Monday, August 9, 2010
TAO at Bleubug.com recently rocked the twitterverse with his amazing review of Noodler's fountain pens, both piston filler and aerometric with all the colors they come in lined up for inspection. I'm definitely not in his league, but I thought I'd just give a few observations on my Noodler's aerometric fountain pen.
As background, Noodler's fountain pens are available from JetPens.com and come in two flavors: the piston filler with ink windows available in five different colors for $14, and the aerometric/eyedropper with rounded edges that comes in two mottled colors for $24. The nib is a fine-medium, a good choice I'd say as it can be hard to decide on a nib sight unseen (at lease for me, YMMV). As the mottled brown was the only one available at the time, I ordered that one and waited for my Noodler's fountain pen to arrive.
I seem to recall some buzz at the Fountain Pen Network about these pens, and I was really looking forward to getting one. The mottled colors didn't thrill me; they don't look antique or vintage so much as old and cracked and dirty. But again, that's just me. As I wasn't really interested in the piston filler (for some reason just didn't like the way it looked), I went with the big aerometric pen.
So when the pen arrived, in a catfish-covered box, I was really looking forward to trying it out. The first surprise I had can be seen in the above picture of the section where the sac is glued on. Couldn't someone have wiped off the gobs of glue so it didn't look so sloppy and amateurish? I've only done this once myself, but I took the time to wipe away the glue that was on the outside so it didn't look so cheap.
You might also be able to see in that picture the grooves around the section where it screws into the barrel. They are badly cut, with lots of the debris still attached to the plastic. Again, this just makes the manufacturing process look cheap and amateurish.
The nib is quite nice, and I do like the fine-medium point. It's probably my favorite part of the pen, as I'm the ultimate Libra and can never decide on a fine or medium nib. This reminds me of my Pelikan 205 clear blue fountain pen with a medium nib, it's actually more a fine-medium nib and I love the width of the line. As I'm using Noodler's ink, there's ink creep and a very dry nib to deal with, as well as small drops of ink all over the place from shaking the pen to get the ink to flow.
Several websites, like The Pen Addict, have a list of "best 5 pens" or "worst 5 pens." I'm thinking of doing a "mediocre pens I might either recommend or trash, or both." Pens that I want to like but really can't get more enthused about other than a "maybe yes, maybe no" attitude. Noodler's aerometric fountain pen will top the list. I realize that given all the very expensive pens I've purchased a $24 stinker isn't that big a deal; but it is a lot of money for many, many other people who would like a nice, "branded" fountain pen. This isn't it as far as I can tell, and that's a shame--because I so wanted to love this pen but really don't.
UPDATE: Check out Note Booker Esq.'s extensive and excellent review as well, with great pictures and additional comments on the Noodler's pen experience.