This was a Noodler’s month with a gift of three Konrads and three inks from Luxury Brands USA. The little dears went right to work quickly doubling the number of fountain pens on my desk and adding some color to a sedate, black rotation.
Just a couple of days before the shipment arrived, I almost bought an 1820 Essex Konrad, but got sidetracked. Then I was lucky enough to receive one from Carol. Happy me!
Noodler’s labels are miniature works of art. Who needs a fancy bottle when a dramatic label can say so much more?
Playing matchy-matchy for initial matings was easy except for one ink. El Lawrence is truly an odd color. Some folks say it looks like dirty motor oil. With certainty it is a chameleon looking black to charcoal in some lighting conditions and very dark green in others. It is bulletproof, eternal, highly saturated, and slow to dry from a wide or very wet nib. Diluting it with distilled water seems a natural.
Experimentation with fine nibs was in order so the ink went into a vintage Platinum Karakusa EF that brought out its paler side. Even on cheap copy paper, El Lawrence from the narrow nib performed flawlessly revealing a medium charcoal tone to best advantage. With the stingy Plat nib, the ink dried almost instantly which makes it an option for my non-FP notebooks.
Berning Red is a good match for the December 25th Konrad Flex. The ink is eternal and bulletproof and red, red, red. Unfortunately, it feathered on some brands and grades of paper with the strong flow from the Konrad. A more narrow nib and dry flow tamed it as well as improved the drying time. I am a bit hung up on Noodler’s Park Red so Bernie will have to wait for access to the red ink slot in my rotation, but its time will come.
The Essex was a whaling ship out of Nantucket, Massachusetts, that was sunk by a sperm whale in 1820. The event became the inspiration for Herman Melville’s 1851 novel, Moby-Dick. It’s an interesting back story should someone ask about your 1820 Essex. The barrel is in the teal family, though more green than blue, and so is the Dostoyevsky ink. They are quite a pair with shading here and there, as well as outlining in a Leuchtturm1917 journal. However, the heavy ink flow produced bleed through and mild feathering in the journal though not on other brands of paper. Drying time was generally good but not in all cases. With a fine or extra fine nib, that should be less of an issue. This ink and pen combination is so pleasing that they might be mated for life.
Qufu is a city in China’s Shandong province and known for being the hometown of Confucius. The Qufu Jade Konrad Flex represents dark green jade nicely with its deep color and pale swirls.
The Qufu Jade had limited ink choices with only two green Noodler’s on hand. Army looked good with both the barrel and the cap colors so I opted for that one. It’s the brighter green version that Beth Treadway sent last year. Rumor has it that the original drab yellow-green version has been reissued so if your Army doesn’t match the Qufu colors that might be the reason.
As for fit and finish, the Konrads had no manufacturing defects and the pistons slid smoothly from the first twist of the knob. All of the nibs were properly aligned and wrote well at first contact with paper. Note that two received a water bath before being filled and experienced no flow problems. The third did not get a bath and clogged after a half page. Oops.
The Konrad is made from a cellulose derivative and is biodegradable, not that you would allow yours to wind up in a landfill. But it does make the pen light-weight. Even with the cap posted on the end of the barrel, the balance is good creating a comfortable writing experience.
All three pens are rated flex. However, it takes some effort to produce varying line widths. Writing with normal pressure yields a fine-medium line. Over time it may take less effort to flex the nib, but I have found that trying to make the pen flex beyond a certain point will thereafter widen the unflexed line width. The nib isn’t as narrow as an Esterbrook 9128, but it is more smooth and useful for general writing than many of the lower-end vintage flex nibs.
Noodler’s pens have a distinctive odor that usually dissipates over time. The Essex is slightly less fragrant than the other two, but all three are much less powerful than pens from a couple of years ago. Leaving an empty pen uncapped for a time should hasten the reduction of the odor.
These latest Konrads are a great value and Noodler’s ink is no less. Add a little distilled water and that 3 ounce bottle will last ages. Whether you flex your nib or not, it’s hard to beat this bang-for-the-buck duo.
Thank you, Carol, for sending the pens and inks. My desk is now remarkably colorful and so is my writing.