble them, and the mechanics of the fountain pen, just by tinkering with my Ahab. Therefore, I think that was worth it in and of itself. Plus, you may even get yours working! All in all? Give it a go. Put it on your birthday/Christmas/random wish list.

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