We are pretty excited to get our Noodler’s Pens in because they’re our first flex nibs! We have the Noodler’s Nib Creaper, sometimes called their Standard Flex Fountain Pen.
Noodler’s Ink has really changed how people use and think of fountain pens – first creating much more affordably priced inks in a whole range of bold, vivid colours. The historical and political contexts and unusual labels have revolutionized the culture of fountain pens and inks.
The Nib Creaper Flex Fountain Pen was the first pen to make flex nibs accessible to everyone – fountain pen users, artists, sketchers, calligraphers and others have all jumped on board. Previously, those who wanted flexibility in their pens to give them line variations often had to use dip pens or much more expensive and fragile vintage pens. Some semi-flexible nibs are also available on modern, higher-end Japanese pens at a much higher cost.
Since its introduction and in part because of the popularity of their first pen, Noodler’s has also made two additional models (the Ahab and the Konrad) as well as introduced a Nib Creaper Rollerball. Noodler’s Nib Creaper Fountain Pen is $14.00, and their Ahab and Konrad are $20.00.
The whole concept of the pen is great: these pens are made to be used. The feed and nib are friction fit, which means you can pull them out and put them back in. This is really nice for cleaning – you can rinse them off and make sure there’s no ink left in the fins of the feed, but it also means you have a lot of room for adjustment.
If you have a really wet, lubricated ink that is leaving too much on the paper, you can move your feed closer to the tip of the nib. If you want greater ink flow, you can move the feed further back. These pens were made to be tinkered with and tested, especially as you find your favourite inks with different properties.
The pen has a twist off cap that can be posted, and while it has an ink window to let you see how much ink is left, the demonstrators are pretty popular as well. The Nib Creaper’s piston mechanism can be completely disassembled for cleaning. While Noodler’s makes a huge variety of colours, in our shop it’s currently available in Clear, Black, Black Pearl, Truk Lagoon, Hudson’s Bay Fathom and Gray.
The flex nib is something you will definitely need to play around with to figure out exactly how much pressure you need for line variation. On sites like the Fountain Pen Network, there are topics around how you can modify the nib to increase flexibility or flow, but as you write with it on your own, you’ll find its limits. It will write quite a thin line with minimal pressure.
It holds quite a bit of ink, but it also uses quite a bit of ink when you’re flexing. I haven’t had any railroading on it so far because the feed keeps up with it so well. When the pen first came out in 2010, some of the initial reviews had some problems with the feed, but Noodler’s has made adjustments based on the reviews, and most of the Nib Creapers seem to be writing pretty well since then. Of course if you have any problems, you can definitely call or e-mail us to get some advice on how to adjust your nib.
Our writing sample was done on Rhodia 80gsm paper, and J. Herbin’s Poussiere de Lune ink.
You may also want to play around with the smoothness of the nib – these nibs can have a little bit of tooth when you first get them, but as with any fountain pen, the more you write, the smoother it will get.
When you get any of the Noodler’s Pens, I strongly recommend you give it a good flushing before you fill it with ink. There may be some residual oils from the manufacturing, preventing the water-based ink from flowing smoothly. A good flush, thorough flush will resolve most flow issues. You can use an actual pen flush, water and dish soap, or a water and ammonia solution (9:1).
When you’re cleaning the pen and removing the piston, you can also use a dab of silicone grease to help the piston slide smoothly up and down the inside of the barrel, and also preventing any ink from leaking behind the piston, although you shouldn’t have any problems without the grease.
Some say that this is not the best pen for those brand new to fountain pens because of all the tinkering you can do, but I think if you’re willing to get a little ink on your fingers, this is a great pen. It’s durable and affordable, and you can learn everything you’ll need about how to clean a pen properly, how to adjust the flow, how much pressure to use just by playing around with the pen. You also can write a pretty consistent, fine line without any pressure, making it a good pen for everyday writing as well.
If you have never used a flex pen before, or if you are super with dip pens, but want something a little more convenient or portable, and something you can use for everyday writing, you can check out more details on the Nib Creaper here.