Noodler’s Charlie: Feed Fix

Updated 3/5/16

Noodler's Charlie.

Noodler’s Charlie. Trouble spot on the feed — see the point of the toothpick — enhanced to expose the channel.

Charlie is the ED that’s included free with Noodler’s 4.5oz HOD. In one of his videos, Tardif makes it clear that it’s a “free pen without mark up.” A gift. I use FPs exclusively for writing, and I like Charlie despite it’s cheap construction. The nib is scratchy, but it doesn’t tear the paper fibers. It’s a medium that leans toward a wet fine.

I originally tested the pen with HOD. The ink flowed nicely at first, but in a subsequent test, after leaving it standing for an hour or so, the ink flooded the feed and blobbed onto the writing surface. To eliminate the possibility that this was an isolated case, I tried a second Charlie. This time the blobbing occurred immediately.

I returned to the first pen to investigate. I switched to Higgins Eternal for further testing. I no longer use Higgins in my FPs because of reports that it clogs the feed/nib. For the flooding problem, I thought a bit of clogging may be a good thing.

The ink change made no difference. Blobbing continued. 

I removed and examined the feed and found that the channel could be the problem. It may be too wide and deep. (See the photo above.) I thought of different ways to narrow the channel but couldn’t come up with an idea that would be simple and effective. I thought of inserting a tiny dab of glue in a part of the channel, just enough to reduce the flow by 50% or so. If it proved too narrow, I could scraped it larger. If too wide, I could add more glue. But I wondered it the glue would hold in the channel. The ink might work it loose over time.

The glue idea made me think of other similar solutions, and that’s when I thought of silicone grease. It seems to stick well and retain mass while remaining pliable. And it’s a lot simpler than the glue idea.

With the tip of a toothpick, I added a tiny dab of silicone grease toward the barrel end of the channel. (In the photo above, the location is pinpointed by the tip of the toothpick.) I worked it down with the toothpick to create a narrower channel. I put the nib/feed back on and tested it.

It worked. The ink flowed as usual, but with no blobbing. I’ve been writing for extended periods of time over many days, and blobbing hasn’t recurred. However, after the first test, after leaving the pen idle for a few hours, the flow wouldn’t start. I assumed the silicone grease had reformed into a narrower channel that restricted flow. I gave the pen a few shakes, up and down, and the flow started again. In subsequent tests, I’ve experienced no hard starts.

It’s been a few weeks since I made this adjustment to the feed, and Charlie has been flowing without flooding or hard starting. I test it at least once a day, sometimes in a paragraph or more, and the problem hasn’t recurred. The Higgins Eternal is working fine.

This fix works for me, but I can’t guarantee that it’ll work for you. If you try it, please let me know (via a reply to this post) whether it worked or not. Be sure to take the usual precautions in working with nibs and feeds. You could injure your fingers or ruin the nib or feed. Also, be sure to work with paper that you don’t mind messing with ink drops.

3/5/16: Back to square one. Charlie is blobbing again. The silicone fix was temporary and didn’t hold up over time.

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