Saturday, June 11, 2011

Noodler’s Flex Pen Review

Today's sketch done with my new Noodler's Flex pen with Fox Red ink
Well, here’s the short and sweet…I’m a fan. A big fan. I’ve been looking for my two new Noodler’s pens (Piston Fill fountain pen and Flex pen) for some time and didn’t even know it. Well, I did know it, but I didn’t know I’d find them in a Noodler’s pen. (I didn’t even know that Noodler’s made pens a few months back!)

I was able to get two clear demonstrator Flex pens from Goulet Pens this week and both seem to have their own characters. One, that I currently have filled with Noodler’s “Swan in Australian Roses” ink, has a stiffer nib and is much less wet than the other. I like the drier feel of the first pen and so took the other pen apart to reset the nib and feed. That helped quite a bit but the second pen still remains a bit more wet in its feed than the first. Funny thing is, I like actually like that pen better. It’s just a bit messier to use. That pen is currently filled with Noodler’s “Fox Red” and I’ve had red ink stains on my hands since I got it. Now I do take pride in that, but people have asked me about it. And the tissue I’ve been using to wipe off the nib does tend to look like I’ve just gotten a pretty bad bloody nose.

Noodler's Flex pen tests
The nib is medium/fine and seems to be the perfect width for my drawing style. You can get a reasonably good amount of flex out of it, although you have to press pretty hard. Of course too much pressure and you get undesirable “railroad track” marks. I’m still figuring out the exact pressure ratio.

The pen feels good in my hand and although it doesn’t have the heft of a more expensive pen, that really doesn’t worry me as I’m familiar with dip pens with cheap pen holders. The filling mechanism seems to work just fine and the pen is pretty attractive to my eyes. But the most important part is that it writes and draws well. I’m finding that the pleasurable experience of drawing with ink is definitely enhanced by a good pen. I really enjoyed my sketching experience today and realized that I hadn’t been having that sort of experience lately with some of my other pens.

Noodler's Flex pen tests page 2
So the summation is that I’m hooked! I’m looking forward to many pleasurable drawing experiences with my new pens. I’m going to do some experimenting with ink colors now as well. As you can see, I’ve been enjoying the red ink. I’m less enchanted with the “Swan in Australian Roses.” It’s nice but I feel ready to move on to another color. Next up for that pen is a nice brown. I am very fond of drawing in sepia ink

Many thanks to Rachel and Brian of Goulet Pens. They were so very nice and their videos have already been quite helpful. I’ll definitely be buying from them again!


  1. Sara, I tried to get the railroad track effect and couldn't, so I think you're right, they can be quite different. Sometimes I think it's the ink we have in them, too...I changed inks with another of my pens and it's working better.

    Also, not sure why, but I LOVE how light this is...I guess because I'm always trying to lighten my load! It's much like my old Waterman 152 in weight and action. My newer Waterman Phileas is much heavier!

  2. Thank you, Sara, for the review!! I received my pen yesterday, and I am pretty hooked myself. I loaded it with Noodler's Lexington Gray, and it looks really spiffy. I appreciated your review of the "Swan in Australian Roses" ink . . . I would've bought it for the name alone, so you kept me from an impulse buy. I need to check out the ink samples on Goulet Pens, too!!!

  3. Kate: I think you're right about the inks making the pens behave differently too. I'm about to change inks from Noodler's Red Fox to Nikita (another red) and I'll let you know. In her blog post Nina Johannson also seemed to have flow issues with the Fox Red. I also love the weight of the pen. So easy!

    Betty: I love love the Lexington Grey. I've got it in my Piston-fill pen and have been forcing myself to NOT TO use it in the Flex pen just yet as I try out other colors. The Goulet sample pack of inks is GREAT! Such fun to try the different colors. :-)

    Alex: Thanks! :-D