The pen I’m reviewing today is something I bought on a lark used off the Fountain Pen Network’s for sale page. I have to say that the Noodler’s Flexible Nib pens have been well marketed and sought after by many pen enthusiasts. Especially those like me, who are interested in pens on the lower end of the spectrum of price. This pen fits that bill. Its suggested retail price is $14. Noodler’s has come out with several special edition pens; the flex nib that I purchased is the December 25th red and green edition. I purchased mine used for $10, shipping included. It’s a piston filled pen that hold 1ml of bottled ink.
It’s a nice cheery red color with marbling throughout. The marbling is supposed to be green but I notice little if any green in the marbling. The nib is steel and an unusual design. It does not have a vent hole, instead it’s got a very deep channel cut into the feed that allows a lot of ink to flow. It’s labeled as a flexible but most users report that it’s a semi-flex given the amount of pressure needed to flex the tines. The nib reminds me of a crow quill dip nib. It starts as an extreme hairline point that I’d label as a double extra fine. Flexed fully I’d call it a double broad. With normal writing or sketching pressure I’d say it writes a fine line.
While I was writing I found that my traditional cursive, learned way back in 3rd and 4th grade adapted itself well to the flexed down stroke with this pen. It made it look old fashioned and could be useful for meditative and mindful journaling. There are a lot of tutorials out there for scripts that use a flexible nib. Writing with this nib is NOT the easiest thing ever. In fact I’d say my forearm got quite a workout. I’ve decided that to better learn how to use this pen I’m going to start filling out all the forms at work with the pen, in script. I figure that using it across the day will make life more interesting, give my forearm a break and exercise throughout the day. I’ll also get a lot of practice in USING the pen.
For the artist the place where this pen really starts to sing is in sketching. Flexed it’s not going to keep up with a rapid pace, but the hairline is great for putting down a few delicate lines and then regular pressure gives you a nice fine line. When flexed it gives a nice solid line that is great for shading. I tested it out on a variety of papers. This pen lays down a HEAVY line of ink, especially when flexed frankly you’ll need to find a sketch paper that can handle the flow. Papers that worked well: watercolor paper, better quality drawing paper, Bristol, and heavier sketchbook paper. Using this nib on gesso’ed paper is going to cause issues. Gesso is gritty and gritty surfaces grind down nibs. Writing on gesso will ruin this nib (and most) fast.
Some images of the various papers:
Here’s my verdict for a $14 pen it’s a lot of fun and worth the money. I have pretty strong forearms and hands and I found using this pen tiring for writing. If you have a light hand this pen will be very difficult for writing use. For drawing this pen really shines in its flexible line width. It does take some practice to use but it’s enjoyable and creates a really dynamic look. It’s comparable to a crow quill dip pen in line variety and it less likely to shatter with heavy handed pressure. It does take a heavy hand for writing to get the full flex out of it. It’s a very adaptable little pen as you can adjust the ink flow pretty easily. (Goulet pens is planning on doing a how to video on this and I’ll link it up when it hit.)
I found the slower pace forced by this pen great for meditative thoughtful writing. It took some practice to get something decent, well that’s something we can argue, but passable.
The major con of this pen is how slim it is. I might try fitting the nib into a pelikan body and see if it’s more comfortable. The flex forces a less relaxed grip and less comfortable writing style that I’m accustomed to, but then again, you aren’t really meant to write for 3 hours with this thing. The second con of this pen is that it holds only 1ml of ink, which is the same amount as a cartridge, and yes I did measure it. I’ve gone through 2 fills of Private Reserve Sonic Blue ink.