Noodler's Konrad Ebonite Flex Fountain Pen: A Review

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(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)

When Goulet Pens sent Pen Addict a Noodler’s pen to review, I’ll admit, I wasn’t all that enthusiastic. I’ve read that the pens can be hit-or-miss, and I was pretty sure I would not be much impressed. But, I was wrong. I love being surprised, and this pen surprised me quite a bit.

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The pen comes packaged simply, in a small cardboard box decorated with Noodler’s artwork. There was no padding or protection other than a plastic sleeve.

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The pen is made of ebonite and is incredibly light (only 18 grams). It’s a medium-sized pen (144mm capped), a bit longer than a Pelikan M600.

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This particular Konrad has a brown ebonite finish that looks like wood. The colors range from tan to dark brown, almost black.

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The cap is black with a silver-toned clip and ring. Both are engraved with the Noodler’s name. The cap screws on tightly, but the threads seem really rough. Maybe with more use they will smooth out.

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The Konrad is a piston filler with a blind cap.

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The pen even boasts an ink window. But, frankly, what you see in that ink window is the full amount of ink the pen holds (1.54ml according to Goulet Pens). A Pelikan M600 holds 1.75ml.

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The nib is a #6-size flexible steel. It writes a fine line when not flexed. When flexed, you can get the line up to about a broad if you push hard.

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And this is where I expected to find flaws with the Noodler’s pen. I thought writing with it would be unpleasant—a rough nib, not much flex, and lots of skipping. But that’s not what I experienced at all. The nib is very smooth. I can get some good flex out of it when I push down. And the pen never skipped, not even once, in my testing.

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I certainly would not call this a flex nib because it requires a good amount of pressure to get the tines to spread. But it could qualify as a pretty stiff semi-flex. You can see some examples of the line variation in the swirls and lines pictured below:

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I inked the pen with Iroshizuku Yama-Guri, a nice matchy brown. I found the Konrad to be quite pleasant to write with. As you can see, I was in a Dumbledore quote mood.

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You can purchase the Noodler’s Konrad Ebonite Flex in three colors (jade pine cone ripple, Methuselah’s pine cone ripple, or red rebellion) from Goulet Pens for $40.00.

Pros

  • For $40 you get an ebonite pen with a semi-flex nib and a piston filler. That’s a pretty decent price in my view.
  • Although the pen doesn’t hold much ink, I do like that it is a piston filler, and the ink window is a nice touch.
  • For people who prefer light pens, this fits the bill. It’s a good size for most people’s hands, and it won’t tire you while writing unless you push the nib pretty hard.
  • The nib on my pen was smooth, and with some pressure, I was able to get some decent flex from it. I didn’t feel uncomfortable pushing the nib on this pen like I would a gold nib.

Cons

  • I know that some people have had trouble with Noodler’s pens being hard starters or skipping. Goulet Pens instructs buyers of this pen to do a good flushing prior to use.

Due to the residual machining oils used when cutting the feeds for these pens, we highly encourage you to give the pen a good flush before use. We recommend any of the following options: distilled water, water with a touch of dish soap, a pre-packaged pen flush, or a solution of 10% clear ammonia to water. This should resolve most ink flow issues! I did a few flushes with plain water, and the nib worked fine. But if you have any trouble, just follow the above instructions.

  • Normally, I prefer pens with a little more heft to them, but because flexing requires some pressure, I think the weight of the pen is appropriate. It allows you to put some strength into your writing without becoming over-fatigued. Do be aware that you will need to use pressure to get the nib to flex.

(Goulet Pens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


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Posted on August 25, 2017 and filed under Noodler's, Pen Reviews.