I do not own many very expensive pens, however I have reasonable selection of affordable or cheap fountain pens I purchased for testing, to work or because they have been cheap. Sometimes they are hopeless, but from time to time you can find a gem which writes very well. Usually, I tweak them to get the best out of them in terms of writing experience. I spent quite a bit of time learning how to use pens like Noodler’s Ahab or Konrad which for many may be very frustrating. I like Noodler’s pens (especially Ahabs), but I do not like Noodler’s ‘semi-flexible’ steel nibs. I was experimenting with F.P.R. (Fountain Pen Revolution) nibs, which fits Noodler’s Ahab and Konrad pens with no problems, which in my personal opinion works better with these pens. Good quality and well lubricating inks are the keys here. I have few other pens which I really like how they look and how they are build, however the box-standard nib is not doing any justice. Even if pen writes with no issues, the pen itself feels quite generic and a bit soulless. Possibly there is nothing wrong with this, depending what you are expecting, but for my writing I like when nib is springy or softer, and allows to obtain nice looking line variation, which always adds some extra character to written text, making it more visually appealing. But there is a trap here and many novice fountain pen users was tricked, wanting as much flex and as thick line as possible. I believe this is the main source of frustration with Noodler’s pens, which at certain pressure start to railroad, skips causing a headache which possibly resulted few times, that people damped their beloved pens forever. With primed feeder and moderate pressure these pens can give really good results. With small and inexpensive ‘customization’ they may be even better as for instance my Noodler’s Ahab Vulcan Coral with #35 F.P.R. nib, which with the J. Herbin – 1670 Rouge Hematite is one of my ‘daily doodlers’. Most of my inky writing tests are done using customized in the same way clear Ahab demonstrator again with F.P.R nib.
I have pens with standard two-tones stainless steel JOWO nibs, which once tuned appropriately by good nibmeister can be really good. However, they are rather stiff. Golden JOWO nibs are softer and tuned for additional flexing by skilled person may be really really pleasing…but costly.
Recently, I came across a youtube review by Scrivery of stone washed titanium Namisu Orion pen which has been equipped and then tested with nibs made by company called BOCK, which I heard about many times but never write with. In the review both standard steel and titanium Bock nibs are shown and what I found very interesting was how springy these nibs were. So, I decided to give it a go and see what I can do with them myself. The nibs I purchased from Beaufort Ink in the UK are titanium Extra Fine and steel Fine.