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Santini Italia is a relatively new company, although there was an older Italian pen manufacturer named "Santini" which may have been the same family. I am not sure what the "1998" engraved on the nib represents, presumably some important milestone in the company's history. The company is owned by Giovanni Santini, and he is the pen maker as well. He was previously involved with Ancora pens. Santini Italia attracted my attention partly because they make their own 18Kt nibs, and they offer a stub nib. They do make some somewhat blingy limited editions but several models that are quite traditional and reasonably priced for pens made with handsome resins, piston filled and fitted with 18Kt gold nibs. So, I thought it was worth ordering one. I ordered directly from the company in Italy. Communication with them was easy and responsive. The pen arrived just a few days ago, so this is a "first look."

 

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General size, shape and appearance

The Santini Italia "Libra" comes in several colors. The one I ordered is a light brown, wood grain resin. I find it rather handsome. The pen is a traditional "flat top" shape with low peaks on the top of the cap and the other end. It is a large pen, but not quite "oversize." it is about the length of a Pelikan M800 but a millimeter or so greater in diameter. I find that a positive characteristic, since I prefer thicker sections for comfort. The pen's fit and finish seem faultless. One feels it is very well made. The hardware appears to be gold plated. It is quite simple and in good taste.

 

 

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Santini Italia Libra with a Pelikan M800 and an Aurora 88 (both with custom bindes)

 

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Santini uncapped compare to a M800.

 

Filling the pen

The Libra is a piston filler. It takes about 6 turns to fill it. The capacity, tested with water, is about 1.5ml. It is very smooth to operate. When filling is complete, the end knob turns with a clicking sound, like the piston mechanism in my Delta Santuffos.

 

The nib and writing

 

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As stated, the availability of a stub nib at no extra cost was a positive factor in my decision to buy this pen. My assessment revealed both strengths and weaknesses. On initial inspection, I was pleasantly surprised by the width of the nib tip. Most stock stubs on Italian pens are 0.9 to 1.3mm. This one appears to be about 0.8, which is much more usable for my daily italic handwriting. The nib is on the small size for the size of the pen. It is noticeably smaller than the nib of a M800. On closer inspection, I found one of the tines to be torqued slightly, and the tip looked like it had baby bottom. Also, it was on the round end of the "stub" spectrum. I expected writing problems. When I inked the pen, I found it wrote very smoothly with moderate to wet ink flow. On single strokes, the thick/thin line differentiation was about 2:1, but there was minimal thick/thin difference in writing because of how wet the nib is.

 

I will be taking the pen to the San Francisco Pen Show to have the nib tuned and crisped up. I'll update my review afterwards.

 

David

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I will be taking the pen to the San Francisco Pen Show to have the nib tuned and crisped up. I'll update my review afterwards.

 

You answered before I asked the question. Looking forward to seeing you and your pen!

"When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick; and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

~ Benjamin Franklin

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That's a very sweet pen. When I first looked at it, I thought it was ebonite - the stripy woodgrain effect is so reminiscent of the best of ebonite pens. Looking forward to finding out how you get on with that stub.

Too many pens, too little time!

http://fountainpenlove.blogspot.fr/

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You answered before I asked the question. Looking forward to seeing you and your pen!

 

The pen and I will be available for viewing at the SF Pen Show. Looking forward to seeing you too, Jon!

 

David

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That's a very sweet pen. When I first looked at it, I thought it was ebonite - the stripy woodgrain effect is so reminiscent of the best of ebonite pens. Looking forward to finding out how you get on with that stub.

 

In the company's photos, the material looks like ebonite too. In person, it is still good looking, but it actually looks (and feels) less like ebonite.

 

David

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I bought a pink ripple ebonite Santini Italia Libra a few months ago, they had a few different ebonite colors. I’m happy with the look of my pen.

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  • 2 months later...

Hello David, did you get your nib fixed? Am interested in hearing your verdict as a 0.8mm stub is of great interest!

 

Kind regards, Sue

I chose my user name years ago - I have no links to BBS pens (other than owning one!)

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Portia_of_Belmont

I love Santini Italia pens as an extension of my love for Ancora--they both have those same homemade, luscious, long-tined, 18k nibs. I have several of both and was interested in adding a Libra to my collection, but was curious about the pen's size and the piston function.

 

Thank you for this review! It sealed my decision to pick one up...

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I am currently using this Santini Libra, in Forest ebonite.

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While mine has a plain M nib, I largely agree with the review. It is a fairly large yet comfortable pen, well finished and of course with the lovely Santini nib. The nib, by the way, looks to have the same width and length to the shoulder as an M800 but with longer tines, as Portia mentions.

 

It is my fifth Santini and I am very happy with it.

 

Post script: On further investigation, my ebonite Libra is a larger pen than the Libra dms525 reviews. For example, it is significantly longer than an M800 uncapped and about 3 mm wider. I will leave the comments here though, because either fine Santini remains that.

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Hello David, did you get your nib fixed? Am interested in hearing your verdict as a 0.8mm stub is of great interest!

 

Kind regards, Sue

 

Hi, Sue.

 

I fear the answer is sort of a saga.

 

I took the pen to the SF Pen Show and had Mike Masuyama look at it. Under his loupe, he saw that the tipping on one tine seemed incompletely attached. He did not recommend a regrind for fear of detaching the tipping altogether.

 

I emailed Santini Italia with macro photos of the problem. They had me send the nib to their U.S. distributor and sent me a new nib. It was also less than perfect and was very stubbish. So, I sent the pen off to Gena Salorino who ground to to a crisper cursive italic.

 

I have written with the pen just a little since all the exchanges and such. It is okay, but not mind blowingly wonderful. It needs more ink trials to really assess its potential though.

 

I have bought another Santini pen subsequently, with a broad nib. I had Gena grind that one too, and it is pretty good.

 

Pending further testing, my current assessment is that these pens are generally well-made and use very attractive materials. I am withholding final judgement on the nibs. But keep in mind I use my pens for calligraphy mostly, so I'm pretty fussy about nibs.

 

One thing I must add: The communication and service I received from the company was purely outstanding. It's very much a family operation. My communication has been with Katrina Santini.

 

Hope this answers your questions without TMI.

 

Happy writing.

 

David

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Many thanks for your reply David, very useful, if not entirely what I was hoping to hear! Sorry you had such a saga to get the nib sorted, and it still doesn’t sound super wonderful.

 

I think I will give one of the ‘cheaper’ models in their Colours series a try at some point, though, just to see what that stub nib is like. Anyone who is making a complete pen deserves support, I rationalise it!

 

Best wishes, and I hope your further ink trials have raised the pen’s rating,

 

Sue

I chose my user name years ago - I have no links to BBS pens (other than owning one!)

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I had a very similar experience when I received a Santini for review earlier this year. Nice pen, well made, excellent value for the spec, and the company was a pleasure to deal with, but I had real issues with the stub nib I received. For what it's worth, Santini strongly disputed my review of the nib, claiming that their rigorous QC would never have let a nib with baby's bottom / misalignment / etc out the door. But it sounds like I'm not the only one. https://ukfountainpens.com/2019/09/25/italys-diamond-in-the-rough-santini/

Anthony

ukfountainpens.com

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It would be disappointing if their more specialised nibs were not up to standard, as is being suggested. As I noted above, I use conventional F and M nibs and these standard manufactures have been flawless so far. After some other comments above I took a strong loupe to my Libra Ebonite (M) to find that the nib tipping looks exactly as one would expect given how well it writes.

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  • 1 month later...

I enjoy the look of santini pens, they seem fairly reasonably priced also. Great review!

 

P.s. What is that green and gold Aurora 88?

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P.s. What is that green and gold Aurora 88?

 

Custom, he wrote

 

Santini even sent me a christmas card. I hope they had a great deal on postage. :)

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks for the information rich review. I'm very intrigued by Santini and think that they are very nice looking.

 

I'm seriously considering trying a Toscana with the flexible nib. Another, nice cartridge pen would come in handy (I like them for traveling). Although I like am 0.8 mm stub for general use, a flex nib is my second favorite, and given some of the comments Im reluctant to go with a stub.

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What about the feed! Is it made out of plastic or ebonite?

 

Missed this query earlier. The Libra has an ebonite feed.

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