Noodler’s Berning Red

18 04 2016

I don’t mix politics and pens (pens are for everyone, regardless of whether our worldviews agree), nor did I have the attention span to watch the 35 minute opus YouTube video related to this ink (I’ve tried 3 times and only made it a total of 4 minutes in, but I’ve heard that “it’s a trip” – interpret that as you will), so I can’t comment thoughtfully on the political aspects of this ink. But it’s quite a memorable label, and I don’t think any other ink company has labels as fantastically strange and detailed as Noodler’s labels.


What does it all mean? Maybe if I could pay attention for over half an hour I would know

The big draws for me on this ink are the quick drying potential, and the red color (I still haven’t found a perfect fall red). Noodler’s Bernanke Blue is the current gold standard in my life for quick drying ink. I haven’t given it a formal review, but I can tell you when I need an ink I can count on, Bernanke Blue is what I load up. The trade-off with Bernanke Blue is that it has no shading, tends to bleed through all kinds of paper (some more than others), and is given to some fuzz and feathering. It doesn’t come out sharp. But it hits the paper dry, yet has no problems starting up even after I haven’t used it in a pen for weeks. How does Berning Red compare?


Well for starters Bernanke Blue is probably around 475 nm wavelength and Berning Red around 650 nm as far as visible light goes

Just as Bernanke is a strong, rich blue, Berning is a strong, vibrant red. It’s not quite firetruck red, more of a warm autumn leaf color. It also has no trouble starting up in my pens after time spent unused, and has given me no dry-outs or hard starts. Good ink flow. Most excitingly, Berning Red exhibits some shading…on Tomoe River paper. Better than nothing!

This picture is the tl;dr summary image of this post

On every other paper besides Tomoe River, Berning Red has the same less desirable characteristics as Bernanke Blue: a tendency to fuzz and feather, to bleed through the page, and just generally fail to deliver a crisp writing line. It’s not the worst, but I’m picky, and generally willing to sacrifice a few seconds drying time advantage if it means ink that will look crisp on the page. I could just use this ink on Tomoe River paper, but on that paper Berning Red loses all dry time advantage; whereas Bernanke Blue dried in about 5 seconds on TR (most paper it takes 1 second, at most 2), Berning Red took 15 seconds to dry, no better than most any other ink. On other papers, dry time for Berning Red varied from 1 second to 5 seconds, maxing out at 25 seconds on the InkJournal paper. It’s mostly a fast drying ink, except when it’s not, and definitely not as quick drying as its close relative, Bernanke Blue.


Shade-wise it clocks in somewhere near fall maple leaf

Your mileage will definitely vary based on what pen and paper combos you bring to this ink. If you’re looking to use it as a quick drying ink, stick to cheaper and conventional papers and probably lean toward a finer nib for a better looking line. If you want the best look out of this vigorous red, then abandon all hope of a quick dry time, and pair a broad and/or stub nib with Tomoe River paper. Ideal for lefties? Eh, it can be, with a thoughtful choice of pen and paper.


(Pen Boutique provided this product at no charge for review purposes)

Noodler’s Ink Ahab Fountain Pen Lapis Inferno Flex Nib

3 02 2012

I didn't realize until afterward that I've got the exact same pen color & ink scheme as Office Supply Geek. OOPS

In spite of my inability to manipulate flex nibs in a way that creates true beauty, I still keep buying Noodler’s flex nib pens. Can this one really be that different? Yes. It can.

A real pen's pen

Thicker body with tapered grip? Much more comfortable to hold, and for only, what, $6 more? Well worth it. And this time, I managed to keep up with the box:

It's a cool box. You'd keep up with it too.

AND the instructions, which include Moby Dick inspired Noodler’s artwork, an explanation of the nautical design elements, and how this new filling mechanism works.

Everything you need to know, even if you feel like you have no idea what you're doing (click if you actually want to be able to read it)

The clip is a whale. The resin is a majestic ocean of your choice. Speaks for itself, really.

And can't you just hear the whale's majestic song? oooooOOOOOOOOoooooeeeeeee WAAAAAAAAOooooooooooooooEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH

Oh, by the way, this pen fills with a neat-o keen pump, which I find much easier to work with than the twisting piston on the smaller models.

And the pump rod at the end that also has ink in it? Works like a little reserve of ink. When you run out in the main chamber, push the rod down and the pen has access to that bit that's left.

Push down, pull up, push down, pull up one last time, and you’re done. Personally I think that’s easier to deal with, especially for a fountain pen beginner, than models with tedious twisting.

Biggest nib yet. Probably because of the whole whale thing.

Mine had no trouble writing right out of the box. I’ve read some mixed reviews online, some even going so far as to say that they would NOT recommend this fountain pen for beginners. I disagree. Unless you are rolling in wads of fat dough that you can drop on some high-end fine-tuned exquisitely crafted flex nib, then I think the Ahab is going to be the best flex nib you can get into without making the kind of price commitment normally reserved for business mergers or marriage proposals. If you’re looking to get into fountain pens (flex nibs especially) but don’t expect some fiddling to possibly be involved, then you’ve got to be fooling yourself. Some people may have to fiddle around to get exactly the flow they want from this pen; some people may be perfectly content with the pen as is. It’s easy enough to take apart on your own, without feeling the trepidation of taking apart something more expensive but equally serviceable, like the TWSBI (first time taking apart felt like I was breaking into a museum, or taking apart someone’s heirloom pocketwatch or something).

Family photo op!

It’s as customizable as you want it to be. You can decide never to mess with it, or you can go as far as to carve into the ebonite for more ink flow. Makes it more uniquely yours, don’t you think?

Almost forgot to add this gratuitous picture

I found the Ahab to be a delight to draw and write with (cursive writing in particular). Many thanks to Goldspot pens (full disclosure: I received a small blogger’s discount on the pen)! And HEY HEY YOU GUYS, at the time of writing this, Goldspot pens is having a Valentine’s Day sale, so you can get the Ahab for $19! Hop on it! Or harpoon it. Hyuk hyuk.

Noodler’s Ink Ahab Flex Nib at Goldspot Pens

Plus a couple awesome reviews, and some tips on adjusting the pen:

Noodler’s Ahab flex pen review by Peninkcillin

Noodler’s Ahab Flex Nib Fountain Pen by Office Supply Geek

Noodler’s Ahab Flex + Adjustment Tips by tanalasta at the Fountain Pen Network

Noodler’s Ink Piston Fill Flex Nib Jade Fountain Pen

20 11 2011

With Noodler's Squeteague ink!

I’ll try to keep this short and sweet, since I’ve already reviewed a different colored model of the Noodler’s Flex Nib fountain pen before. This post also features Noodler’s Squeteague ink, an ink for which I have devised over half a dozen ways to mispronounce its name. Of the ink, I will say it appears a bit darker, more blue-green-black, than it appears on my computer screen on the Goldspot website (there it appears what seems to me like a dark teal?).

Things I do on my lunch break: sit on a bench in the parking lot. Prop pens on my boots, boots that I am, in fact, wearing. Take pictures. Get funny looks from people going into the building.

The picture of the Jade model on the Goldspot website, from what I can remember, seemed more like a Squeteague teal blue-green-black marbled color than the Jade shamrock with white stripes marbled color that I received. But this is the thrill and excitement of such strange and unique resin patterns. The color has since grown on me. And, this is the first time (out of 3 Noodler’s pens in all) that I’ve received a little instructions sheet with my pen. I said to myself, of such a rarity, “I’d better put this in a safe place,” and have since promptly lost the directions in the swath of pen paraphernalia scattered about my room. It will probably be months before I see that piece of paper again.

It's just like the Pumpkin Poltergeist! Only different colors and on top of footwear!

I wondered if there would be any structural differences in this new batch of flex nib pens. The nib seemed to be exactly the same.

It even retained my inability to keep a nib clean

And it writes just as wonderfully as my other Noodler’s flex nib (also, I have gained 24% more knowledge in what I am doing with a flex nib fountain pen, so I can confirm that at my current skill level, both pens write equally well). There is a nice tactile sensation to the writing—you can feel the nib moving along the paper. It’s not scratchy, nor is it butter-glide smooth. It’s this still difficult to describe phenomenon that I find equally enjoyable in a fountain pen. I still don’t have total control of my line variation while writing in a way that I might deliberately manipulate my line thicknesses mid-character, but I am better now at writing with pressure. Let’s see some pressure in action!

If I keep it up, this carbon-based benchform will turn into a diamond.

That’s possibly and/or allegedly a 1.5mm line I’m about to make there. I wonder how this pen will hold up over time applying pressure like that. Will it ever damage the pen? Maybe I should stop all this pessimistic worry-wondering and just trust that Noodler’s knows best!

What the nib looks like when not writing on 4 inch thick minimally processed paper (also known as a wooden bench)

But wait! Aha! Here is the one and only difference I’ve been able to find so far. This round of pens has a different plastic feed than the last round. Observe:


I have no idea what it means. I have not yet taken out the new feed to compare it to the old one to see if any secret difference is hidden beneath the nib. Maybe it’s all aesthetic. I do like the look of the new feed better. Looks more streamlined, more aerodynamic (you know, in case I need to use the pen as a blow dart).

Disclaimer: Goldspot does not offer complimentary boots with purchase of Noodler's fountain pens.

Sadly, it appears that all of the Jade models are sold out. HOWEVER! Nine other color models remain in stock in the Noodler’s Flex Nib fountain pen line. Buy them while you can! They have a tendency to fly right out of stock the moment Goldspot receives a new batch. The fact that any remain at the time of this writing is either ludicrous, or indicative of this most recent batch being of a massive quantity. Regardless! This is a fun pen at a great price (and as always, the Noodler’s ink I used is fantastic).

Noodler’s Ink Piston Fill Flex Nib Fountain Pens at Goldspot Pens

Noodler’s Squeteague Bottled Ink 3 oz. at Goldspot Pens

Edison Collier Silver Marble Fine Point Fountain Pen

28 10 2011

Gaze upon the unending beauty of Noodler's Apache Sunset ink.

I am so excited about the Edison Collier that I almost can’t put it into words. I figured I would instead elope with this pen to Cancún, and send you all a picture postcard of the two of us writing novels forever on a picturesque beach. But it’s too rainy-looking outside for any of that, so a regular review will have to suffice.

In a world where most of my pens come out of a mailer envelope, a pen in a box is like a wealthy business tycoon stepping out of a private jet.

Tom Oddo at Goldspot Pens generously offered to let me try out the Edison Collier (and to keep a bottle of Noodler’s Apache Sunset—my choice—as a reminder of the beautiful time shared with this pen); naturally I jumped on the opportunity to try out a new and unknown pen. In spite of the deceptive aura of knowledge I may sometimes project, there are many things I don’t know about fountain pens, especially as you reach the upper echelons of quality and fanciness. I had not before heard of the Edison Pen Company, and I didn’t necessarily expect for this to be my kind of pen. For one thing, it bore no resemblance to any sort of child’s toy or Japanese spaceship. It looked big. It looked fancy. This pen was probably Out of My League. So I pulled out my top hat, and hoped for the best.

I don't kid about top hats.

The body: smooth. The marbling: mesmerizing.

Gaze into the swirling silken patterns and obey my commands

The only labeling is a subtly unobtrusive etching on the barrel, which I admit took me a little while to find.

It need not be labeled; every millimeter of quality craftsmanship whispers its name

This pen probably qualifies as a miniature nightstick. It is BIG. The only pen I have that’s thicker is the cap of my Rotring Core; the only pen longer is my taper-ended Rotring Art Pen. In a little more than two full revolutions, the cap comes off. You can technically post it, in a sort-of-not-really-this-will-fall-off-the-second-it-touches-anything-else sort of way.

With the cap posted, the pen legally qualifies as a miniature baseball bat.

Much to my verbally speechless amazement, this pen, this one pen is the only pen I have ever encountered so far that perfectly fits my natural, incorrigibly incorrect manner of gripping a pen. It is as though its creator chopped off my hand in the middle of the night, molded a pen to it, and returned my hand come morning with me being none the wiser. But it’s also comfortable with the proper pliers grip. I’m pretty sure that shimmer you see in the resin is actually captured magic. It is the only explanation for such inexplicable comfort.

I was hoping the design would feature an infinite regress of the design of a nib on a nib on the nib and so forth down to the molecular level

The nib on the model I got to try is, to the best of my knowledge, equal parts steel and wonderful. Every paper I write on is transformed to a plane of joy. Words, even if I wrote them with this pen, would be insufficient to capture the delight of writing with this pen.

I doubt I have yet transcended to a plane of existence where I could emotionally handle anything more than this formidably magnificent nib

This pen has nothing about which I can even begin to complain. There is nothing I can think of that I would improve. Once again, I’d like to thank Tom at Goldspot pens for letting me try this pen, and I’d like to thank Brian Gray of Edison Pen Company for making this pen exist in the first place.

And I'd like to thank Halloween for the orange background decorations

You like this pen? You’ll need this link: Edison Collier Fountain Pen at Goldspot Pens

You just like reading about this pen? Here’s a couple more reviews, you insatiable beast:

Silver Marble with Broad Nib — Office Supply Geek

Persimmon Swirl — Pen, Paper, Inks…Whatever!



one day, lovely pen, we will meet again