Posts Tagged 'Pen Review'

Quick and Dirty Pen Review – Noodler’s Flex

Oof, apologies for the lack of posts this week! I’m leaving my job and preparing for yet another big move. So there’s lots of reflection and a long to-do list on my part, but not a lot of blog-productivity.

Luckily, when my brain needs a break from job searching, I have the new Noodler’s flex nib fountain pen to play with. I bought this from Goulet Pens, and you can read Brian Goulet’s own review here. The unique thing about this pen isn’t a spectacular flex nib or beautiful design, but that’s it’s priced at $14.

Flex nibs for $14 just doesn’t happen, frankly. This is mainly because it’s incredibly difficult to mass-produce a flexible nib– it usually involves some hands-on work. Thanks, Capitalism, for leaving us with only vintage pens and expensive customizations as options for a flexible nib! And as far as I know, nobody’s quite sure how Noodler’s is producing these so cheaply. Brian’s hypothesis involves Oompa Loompas, and I’m just hoping that the secret is something like “patience and devotion to the craft” rather than, say, any exploitation here or overseas.

Although the flex factor isn’t drastic, this cute little nib definitely qualifies as a flex nib– as opposed to the nib on my Aurora Ipsilon, which most pen geeks would say “has some spring to it.” The difference is that when you’re writing regularly, the Noodler’s nib still responds to the slightest pressure change– whereas with the Ipsilon, you have to think about pressing down for flex.

Well heyyyy there. Hopefully you can see from my mediocre calligraphy skills that this flex is legit. In fact this is probably a great first pen for somebody wanting to get into calligraphy without the mess and supplies of a dip pen.

I tried to include three different writing styles so that you can see how this nib will work for varying handwriting. I saw the most shading on this third part, probably because I was writing faster and therefore the nib put down less ink on each letter. Compare this to the calligraphy, above, where I was writing more slowly and the ink color is fairly dark throughout. If you happen to write in all caps, a la The Pen Addict, you’ll get a bit of shading but will probably be annoyed by the responsive nib making lines widths inconsistent.

P.S. Credit goes to Rhodia No. 14 for the writing surface 😉


Pen Review: Parker IM/Profile

So a good friend (another English major) recently lost his pen case, which had all his fountain pens, and cheapies too. It’s always a bit of a heartache when a writer loses his or her tools– I still get pretty emotional about having a journal stolen in high school. So I wanted to buy him a starter fountain pen to begin rebuilding his collection, and I found some great prices on Parker and Waterman fountain pens through the France-based ebay dealer lewertowski.

Parker IM case

The Parker IM is no longer in manufacture, but still fairly available, especially through international dealers. It comes in a charcoal plastic case, and although it doesn’t come with a converter it does include a cartridge. Instead, I bought the “luxe converter” (again, through lewertowski’s ebay store), which is definitely a high-quality converter and fits perfectly.

Soo, I kind of love the body of this pen. Although it’s plastic, it’s definitely well-made and doesn’t look or feel cheap. The “girth” (is that a technical term for fountain pens?) is fantastic for those with larger hands, or, in my case, for those with carpal tunnel who can’t grip slender pens 😦

Cap-side view

"butt-side" (definitely not a technical term) view

I love the blunt ends of the pen body. They make the whole pen feel sturdier, and I think they probably add to the weight of it as well. One benefit of this design is a pleasurable experience when posting the pen: the cap encounters some air resistance when being posted, and thus sort of slides down gently (though securely) into position.

ah yes, the nib!

The Parker IM comes with a steel nib, and I chose a fine nib. The design is very simple, with no shoulders or breather hole. Richard Binder describes it as a “long thin ‘spike’ feed,” which was later adapted into the Parker 75. I have no experience with Parker fountain pens, so I don’t know if they traditionally run wide– but this one certainly does: it writes like a Lamy medium.

As for the writer experience, this nib is super super smooth. It never had any trouble starting up right away, and didn’t skip or leave any uneven lines. I’m not sure how it would write with a dryer ink, but I filled it with Tahitian Pearl and it writes beautifully. There’s no line variation (unlike the Parker 45), but it leaves a wide enough line for some shading.

As for a summary, I’d definitely recommend this pen for someone looking for a sturdy and reliable daily writer, for someone on a low budget, or starting out with fountain pens.

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