Tuesday, March 18, 2014

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


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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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)

  6. 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 ;)

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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!

  15. 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

  16. 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. ;)


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