This review is by Kalina Wilson, who can also be found at geminica.com.
Not long ago I reviewed the Noodler's flex pen with mixed results. I wanted to love it, but my pen just couldn't keep up a steady flow of ink. Thinking it was just a matter of proper adjustment I spent hours trying every bit of advice online, even carving into the ebonite feed, but the pen got no more usable. Instead of giving me a graceful, sweeping line I was ending up with awful chicken scratch because so much labor was involved in making the pen flow.
It must be concluded that at least some of these pens aren't very good straight out of the box. That's not too surprising - it's often the case with affordable fountain pens, and the Noodler's is very affordable at $14. At least the Noodler's Flex is made to be easily worked on, with easy disassembly and a workable feed. It's a great intention, design, and pricepoint, you can't knock that. Still, I was disappointed that I was spending more time fiddling with my flex pen than actually drawing with it.
Now to the GOOD NEWS.
In June, a few online suppliers received new shipments of the flex pens, and I picked one up in 'Vulcan Coral' from Goulet Pens.
This one flows like a dream. Straight out of the box! No struggle required, though I did wash the nib in soap and water as always. I love sketching with this thing, and am already angling to grab another one next time they're on the market (that June batch is already long gone, but online retailers can put you on a list to be alerted when they're coming back). Flex nibs have a learning curve attached for those of us that aren't used to them, but now that I'm spending more of my time learning instead of cursing, I'm making some progress.
Does this mean the new Noodler's flex pens are better? Or is it a game of chance, since each ebonite feed is slightly different than the next? Did I irrevocably destroy my first pen during my efforts to salvage it? Is my new flex pen made out of magic?
Who knows. But I can tell you this - a functioning Noodler's flex pen is a thing of beauty, and a great sketching tool for artists. It's a gamble but the payoff might be the pen of your dreams.