Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Filling The Noodler's Ahab Flex Pen

It's been a while since the Noodler's Ahab Flex Pen came out, and I have had this video in my sights for some time. So without further ado, here is a video that shows how to fill the Ahab with its piston, as well as how to convert it to an eyedropper pen. I even show the various ink capacities that the pen can have, and how that compares to your average cartridge/converter pen.

Noodler's Ahab Flex Pens

I'd actually recorded this video about two weeks after the Ahab was released back in November 2011, but I had an audio technical issue that rendered all the footage useless. I'd intended to reshoot it shortly after, but I was in the process of completing the Nib Nook (a huge project at the time) before my daughter was to be born, which happened just a few weeks later. For whatever reason, I had kind of mentally checked off that I'd done that video, and never got back around to doing it, until I had someone ask about how to fill it recently. I couldn't believe that I had forgotten to reshoot it in all this time, so I dropped everything and got it done!

There are two different ways to fill the Ahab, with the supplied piston, or if you remove that piston, as an eyedropper. Both will get you a good volume of ink, (1.7ml with the piston if the breather tube is missing, 1.9ml with the piston if the breather tube is in place, and 6ml+ with the eyedropper!). This was a significant improvement over the original Noodler's Nib Creaper Flex pen, which only holds about 1ml of ink.

So I apologize for such a delay getting this video out, but at least it's here now :)
If you'd like to see an overview of the Ahab, click here.
If you'd like to see a video on how the Ahab actually writes, click here.
If you'd like to see how to convert another pen to an eyedropper (Platinum Preppy) click here.
If you'd like to see how the Ahab compares to the Noodler's Nib Creaper and Noodler's Konrad flex pens, click here.

If you have any questions at all, just let me know in the comments.

Write On,
Brian Goulet


  1. How often should you re-seal with silicone? Also, why does my Ahab leak from the nib area? Thanks.

  2. If I were relying on silicone grease to keep 6 mL of ink in a pen, I'd be re-applying on every fill. That might not be necessary, but I really don't want that sort of quantity of ink gushing out on me!

    Does this leak occur constantly? Perhaps the feed needs to be heat set.

  3. Every one of the several Ahabs I purchased has leaked from the nib into the cap. I really wanted to like them--inexpensive, high ink capacity, write nicely--but the surprise cap full of ink means that they're all retired from use.

  4. Thanks - that breather tube really perplexed me! Do you ever find that ink seeps down between the inside body of the grip and the feeder/nib, so that it looks like it will come out at the base of the nib? That happened with mine and it made me nervous. Just now read Kent's comment below...hmm.

  5. Like Lee says, you'll want to put silicone on after every fill, especially if you are using the silicone grease as your only stopgap (with no o-ring).

    I'm sorry about your leak! How bad is it? Just a few drops here and there is normal with a lot of different pens, but it's different if it's enough to actually pour out of the cap or it's getting all over the grip.

  6. I'm sorry to hear that! Are these pens you're using as piston or eyedroppers?

  7. Do you have a demonstrator color? It's actually quite normal for any pen to have ink fill the area around the nib inside the grip section, you just normally don't see it!

  8. Almost any leaking or flow issue can be made worse by eyedropper filling a pen. This is especially the case if your eyedropper filled pen is not completely full. The large air space in a half full eyedropper pen will expand and contract with air pressure and temperature. This can lead to leaking and/or poor flow (e.g., if ink is pulled back from the feed). If you have to fill your eyedropper converted Ahab when the ink is a third empty to avoid problems - then why bother with the eyedropper conversion in the first place?

    If your Ahab is flowing well enough to handle most flex writing without railing, then the flow is great enough to warrant being careful about handling the pen to avoid leaks - this is not only true for the Ahab - but any pen.

    One of the most common causes for ink ending up in your cap is spinning the pen when you cap or uncap it. When you screw or unscrew the barrel from the cap rapidly, you will fling ink from the feed into the cap. Always unscrew a barrel from a cap slowly to avoid this, especially with pens that have generous flow and large nibs.

    I find the Ahab holds enough in the piston without having to risk the potential problems of eyedropper conversion.

    Worry more about whether your Ahab can write properly (or at all) in the first place rather than concern yourself about eyedropper filling!

  9. One more thing... Some swear that flow problems go away with Noodler's pens if you remove the breather tube. I have not experienced this personally (I hack the feeds to fix my Ahabs). But I though I would share the concept...

  10. Brian, my Ahab leaks the same way Kent described. It leaks into the cap - not a cap full but enough to have ink stain all over my hand...and I've had it for less than a year.

  11. My pen is used as piston.

  12. Lee, the leak does occur constantly where it settles into the cap. I'll probably try buying another Ahab one more time to see if this happens again. What is the benefit of heat setting the feed and where can I get instructions on how to heat set the feed? TIA

  13. Piston. I've tried both with and without the breather tube. Most just are slow leaks that make a mess, but one would empty the entire piston into the cap.

  14. I'm sorry to hear that. I don't really know what's causing that, honestly. The only reason ink would leak out the pen would be if there's a big temperature change or elevation change, which would cause a change in pressure inside the pen, or if the feed was allowing too much air to interchange with the ink making it too easy to come out. Despite the couple of comments here, I actually don't hear about this issue all that much with the Ahab. If you got it from my store we can set you up with a replacement feed, that fixes this issue about 90% of the time.

  15. Same goes for you, Angie, for what I just said to Kent. Shoot an email to drew (at) gouletpens (dot) com and he can help you out with it, he's my flex pen guy ;)

  16. It's true that eyedropper conversion increases the risk of certain leaking issues, but it's not a guarantee. It's not like if you convert to an eyedropper you're ensuring that you will have a leak. But I think the idea of filling a pen like this with 6ml of ink, throwing it into your backpack and expecting it won't leak...that's kind of unrealistic. You really just need to see how it works in your individual circumstance to see if it's something that fits your lifestyle or not. But the Ahab does have a generous ink capacity even without converting it.

    That's interesting about the cap, I'll have to keep that in mind. Thanks for that tip!

  17. It's definitely something to try, if you do have flow problems. It's easy enough.

  18. Yup, a transparent gold. Didn't know it was common.

  19. Use a heat gun (if you have one) or a hair dryer to heat the feed, put it together with the nib, and put them back in the pen. How much heat? That's a tricky one. It's best not to use too much, so start with a little and see how that goes. It's really easy to pull the feed and nib back out and try again with a bit more heat.

    Do not use any hot water methods. The feed is ebonite. It's a bad idea.

  20. Thanks for the tips here, setting an ebonite feed is as much art as it is science!

  21. Fighting to even get mine to write. Bone dry.
    I've cleaned the feed.
    Moved it further in and out.
    Moved the nib further in and out.
    Even if I feed ink into it with the plunger it writes for a bit then stops.


  22. First off, thank you so much for being such a great resource! Love these videos - and my Ahab. I was wondering what the specs are for the o-ring for the piston (the one where the piston screws into the rest of the pen). That o-ring on my pen broke, and I'd like to replace it. Thanks for your help!

  23. The Noodler Konrad Acrylic I recently got also has the same leakage issue from the feed/nib. It seems to be a universal problem with Noodler's flex pens, so replacing the feed probably won't help. Guess I have to stop carrying it around and leave it home on the desk for the rest of its life.


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