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Stipula Suprema Nuda


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29 replies to this topic

#1 opus7600

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 00:32

My first review, so let's call this a draft. I'll be happy to answer questions or take suggestions from people about format & content. The Stipula has some obvious parallels with the Pilot Custom 823 and the Aurora Optima Demonstrator, so I'll be mentioning them as I go along.

Appearance & Design
I love the way this pen looks. I understand not everyone likes demonstrators, but I've got a weakness for both them and vacuum fillers, so this pen gets my heart all aflutter. My only problem is that I prefer white metal accents to gold. I've heard there was a Farnhey's limited edition of the Suprema Nuda, and on some level, I'm sorry I missed out on that.

The box went almost directly into my closet, doomed not to see the light of day again until I move out of this house or sell the pen, but before it went in, I was impressed with the way the box had a drawer for the papers, as opposed to the usual method of shoving things under the tray. What's better, with the box lid closed, the drawer is locked shut by the box lid. Won't affect my daily use of the pen, but it amused me.

The acrylic is crystal clear, best demonstrated on the thicker parts, such as the blind cap.

Stipula closed

Construction & Quality
Mostly just fine, but I want to focus on the first negative thing I noticed - the cap takes a little effort to screw on. Most pens I have, I just let the cap rest lightly on the barrel and start turning to fasten the cap. The Stipula requires a bit of pressure to get the threads to catch. Is this intentional, maybe making leaks less likely? I couldn't say for sure, but it has confused people besides me who have looked at the pen. Nobody expects there to be a need to force the pen to close.

Stipula, Pilot, Aurora

Weight & Dimensions
Very comfortable in the hand, posted or unposted. Posting is secure and I've not had any major scratches on the barrel from it yet. I know, don't yell at me, I'm ruining the pen, I get it.

Length (closed): 5 3/8 inches
Length (posted): 6 1/2 inches
Length (unposted): 5 inches
Weight (closed, with ink): 28g
Weight (uncapped, with ink): 18g

Nib & Performance
Superb. Worked great right out of the box, is a pleasure to use when the ink is flowing. The EF nib is quite smooth and the flow is about a 6 out of 10.

Stipula open

Filling System & Maintenance
Like all vacuum fillers, you just pull back on the plunger, then push it back into place to create a vacuum behind it. The bottom of the barrel is wider and allows the ink to gush up into the vacuum. Filling works well, there is ample vacuum created, and I can usually get the barrel 80% full.

Unlike the Pilot 823, the blind cap does not screw into place. So if you accidentally pull on the end (or happen to let your child grab it while he's on your lap), you're going to get a gusher of ink when you put it back in place.

Also unlike the Pilot 823, in theory, the Stipula does not require that the blind cap be pulled out to allow ink to flow to the nib. The 823 does this to minimize leaks, and while it's not terrible, I have sometimes found it annoying to go through all the screwing and unscrewing involved. When I am sitting down for a longer writing session, it's no problem at all. The Stipula does not mention the need to pull the plunger back, and from what I can tell, it was not designed to need it.

Now for the big "However". I've had unacceptable difficulty getting ink around the plunger, no matter what ink I tried. I've tried every color of Noodler's I own, some Private Reserve, and a bottle of blue each from Mont Blanc, Aurora and Waterman, bought just for testing on this pen. Some have flowed better than others, but none of the inks have flowed effortlessly. I've got to do a little shaking, twisting or tapping to get ink to the nib. If someone has a similar model and has fixed this problem, please PM me to let me know how!

Cost & Value
I think I may have gotten away with something here. I ordered it online from Art Brown, and their price no longer is the same as it was when I ordered it. No doubt that's the weak dollar's fault.

Art Brown didn't have the pen in stock when I made the order, and was unable to get it right away. Apparently all of Italy is on vacation in August. They were very courteous on the phone when explaining that, and a month later when I called to check on the status.

Conclusion
I cannot recommend this pen due to the issues I have been having with the filling mechanism, and the higher prices I now see for the pen.

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#2 Deirdre

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 01:03

I've had no trouble filling mine, but it really does require a quick plunge. The lack of a seal for the blind cap is, as you say, a serious design issue.

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Edited by Deirdre, 10 October 2009 - 01:05.

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#3 Thornton

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 04:55

Thanks, opus7600. I've been wanting to get one of these for a while. I love demonstrators. What type of ink are you using? I like Noodler's bulletproof inks and I'm wondering if you or anyone else has had staining issues with the Suprema Nuda with any type of ink.
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#4 opus7600

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 11:01

Thanks, opus7600. I've been wanting to get one of these for a while. I love demonstrators. What type of ink are you using? I like Noodler's bulletproof inks and I'm wondering if you or anyone else has had staining issues with the Suprema Nuda with any type of ink.


As I mentioned, I've tried a lot of inks in this pen, but the only time I've noticed any staining was when I tried Baystate Blue. I knew that was a gamble going in, but I was getting desperate. It wasn't actually too bad to get rid of - I took the nib unit out and used a dilute bleach solution and a qtip to clean up the barrel. I think it'll be fine.

Of Bulletproof Black and Heart of Darkness, I found Heart of Darkness to be better flowing in this pen. Still not what I'd call ideal, though.

Currently it's got Waterman Florida Blue in it.

Lastly, I've gotta reiterate, I don't recommend that you buy this pen.

Edited by opus7600, 10 October 2009 - 11:02.


#5 zenshrink

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 13:27

Thanks, opus7600. I've been wanting to get one of these for a while. I love demonstrators. What type of ink are you using? I like Noodler's bulletproof inks and I'm wondering if you or anyone else has had staining issues with the Suprema Nuda with any type of ink.


As I mentioned, I've tried a lot of inks in this pen, but the only time I've noticed any staining was when I tried Baystate Blue. I knew that was a gamble going in, but I was getting desperate. It wasn't actually too bad to get rid of - I took the nib unit out and used a dilute bleach solution and a qtip to clean up the barrel. I think it'll be fine.

Of Bulletproof Black and Heart of Darkness, I found Heart of Darkness to be better flowing in this pen. Still not what I'd call ideal, though.

Currently it's got Waterman Florida Blue in it.

Lastly, I've gotta reiterate, I don't recommend that you buy this pen.

Funny, I love the pen. I keep the blind cap open and found it gave me better ink flow. Who is to account for taste. A superb writer with a 1.1 stub. Smooth with nice line variaton.



#6 Deirdre

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 13:40

As far as staining goes, I've only used blues in mine, and I've not had staining yet. I do tend to keep it full, though.

For me, there's different "beauty nits" that I'll sum up when I'm home and can photograph them, but if you're into pristine, demonstrators are rarely a good choice.
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#7 dandelion

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 13:52

It is very unusual for reviewers to explicitly not recommend a pen and I think it is great that you took the time to write a review - thanks! A pen with an unsecure blindcap sounds like a problematic pen. Good shots - what are the other two pens? It has a beautiful barrel, though. I'm not that crazy about the cap, but the barrel has a beautiful shape.

Edited by dandelion, 10 October 2009 - 13:54.

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#8 jandrese

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 14:29

Thanks for your honest review. I have the Etruria Nuda and was considering this pen too along with the Pilot piston filler.

#9 opus7600

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 16:20

It is very unusual for reviewers to explicitly not recommend a pen and I think it is great that you took the time to write a review - thanks! A pen with an unsecure blindcap sounds like a problematic pen. Good shots - what are the other two pens? It has a beautiful barrel, though. I'm not that crazy about the cap, but the barrel has a beautiful shape.


The other two are a Pilot Custom 823 (in amber) and an Aurora Optima Demonstrator.

I can't deny that the Stipula is a good looking pen.

#10 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 23:04

nice pen with an original shape ;)

Edited by georges zaslavsky, 11 October 2009 - 23:05.

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#11 MYU

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 05:38

Excellent review! And what a beautiful looking pen. I find this to be one of the more attractive looking demonstrators. Very sorry to hear about the troubles with refilling. And thanks for identifying the design flaw with the blind cap. Dandelion is right--most reviews are made for pens that rank high in the owner's mind, so we rarely see reviews that discourage purchase.

I'd try contacting Stipula directly and see if they understand the problems. Maybe they have a fix? Would be worth a try to find out. Let us know if anything positive turns up. :)

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#12 opus7600

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 13:01

Excellent review! And what a beautiful looking pen. I find this to be one of the more attractive looking demonstrators. Very sorry to hear about the troubles with refilling. And thanks for identifying the design flaw with the blind cap. Dandelion is right--most reviews are made for pens that rank high in the owner's mind, so we rarely see reviews that discourage purchase.

I'd try contacting Stipula directly and see if they understand the problems. Maybe they have a fix? Would be worth a try to find out. Let us know if anything positive turns up. :)


Thanks for the suggestion. You're not the only person who recommended I contact Stipula, so I have done that. I will update this thread if anything interesting happens.

#13 Inka

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 13:59

That's a sharp looking pen!
I kinda like the pot-belly look to the barrel closest to the section.
The overall shape reminds me just a bit of the old Lava-Lamps from when I was a kid.
A blind cap that doesn't thread closed? Hmmm, now that would concern be a bit, especially if the plunger rod seal should leak and ink come dribbling out into an expensive dress shirt pocket.
Are you saying that once full of ink, the plunger gasket wants to hold it back from the section/feed?
It sounds as if the overall diameter of the plunger gasket may be just a tad wider than it needs be, seems a good design would allow ink past once the plunger rod is fully depressed. I know the Sheaffer's Vacuum-Fil pens I have get around this by using a center feed that presses the end of the plunger rod to one side and my Rotring Power-Filler has a large enough chamber past the main reservoir for the flange to un-seal.
From the descriptions/instructions I've seen on the Visconti Double-Reservoir Power-Filler, you need to pull the plunger rod back a bit to fill the larger chamber nearest the section, once the secondary chamber is depleted of ink.
Filled with ink I can't see how the inner chamber of this pen is machined, if it has something similar to the Visconti Double-Reservoir system, a cool little interactive diagram on how-it-works seen by clicking here.
Since I'm not aware of how your pen works, maybe it too has a similar system whereby you need to pull back the plunger a bit to fill a secondary chamber? Just a thought, may be worth a try?

As for the Pilot 823 Demo, I believe they seal at the section end when the plunger/gasket is fully seated, as you say to avoid leaks [I seem to recall this was also to prevent leaks at altitude, such as during air travel? I could be wrong but seems I'd read that somewhere].
Have you tried writing with the Pilot w/o unscrewing the blind cap, see if it uses up ink in the section and then maybe needs the cap unscrewed to re-prime the feed?
I've never owned one, would like to someday, but I've often thought this might just work instead of constantly going through the "Unscrew blind cap to write" ritual each and every time.
I'm curious to hear if this would indeed work, write until it begins to dry a bit, then unscrew the blind cap and wait a few seconds nib-down to see if it recharges the feed with fresh ink.

Oh and I can't speak for others but I always post my pens when I write.
I also wipe my pens down gently with a Micro-Fiber cloth on a regular basis and look for anything that might be abrasive stuck to the barrel or inner cap wall.
I post my Pelikan M800 and my Rotring '28 LE and neither has so much as a hair-line scratch on the rear from posting, not from me posting anyway as I'd received the M800 second-hand and it already had a small scratch on the filling knob.
The Rotring was received as NOS, had a few minor micro-scratches from handling that polished out easily, the celluloid now looking as good as new or maybe even better, not once having any problems posting.
That said it is my personal opinion that as long as you keep your pen clean and free of any dirt, posting will not ruin a pen when done gently, it's not marked up any of mine as yet and I post all of them, including clear Demos.


The comparison shots next to the Aurora Optima are interesting, as I had no idea the Optima was so small.
All in all a very nice review and pictures, looking forward to hearing what Stipula says about ink not reaching the feed without a shake, or if the "Pull plunger rod back a bit..." to refill the feed method works.
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#14 opus7600

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 18:37

A blind cap that doesn't thread closed? Hmmm, now that would concern be a bit, especially if the plunger rod seal should leak and ink come dribbling out into an expensive dress shirt pocket.

It's true that it doesn't seal, but generally, that's not been a problem. There's nothing on it that could get caught on anything else, and as the tolerance between plunger and barrel is so tight, it would be hard to accidentally get it too far up. I don't want to give the impression that this plunger rod is just wiggling around free, it's just something to be aware of.

Are you saying that once full of ink, the plunger gasket wants to hold it back from the section/feed?
{snip}
Since I'm not aware of how your pen works, maybe it too has a similar system whereby you need to pull back the plunger a bit to fill a secondary chamber? Just a thought, may be worth a try?

That is exactly what I'm saying. The Stipula instruction book specifically says not to pull back on the plunger while the pen is inked unless you are intending to flush, so the system is clearly not meant to work like the Pilot 823 nor the Visconti Double-Reservoir. I'm pretty sure the idea was for the barrel to be wide enough at the bottom to allow ink to flow around the plunger, but the combination of tight tolerances and surface tension make that system work poorly.

Have you tried writing with the Pilot w/o unscrewing the blind cap, see if it uses up ink in the section and then maybe needs the cap unscrewed to re-prime the feed?

Yes, that will work for very short sessions, maybe up to half a page, depending on nib size & flow of a given 823. And for longer sessions, there's no need to rescrew the blind cap after every sentence. But when I'm carrying the 823 with me, as I move from meeting to meeting through the day, I rescrew the blind cap. It's hardly a huge burden, it's just notable as more annoying than my Sheaffer Triumph.

The comparison shots next to the Aurora Optima are interesting, as I had no idea the Optima was so small.

It is short when closed, but the section is large in diameter (for the pen's length), so when the pen is posted I find it quite comfortable.

Edited by opus7600, 12 October 2009 - 18:37.


#15 Gandalfandula

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 00:17

i also owned one of these pens (the fahrney's edition), but with the more hungry italic nib. the flow was terrible, an utterly unusable pen, even with my aurora black (said to be among the freest flowing inks).

the person i bought it from was receptive of this problem, though i found it odd that they did not mention it in the original listing. nevertheless, i had to get rid of the pen. since that time, i discovered the similar mechanism in the Pilot demonstrators, and that got me to wondering if i had to unscrew the blind cap a bit to let the ink flow. as you pointed out, though, there is no indication that this should be necessary, and it did not seem to help. overall an extreme disappointment, and it has forever tainted my view of Stipula (though i rather like the Etruria's appearance...).

mine also had the Ti nib; it looked great. everything about the pen was so promising - except for the most crucial element: it could not write to save its life!

Edited by Gandalfandula, 13 October 2009 - 00:18.

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#16 Deirdre

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 01:21

The only warning about the blind cap is not to put it in a pen case that might be too snug and hold the cap as you pull the pen out. Despite my feeling that it is a design flaw, I still wantonly carry this pen around full of bulletproof ink.
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#17 Silvermink

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 07:15

I've been pondering this pen myself, though the bits about the blind cap and the problem getting ink to the nib really give me pause. Don't suppose you could tell me what the section diameter is?

Edited by Silvermink, 13 October 2009 - 08:41.

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#18 hari317

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 08:09

Thanks for a honest review. I wanted to ask if the threads just below the nib bother you while gripping the pen?

Thanks!
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#19 opus7600

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 09:57

Thanks for a honest review. I wanted to ask if the threads just below the nib bother you while gripping the pen?

Thanks!
Hari


No, those threads aren't actually anything you can feel. They're holding the nib into the section, and you can only see them because the pen is a demonstrator.

#20 opus7600

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 10:00

I've been pondering this pen myself, though the bits about the blind cap and the problem getting ink to the nib really give me pause. Don't suppose you could tell me what the section diameter is?


Um, not easily. Judging by holding it up to a ruler, it looks something like 13/32 inches.






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