Like some Melvillian Ishmael of old I make bold at this time to tell thee of Ahab… Incidentally that’s not the diabolically tormented and eventually ill-fated captain of the whaling ship “Pequod” but rather the slightly subversively political flex-nibbed fountain pen produced by Noodler’s in the USA. I say subversive and political because Noodler’s pens and inks have a philosophy behind it, and it is one with which I agree. Part of their philosophy emphasises value for money and the ability self-maintain pens. I wish all pens were made this way. I think all pens should be able to be repaired by the user without exception. With this pen the parts are replaceable and relatively cheap.
Dimensions: By any pen standards the Ahab (Aaarrrr matey) is a big beast of a pen. It is 140mm long when capped and 128mm from the end of the nib to the base. At its widest point the pen is 14mm across. I can’t see anyone using this pen posted as it becomes a mammoth 172mm long. The cap hardly covers more than a centimetre of the barrel so it is best used unposted.
Description: The pen I have is made from celluloid and it has shall we say something of a distinct aroma to it at first. One of the more noticeable features is the clip, shaped in the silhouette of a whale it is a well designed and attractive. The cap has a broad silver band around it, both the clip and the band are inscribed with ‘Noodler’s Ink’. The pen disassembles easily revealing the pump filler. Thus has a large capacity but for the ink thirsty hordes there is always the option of using this pen as an eyedropper. The instructions enclosed with this pen even let you know how to do this properly. Note when transformed to an eyedropper this pen has a whale like capacity for ink, get this wrong and you’re going to have one huge inky problem on your hands…
Feel: Using a flex nib is a pleasant diversion for the fountain pen user. I say that as someone who has no real clue about really fine and attractive handwriting. This one is a good-sized pen to say the least, those pen users with small hands might find this one something of a handful. The pen fits well into the hand though and the grip section is slightly stepped and comfortable. It is not the most elegant of pens, how could it be when the accompanying material says it was modelled on a whalebone false leg! However what it perhaps lacks in sophistication it more than makes up for in terms of being straightforward and fun to use.
Writing Test: The flex element of this pen is going to be the deciding factor in its purchase fo many. The good thing about the Ahab (Aaarrrr matey) is that this flexy diversion is not an expensive one. What’s even better is that this pen is no one trick pony because the nib works well whether you are flexing the nib or not. If not it gives a superbly fine, if wet, line and when flexed the line widens almost endlessly. I have to state again this is a wet pen, in fact it is the wettest of wet pens. You will use a lot of ink with this pen and your drying times need to be watched whatever ink you use. I have smudged many a note by forgetting this simple fact
Summary: The Noodler’s Ahab (Aaarrr matey) is a pleasingly affordably priced piston filler that, with its flex nib, offers something a little different and very desirable. The only drawback I know of with this brand as a whole is availability other than in the USA. I know of only one or two stockists of Noodler’s pens and inks in the UK and their stock is limited which is a shame.