Filling and Adjusting the Noodler’s Flex Pen

Link to YouTube for more viewing options.

There are a lot of Noodler’s Flex Nib Pens out in the world now! I thought it would be prudent to make a video to show you how to fill the pen from a Goulet sample vial and also how to adjust the nib and feed to change the flex and flow of the nib. Enjoy! Post any questions in the comments below.

2017-10-11T03:05:35+00:00 June 15th, 2011|Tips & Tricks|38 Comments
  • Looks good. Can't wait to receive mine in the mail.

  • Jay Pulli

    Thanks for the demo Brian. One thing I have noticed about my new Noodler Flex Pen is that the nib dries out if it goes unused for two days. Not a big deal, just run it under water for a few seconds. But it does always impress me how some (other) cheap pens can sit for months and months, full of ink, but unused, and the first time the nib touches paper it writes perfectly. Railroading, learned a new term of application to pens today, and it isn't even 6:30 AM yet.

  • Madhur Garg

    Thanks for uploading this Brian! I can't wait for my flex pens to arrive (Damn! Canada Post)
    Also, I understand what you mean about the demonstrator. I managed to get one and I feel as though I poached the Beluga Caviar of the FP world! Anyway, this video clears some of the doubts I was having based on some other peoples' concerns.
    Always a pleasure to hear from you!

  • Hey Brian you shaved!

    Great video! I suspected that in order to get more flex the nib must be pulled out, and for greater flow the feed must be pushed in but it's good to hear it confirmed by someone in the know.

    I haven't played a lot with mine since I got it but it definitely needs some adjustment because it likes to railroad. I didn't pick the best ink either, a J Herbin Gris Nuage which doesn't bring out the strengths of this nib.

    One problem that you didn't address (I'm not even sure it's addressable) is the scratchiness. My nib is definitely scratchy. If I don't press enough, it doesn't flex. If I press too hard, it tears into the paper. Is there anything that can be done about that?

  • Wow, that was very helpful.  I was fortunate to get two of these, which I have loaded with different inks.  They wrote very differently to each other, but until seeing this video, I had not even noticed the huge difference in nib adjustments.  I tweaked one of them to match the other and now they both work great!

  • Manda

    thanks for the tip brian! i'll have to play with mine later. and this is exactly the ink i put in mine when i got it last week. great combo. 🙂

  • Thanks for the demo Brian! Very helpful, as usual. I sure wish Ink Nouveau & Goulet Pens were around when I was a newbie. Not to mention these Noodler's flex pens!

    I searched in vain for a flex pen with a beginner's price tag when I first got started, and ended up spending what I consider a small fortune for my first one, a vintage Conklin. I was afraid to take it out of the house, let alone try any experiments with it!

    Nathan has done a great thing for the pen community by providing these flex pens at such an affordable price. As have you & Rachel by providing a wealth of information and supplies for beginning pen enthusiasts. Write On!!

  • Cathy Johnson

    Terrific, thanks for the info, I had NO idea it was that easy to adjust.  Happily, nine doesn't seem to need it, but when I change inks, I may. 

  • I hope the vid helps. It's a fun pen to mess around with!

  • Yeah, most Noodler's pens are like this. Plugging up the hole in the cap helps, as does cutting a small piece of sponge, wetting it, and putting it in the cap. As for railroading, that's a common 'flex' term used, now you know it!

  • You're very welcome! Hopefully Canada Post will get their act together soon, it looks like now they're on full strike!! You have poached the Beluga, but Canada Post is holding it hostage! 🙁

  • I'm glad to know my own 'findings' about the adjustments are confirmed 😉 I haven't heard anyone else talk about adjusting the nib and feed like this.

    Yeah, Gris Nuage probably isn't the best for it. Like any other pen, it will still have its likes and dislikes for different inks.

    You're right, I didn't address the scratching issue, I probably shouldn't have even mentioned it in this video, because I didn't really intend to cover that here. Honestly, I don't know what to suggest for that, because I haven't come across a pen I've found to be 'out of the ordinary' scratchy. The key to not scratching the flex pen is to only flex it when you're pulling on the downstroke. If you try to flex it while you're writing going up (away from you) or side-to-side, the nib will scratch the paper. I've checked dozens of pens and found all of the nibs to be consistently smooth, but if you're writing with them with too much pressure on the upstroke or side stroke, it will seem scratchy. Perhaps I need to address this in a separate video!

  • This is a great validation to this method Mark, thanks! Keep in mind, these feeds are all handmade, they're each heat-set by hand, and the nib and feed are hand set. Plus, since they're just friction fit in the pen, it's entirely conceivable they could shift around in transit before finally getting to you. A little bit of adjustment goes a long way 🙂

  • Apache Sunset is one of my favorites (that's why we used it in Ink Drop!).

  • Wow, thanks for the high compliments, Karen! This is exactly what we set out to do…educate new (and veteran!) fountain pen users. We just happened to be around as these flex pens came about, a serendipitous series of events that have helped both Noodler's and GPC, no doubt 🙂 We love doing all this stuff, and there will be much more to come 🙂

  • You're welcome! The adjusting comes in handy, especially if you have a stubborn ink that you need to clean, and you need to take the pen apart (or if you want to grease it up) like I did in an older video:

  • This is a good point from Peninkcillin – many people may not know that putting pressure on a flex nib while pushing it in the wrong direction causes scratchiness and ink splatter, among other problems. I think a video demo would be a great idea!

  • I'll get right on it!

  • Oh but I only push on the downstroke, never on the upstroke/sidestroke. It's a little bit scratchy when going down. But I'll just have to play some more with it, perhaps change the ink, adjust the nib/feed and maybe take a closer look at the tines with my loupe.

  • Deborah Roggie

    Hey, Brian, this was just what I needed. I inked up with Diamine Red Dragon and after playing with the nib & feed for a bit, my fingertips look positively bloody–but I'm getting awsome results. Thanks so much!

  • Melinda

    Thanks for the video – I'll be sure to mess around with my pen when I get it after the Canada Post strike! Some have mentioned that this pen is scratchy – do you think it has to do with the angle the pen is being held? I would think that you'd have to lower/raise the pen in your hand in order to find the sweet spot, but I'm not sure. Anyway, I'm really looking forward to getting this pen, because I've been wanting to try calligraphy! 🙂

    Also, will you be sharing the colours from the June Ink Drop? I'm not a member this month, but I'd like to see what the colours were! 🙂 

  • Haha, Red Dragon is a great 'looks like I'm bleeding' ink to get on your fingers 😉 I'm glad the technique helped though!

  • I think pen angle is a factor, as is writing speed, writing pressure, and pen rotation. This pen is one that requires a bit of technique to it!

    Yes, I do need to post June's colors! Sorry about that, I got a little sidetracked with the flex pens last week 😛

  • Leslie Brasher

    Thank you SO much for such a helpful video!!

  • You're very welcome, Leslie!

  • carole

    Brian, Thanks for this latest video, it really really helps.  Also I need some Apache Sunset now. 

    if you're doing another one, could I ask about something Nathan mentioned –he talked about using a pair of tweezers to adjust the nib tines.  But it was hard to see just what he was doing.  Does he put the tweezer smack on the end of the nib?  Or sideways to avoid the tip?   I couldn't tell exactly.   Thanks again for hosting all this discussion!

    About the Itchy & Scratchy issue:  it might be the angle of the
    paper as well–it helps to turn the paper so that you write at a 55
    degree angle.  There's a bunch of videos on the IAMPETH site that show
    how to do that.  Even if you don't want to write copperplate style, it's
    great to see the flex nib in action.

  • I'll have to go back and watch Nathan's video again to see what you're talking about with the tweezers, I'm not quite sure what he did. I don't think the angle of the paper would make this nib any scratchier than any other pen, but perhaps it could help anyway.

  • carole

    Sorry I wasn't clear about that-if it's ok to post a link, here it is:

    It's not that the nib is scratchy at all–at the halfway point in the video, he explains better than I can.   

  • DougBurch

    Thanks so much for this video.  I found some old nibs and did a shortening of their length and, with some adjustments from your video, they work great.

  • Jesse

    This video inspired me to try and fix my Ivory Darkness' flow issues again. I've had troubles on and off for months without ever getting a concrete solution, especially with my favorite black swan ink. I fiddled to death with the nib/feed and the best I could ever get was a good "writing" pen (no flex) but at least it wrote.

    After watching this video, I discovered something strange but it worked. Instead of following the rule of lining the nib tines perfectly centered with the feed, I noticed that the nib slightly off-centered gave me perfect flow. I centered the nib and it railroads terribly… off-centered and I'm back in business. I imagine this might have something to do with Nathan having to heat set by hand. Whatever the issue, my particularly stubborn flex pen's back from the dead!

  • Zachurek

    This is a video of Nathan adjusting the Noodler pen.
    Similar information but from a different perspective.
    This video discusses deepening the feed channel for a higher volume flow.

    If you have not listened to or watched Nathan he can ramble a lot. BUT he is a great source of information if you are interested in working with his products. Much of the information applies to other pens, mostly vintage.

  • Patricia A Donlin

    My first experience with the Noodlers Flex Pen was flying to Hawaii and practicing Calligraphy to pass the time.  After a half page of writing ink gushed out all over everything…hands, paper, pant legs.  Thank goodness I was wearing dark jeans. I have not used this pen since.  I washed the pen all out and that is as far as I got with it and that was months ago. I have just watched your video and am still hesitant to even try to fill it.  Hopefully I will attempt it and it will work properly.  Patricia A Donlin, Port Angeles, Wa. USA

  • It's understandable you'd be hesitant to try it again! Were you using the pen during your flight? If so, that would be your problem, not the pen. The change in cabin pressure (especially during take off and landing) will cause a pressure differential in a fountain pen, causing the ink to expel…that's something you need watch out for 🙂 

  • Sarah

    Hi Brian,
    Might be a good idea to mention not to pull the nib out too far. I just received my two Konrads, and they were writing a bit wet, so pulled the nib and feed out a bit, and it wrote perfectly. Put the cap on, and adjusted the second in the same way. When I uncapped them, I found they both had bent nibs. Maybe the Konrad cap isn't as long as the other flex pens?

  • Hmm….I'm sorry about that! Yeah, i made this video long before the Konrad or even the Ahab was even conceived, so I'll post an update for that.

  • I had that problem with my first Ahab…didn't have the nib and feed seated well and bent the nib. I've noticed that the Konrads have the nib tip a lot closer to the end of the cap (I bought a transparent demonstrator, and it's easy to see), so I'm careful when I cap it! LOVE the pens…

  • I have yet to find a pen that really likes flying…my Carbon Platinum did the same thing, and my vintage Platinum pocket pen.

  • Ah, good to know. Thanks Cathy!