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Levenger Verona by Stipula


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36 replies to this topic

#1 KCkc

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 18:16

I got this pen in plain black with chrome trim. Nice little pen, hoping that if Stipula made it, it might be worth a try since I had great experience with its Saturno Olive Woodgrain Ebonite Crescent Filler with 0.9mm italic.

First Impressions :
I received the pen and it looks pretty nice but not WOW nice.

Measurements :
5.5" capped
0.5" internal cap diameter
4.75" unposted (nib tip to end of barrel without cap)
6 7/16" posted

Cap:
The cap has a slightly domed 8-facetted cap jewel.

The chrome clip is simple with a black plastic ball at the end of the clip as decoration.
I was told the plastic looking black ball is an onyx but sure looks like shiny plastic to me. The MSRP on the box is $99 and I got it below MSRP.

When posted, it feels top heavy. I have small hands and I do not post my pen most of the time so it is not an issue.

Barrel:
The barrel is cigar shaped with Verona, Made in Italy, Levenger A 346.
There is a chrome ring at the end of the barrel. Very nice and simple.

Nib:
The Broad nib is 2-tone 14kt with Levenger inscribed on it.
When it decides to write, it is glassy smooth. But because the iridium is so rounded, it literally skips and glides on paper a lot but unfortunately minus the ink. Kind or reminded me of a dog or cat trying to brake on marble flooring.

Ink Mileage:
It is a c/c filler and an ink guzzler. The flow was like Niagara when it writes and nada/zip/nothing when it wants to just glide on paper ink-less. Kind of like the Niagara-Sahara syndrome here.

Dilemma:
So, I am fairly disappointed with it. What should I do about it ?
1. throw it away ?
2. Give it away? (too cruel to my friends)
3. have a nib master work on it.

So I picked option 3. I sent it over to Fred Krinke to grind it to an 0.9mm stub.
He mentioned that the feed channel on this pen may need widening to resolve the choking problem.

I love the nib work Fred did on the nib.
If you have one that does not choke, I would love to hear about it.

[Update :]
Fred and I never quite figured out the choking flow. The flow problem was resolved when I used a Diamine Imperial Purple international short cartridge) :meow:

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#2 TheNobleSavage

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 03:12

So even after all of the work on the nib and feed channel, you still couldnt get it to work?? Sheesh, I am batting 0 for 3 on these (Potty Mouth) Stipula pens. I just recently bought 2 veronas and yes, the only way I can describe the Stipula Syndrome is ink flow that chokes!! It will write fine for a few lines then you can feel the nib go dry!!! I cannot deny that Stipula makes some nice looking pen but the quality control sucks A$$ I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER STIPULA PRODUCT AGAIN!!!! I wasted money on pens that dont work and I waste even more money on getting these pens fixed because the factory cannot repair or exchange a working nib. These pens should have never left the factory. I just cannot imagine how they can make a pen and never test it. I would have to honestly say that Stipula is the FIAT of Italian pens. Sorry about the rant, I am just so fed up with them!!! :angry: :angry:
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#3 TheNobleSavage

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 03:17

OBTW, I was considering giving Fred a call because he is the one who does some of my pen repairs. Great guy and really great service. The Fountain Pen Shop in Monrovia California. Were you able to use the c/c successfully without it skipping or choking?
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#4 Thesaurus Rex

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 03:53

I struggled and struggled with my Verona, got it sorta working, then de-inked it and put it into dry-dock. I got the blue one, and while it looks impressive, it's just too much of a fight to get it to consistently lay down a good line.

We should all mail them back to Stipula at once.

#5 TheNobleSavage

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 04:08

Id say sue them or hold them under the lemon law, they should be held liable
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#6 Keith with a capital K

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 05:51

I saved one of these Levenger Verona's a while back as it was destined to get fired into a trash bin if it didn't start working... this is almost what it;s owner said verbatum.

The nib's tipping was irregular and needed reshaping while the feed needed a few adjustments to stabilize the ink flow.

The story has happy ending as the pen then worked as good as it looked but it should not be what one would expect from a moderately priced modern pen.
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#7 Maja

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 08:28

Where is Wim to jump to Stipula's defence? :lol:
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#8 Keith with a capital K

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 09:04

We aren't bashing all Stipula models but they have released a few less than stellar pens of late... the Verona is servicable but the 22 needs to be recalled.
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#9 KCkc

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 01:04

I have an excellent Stipula Saturno that writes perfectly, so I am not bashign Stipula in general. But have to admit this pen needed more attention than need to as compared to other pens in the same level.

I bought the Broad nib with nib re-gorunding money allocated into the total budget so I am not spending more than I anticipated.

But I also had the expectation that it should write right out of the box just like a Pelikan, Taccia.

I think Verona will disappoint most buyers if the expectation is write-right-out-of-the-box. Now having a nib job will totally change this insect into a beauty.

#10 Thesaurus Rex

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 01:13

I think Verona will disappoint most buyers if the expectation is write-right-out-of-the-box.  Now having a nib job will totally change this insect into a beauty.

Now, see, in my opinion, that's just wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. A pen SHOULD write well right from the box, or you send it back. You shouldn't have to get the nib adjusted on a BRAND NEW PEN unless you want it customized.

I won't be buying any more Stipulas.

#11 Maja

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 01:44

I think Verona will disappoint most buyers if the expectation is write-right-out-of-the-box.  Now having a nib job will totally change this insect into a beauty.

Now, see, in my opinion, that's just wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. A pen SHOULD write well right from the box, or you send it back. You shouldn't have to get the nib adjusted on a BRAND NEW PEN unless you want it customized.

I agree with you 100%, Rex!

If I bought a knife that couldn't cut properly because it was nicked or dull, I would be really annoyed. I expect fountain (and ballpoint and rollerball) pens to write properly (ie. no skips or scratchy writing or hard-starting) out of the box. Period. Ok, flushing them out with a drop of soap and warm water is not too much to ask a buyer to do; there may be oils impeding proper flow, etc.

I truly and honestly don't think that one should have to put up with pen companies who expect their customers to fork out even more hard-earned money for (A.) nib and/or flow adjustments just because they themselves couldn't do it right the first time or (B.) shipping charges to have it sent back to the company for repair.

Personally, I am grateful that there are vendors who are also repair pens (like Richard Binder (edit) and our own moderator Keith of Capital Pens ! ) who will test a new pen and make nib/flow adjustments if needed, before sending it off to the customer (unless someone wants an undipped pen, of course).

We should not have to consider ourselves fortunate when we get a pen that writes well out of the box. It should be a given.

Rant over :D

Edited by Maja, 01 April 2005 - 06:09.

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#12 TheNobleSavage

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 01:51

I have to agree with Rex. If I knew I would have to spend 50 dollars to fix a brand new 50 dollar pen then I would have bought a Filcao or a New Sheaffer Legacy instead. Shame on me for buying 3 Stipulas that dont work worth a (Potty Mouth). Shame on Stipula for selling the (Potty Mouth) in the first place!!! :doh:
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#13 Keith with a capital K

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 02:33

I have a policy that any pen that leaves my shop will have been properly restored, thoroughly tested, and rigorously checked before it goes anywhere.

It doesn't matter what kind of pen it is as they all need to write when they get to their new home.

Does this make me wierd or just really obsessive?

:lol:
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#14 Thesaurus Rex

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 03:48

I have a policy that any pen that leaves my shop will have been properly restored, thoroughly tested, and rigorously checked before it goes anywhere.

It doesn't matter what kind of pen it is as they all need to write when they get to their new home.

Does this make me wierd or just really obsessive?

:lol:

Uh, in my opinion, that makes you a true Gentleman and Scholar, Keith. Not enough people in the world believe in their work and are willing to stand by it with pride. Seems that getting things right the first time is something our society has just decided isn't important anymore. And this is something that has permeated public and private life to the point that it passes without comment most of the time.

I blame Windows. :angry:

#15 Maja

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 06:13

I have a policy that any pen that leaves my shop will have been properly restored, thoroughly tested, and rigorously checked before it goes anywhere.

It doesn't matter what kind of pen it is as they all need to write when they get to their new home.

Does this make me wierd or just really obsessive?

:lol:

No, not at all....It means you are a good person and honest pen seller/repair person who takes pride in his work :)

Keith,
I strongly suspected that you too tested out pens before mailing them out to customers, but I didn't see that written on your website. My humble apologies for omitting your name from the "Honour Roll" :blush: (I went back and added your name to my post above.)
Thank you again for all your help with my Wahl pen!

Cheers,
Maja
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#16 KCkc

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 06:41

My expectation is that any pen should write right out of the box. Period.
If this was my initial expectation of the Verona, then I would be 100% disappointed and felt cheated, too.

But since I intended to modify the nib, it was not a big issue to send it over to Fred. So the pen is fine now.

But compared to a Pelikan, Taccia, Parker, I still have reservations recommending this pen to anyone given the initial choking problems, unless you are expecting a nib modification.

#17 TheNobleSavage

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 17:05

I have a policy that any pen that leaves my shop will have been properly restored, thoroughly tested, and rigorously checked before it goes anywhere.

It doesn't matter what kind of pen it is as they all need to write when they get to their new home.

Does this make me wierd or just really obsessive?

:lol:

And That is why I sent my Sheaffer Pens to your for repair. I could have sent them stateside but I knew that you were widely respected and your work has been recommended by quite a few. I wish more pen dealers would be as passionate as you are on getting the customer a pen that they want and have it write like it should. A lot of the people on the internet just sell pens and thats it. IF something is wrong with it, dont send it back to me attitude, send it back to the manufacturer. That mentality is one that I cannot agree with. With manufacturers, it is quantity not quality. I guess thats why I preferr vintage pens over modern, back then it was all about getting it done right the first time.
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#18 Keith with a capital K

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 18:09

Thanks Maja... :blush:

I hear too many stories from people who have purchased pens in "restored" condition only to find that the work was poorly executed or that the pen failed within a short period of time.

I currently have a shop full of these.

I also have this expectation that any modern pen should work as the technology for making a perfectly functional pen was perfected well over 50 years ago and when they don't work I get cranky.

I understand that in most cases it a matter of production costs vs sales volume and the days of the larger modern pen companies having staff dedicated to pre-testing pens are long past.

The brick and mortar stores have also changed in that the people selling the pens also used to know how to perform small adjustments and make sure the pen was writing properly... now they are generally staffed by otherwise nice people who don't really have any idea of what makes a fountain pen work.

This obsessive streak sometimes gets me in a fix because I often find myself second guessing my work and re-testing things when I don't have to... but quality always taked precedence over speed and profit.

After I finish a pen I put it through writing tests using a wide range of papers from tissue/napkins to inexpensive papers to good quality bond and if it won't write well on all of these then it goes back to the bench for a few more adjustments. Most pens that come from the spa have already written at least half a dozen test pages, tasted a variety of inks, and taken a long nap with my own kids.

Why napkins? Well... let's say you meet the guy or girl of your dreams and the only paper available for writing their number on is a common paper napkin? :lol:

I also like to give them an extended storage test so after filling like to leave them for a couple of days (or more) to see how they perform after they have been neglected... a dip test only tells me how smooth the nib is but a full out performance test will tell me how the feed functions and how the pen responds in real life situations.

For all of this, I am probably the world's slowest restorer as the testing time far exceeds the restoration time but I think it's worth it to have a virtually non-existant return rate and happy people.

The new schedule and ability to work in the Spa full time should really reduce my turnaround time but those pens are still going to get well tested whther they are old, new, high rent, or low rent.
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#19 wimg

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Posted 02 April 2005 - 21:10

Hi All,

Maja mentioned something about Wim to the rescue, and here I am, the Edson and Stipula nerd, finally :D.

First of all, for those blowing off steam on this pen: it is Levenger who sold this pen, not Stipula, and in order to get anything done on these pens, you will have to send it back to Levenger, not Stipula. It was also Levenger who set the specs for this pen, just silly of Stipula to go with it. They need to make a living too, so it is understandable. They only run a very small shop.

Occasionally, like the 22, a company makes a mistake. A model just doesn't work, or not the way it was designed. Well, fine, I don't think that is a reason to make a company a target for c**pshooting. They actually offer a very good service, so you don't need to worry. It may take some time, after all, they are far away, but the pen will get fixed. And generally, you can find out beforehand, by asking on the boards, or going into a B&M store if you can, how a pen performs. And even buying via the internet or phone order, I always insist that the pen should be tested prior to sending it to me, and since there normally is a warranty, I'll send it back in case it doesn't perform new out of the box. You'll pay shipping, but that generally is a lot cheaper than the pen itself.

Also, you'll find that since the 22, all other models have performed like they should, with the occasional hiccup, like with any other brand or model, be it fountain pens or something else.

Their higher end normal models are IMO just fantastic pens, which provide a writng experience that not many other modern pens will give you, so I will live with the occasional breakdown, or faulty model. If I need the use of an indestructible pen, I'll use the Waterman Edson in that case, I won't go Stipula, or any other Italian pen for that matter.

An interesting thing to know is that Stioula pens are handmade, in low numbers, which as a result makes QC a little more difficult than pens made in large numbers by large machinery. Furthermore, they do not make the nibs themselves, although they are made on spec, and have very different characteristics to any other brand. Also, the people at Stipula are very proud of their work, and see themselves as craftsmen and artists, not ordinary factory workers.

You have to have written with a Stipula Italic nib, and to have held a variety of Etrurias and Novecentos to understand why I am in love with Stipula. Balance, the magnificent materials used, the nibs, it just adds up to Italian perfection. But never so perfect it can't break down. Consider it a Ferrari amongst pens. A pen with attitude and character, oh so great when it works, because it really performs. But oh so disappointing when it doesn't. But it can be fixed, and it will be fixed, you just need some patience.

Oh, regarding ink flow: one thing to do is to ditch the original Stipula international size converter in case of c/c pens. Even rinsing it with pure liquid dishwashing soap doesn't get rid of the SID (Sticky Ink Syndrome). The ink just stays at the top of the converter, whatever you do. So, instead, get the Pelikan international converter, it'll fit and work fine. I think I should try and convince them to get a different supplier for their converters...

Some final tips on Stips: use a good problemless ink for the first 2 or 3 fills, like Waterman Blue Black, South Seas Blue or Florida Blue, and they'll perform much better after that. Somehow the feed seems to want a very good soaking in good problemless ink, before it gets put to use with something else. You can compare this to driving in a car, where you would change the oilf after the first 1000 miles or 1500 km or so. Also, rinse it out prior to using it with a liquid dishwasher soap solution, not 1 drop on a glass of water, but use 3. Rinse and flush a few times with this solution, then rinse and flush with clear tap water until there is no more foam visible in the converter :D. These are handmachined pens, after all, and oils are used in the process.

BTW, over here in the NL it is mostly the Etruria, the Novecento, and the I Castoni that sell, the 22 generally just sits on the shelf, and the bestseller is really the Etruria. I guess that is for a reason.

If you have any more questions, please ask, and I'll try to answer them.

Kind regards, Wim

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laugh a little, love a little, live a lot; laugh a lot, love a lot, live forever


#20 KCkc

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Posted 02 April 2005 - 22:24

This is the link of the various pens I referenced :
http://img.photobuck...ch888/IMG_6.jpg






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