Review: Noodler’s Ahab Flexible Nib Fountain Pen

Noodlers Ahab Flex Fountain Pen

I have had the Noodler’s Ahab flexible fountain pen ($20) for a couple months and have tested it with Goulet Pen’s replacement nibs but hadn’t posted about the flex nib. As others have mentioned over the years, trying to use and learning to use a flexible nib pen is very different than how we use modern day pens, be they fountain or otherwise.

Over the years I’ve used a lot of different flexible nib tools. I have a few vintage pens that have some flex and I’ve used a lot of dip nib pens which are the least expensive and most flexible option in modern tools. Dip nibs are a little fiddly to use those because I frequently have to stop and dip and try to pick up my thoughts and my stroke where I left off. So there is a lot of appeal in getting the Noodler’s Ahab to work for me.

I got the Ahab in the Amazon Pearl finish but there are dozens of color options in the Ahab so there is bound to be one you like. The Amazon Pearl finish is a shimmer metallic forest green with some darker green threads in the color. Its really pretty.

The Ahab pen body feels likes plastic but is actually a celluloid derivative. This may explain a slightly acrid smell upon opening the pen. I noticed the smell most when removing the cap but it dissipated quickly.

Noodlers Ahab Flex Fountain Pen

The Noodler’s flex nib (found in the Creaper, the Ahab and the Konrad models) is split down the middle to give it its flex. By nudging the placement of the nib in the feed, its possible to adjust how much flex. However, the higher you place the nib in the feed (creating more flex) the more likely that the ink flow might become choked causing skipping or inconsistent ink flow.

Noodlers Ahab Flex Fountain Pen

In order to get the benefits of the flex nib, I needed to change my writing position from the left-handed overhand method I normally use to position where my hand is below the line I’m writing. Otherwise, the thicks-and-thins of the flexible nib are in the wrong places or non-existent entirely.

Using the piston filler, the Ahab will hold about 2ml of ink which is twice what the Creaper holds. Its possible to eyedropper fill the Ahab for even more ink capacity but I didn’t attempt that. I change my mind about ink color too frequently to want that much ink in one go. The piston filler is not a twist fill mechanism common to cartridge converters but rather a plunger mechanism to pump ink into the reservoir. It’s easy to use but might take a couple tries to get accustomed to the filling technique. This also means you must use bottled inks with this pen. No cartridges can be used.

Noodlers Ahab Flex Fountain Pen

While the pen felt light and a little plasticky in my hand, it looks like a more expensive material than some of the clear plastic pens in a similar price range.  Overall, I like what Noodler’s is doing with their line of flex nib pens and, for its small price, the Ahab is a good way to venture into flexible nibs. If you discover that flex nibs are not for you, Goulet Pen’s replacement nibs will fit in the Ahab and can turn the pen into a standard writer.

DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Goulet Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Written by

9 comments / Add your comment below

    1. I didn’t notice the smell with my Creaper and I don’t think that the Konrad would have the same issue. I think the smell is a result of the “celluloid derivative… technically biodegradable and formed from a ‘renewable resource’.” (Quoted from Goulet Pens’ description). So, stinky but kind of environmentally friendly?

  1. Do not expect the Ahab or Konrad pens to work correctly straight out of the box, especially when flexing. The nib will likely be starved for ink and railroad when flexed.

    Fixing this problem involves “hacking” the feed by cutting ink channels in it – not something for a fountain pen beginner to attempt. If you do want to embark on a Noodler’s Ahab or Konrad adventure, ask for help and search for posts on hacking the Ahab feed on the Fountain Pen Network.

    I have a bunch of Ahabs and Konrads, some with highly modified feeds and nibs. The smell of the celluloid-like material will dissipate over time. Be patient.

    For those who still find the smell of the standard Ahab and Konrad plastic objectionable, there are Ebonite (hard rubber) and Acrylic (plastic) versions of the Konrad. The Ebonite version has a faint rubber odor that will fade with time.

    The #6 size nibs and feeds in the Ahab and Konrad are interchangeable. Recently Noodler’s Ink started selling spare nibs and feeds for the Ahab and Konrad pens so if you screw up when hacking the pen, you can start over and try again. However, as of my post date, the spare parts are still a bit hard to find.

  2. Spot on! Pretty much mirrors my own impressions of the Ahab. 2 things that I don’t like: 1) the nib doesn’t come close to a vintage wet noodle, meaning that you need good, thick paper in order to get good variation without tearing up the surface; 2) the ink dries up inside if left unused.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.