Jan 31, 2018618 views

Noodler's ink...or?

Hiya guys - as a European, I'm mostly looking for American stuff here on Massdrop; pens, audio and inks. So, I have looked for Noodler's Ink in Europe, and it's Amazon that has it, sporadically I can tell. I'm wondering what your experience with Noodler's is? The pens, the entry ones looks like a cheap pen, no sweat buying one, but with import etc - I'm not sure the end price is worth it.
What's the best Noodler's pen? Do you have one that you like that works great for som kind of writing, please write a few lines?
Same thing with ink. I'm looking at the bottles and I like the design, I have seen the Goulet videos and right now I'm thinking about Apache Sunset, but for the end price - I have selections of Pilot, J. Herbin, Diamine, Rohrer and Klinger and many other for same or less. So - same thing here; what's your experience and is Noodler's something you like to use?
Now, my last sort of question here is of course if there are many other brands that are better or at least as interesting as Noodler? I have seen Monteverde drops and been intrigued to join in, but many of the pens have so-so reviews. Conklin?
So, please help me get acquainted to the American world of pens a bit and share your experiences, please! :)

Sadly, I'm not a huge fan of Noodler's inks. Some of their colors are known to stain clear plastics (i.e., Acrylic demonstrator pens) and are not safe to use in vintage pens. I have also found that even at "bargain" prices, more expensive inks are better "value" because I use them more often. Private Reserve is a harder to find, but I prefer it to Noodler's. I really don't like the bottles that either of them come in though - flat bottomed with straight walls - that make it hard to use the last 25% of the bottle.
My most commonly used inks tend to be French made Parker Quink or Waterman. Either can be found in 50ml bottles for under $10 easily. They are often considered some of the safest inks, and I use Quink Blue-Black the most. In my modern pens, I use mostly Japanese inks (Pilot Iroshizuku) or other European brands (Diamine ink from UK, Lamy/Monteverde from Germany/Austria).
Thanks for the input, and you mention some of the warning signals I have heard before concerning Noodler's ink; stained pens and not good with vintage pens. To be honest, I have so far only one one test tube of Noodler's Apache Sunrise at home. Having going ape on Japanese Inks as well as french, I guess I might pass Noodler's anyway. It becomes a bit expansive here due to imports and not being that common. So, mostly I'm trying to get inspiration but also some feedback IF there is suddenly a good deal on here for some ink samples.
Many like Diamine ink, and I only like the Oxblood for it's color and that it works with my 1.1 Italic Nib for my Lamy Safari. Otherwise, I find the Diamine inks to feel like you are writing on a (google time) slate? Is that the correct word? You know the black or dark green board you had to write on with with chalk crayons with in school? Sorry, not a native speaker and some words are just really off for us. Still - I get that feeling especially on Rhodia paper, but even with Clairfontaine, Leuchturm or even Moleskin - it's like it just adds friction to the pen.
Right now I like the J.Herbin for its hues and easy flow. Sailor Jentle Inks, Pilot and for the lower cost inks I absolutely love the KWZ inks. :)
I have some experience with their pens and inks. Pros - their pens do have a good flow, and some inks are well behaved(I liked their North African Violet, and also the fact that it is waterproof). Cons - they produce so many colours that there are hits and misses and that it is not very consistent. With the large bottle, it is very difficult to handle such a number of "flops". Also, their marketing caters to people with very particular political leanings, which I found very unattractive.
Thanks for the input. I haven't seen their marketing, so I can't really determine nor comment which leaning or not is in question; but I can understand why someone might find that unattractive.
I use Noodlers Heart of Darkness on a daily basis in both of my Levenger L-Tech fountain pens. I like a very dark ink when I write in my work journals or when I sign official documents. It isn't the darkest black (I think Noodlers Polaris Black is the darkest) but it is dark enough for me. It flows very well. There's a little feathering but I think that might be more from the way I write. It dries fairly quickly and seems to be a good "bulletproof" ink.
Not to detract from Massdrop, but I bought the last bottle of Noodlers Ink on Amazon and it came with one of the Noodlers pens (an Ahab demonstrator I think). Perhaps you can get it through your local Amazon?
The thing that makes Noodler's ink attractive to me is 1) they have a wider variety of colors than most brands, 2) more of their colors offer water resistance than other brands, and the water resistance on those is usually stronger and 3) it's one of the best ink bargains available in the USA. If being abroad and not having a cheap source negates #3, then it's just a question of whether #1 and #2 come into play enough for it to be worth the cost. I think Goulet and Vanness both ship internationally, and both offer sample sizes of Noodler's inks. I would suggest you order a bunch of Noodler's samples of inks that appeal to you and then see if you like any of them enough to justify the extra cost of import. Just note that Noodler's has a very experimental, out-of-the-box approach to formulating inks, and that's both good and bad. Good when inks have unique qualities that you want and can't get elsewhere, but bad when you get an ink that doesn't play nicely with all pens. Do your research about a particular color before putting it in any vintage or expensive pens that you prize (this is a good thing to do with any ink from a small, "boutique" maker).
As for the pens, you'll get a lot of differing opinions. I have an Ahab (it was my second fountain pen), and I have always liked it. But I'm a tinkerer, so I enjoyed the fact that I can tweak the pen to write/flow as I want it to. The downside is that the pens often NEED that extra work (heat setting the feed, adjusting the nib, etc.) in order to write well at all, so these are definitely NOT pens for people who want a pen that will just write well out of the box. If you're just looking for a steel flex nib at a bargain price, I would recommend FPR pens (their house brand pens). Their flex nibs are better than Noodler's nibs, IMO, and the pens tend to work well right away. I have an FPR Himalaya with a flex nib upgrade, and I think it's a great pen for the price. I also bought a #6 flex nib from FPR and replaced my Noodler's nib in my Ahab with it and found it great. The downside to FPR is that they don't have nearly as many color and material options as Noodler's pens.
As for American pens in general, there are a number of pen turners who are well known here who make coveted custom pens, but if you mean "brands", you should check out Edison, Franklin-Christoph, and Karas Kustoms. These are American made pens with excellent reputations for quality.
Monteverde and Conklin are both Yafa brands. Yafa is an international conglomerate. Parts for these pens may be sourced from different companies in the conglomerate and also sometimes from China. Be aware that the modern Conklin is a resurrected brand, i.e., the current Conklin pens have no real continuity with the vintage Conklin pen brand. The current owner bought rights to the brand. Both brands seem to have quality control issues from time to time. If you're interested in these pens, you should monitor reviews and feedback on the Internet to see what the QC is like at the time of purchase.
Sorry this ran long, Hope it's helpful.
Hiya, and thank you very much! Exactly what I hoped for when I wrote this. Seeing drops here on Massdrop and comparing prices clearly shows that price is a very finicky measurement to quality. Just a few days ago I ordered pens from Japan and paid almost a third for pens that are considered very expansive in Europe and US. So, well - word by mouth and personal experiences and trying to figure out what you like or not is the way for me personally at least. :)
Thanks for the clarification of Conklin and Monteverde. I have seen some reviews online praising pens, and then some that says they are well - not good. So, they appear at the same price point as TWSBI pens in Europe - and TWSBI is a big surprise for me. Really nice pens and I get why so many likes them.
Nice to hear about you being a tinkerer :) I'm the opposite I guess, I rather pick a pen and ink I like and go with that. Though I guess that to some degree, some minor and easy tinkering would be necessary to get into to make that small adjustment to get the most out of your pens. Any good post or vidoes you could recommend? I saw the guy from Pen Habit showing some tricks and tips which looks easy enough to start out with.
To the Noodlers point, thank you VERY MUCH! Great feedback and a lot of nice tips there and I will definitely be busy searching around for those new brands and pens you recommended! When it comes to Noodlers, I'm mostly eyeing the Apache Sunrise. I haven't quite found one (on line, videos images) that seems to behave like that when you check KWZ, Diamine or j. Herbin. Now, I have to go check out the FPR pens, a flex nib is definately on my to try list. Cheers and again, great feedback and you have given me a lot of fun threads to check out! :D Best regards Fredrik
Oh, I forgot to mention that both Noodler's and FPR pens are made in India. So although these are American companies, people may not consider these actually American pens. I like Indian pens, though--I'm a fan of the fact that India still has a deeply ingrained, everday fountain pen culture.
Noodler's Ink does have cool label designs and color names. My only experience with their ink so far is a bottle of blue bullet-proof ink. I liked the idea of a permanent ink. I found that it gummed up some of my pens, making me not even finish the bottle. Maybe if I used it in a pen that was used daily, it would be fine, but there plenty of other brands of ink to try and use. I'm still willing to give them another shot, I just haven't got around to it. They have had drops on here in the past, but it's been some time.
Thanks for the input! :)