Posts Tagged ‘Noodler’s Konrad Fountain Pen’


Autumn Ink Palette for 2016


It’s that time of year, at least by the calendar, when cooler temps, crunchy leaves and anything made with pumpkins inspire a palette for the season. Old favorites were due for attention, but some new inks deserved a nod as well.

  • Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts
  • Iroshizuku syo-ro
  • Sailor Tokiwa-matsu
  • Rohrer & Klingner Alt-goldgrun
  • J. Herbin Ambre de Birmanie
  • J. Herbin Orange Indien
  • J. Herbin Terre de Feu
  • Stipula Calamo Verde Muschiato

  • Noodler’s 1820 Essex Konrad flex nib
  • Pilot Metropolitan medium
  • Pilot Metropolitan medium
  • Pelikan M215 custom stub
  • Conklin Duragraph 1.1 stub
  • Conklin Duragraph 1.1 stub
  • Platinum Century Nice medium
  • Platinum #3776 music nib

During October, I often load a black pen with orange ink. It’s a small treat. Inks and pens should be fun, no?

Which inks do you use for a little autumn color?

Reviews and comments on the inks: Tokiwa-matsu, 54th Mass, syo-ro, Alt-goldgrun, Ambre de Birmanie, Orange Indien, Terre de Feu, Verde Muschiato.

Pen reviews and comments: Essex Konrad, Pilot MetroDuragraph, Century Nice, #3776 MU.

Where to buy: Tokiwa-matsu, 54th Mass, syo-ro, Alt-goldgrun, Ambre de Birmanie, Orange Indien, Terre de Feu, Verde Muschiato, Pilot Metro, Pelikan M215, Duragraph, Century Nice, #3776 MU.


Two Pens For The Price Of One


For a limited time, Noodler’s is offering two pens for the price of one. It’s a great deal that includes my favorite Noodler’s fountain pen, the Konrad #10 Dixie. The second pen is the Charlie along with a glass eyedropper to fill it.

Carol of Luxury Brands USA sent a #10 Dixie Rebellion Red with a Charlie pen tucked in the Dixie’s box to introduce me to the special. Carol didn’t know the #10 Dixie Methuselah is my most oft used Noodler’s pen so a second Dixie is a real treat.

My opinion of the ebonite #10 Dixie hasn’t changed since I reviewed it in 2014 though the pen has enjoyed more frequent use than I originally anticipated. It continues to be wedded to General of the Armies ink thanks to excellent flow and a degree of lubrication that is perfect for the nib. No reason to stray from such a satisfying pairing.

The resin Charlie was ably reviewed by catbert a year ago and that will suffice for now since I don’t want to delay letting you know about this deal. If you’ve never tried an eyedropper filler, the free Charlie would be a great opportunity to do so. It holds more ink than other filling systems though it has been known to burp a drop of ink from time to time. The Charlie’s clear barrel with no obstructing filler mechanism shows an ink’s color to best advantage. Noodler’s Apache Sunset or Turquoise would be very eye-catching, but so would a lot of other inks. No two Charlie caps are the same according to the insert making each one unique.

The pen models are completely different and so are the nibs. The #10 Dixie has a #6 flex nib while the Charlie has the smaller #5 with a bit of spring to it. The tines don’t open as they would for a flex nib. However, with a little tinkering, that nib can be swapped with a flex nib from a Noodler’s Creaper.

While the Charlie pen has the typical Noodler’s aroma, if less so than some models, the #10 does not. Exposure to air helps with the resin odor, but I’ve read that storing the pen for a few days in a plastic bag filled with baking soda can be quite effective as well. As with all new pens, a light cleaning to remove any residual oil or debris from the manufacturing process is recommended.

Check with your favorite Noodler’s retailer for the two pen plus eyedropper deal. It retails for $40, but it’s a limited offer so grab one while you can.


A Little Noodler’s On Noodler’s Action


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.



Noodler’s Konrad Dixie #10 Methuselah Ebonite Fountain Pen


When it comes to bang-for-the-buck fountain pens, Noodler’s has a lot to offer. My new Konrad Ebonite Dixie #10 is no exception.

It is a piston filler made of ebonite and biodegradable plastics. The pen is medium sized, but does not need posting for comfortable balance. That’s a big plus for me since it keeps the weight down and the number of hours I can use it up.

The stainless steel fine-medium nib writes smoothly and with good flow. It has a little give but isn’t flexible or even soft though it is a very comfortable writer. I did rinse it well with lukewarm water prior to its first fill to remove any remnants from the manufacturing process. Note that the pen needed not one bit of tweaking to perform perfectly. That might not hold true for every Noodler’s pen, but none of the half dozen I own has worked any less well.

With little effort the nib can be swapped for another Noodler’s like one from the Art Nib Pack. Some modern nibs will fit and even a variety of vintage nibs. There are extensive instructions included both for nib swapping and long term maintenance.

Unlike some pens the inkvue window is large enough to see easily when it is time for a refill. For a quirky twist, my pen is filled with Noodler’s General of the Armies, the green ink that turns blue. The window shows one color while the nib puts down another. It’s good to have a bit of fun while writing.

Some users have objected to the odor of Noodler’s pens. It isn’t present with all models and the pen I received has no scent. Yea!

The style of the Dixie #10 Methuselah reminds me of a wood paneled library so it’s a bit retro and a good contrast to my mostly black arsenal. This is one Noodler’s pen that is going to get a lot of use.

Thank you, Carol and Luxury Brands USA, for sending the Noodler’s pen, nibs and ink. The sturdy pen and all-purpose ink have become my travel companions as well as fixtures on my desk. They haven’t bumped aside the Platinums, but it is the pen that goes with me everywhere while the Plats live the soft life at home. Variety is so sweet or is it spicy? Not that it matters since either way is fine with me.

More: Review of Noodler’s General of the Armies.


It’s March And Green Reigns Supreme


There is no lack of green ink for those who fancy the color. Every March I wade through swatches looking for just the right shade for the current year and the fountain pen in waiting.

Over the weekend Diamine Emerald got the nod for the Pelikan M200 OB. Yesterday a bottle of J. Herbin Lierre Sauvage (a gift from Karen at Exaclair) called very loudly to the Noodler’s Konrad flex nib. Who was I to keep them apart?

Have you succumbed to the green and if so, which ink and pen are paired as your intrepid duo?


Another Really Good Fountain Pen – This One From Noodler’s


After watching a few Nathan Tardif videos yesterday, I pulled out a Noodler’s Standard Flex pen that was languishing in a drawer. Following Nathan’s lead, I filled it with Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses to impressive results.

Noodler's Flex Pens

Noodler’s pens come in three sizes of which the Standard is the smallest. The Ahab is the largest while the Konrad is in between. One thing I’ve discovered in the past year is that with the added pressure needed to get those lovely wide lines, a smaller pen works quite well for me and often better than one with a chunkier girth. Consequently, the Standard that I purchased when it was first released has become an excellent size for flex writing even though in the past, it seemed too narrow. One of these models will suit your hand and all come with flexible nibs.

The piston filler works smoothly and the cap screws on tightly. It has a solid feel to its construction and should last a long time. I have the clear version also known as a demonstrator or demo. Years ago clear-bodied pens were used to demonstrate the inner workings. Admittedly it is fun to see that, but the real treat is seeing the color of the ink. For the Standard demo, Noodler’s Apache Sunset, Golden Brown or Black Swan in Australian Roses are beautiful as well as perfect for flex writing.

The nib is stainless and can produce significant line width. The writing sample shows what can be done with very little effort. Note the lack of railroading even when I write rapidly. This is a very well-tuned pen and required no adjustment to achieve excellent results.

The only caveat is the odor. After two years, the cellulose still has that characteristic scent though it has faded considerably with time. The fun of writing with such a flexible nib overrides my dislike, so the Standard Flex will become a regular participant in my rotation. Rubbing my fingers over the stainless steel faucet at my kitchen sink seemed to reduce the mild odor that lingered after a brief session. That trick works on things like onions and garlic, too.

For the connoisseur, the nib isn’t as supple as a Waterman’s Pink Nib, but it is very affordable and easily replaced if lost or damaged. This is the flex nib I would take on the road whether to the neighborhood coffee shop or on a cross country jaunt.

For the newbie, this is the least expensive pen to explore flex writing. Just go easy with applying pressure. Learn the pen’s limits so the tines don’t get damaged when you go for that 1.o mm line.

Forget the low-priced junk on eBay and pick up a Noodler’s Standard Flex pen. At $16 or so, it’s a steal.

Grab one at Peyton Street Pens, but read the cleaning info at Noodler’s Ink. Cellulose can get damaged if cleaned incorrectly.


Noodler’s Ahab’s Pearl Fountain Pen


Noodler’s hit the mark with the Ahab model. It’s attractive, chunky, and sports a stainless flexible nib for around $20. What’s not to love about that?

Noodler's Ahab's Pearl and Noodler's Konrad Fountain Pens

Dick Egolf of Luxury Brands USA sent an Ahab’s Pearl for review. Its silvery, pearlescent white color and stainless appointments make an attractive and neutral pen. Headed into spring it’s a great match for seasonal colors but it’s just as good with the rest of the spectrum. Absolutely every color works well with it.

According to Peyton Street Pens the Ahab “is made of a celluloid derivative and is technically biodegradable and formed from a “renewable resource.” Given the material, care in cleaning is recommended. However, if you don’t let ink dry out in the feed, a rinse with cool to lukewarm water is all it takes to make the Ahab ready for a new ink.

Noodler's Ahab and Konrad Fountain Pens

The Ahab is larger than the Konrad but has the same slightly flexible nib. Previous remarks about it apply. The upside is that employing a light touch, the nib is stiff enough to be used like a normal fine nib. Put a bit more pressure on the nib and the line turns broad. That makes it versatile.

The downside is that the nib is too stiff to make supple lines easily. It improves with use and, for writers new to soft nibs, this is probably a benefit. It is easy to bend a really flexible nib too far and either release a flood of ink or overextend a nib causing damage. The Ahab nib should stand up to that learning curve quite well. Another benefit is that the Noodler’s nib will adapt to your hand as you grow accustomed to it. Use it enough and you will become a team. Use it rarely and you may enjoy the outings less. Reaching full potential will take a little effort.

Noodler's Ahab Filler

The Ahab’s pump filler is simple and easy to use. The instruction sheet explains the process. The pen has a significant flow of ink which indicates the filler is a good type for the nib. No restrictions, skips or railroad tracks which is not something all flexible nib pens can boast.

Noodler's Ahab's Pearl and Kiowa Pecan on Rhodia paper

On the Rhodia Bloc No 16 tablet, it deposited so much ink that I had to leave it for a bit to dry but I’ve experienced longer drying times. However, unlike some inks that dry slowly, I couldn’t feel a layer of ink when I ran my finger over it.

Noodler's Ahab's Pearl and Kiowa Pecan on Apica

Noodler's Ahab Pearl with Kiowa Pecan on Apica - closeup view

Without flexing, the amount of ink on Apica 6A10 is just right but it is very free flowing when flexed. Too much ink resulted in some fuzzy edges but that’s happened with other combinations on Apica in the past. Anticipate some trial and error when looking for a good combination. If your Ahab doesn’t flow as freely as you would like, the ebonite feed can be adjusted according to the included instructions.

Initially, my daughter thought the Ahab’s Pearl smelled like cheese and the Konrad Tortoise like baby powder. A couple of weeks on my desk and the Ahab is now fragrance free. The Konrad is less aromatic but still mildly scented.

The Ahab comes in a variety of colors so it’s easy to find one that suits your favorite Noodler’s ink. Not that an Ahab won’t match well with another brand but the degree of lubrication with the Noodler’s inks I tested was a pleasure.

At around $40 for the Ahab, a bottle of ink, tax, and shipping, this is one sweet deal.

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