Fountain Pens for Artists: Noodler's Ahab

In our last fountain pen review, we started off strong with the Noodler's Flex- a nimble little number that's a perfect introductory pen.  Today we're looking at the Noodler's Ahab, the Flex's older brother.  Only slightly more expensive, the Ahab has a huge ink capacity to match it's far larger nib.

Noodler's Flex: $16.55 on Amazon
Noodler's Ahab: $21-23 on Amazon

Vegetal Resin


Like the Flex, the Ahab has a sturdy screw on cap (this is something that artists will have to get used to if they're going to use fountain pens) that posts and features a metal clip.

The nib is approximately a size 6 nib, which means with some finagling, you can swap the Noodler's flexible nib out for something even more flexible, like a G nib.

The Ahab is a piston filler- which means you depress the piston, and pull it up to draw ink into the body of the pen.  The pistol holds a generous amount of ink but you can convert the Ahab's resin or acrylic (depending on the model) to an eyedropper filler for even more ink.

Noodler's sells replacement nibs and feeds through Anderson Pens and Goulet Pens, so if something should happen to your nib (say you drop it) or to your feed, it's a quick and easy replacement.

The Ahab is a fairly generous writer- the larger nib is capable of wider strokes, and the ebonite feed can usually keep up with the flow.  This is handy when using the Ahab for inking- this pen is capable of fairly fine lines, as well as wide strokes with a bit of pressure.

  • Inexpensive
  • Flexible nib
  • Produced by a very small company in the US
  • Easy to find online
  • Fairly easy to maintain
  • Great way to learn about fountain pens
  • Can hold a lot of ink
  • Produces thicker lines than the Flex
  • Comfortable in the hand

  • Strong smell may be repulsive to some
  • Many owners have difficulty getting the nib and feed back into the pen
  • May require some tinkering/additional cleaning
  • Some reviewers could not ever get the Ahab to work

Surfaces the Ahab can easily write on:

Cellulose based watercolor papers such as Maruman, Holbein, and Fluid
Tracing paper
Sketchbook paper such as Blick Studio and Strathmore
Japanese notebook papers

Shots of art inked with an Ahab

Inking over graphite with an Ahab is easy- and inking with the Ahab is very satisfying!  Although I have small hands, the Ahab isn't too large, and it's much easier to ink with than the Flex. 

The Verdict:

The Ahab was my second Noodler's pen, and my second flex, and if possible, I love it even more than my Flex.  Very comfortable to write with, a joy to use for inking, a huge ink capacity, even easier to clean out than the Flex once you know what you're doing.  I recommend the Ahab to anyone moderately familiar with fountain pens, who's looking for a good all-rounder, or someone with larger hands or arthritis problems.  My Ahab LOVES pigment ink, and will put down enough ink that most lighter opaque inks (like Storia Lion) will shade a bit, for lovely effects.

More on the Ahab
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