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Genai

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This is my first Santini fountain pen and it's the one I like more till now. I'm a fountain pen lover and my favourite ones are  my ebonites. They are all hand crafted by artisans.  The one I introduce you now is the Santini Libra Voyager with the superflexy nib. It's a bit special because it's made with care and love by Italian craftsmen who know well their work.

These are my first impressions more than a review.

 

Appearance & Design (10)   

In my view, it's appearance is beautiful. The swirls among blue, turquoise, green, magenta and black in the ebonite are always very nice to watch, it's mesmerising if you turn the pen. The material is precious (rubber with sulfur, badly named as hard rubber); it's name comes from it's similarly with ebony.

The design is very well thought-out. It is uncapped in one and a quarter turn. The clip is long but is very tight (too much).

The section is long and very comfortable to hold and it tappers up at the end a bit  preventing your fingers to meet the nib.

It's gurthy enough for my liking.

The Santini 18 kt gold nib (superflexy in this piece) has one advantage: you can interchange with other Santini nibs.

It can be posted very securely but I do not recommend you to do it because with time you can damage the surface of the ebonite (if you like posting, do it with care).

The pen is exquisitely beautiful and the workmanship is top notch. The ebonite warms to my hand and the pen is a comfortable writer.

 

Construction & Quality (9) 

Outstanding construction and quality. The pen is beautifully made. Ebonite is a precious material for me. The fountain pen is handcrafted (I give a high value to pens made with experienced hands more than inyected plastic, for example). This pen is made by artisans and well engineered.

The quality of the threading is outstanding. It has very comfortable long section. Perfect and beautiful cap band. The clip is very tight, it's a pity. It's the only bad detail and that's the reason to have a 9 instead of a 10.

The polishing is very good and the pen is full of well made details. I remember that Da Vinci said "details make perfection and perfection is not any detail".

 

Weight &  Dimensions(10) 

 

Weight: 31g
Length: 145mm. 135mm uncapped
Cap length: 68mm
Cap diameter: 17mm
Body diameter: 15mm (max)

 

It has a perfect balance. It is a not very lightweight nor heavy and comfortable pen.

It's a gurthy pen but not too much, I feel that dimensions like the perfect ones.

The grip is 11.4mm at its narrowest and is very comfortable between your fingers. It's slightly hour-glass shaped and flares out closest to the nib so your fingers won't slip.

 

Nib & Performance (10) 

The nib is a Santini 18kt gold extra fine and flexy (they call it superflexy but it's really a nice and very good semi flex), so it's performance is assured. It does not require a lot of pressure to flex but it doesn't open like a wet noodle. It writes beautifully and with very good and nice line variation if you want and very good snap back.

You can choose among plenty of different nibs with different sizes (it's one of the best companies if not the best in the world about offering diferent nib options) and plating. Mine has a bit of feedback (I prefer that characteristic better tgan the glassy nibs) and it's juicy, without being a gusher.

The nib comes with an ebonite feeder to keep a well flow.

Santini makes their nibs and I really appreciate that. I think in Italy only Aurora and Santini make their own nibs.

 

Filling System (10)

I like piston filling systems.

The pen encapsulates a Schmidt piston component with a ratcheting sound that alerts you when you've filled the pen completely. It has a ink capacity around 1.1~1.2 ml.

Schmidt is a well-known German quality brand and their piston component is reliable and as sturdy as a classic piston filling system. If you have any problem, Santini has a repair service that if it is like their fabulous customer support and service, I wouldn't think about that.

I know you have to store the pen with care and without light and to dry it well after washing but I prefer the feeling of ebonite when you touch it and it looks beautiful.

 

Cost & Value (10) 

The quality/price ratio is very good. 369 € including shipping is a fair price. But the good point is it's value, it's a fountain pen made by hand, if you take only that into account, it's real value is very high. Beside that it's made with care and love and perfectly engineered.

Katrina (customer service) is so kind and professional. The way she supports and deals with you is outstanding and they send you the pen very fast.

 

Conclusion (Score, 59/60) 

I feel very happy with this fountain pen. It is beautiful and very well made, with love by artisans. Very well engineered and thought-out.

I am also very satisfied with their customer kindness.

I think we do well to support handcrafted fountain pens.

I am perhaps a bit viassed because I do love ebonite.

The price is more than right if you consider the artisan work. They are all craftsmen.

They also package the fountain pen beautifully.

Santini does not appear to invest in marketing and I think they sell most of their products directly to the end customer. I think that their pens are of perhaps superior material and quality than the better known Italian brands. This pen will remain one of my best. I have become a fan of Santini.

I would like to give my congrats to all Santini team, they are great.

 

Best regards to everybody. Take care ;)

 

Miguel Ángel.

 

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Edited by Genai
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  • Genai

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Thanks for the excellent review -  imo.

My plan is to order one similar to your with a flexy stub nib. I had one before but someone at the Commonwealth Pen Show made me an offer and I accepted it.

 

If possible, it would be appreciated if you could provide a writing sample of some kind'

Thank you again...

“Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today, because if you do it today and like it, you can do again tomorrow!”

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47 minutes ago, jchch1950 said:

Thanks for the comments. The ebonite looks gorgeous.

You're right. Santini ebonites are beautiful.

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8 hours ago, Gloucesterman said:

Thanks for the excellent review -  imo.

My plan is to order one similar to your with a flexy stub nib. I had one before but someone at the Commonwealth Pen Show made me an offer and I accepted it.

 

If possible, it would be appreciated if you could provide a writing sample of some kind'

Thank you again...

Thanks a lot! I really appreciate your kind words.

I think a flexy stub is a very good option. You have also available a cursive italic flexy that I think it's one of their best nibs, similar to the "stub" but delivers a bit sharper line and it's still smooth with a bit of feedback, getting more line variation, but the stub is very nice too.

I enclose a writing sample but it's done in a very bad quality paper ( take that into account). It's in Spanish (sorry about that), but I think it's enough to watch my bad style. You can appreciate the flex and non flex writing.

Best regards.

 

20221025_090506.jpg

Edited by Genai
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After using this beautiful writing instrument some days I realize its nib is more than a semiflex. It's not a wet noodle but definitely more than a semiflex, something in between. A very nice flex nib.

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Great samples. And a great review. Thank you so very much. It looks like production of flex nib is starting to take off at last.

 

If you are to be ephemeral, leave a good scent.

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15 hours ago, txomsy said:

Great samples. And a great review. Thank you so very much. It looks like production of flex nib is starting to take off at last.

 

Thanks a lot! 

You are right. Flex nibs are growing.

I do not care for a rigid nib if it's made of steel or gold (for example, steel nibs from Faber-Castell are amazing) but for a modern flex nib I prefer gold because they are easier to flex and the line is crisper.

For me the best are Pilot FA nib number 10 (better than number 15) and Santini 18kt superflexy.  You have also the one from Aurora but it's not so flexy. The ones from Montblanc and Wahl Eversharp are quite good but they're so expensive!

 

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Just like @Genai, I purchased a Santini ebonite Libra with a “superflexy” EF nib, I posted a review of that pen last year in April. And just like the OP I am happy with the pen. I nevertheless would like to warn the readers of this excellent post against unrealistic expectations in terms of “line variation”.  

 

Many fountain pen enthousiasts, including me, are fascinated by (and continuously on the hunt for) “flexible nibs”. My own conclusion (based on a limited but not insignificant sample of approximately 10 contemporary “flex” nibbled pens and approximately 25 vintage flex pens) is that line variation (except to a very limited degree) might not realistically possible for someone who (like me) writes cursive at an angle and at normal speed and pressure. 

 

I am enclosing two pictures to illustrate the point.
 

I write cursive (I practice “business penmanship” and Spencerian) at a 52 degree angle. That is the angle at which downstrokes are written. When writing my pen is held almost perpendicular to the vertical axis of the paper (see the first picture).

56914792-9BAB-4EC4-B5C6-A5843A625C22.thumb.jpeg.9c791d9de9847f9e982bd22e149fc9c8.jpeg

As a result, the nib on a 52 degree downstroke moves “sideways” to the left and the pressure on both tines is not equal. That prevents them from spreading and that also is why several experts warn against putting too much (or even any) pressure on a flexible nib when making such a downstroke. 

 

The obvious solution would seem to change either the angle at which the pen is held or the angle of the script. The first solution is not workable for me (perhaps others can write while holding their pen at 52 degrees right from the vertical paper axis, I personally cannot).
 

Second solution: change the writing angle of the script to 90 degrees. That makes it possible to write with pressure. But that is not a good solution for me either since I am learning cursive at a 52 degree. Plus, even if I write at 90 degrees (see second picture below) I am able to coax (some) line variation out of the superflexy nib only by (1) exerting pressure that I consider as untenable for the poor little thing and (2) writing exceedingly slowly (i.e., at a speed that in practical terms is too slow to write someone a letter).  

 

In the second picture I also compare the Santini superflexy nib to a Zebra G dip nib. The latter nib is generally considered as “semi” flex. I used it in an oblique holder (that modifies the writing angle) and exerted moderate pressure (versus heavy pressure on the 90 degree downstrokes of the Santini nib). 

E1040188-0913-41B5-893F-6544C9A336D3.thumb.jpeg.994240f7ef4dbfc566ad420c8bfd7bb8.jpeg

To avoid misunderstanding: I do like the Santini superflexy nib and I do not pretend that line variation is unattainable with that nib for others. It is, however, for me, and, I suspect for some others who also write at a 52 degree angle. 

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11 hours ago, Vintage_BE said:

Just like @Genai, I purchased a Santini ebonite Libra with a “superflexy” EF nib, I posted a review of that pen last year in April. And just like the OP I am happy with the pen. I nevertheless would like to warn the readers of this excellent post against unrealistic expectations in terms of “line variation”.  

 

Many fountain pen enthousiasts, including me, are fascinated by (and continuously on the hunt for) “flexible nibs”. My own conclusion (based on a limited but not insignificant sample of approximately 10 contemporary “flex” nibbled pens and approximately 25 vintage flex pens) is that line variation (except to a very limited degree) might not realistically possible for someone who (like me) writes cursive at an angle and at normal speed and pressure. 

 

I am enclosing two pictures to illustrate the point.
 

I write cursive (I practice “business penmanship” and Spencerian) at a 52 degree angle. That is the angle at which downstrokes are written. When writing my pen is held almost perpendicular to the vertical axis of the paper (see the first picture).

56914792-9BAB-4EC4-B5C6-A5843A625C22.thumb.jpeg.9c791d9de9847f9e982bd22e149fc9c8.jpeg

As a result, the nib on a 52 degree downstroke moves “sideways” to the left and the pressure on both tines is not equal. That prevents them from spreading and that also is why several experts warn against putting too much (or even any) pressure on a flexible nib when making such a downstroke. 

 

The obvious solution would seem to change either the angle at which the pen is held or the angle of the script. The first solution is not workable for me (perhaps others can write while holding their pen at 52 degrees right from the vertical paper axis, I personally cannot).
 

Second solution: change the writing angle of the script to 90 degrees. That makes it possible to write with pressure. But that is not a good solution for me either since I am learning cursive at a 52 degree. Plus, even if I write at 90 degrees (see second picture below) I am able to coax (some) line variation out of the superflexy nib only by (1) exerting pressure that I consider as untenable for the poor little thing and (2) writing exceedingly slowly (i.e., at a speed that in practical terms is too slow to write someone a letter).  

 

In the second picture I also compare the Santini superflexy nib to a Zebra G dip nib. The latter nib is generally considered as “semi” flex. I used it in an oblique holder (that modifies the writing angle) and exerted moderate pressure (versus heavy pressure on the 90 degree downstrokes of the Santini nib). 

E1040188-0913-41B5-893F-6544C9A336D3.thumb.jpeg.994240f7ef4dbfc566ad420c8bfd7bb8.jpeg

To avoid misunderstanding: I do like the Santini superflexy nib and I do not pretend that line variation is unattainable with that nib for others. It is, however, for me, and, I suspect for some others who also write at a 52 degree angle. 

Thanks a lot for your very complete and didactic contribution, it's very helpful.

You are so good explaining.

I agree with you basically. I think the line variation also depends on your hand pressure and writing stile. The way you move your hand and gripping fingers is essential to maximise line variation.

If you want to get more line variation you can turn the paper to the left and the tines open closer to a 90° angle. One funny aspect is about that one user considers heavy pressure another one thinks is light. ;)

 

Edited by Genai
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