Heat Setting a Noodler’s Ebonite Feed

One of the most asked questions we get at GouletPens.com is about how to tweak the Noodler’s Flex pens: the Ahab, Konrad, and Nib Creaper. These pens are honestly a modern marvel in the pen world, but they are not without their quirks.

Cleaning out your pen thoroughly is always a good first step, if you ever have any flow issues. That’s with any pen, honestly, not just Noodler’s. But once you’ve done that, you may feel that the pen still just isn’t quite working like you’d hoped. There could be a variety of reasons that pens like these have flow issues, but far and away the best thing you can do to troubleshoot them is to heat set the nib.

Heat setting is a great option for helping with the following situations:

  • Consistent railroading 
  • Dry writing
  • Hard starting
  • Dripping
  • Excessive leaking into cap
  • Blobbing
  • Excessively wet writing
  • Changing of the nib to another type

The great thing about the hot water heat setting method we show in this video is that it’s so easy to do, and so simple. You don’t have to mess with lighters, candles, or voodoo to get it to set, the hot water works great. And you can heat set over and over and over again if you find you need to. Just heat the water, set it again, and go from there.

Heat setting is something that has raised a lot of questions and has been shrouded in a bit of mystery. But you see now how straightforward a process it really is, and it can get that fussy Noodler’s pen working like you feel it should.

I’d love to hear your comments,  questions, or concerns! Just post in the comments below.

Write On,
Brian Goulet

2017-10-11T14:19:56+00:00 March 18th, 2014|Tips & Tricks|36 Comments
  • mike

    my goodness, the production quality of your videos is getting better and better. great job, brian + the goulet team!

    • Hey Mike, thanks so much! We definitely put a lot of planning into this one, wanted to make sure we got the right info across.

  • mike

    my goodness, the production quality of your videos is getting better and better. great job, brian + the goulet team!

  • Hey Mike, thanks so much! We definitely put a lot of planning into this one, wanted to make sure we got the right info across.

  • Tom Johnson

    Brian, great video! I did not know it was that simple, thanks. And, great to see Drew in the video too. I’ll try this on my clear Konrad soon.

  • Tom Johnson

    Brian, great video! I did not know it was that simple, thanks. And, great to see Drew in the video too. I'll try this on my clear Konrad soon.

  • Gordon

    I had a problem with the first Ahab I bought, many long months ago – and the only resource available at the time was Nathan Tardif’s lengthy explanation of how to do this with a tiki torch (which, from memory, I was directed to by Katy – thanks again Katy!). It worked, and I was grateful (though I took Katy’s advice and bypassed the candle, dropping the feed in hot water instead)… But this method is so much simpler, and this video so much more fun to watch. So, thanks for doing this – you’ve created a really useful video for future generations of Noodler’s pen users!

  • Gordon

    I had a problem with the first Ahab I bought, many long months ago – and the only resource available at the time was Nathan Tardif's lengthy explanation of how to do this with a tiki torch (which, from memory, I was directed to by Katy – thanks again Katy!). It worked, and I was grateful (though I took Katy's advice and bypassed the candle, dropping the feed in hot water instead)… But this method is so much simpler, and this video so much more fun to watch. So, thanks for doing this – you've created a really useful video for future generations of Noodler's pen users!

  • anaximander70

    Wow! This is a great-looking video! Welcome, Drew, to the world of fountain-pen video fame! Seriously, nicely done and great information. In the future, I hope that you will show us more ways that we can use our fountain pens in the microwave. (jk)

  • anaximander70

    Wow! This is a great-looking video! Welcome, Drew, to the world of fountain-pen video fame! Seriously, nicely done and great information. In the future, I hope that you will show us more ways that we can use our fountain pens in the microwave. (jk)

  • hugehead

    Great video – informative, at least for Noodler’s owners. What I appreciated was the production quality of the video – improved lighting, etc. Brian needs to work on the acting part in the black & white dramatization scenes 😉

  • hugehead

    Great video – informative, at least for Noodler's owners. What I appreciated was the production quality of the video – improved lighting, etc. Brian needs to work on the acting part in the black & white dramatization scenes 😉

  • Indira

    Thanks for the information! I was a bit hesitant to take fire to the thing. I’m 85% confident that I can heat some water up without incident. Hopefully I can improve my Ahab and play with setting some dip pen nibs.

  • Indira

    Thanks for the information! I was a bit hesitant to take fire to the thing. I'm 85% confident that I can heat some water up without incident. Hopefully I can improve my Ahab and play with setting some dip pen nibs.

  • David

    Nice video production. But…

    1. I do NOT recommend heat setting an EBONITE pen like this (immersing the whole section with the feed and nib in hot water). You might get away with immersing the pen in near boiling water if it is plastic, But if the pen and feed are both Ebonite, you are softening both the feed and the section at the same time. Noodler’s makes BOTH plastiic (“Vegetal”) and Ebonite pens. So pay attention to what type of pen you have. An Ebonite pen faintly smells like burnt rubber.

    2. The method shown in the video does not address heat setting the feed to the section. It is important that BOTH the nib and the section make proper contact with the feed (the “section” is the hollow end of the pen that holds the nib and feed). I recommend removing the feed and nib then warming them in the not water, Next reinsert the nib and feed into the cool section together while they are still warm. Wait for the pen to cool down. Now everything seats itself to everything else.

  • David

    Nice video production. But…

    1. I do NOT recommend heat setting an EBONITE pen like this (immersing the whole section with the feed and nib in hot water). You might get away with immersing the pen in near boiling water if it is plastic, But if the pen and feed are both Ebonite, you are softening both the feed and the section at the same time. Noodler's makes BOTH plastiic ("Vegetal") and Ebonite pens. So pay attention to what type of pen you have. An Ebonite pen faintly smells like burnt rubber.

    2. The method shown in the video does not address heat setting the feed to the section. It is important that BOTH the nib and the section make proper contact with the feed (the "section" is the hollow end of the pen that holds the nib and feed). I recommend removing the feed and nib then warming them in the not water, Next reinsert the nib and feed into the cool section together while they are still warm. Wait for the pen to cool down. Now everything seats itself to everything else.

  • amber

    I enjoyed the video…informative and fun to watch. You guys did a great job. The video quality was great and the “black and white” bit was creative. Thanks for all the time and effort you and your team put into sharing information with us! It’s very much appreicated.

  • amber

    I enjoyed the video…informative and fun to watch. You guys did a great job. The video quality was great and the "black and white" bit was creative. Thanks for all the time and effort you and your team put into sharing information with us! It's very much appreicated.

  • Dathan

    Reminds me of a “Good Eats” with Alton Brown style of production – very fun, very informative. Thanks Brian!

  • Dathan

    Reminds me of a "Good Eats" with Alton Brown style of production – very fun, very informative. Thanks Brian!

  • haven’t had to do this yet, but when I do it will be good to know that Brian Goulet comes to the rescue again! Thanks.

  • haven't had to do this yet, but when I do it will be good to know that Brian Goulet comes to the rescue again! Thanks.

  • Reynard

    Problem I had with a Konrad is that even if the nib & feed are set correctly, there was still a gap between the inside of the section and the nib. The air ended up flowing in over the nib, instead of through the air channel in the feed. I found a position that made the gap small enough to more or less work, but when the nib is a different radius of curvature than the inside of the section, there’s only so much you can do. Hope most of the pens aren’t like mine.
    Example: http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php/topic/223853-noodlers-konrad/

  • Anon_RD

    Problem I had with a Konrad is that even if the nib & feed are set correctly, there was still a gap between the inside of the section and the nib. The air ended up flowing in over the nib, instead of through the air channel in the feed. I found a position that made the gap small enough to more or less work, but when the nib is a different radius of curvature than the inside of the section, there's only so much you can do. Hope most of the pens aren't like mine.

  • Brooks

    I would worry about hot water distorting the celluloid part of the pen. I watched a Japanese pen video on Fountain Pen Network Forum. The elderly guy making the pens used boiling water and a pair of forms (interior rod, exterior tube) to change/set the size of the celluloid pen body blanks. I have shrunk one of my Noodler pen bodies while washing nib/feed/pen in hot tap water (got hot w/o me noticing, alas). This was a clear demonstrator Konrad. The section shrank, and it’s hard to stuff the nib and feed in now.

    I expect this is one reason Nathan Tardif recommends fire, not hot water. btw, even if your feed catches fire, or smokes, you can repair it if you dunk it in water before it burns up….I’ve fixed 2 of mine so far *smiles*. Repairing a burned feed has got to be easier than reforming a distorted/shrunk pen and section.

  • Rich S

    For Noodler's Q&A…

    I'd love to see you demonstrate the experiment you mentioned in a previous episode. Please show us what happens when you mix Baystate Blue with a non-Baystate ink!

  • Siome

    Does this method also “work” (perhaps not as well) with plastic feeds? I have a jihao with some of those problematic behaviors described in the video – it has a slow start, followed by too much flow, followed by slow start, and sometimes I have to write with the nib upside down for it to work!

    • Tom Johnson

      Siome, since the plastic feeds are injection molded I expect it would take a higher temperature than this to soften it and the feed may melt too easily. About your Jihao problem, my only thought is to make sure that the nib and feed are well flushed out after soaking in some pen flush. Maybe there is some dried ink or oils in the feed that makes it hard to start but does not block the flow once it has started.

  • Siome

    Does this method also "work" (perhaps not as well) with plastic feeds? I have a jihao with some of those problematic behaviors described in the video – it has a slow start, followed by too much flow, followed by slow start, and sometimes I have to write with the nib upside down for it to work!

  • Kevin Migdal

    I used this method yesterday on two Ahabs that I have had major problems with and it worked like a charm. Thank you Brian! Kevin

  • Kevin Migdal

    I used this method yesterday on two Ahabs that I have had major problems with and it worked like a charm. Thank you Brian! Kevin

  • Angel Lalalalopez

    Super informative, great quality and production of the video, and it looks like your hard work is paying off, Brian, because you’re looking great!

  • drewb4900 .

    I have the Konrad. I tried heat setting it with hot water as Brian demonstrated, but still can’t
    prevent the pen from dripping when the pen is “bumped around”. I would like to carry it in my travel sketch kit/backpack, but it seems like the pen can’t handle the movement without leaking ink. Is there a solution to this? It seems like it would be fine for in house use, but may not be suited for traveling with, which is what I was hoping to be able to do.

  • geekosupremo

    This is a great video! And I really liked the production values too! Very very nice!

  • Indira

    Thank you so much for this information! I just finished adjusting a feed on a Noodler’s eyedropper(the free ones included with the ink) for the first time. I had to push it down a bit so it wasn’t as pressed up on the nib. Everything is perfect now! Success!

  • Anonymous

    Now, I am a happily married, heterosexual man… but hot darn! You are one beautiful angel of a pen salesman, Brian Goulet. Now, off to heat set my Ahab. 😉