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Thread: Ebonite vs. Acrylic Resin in Santini pens

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    Default Ebonite vs. Acrylic Resin in Santini pens

    Santini pens with Flexy nibs must have ebonite feeds. Some of the pens I'm looking at are made of acrylic resin and others are ebonite. The former cost 259 euros and the latter cost 359 euros.

    What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? What do you get for 100 euros more when you get an ebonite pen?

    Examples of Ebonites are Libra Blackberry, Mora, Sand, Acqua, Cumberland, Ginger, Ethiopia and Lava. Examples of Acrylic Resins are Libra Black, Nut, Lord, Etna, Grape, Laurel, Diamod Blue, Lavender, Royal Blue, and Red.
    Dan Kalish

    Fountain Pens: Pelikan Souveran M805, Santini Libra Cumberland Gold ebonite, Waterman Expert II, Waterman Phileas, Waterman Kultur, Stipula Splash, Sheaffer Sagaris, Sheaffer Prelude, Osmiroid 65, FPR Guru

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ebonite vs. Acrylic Resin in Santini pens

    I hate to see a post go unanswered for too long, so I'll give a bit of info. This is bearing in mind that I don't have any Santini pens, but simply addressing the materials difference.

    I can't honestly talk about the quantitative difference in cost, as only the end user will be the one to justify the higher ebonite price. Acrylic pens will likely come in more flamboyant colors, and frequently more color choices. I believe, though would not swear to this, that the acrylic is easier to machine, and that the ebonite requires either more time, skill or slightly different tools. One thing I can say is that most people - including me - believe there is a difference in feel, in your hand, with ebonite. I find it warms up faster and stays comfortable warm in hand, giving you the impression is it somehow softer. In two pens of identical size, the ebonite pen will also weigh a bit more, so you can get a thinner pen but still have some heft in hand. As to eventual pricing, I could point out that even in pen brands (say, from India) who primarily use ebonite, the modern combination of colors produces premium lines of material, and lesser, less complex patterns that aren't priced as high. There are also differences in quality (and control) - cheap hard rubber can have inconsistencies, little bits of stuff, etc. Good HR can be very smooth. Finally, there is the faint (hopefully) odor/aroma: ebonite is hard rubber, and if you rub the barrel and sniff, it will smell like a bicycle tire.

    Since this was the material that fountain pens were originally made from, it has stood the test of time and even when I purchase a modern pen, I feel like I am reaching back in time. Even in a very non-flashy material and design, it can be a nice bit of warm elegance. I don't buy a lot of ebonite pens, but I do enjoy them. Oddly enough, I recently got a more entry-level pen from Narwhal, a recent entry in piston fillers. All their first pens were fairly bright, patterned acrylic, but in celebration of their first year, they made the same pen in a dark black/red ebonite. It is a remarkably good pen, holds a good amount of ink, has an ink window, and while I chose to put a favorite old Sheaffer nib in, their in-house nib worked well. Their acrylic pens sell for $45-55 and this one, which also included a wooden presentation box and leather slip cover, was $80. (photo below)

    Maybe this will give you a bit of perspective on the materials choice, and I hope others might chime in. Since the point is to help you out, I might also suggest asking over at the Fountain Pen Network, which has a very active Italian subforum and quite a few Santini owners. Good luck!

    "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."

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    Default Re: Ebonite vs. Acrylic Resin in Santini pens

    The small independent pen makers, who are mainly turning pens to fit Jowo nib units, have a set price for model irrespective of whether the material is acrylic or ebonite. That's just in my experience of course, others may disagree. So it often baffles me, like the OP, why bigger companies place a premium on ebonite at such an extravagant level. Ebonite itself is not an expensive material, but as Jon touches on this, I've also heard that it is not the most pleasant stuff to work with - though that doesn't seem to bother the myriad of Indian pen makers who use ebonite extensively.

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    Default Re: Ebonite vs. Acrylic Resin in Santini pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    The small independent pen makers, who are mainly turning pens to fit Jowo nib units, have a set price for model irrespective of whether the material is acrylic or ebonite.
    I would be careful about that. The very first two makers I took a look at:

    • Shawn Newton: "SOME MATERIAL OPTIONS AND COMBINATIONS WILL HAVE AN EXTRA COST. CUSTOM RESINS ~$10, EBONITES ~$40-60, CLEARS $75"
    • Scriptorium Pens: "Some special materials, such as ebonite, cebloplast, some lucites, exotic or high grade wood, rare materials, or custom made blanks may add to the cost of the pen."

    Etc. I kinda think it is more common that ebonite is an upgrade material for most any pen, whether it is materials cost (to maker), additional labor or attention needed, etc. If nothing else, I'd expect to pay more, and be pleased if the price were identical.
    "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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    Default Re: Ebonite vs. Acrylic Resin in Santini pens

    Of course, but I was referring to the makers that I've approached only. Not trying to be inclusive, just reporting on what I had personally experienced.

    I should also point out that the two you mention are registered businesses rather than hobby makers. Whether that makes a difference when it comes to finances I don't know. And again I will mention the Indian pen makers - maybe the differing economies also play a part in mark up?

    Slightly contentious subject matter I suppose, well at least to me it is.

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    Default Re: Ebonite vs. Acrylic Resin in Santini pens

    All ebonites are not created equal. Rods vary dramatically in price, depending upon the quality: https://vermontfreehand.com/product/...lored-ebonite/
    Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

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    Default Re: Ebonite vs. Acrylic Resin in Santini pens

    (Cross-posted in Fountain Pen Network forum)
    Dan Kalish

    Fountain Pens: Pelikan Souveran M805, Santini Libra Cumberland Gold ebonite, Waterman Expert II, Waterman Phileas, Waterman Kultur, Stipula Splash, Sheaffer Sagaris, Sheaffer Prelude, Osmiroid 65, FPR Guru

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    Default Re: Ebonite vs. Acrylic Resin in Santini pens

    Ebonite varies greatly in quality as mentioned above. It is also toxic to work with, difficult to produce and requires a long period to properly cure. In most countries production of ebonite is very tightly controlled since it is a very significant environmental hazard. All of those things will add to costs.

    But properly aged and cured, properly worked and turned, ebonite produces a pen body that is warm to the touch, non-slip, long lasting, durable, attractive and aesthetic.

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    Default Re: Ebonite vs. Acrylic Resin in Santini pens

    According to the Santini Italia website, "Ebonite was the first natural material used for the production of fountain pens and is part of scripture. A material now precious and rare."

    I've seen ebonite described as "warm" to the touch (unlike the coolness of resin).

    Looking at photos of the Santini Libra Night (shiny black ebonite) and the Santini Black (shiny black resin), I don't see what makes the ebonite model worth 100 euros more than the resin model. That being said, I'd rather have the ebonite version, but probably not for $118 USD more.

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    Default Re: Ebonite vs. Acrylic Resin in Santini pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Slightly contentious subject matter I suppose, well at least to me it is.
    Not to me, and certainly not intended from my response. It is a matter that has a number of angles and sets of data behind it, and best understood with the widest set of viewpoints and experiences. One can't always know why items or work are priced as they are, but you can look at the varying costs of materials as one indicator, along with manufacturing issues.
    "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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    Default Re: Ebonite vs. Acrylic Resin in Santini pens

    My first vintage pen was an ebonite Conway Stewart. It's my favorite pen. As the others mentioned is warm to touch. If I were to rhapsodize it, I would say, it embraces my hand.
    Funnily enough Desiderata ebonite pens are cheaper than their acrylics. (not the new ripple one)

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    Default Re: Ebonite vs. Acrylic Resin in Santini pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Rin Tin Pen View Post
    According to the Santini Italia website, "Ebonite was the first natural material used for the production of fountain pens and is part of scripture. A material now precious and rare."

    I've seen ebonite described as "warm" to the touch (unlike the coolness of resin).

    Looking at photos of the Santini Libra Night (shiny black ebonite) and the Santini Black (shiny black resin), I don't see what makes the ebonite model worth 100 euros more than the resin model. That being said, I'd rather have the ebonite version, but probably not for $118 USD more.
    If you get a Flexy nib / ebonite feed, it's 15 euros (10?) more for the acrylic resin and included with the ebonite pen. So that's 85 euros more. With the 10% discount, that's 76.5 euros more. $90. Still a lot but not as much as $118.
    Dan Kalish

    Fountain Pens: Pelikan Souveran M805, Santini Libra Cumberland Gold ebonite, Waterman Expert II, Waterman Phileas, Waterman Kultur, Stipula Splash, Sheaffer Sagaris, Sheaffer Prelude, Osmiroid 65, FPR Guru

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    Default Re: Ebonite vs. Acrylic Resin in Santini pens

    Where is the 10% discount?

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    Default Re: Ebonite vs. Acrylic Resin in Santini pens

    Quote Originally Posted by carlos.q View Post
    Where is the 10% discount?
    When I corresponded with Katrina last July, she gave me a code for 10% off. I don't know if I'm at liberty to share the code with the board, and I'm not even sure it's still in effect.
    Dan Kalish

    Fountain Pens: Pelikan Souveran M805, Santini Libra Cumberland Gold ebonite, Waterman Expert II, Waterman Phileas, Waterman Kultur, Stipula Splash, Sheaffer Sagaris, Sheaffer Prelude, Osmiroid 65, FPR Guru

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    Default Re: Ebonite vs. Acrylic Resin in Santini pens

    So I decided. I ordered a Santini Libra Cumberland Gold (Ebonite) with 18kt Gold (F Flexy) nib. I like the looks of it (in their pictures) much better than the acrylic resins.

    I'll let you know when I get it.

    Dan
    Dan Kalish

    Fountain Pens: Pelikan Souveran M805, Santini Libra Cumberland Gold ebonite, Waterman Expert II, Waterman Phileas, Waterman Kultur, Stipula Splash, Sheaffer Sagaris, Sheaffer Prelude, Osmiroid 65, FPR Guru

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    Default Re: Ebonite vs. Acrylic Resin in Santini pens

    Quote Originally Posted by kaliuzhkin View Post
    So I decided. I ordered a Santini Libra Cumberland Gold (Ebonite) with 18kt Gold (F Flexy) nib. I like the looks of it (in their pictures) much better than the acrylic resins.
    I think looks are what does it for me, too, though i also appreciate eboniteís lightness. I definitely want my feeds to be ebonite.

    I have a bunch of ebonite pens, ranging from vintage numbers to Indian eyedroppers all the way up to a KoP in ebonite ó and now a Santini in the Honey ebonite on the way.

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    Default Re: Ebonite vs. Acrylic Resin in Santini pens

    Quote Originally Posted by guyy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kaliuzhkin View Post
    So I decided. I ordered a Santini Libra Cumberland Gold (Ebonite) with 18kt Gold (F Flexy) nib. I like the looks of it (in their pictures) much better than the acrylic resins.
    I think looks are what does it for me, too, though i also appreciate eboniteís lightness. I definitely want my feeds to be ebonite.

    I have a bunch of ebonite pens, ranging from vintage numbers to Indian eyedroppers all the way up to a KoP in ebonite ó and now a Santini in the Honey ebonite on the way.
    I hope the Santini Libra Cumberland looks as good in person as it does in the pictures.

    Guyy: what is a KoP pen?
    Dan Kalish

    Fountain Pens: Pelikan Souveran M805, Santini Libra Cumberland Gold ebonite, Waterman Expert II, Waterman Phileas, Waterman Kultur, Stipula Splash, Sheaffer Sagaris, Sheaffer Prelude, Osmiroid 65, FPR Guru

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    Default Re: Ebonite vs. Acrylic Resin in Santini pens

    Quote Originally Posted by kaliuzhkin View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by guyy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kaliuzhkin View Post
    So I decided. I ordered a Santini Libra Cumberland Gold (Ebonite) with 18kt Gold (F Flexy) nib. I like the looks of it (in their pictures) much better than the acrylic resins.
    I think looks are what does it for me, too, though i also appreciate eboniteís lightness. I definitely want my feeds to be ebonite.

    I have a bunch of ebonite pens, ranging from vintage numbers to Indian eyedroppers all the way up to a KoP in ebonite ó and now a Santini in the Honey ebonite on the way.
    I hope the Santini Libra Cumberland looks as good in person as it does in the pictures.

    Guyy: what is a KoP pen?

    KoP == Sailor King of Pen series.

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    Default Re: Ebonite vs. Acrylic Resin in Santini pens

    How's the Santini after 5 months? I got the same pen and nib as you but in the bronze mid 2020 and it's probably my favourite pen, definitely top 3. Mine's very wet for a fine, maybe due to the bounce of the flexy nib so the line is maybe more of a medium at times but that's ok. I don't feel it flexes much but it's definitely soft and bouncy.

    I went for ebonite as I wanted the warmer feel and something different from the many other acrylic pens I own, also the colour of the Cumberland model with the bronze and rose gold sold me. I do still look longingly at the Libral Laurel in gold but I'm waiting for their new model with the #8 nib which should drop in the next couple of weeks. I don't regret extra expense of the ebonite as the pen is attractive, very comfortable and feels great in use.

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    Default Re: Ebonite vs. Acrylic Resin in Santini pens

    I havenít been using mine after the first fill. Nothing wrong with it, but it hasnít sung to me. Iíll probably sell it but i want to give it another chance before i do.

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