Tag Archives: Noodler’s

Platinum Cool Fountain Pen

Jon is in the shop a bit more these days, and sometimes I go in with the baby and play around with some of the pens. There happened to be a Platinum Cool that had just been dipped, and I picked it up to try it out. To my astonishment, I discovered it is actually just my type of pen!

Platinum Cool Noodler's Turquoise Wonder Pens Blog wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada

The Platinum Cool seems like a pen that I would be very much into because it has a slightly softer steel nib that offers a bit of line variation, but I only recently added it to my collection, despite having carried it for quite some time. I’m a big fan of Platinum pens, from the Preppy and the Plaisir up to the 3776. The 3776 with a Music Nib is a post for another day, but it’s coming (it’s one of my favourite pens!). I’m not a glassy-glassy-smooth type of nib person, I like just a hint of that feedback so I can feel my pens writing, and for me, Platinum nibs are smooth with just that slightest bit of tactile.

Platinum Cool Fountain Pen Review Soft Nib Wonderpens.ca Wonder Pens Blog Toronto Canada

My surprise comes from the fact that long ago, Jon had a dipped Platinum Cool and I tried it out for fun. It wrote terribly and I thought it was just the worst pen ever. It turns out that terrible Platinum Cool had been a bit too enthusiastically tested in store (I guess the Cool’s reputation at having a bit of a “softer” nib preceded the testing), and the tines were warped in a crazy way. Of course Jon eventually had to ditch this unsalvageable Cool, and he’s long since had new ones in the shop.

Since then, Jon has been trying to convince me that I would really like the nib on the Cool because it has a bit of give to it, and also because it really does write smoothly, I just tested out the damaged lemon. I always shrugged Jon off – I mean, so many pens, so little time! Jon has been telling me for a while now that the Platinum Cool is actually a pretty popular pen, and that people really like its nib. I do most of the ordering, so I see that we are selling the Platinum Cool, and I keep ordering them, but I never gave it a second thought. Until I tried the new one…

Platinum Cool Fountain pen Review Flex Nib Wonder Pens Wonderpens.ca Blog Toronto Canada

This is a great middle of the line, all purpose workhorse kind of pen. It’s kind of a cross between the Pilot Metropolitan (in shape) and the Lamy Vista (clear), except that its nib is just a bit softer. I don’t think there’s a pen in this range (or even quite a bit higher, until you hit the gold nibs) that offers as consistent and as soft a nib. We have it available in the translucent blue or the clear.

Platinum Cool Fountain Pen Wonderpens.ca Wonder Pens Blog Toronto Canada

It includes a cartridge and a converter, which is a real plus at this price range, especially because Platinum takes a proprietary converter/cartridge only.

It’s a clean, smooth shape, with good weight – not too heavy, not too light. Snap cap (not twist).

Platinum Cool Review Wonder Pens Blog wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada

The only complaint is that the inner cap is white. Actually, I’m a bit undecided as to whether or not this is a real complaint. When there is ink in the cap, it’s of course going to be more obvious in the clear cap, although I don’t know if this is the real reason the inner cap is white.

Platinum Cool Fountain Pen Review Wonderpens.ca Wonder Pens Blog Toronto Canada

It has a clear grip section, so you can see the ink in the feed. The feed is also translucent, and looks like a translucent white before you ink it up. If you’re using a dark ink, or even a semi-dark ink like Noodler’s Turquoise, it darkens up, although you can still see a hint of the ink.

Platinum Cool Review Wonder Pens Blog wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada

But what makes this pen worth it is the nib. It’s smooth and has good flow without any pressure at all, making it a solid everyday writer, but you can also put a bit of pressure on it and get some thicker lines as a surprise.

Platinum Cool Fountain Pen Review Noodler's Turquoise Wonderpens.ca Wonder Pens Blog Toronto Canada

It’s a steel nib that offers a bit of line variation, a tiny bit of flexing. The Noodler’s Flex pens will give you much more flex, although you’ll have to work for it (adjusting, maybe some differences in flow). This Platinum Cool offers just a hint of flex, some solid line variation, but you won’t need to worry about any problems with flow, there’s no adjustment needed (or possible).

Noodler's Turquoise Platinum Cool Fountain pen Wonder Pens Blog wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada

I had Diamine Ancient Copper in it for a while, a great warm reddish copper brown ink that has killer shading, but before deciding to write about it for the blog, I happened to fill it up with Noodler’s Turquoise, another amazing shader – sometimes overshadowed by the brighter and more popular Noodler’s Navajo Turquoise which leans more to the bright blue turquoise. The standard Turquoise is one of my favourite inks though, a rich, shading green turquoise colour.

Noodler's Turquoise Platinum Cool Wonder Pens Blog wonder pens.ca Toronto Canada

Here’s Noodler’s Turquoise against another favourite, Diamine Sargasso Sea, two great shading inks!

Here are some close-ups of the writing samples with the Medium Nib, and then the Fine Nib. Keep in mind that these are Japanese pens and nibs, so they will run on the fine side – the Fine Nib from Platinum will be closer to an EF in a European pen, and the Medium from Platinum will be closer to an F in a European pen, but the pen is pretty wet so it’s not going to be as huge as discrepancy, as say in Sailor fountain pens.

I am personally partial to the medium nib, which I think has to do with the fact that the fine nib doesn’t mask shaky writing so well. You can also see a bit more shading in the medium nib, even without putting any pressure to get line variation. Actually, I usually use my medium nib Cool with very little pressure – I just use it to write normally – but it’s nice to bust out when I’m addressing an envelope or something.

Platinum Cool Writing Sample Medium Nib Noodler's Turquoise Wonder Pens wonder pens.ca Blog Toronto Canada

Medium Nib – without pressure and with pressure

Platinum Cool Fountain Pen Review wonderpens.ca Wonder Pens Blog Toronto Canada

Medium Nib – consistent pressure, “normal writing”

Platinum Cool Fountain Pen Review Writing Sample Noodler's Turquoise Wonder Pens Blog wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada

Medium Nib

Platinum Cool Fountain Pen Review Writing Sample wonderpens.ca Wonder Pens Blog Toronto Canada

Medium Nib with pressure for line variation

Platinum Cool Review Writing Sample Noodler's Turquoise Wonder Pens Blog wonder pens.ca Toronto Canada

Platinum Cool Fine Nib Fountain Pen Review Wonderpens.ca wonder pens blog Toronto Canada Noodler's Turquoise

Fine Nib

Platinum Cool Flex Nib Line Variation Review Fountain Pen Wonderpens.ca wonder pens blog Toronto Canada Noodler's Turquoise

Fine Nib with Line Variation/Pressure

I wish this could be an eyedropper, but I don’t think you can convert it because there’s a bit of metal at the back of the section, which might react with the ink.

The Platinum Cool is a pen for sketching and some light calligraphy or handwriting practice, but it’s not a “flex” nib, so you can also use it for everyday journaling or in the office for writing. It’s nice and wet with or without pressure, so it writes smoothly and will help show off some shading, especially on better quality paper. The soft-ish nib is a real bonus that you can choose to use whenever you like, and the flow will keep up without you even noticing.

Platinum Cool Fountain Pen Review Noodler's Turquoise Wonder Pens Wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada

How to Adjust a Noodler’s Ahab Flex Pen (or Konrad, or Nib Creaper)

I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for a while, but now that there will be a price increase coming up,* I figured it would be a good time to share a bit on what adjusting your Noodler’s Flex Pen might entail to help you decide if you’re going to pull the trigger on one.

Using a flex nib can be a lot of fun and an easy way to create elegant looking writing or to use in drawing or sketching, and the Noodler’s pens are often a great choice, especially if you’re just starting out. Noodler’s is most famous for their inks in so many different colours and with gorgeous labels. One of the philosophies of their business is to offer reasonably priced goods, rather than always striving for the profit margin, and in line with this philosophy, they also offer a few reasonably priced flex nib fountain pen model: the Ahab, the Konrad and the Creaper.

I have an Ahab that I love, and I use it to scribble and doodle with, and I also use it for a lot of my Instagram writing shots. Sometimes people ask what pen I’m writing with (the Ahab), and then they say, well, I have the same pen, and it doesn’t write like yours! While each pen might a bit different, there are a few steps on adjusting your pen so it will write a bit more like how you’d like.

Calligraphy Writing Video Wonder Pens  Toronto Canada

One of the idiosyncrasies of the Noodler’s flex pens, in line with the fact that it’s not going to run you out of your wallet, is that it sometimes takes a bit of fiddling and adjusting to get it to write the way you want. This can sometimes be a good thing (if you enjoy fiddling around, or if you like the flexibility of adjusting how your pen writes) but sometimes a not-so-good thing if you don’t have the patience to adjust it.

In the bricks & mortar shop, we try to emphasize this fact, that you’ll likely have to spend some time getting to know your new flex pen. One of the things about test driving an Ahab flex nib in the shop is that it’s almost guaranteed that your Ahab will not write like that one, so writing with the one we’ve adjusted and softened up over time can be a bit misleading to yours straight out of the box. Stay the course!

If all you’re going to read is the first bit, then there are two pieces of advice I might give:

1. Take your nib and feed out of your flex pen, and wash them with soapy water. I give it a squirt of dish soap, and rub them between my fingers for maybe 10 seconds. If I’m feeling like daydreaming, I might do it twice. Rinse.

2. Give it time! Not only in terms of adjusting it and maybe if it’s not working perfectly, leave it overnight and try again the next day, but over many months of using it, you may find that the nib softens up on you a bit.

The general rule of thumb for adjusting your Noodler’s flex pen is:

For wetter flow, push the nib and feed closer together, and closer in.
For drier flow, pull the nib and feed further apart, and slightly further out.
And then keep fiddling. 

I generally suggest sitting down and getting ready to get your hands really inky the first time, and then you may have to do small adjustments later, but you hope the bulk of the adjustment is done. You may have to do more adjusting later if you change the ink, or if you’re giving it a thorough washing by taking out the nib and feed.

Supplies:

How to Adjust your Noodler's Ahab Konrad Creaper Flex Pen Wonder Pens wonder pens.ca Toronto Canada

– Noodler’s Flex Fountain Pen, in this case we’re using the Ahab in Topkapi
– Ink – you may want two or more inks just in case you get bad luck and the first ink you pick is not so good in your Ahab – we’re using Stormy Grey
– Ink Syringe (if you’re filling as an eyedropper)
– Silicone Grease (if you’re filling as an eyedropper)

Adjusting your Noodler's Ahab Konrad Creaper Wonder Pens wonder pens.ca Toronto Canada

Step One: Pull your nib and feed out and give them a nice soapy bath.

Remember when you’re putting it back in that the Ahab has a grove where the nib fits in, and it won’t fit in properly if it’s not lined up. In the photo below, you can see that the nib would fit at the top.

How to Adjust your Noodler's Ahab Flex Pen wonder pens.ca Wonder Pens Toronto Canada

Adjusting your Noodler's Ahab Flex Pen Filling with Bottled Ink Wonderpens.ca Wonder Pens Blog Toronto Canada

Step Two: Fill the pen with ink.

If this is the first time with the pen, I generally recommend using the converter because you won’t have to waste as much ink if you end up dumping it, but more importantly, you can use the converter to “prime the feed” a bit by pushing it down and forcing ink through as you’re testing. Obviously this is not the long term solution, to have to continually push down on the converter, but it may be helpful as you’re trying to adjust.

How to Fill your Noodler's Flex Ahab Eyedropper Fountain Pen Wonder Pens wonder pens.ca Toronto Canada

If you’re filling as an eyedropper, put some silicone grease around the threads of the barrel (to prevent leaking) and put some ink directly in the barrel. You won’t have any option to push more ink through, but you get a LOT of ink.

Why does my Ahab Konrad Creaper railroad Wonder Pens wonder pens.ca Toronto Canada

The dreaded railroading!

Step 3: Start writing and see how it does.

You may find that it writes fine if you’re not flexing too much, but the more you flex, the more problems you may have. If you just need the tiniest bit of variation as you’re writing, then maybe you don’t need any adjustment at all! Or you may have found the golden ticket pen and it writes and flexes with no problem. If not, don’t worry!

Especially at first, give your Ahab some time! Don’t just write a few strokes with it and then adjust it right away if it’s not writing for your the way you like – the ink flow may need a few moments to settle and fill your feed, and get flowing properly. Try a few strokes, a few sentences, wait a bit. You can try pressing a cloth to the nib and feed to draw some ink through.

However, at a certain point, you just know it’s not going to give anymore, so, you adjust.

Step 4: Pulling the nib in and out, also known as, when the fingers start to get inky.

Noodler's Ahab Konrad Creaper Flex Pen Adjustments Wonder Pens wonderpens.ca Blog Toronto Canada

If your Ahab is dry or railroading, try pushing the nib and feed closer together.

Adjusting your Noodler's Ahab Konrad Creaper Flex Pen Wonder Pens wonder pens.ca Blog Toronto Canada

If your Ahab is too wet and you’re getting blobs or drips of ink, try separating the nib and feed a bit more.

Give it some time and a LOT of writing. You may find that it blobs and then starts railroading, so is it too wet or too dry?? It may just be that the feed needs some more time to regulate the flow, so a bit more writing to try and even it out before you figure out how to adjust it next.

Adjusting Noodler's Ahab Konrad Creaper Flex Nib Ink Flow Wonder Pens Blog wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada

Noodler's Flex Pen Ahab Konrad Creaper Adjusting Wonder Pens Blog wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada

Keep going and adjusting. Write, write, write, give your pen a chance for some flow, and then write some more. Adjust slightly, and then see how it does. This is a pen that does best with a healthy dose of love and patience, so if it railroads, give it a few more strokes before you adjust it again.

I personally like my Ahab nice and wet (if you watch the video above, you’ll see how wet the ink is!), which occasionally results in blobs of ink, but I like it wet so my inks show lots of shading. Keeping this in mind, I generally use higher quality paper with my Ahab so it doesn’t become a hot mess. I also find a bit of ink in my cap every once in a while (I’m not sure if the two are related, I think it’s probably more to do with the fact that I knock around my Ahab quite a bit). This tugging the nib a bit in or out is literally all I do with my Ahab if I’ve changed the ink and I find the flow isn’t what I’d like.

Noodler's Ahab Konrad Creaper Flex Pen How to Adjust Wonder Pens Blog wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada

Adjusting Noodler's Ahab Konrad Creaper Fountain Pen Flex Wonderpens.ca Wonder Pens Blog Toronto Canada

Step 5: If this all isn’t working, you can trying heat-setting your nib and feed.

Heat-setting heat setting Noodler's Ahab Konrad Creaper Flex Nib Pen Wonderpens.ca wonder pens blog Toronto Canada

Heat up some water so it’s hot, just off boiling, and dip your nib and feed in. You can hold it there for a minute or two, which should soften up the ebonite feed a bit. Press together firmly, so the nib and feed will end up cooling and re-hardening against each other. You may end up trying this a few times, but remember to give the testing a fair shake before you re-adjust as it may just need a few minutes for the ink flow to really regulate.

Heatsetting Nib and Feed from Noodler's Ahab Konrad Creaper Flex Pen Wonder Pens Blog wonder pens.ca Toronto Canada

Your Noodler’s flex pen will probably not ever write like a vintage flex pen, not as soft, or with as consistent a flow, but with a bit of adjustment it can do pretty well. You may also have to slow down a bit as you write, but the more you write with your pen, the more you’ll get to know exactly how much you can ask of it. Eventually over time, you may find that your Noodler’s flex nib will soften up, and not be quite as stiff as it was when you first got it.

One last thing to keep in mind about your Noodler’s pen: some inks may just not be great in it, and they never will be. Just like you may know one of your pens is a bit of a dry writer or a wet writer or a pen likes a particular ink, even more so for a Noodler’s Flex Pen where the ink flow is so variable. One ink may work in your Clear Ahab, but strangely not in your Apache Tortoise Ahab. It’s a bit of trial and error.

In my Ahab, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that J. Herbin Ambre de Birmanie, my favourite of all shading inks, is just not going to work in my current Ahab. It was a long road to acceptance, and along the way I think I’ve tried Ambre de Birmanie six or seven times, but I’ve finally reached it.

Good luck with yours! And don’t give up!!

*As of August 1st, 2015, Noodler’s flex pens will be undergoing a price increase, due to manufacturing costs:

Nib Creaper from 17.50 to 20.15 CAD
Ahab/Konrad from 25 to 28.75 CAD

Another Canadian Noodler’s Ink – Raven Black

From New England to Canada: Raven Black

Raven Black Canadian Exclusive at Wonder Pens wonderpens.ca Toronto, Canada Noodler's Fountain Pen Ink

This is the second of the two Canadian inks we’ve brought in from Noodler’s!

We’ve been anticipating this ink for literally months – before we even found this new space here at 250 Carlaw, we had been going back and forth on some of the old Noodler’s inks that had been discontinued. We had actually held off on shipping it at first because of the cold winter weather (imagine how disastrous – a box of broken inks, and Canadian ones at that!), and then with the delays from the move, we kept postponing and postponing. I’m pretty sure there were a few boxes of inks with our name on them at our distributor’s, just sitting and waiting to come home.

Raven Black is inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem “The Raven.” Maybe it’s because I’m a former English student, and I know ink itself is a pretty romantic notion these days anyways, but how can you get more romantic than an ink inspired by a poem? If you’re a writer or a poet, how could you resist writing with an ink inspired by Edgar Allan Poe?

“The Raven” is a poem told from the perspective of a heart-broken lover mourning the death of his beloved. In the midst of his sadness, he’s interrupted by a mysterious raven, who – even more mysteriously – speaks.

As the narrator attempts to discover the raven’s origins, the raven can only repeat the phrase “Nevermore.” Twisted further and further into the dark lure of the raven’s answer and his own grief, the narrator continues to ask questions about life and his own dead lover. Fear and desperation begin to overcome the narrator as he realizes the deep darkness of the raven, and eventually it is revealed that the narrator’s soul is trapped under the shadow of the black raven. 

Okay, so the poem is a bit dark and creepy, but it made Poe famous across America, a national celebrity. The poem was praised for its haunting originality, and was the start of Poe’s career as a writer and poet. Since then, “The Raven” has influenced or been referenced in all sorts of American and even international pop culture.

The label features, of course, a raven, and the phrase “Nevermore…” and I must say the label is one of my favourite parts of the ink as a whole! There’s something a bit haunting about the black raven and that yellow background…

Raven Black Canadian Exclusive at Wonder Pens wonderpens.ca Toronto, Canada Noodler's Fountain Pen Ink

Fittingly, this new ink, Raven Black, is a black black. A description from Nathan Tardif, the creator of Noodler’s ink, goes:

A large Northern Raven – solitary and mysterious as is its nature, unlike crows –  from an old 19th century painting – seemed the perfect label for a deeper mystery than the louder 1930s style. Only Mr. Poe and that bird would be worthy – and thus the darkest vintage period style ink that Noodler’s could make became “The Raven”

It’s a dark, deep black, most close to Borealis Black from Noodler’s, actually, rather than Noodler’s Standard Bulletproof Black, which is just a touch lighter. Borealis Black is described as “…an intense deep black line from Noodler’s Inks. The Blackest of the conventional Blacks!!” from the Noodler’s website, and it truly is a dark black. Raven Black is in this same vein, being a deep, rich, saturated black.

Raven Black Canadian Exclusive at Wonder Pens wonderpens.ca Toronto, Canada Noodler's Fountain Pen Ink

Raven Black Canadian Exclusive at Wonder Pens wonderpens.ca Toronto, Canada Noodler's Fountain Pen Ink

Raven Black Canadian Exclusive at Wonder Pens wonderpens.ca Toronto, Canada Noodler's Fountain Pen Ink

Raven Black Canadian Exclusive at Wonder Pens wonderpens.ca Toronto, Canada Noodler's Fountain Pen InkRaven Black Canadian Exclusive at Wonder Pens wonderpens.ca Toronto, Canada Noodler's Fountain Pen Ink

Raven Black Canadian Exclusive at Wonder Pens wonderpens.ca Toronto, Canada Noodler's Fountain Pen Ink

I originally thought this wasn’t going to be a bullet proof ink, but it turns out it is! This is actually a bulletproof, eternal and forgery resistant ink! The slight smudging you see when it’s held under the tap for a while is due to the fact that Nathan has identified it as “vintage-waterproof” – see more here on Noodler’s Properties PDF.

Raven Black Canadian Exclusive at Wonder Pens wonderpens.ca Toronto, Canada Noodler's Fountain Pen Ink

Here’s a photo of the Raven Black against the standard bulletproof black after about 20 seconds under the tap. The swab lost a bit of ink, mostly the top layer of dried ink that wasn’t able to bond with the paper. The writing of “Raven Black” actually looks pretty good, I think because there’s not so much ink layered on top to lose to the water.

Raven Black is not bad on copy paper either! There’s a bit of feather and bleed through as is usually expected with fountain pen inks, but it’s pretty good for such a saturated ink.

Raven Black is a smooth, wet ink, with good flow. It’s fairly water resistant, even with holding the paper under the tap, and I imagine it would become more and more water resistant the longer it has to dry on the page.

Raven Black Canadian Exclusive at Wonder Pens wonderpens.ca Toronto, Canada Noodler's Fountain Pen Ink

As it says on the label, this ink is from New England to Canada, and we couldn’t be happier than to welcome it home! We’re really hoping that the Canadian fountain pen market continues to grow and that we can sustain a few of these Canadian exclusive inks. Of course we had to have a black ink along with our Blue Upon the Plains of Abraham, and we’re so pleased that Raven Black is here.