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Moldy(?) Esterbrook - Is It Dead?


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7 replies to this topic

#1 KreepyKen

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Posted 25 February 2018 - 22:12

Quite a while ago, I bought an Esterbrook J on eBay. The seller said they thought it had never been used. I had flushed it, filled it, wrote with it (I love the nib) until it ran dry, flushed it, let the nib unit and barrel sit for a few days to air out, and stored it.

 

Last week, I pulled it out again, flushed it, and filled it. Within a few days, it was overtaken by a really strong moldy smell. It's so bad, I couldn't even use it. The smell is overpowering as soon as I remove the cap. I unscrewed the nib unit and have it soaking in warm, soapy water. I flushed the sac directly through the open section. The ink was actually a mixture of three different KWZ inks (it's the "beta" test for the ink we're having developed for the St. Louis Pen Show).

 

This my first issue with mold in any pen. Is this something that can be cleaned out so I can use the pen again? Or is this something that's going to be near impossible to clean from the feed? Or from the sac for that matter? Can the feed and/or sac tolerate a 10% bleach solution? I'm sure a little ammonia would be okay, but how effective would that be in removing the mold? Or should I just toss the unit and buy a replacement? 

 

Final question: I'm going to be awful reluctant to put that nib back in a bottle of ink, so how feasible is it to fill the pen by removing the nib unit and filling the sac with a syringe. Sounds ridiculous, but I don't want to risk ruining a bottle of ink because I couldn't get all the mold out of the feed of this pen.

 

Of course, I filled the pen from a bottle by repeatedly depressing the lever to fill the sac three or four times to get a better fill, so ink was being flushed back into the bottle with each squeeze. Now the smell of the ink in the bottle has changed (doesn't smell moldy, but doesn't have that KWZ honey/vanilla smell any more, either).

 

Thoughts? Thank you!



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#2 gweimer1

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 00:30

If the mold is in the sac, it's a pretty easy task to have the sac replaced, and give both the nib and section a good flush.   My guess is that the pen is fine, but the sac is the real issue.



#3 KreepyKen

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 00:45

If the mold is in the sac, it's a pretty easy task to have the sac replaced, and give both the nib and section a good flush.   My guess is that the pen is fine, but the sac is the real issue.

 

I believe you are correct. I flushed all of it with warm, soapy water and it's been sitting out drying. There's still a faint smell of mold coming from inside the pen, but with the nib/feed, I just smell the steel of the nib.

 

Thanks for the info!



#4 pajaro

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 04:59

I would remove the section and discard the sac after examining it for holes.  Then I would check the barrel for moldy smell.  I would also be careful not to inhale deeply.  If I thought there were a mold in the barrel, I would toss the pen entirely.  I might take no chances and toss the ink as well.  Some will say try to save this stuff, but mold can spread to your dwelling.  It can be a killer. 

 

Then again, I live with a wife who has asthma.  If mold spores spread to your dwelling, which I think is a long shot, your dwelling can become a killer.  It's more common from roof leaks, though.


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#5 Chrissy

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 07:00

I would just replace the sac, and take the opportunity to flush the barrel t the same time.  :)

 

Good luck. I hope it's OK.



#6 PaFitch

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 17:28

Unless the sac leaked into the barrel of the pen, the barrel should be fine. The barrel can be cleaned but both the j-bar and the wire ring that holds the lever in place will rust. Water and ammonia are a recommended cleaning agent for pens--will ammonia kill the mold? (Have to ask because I don't know anything about chemistry.)



#7 Inkling13

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 19:26

Esterbrooks are near immortal. Other than running out of parts and the knowhow of how to restore them, nothing would keep on from working again.

#8 Tom Heath

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 13:33

Bleach kills mold its' that simple

 

Disinfect affected areas  rinse thoroughly  and allow to dry.

 

Even inside the barrel and cap  remove inner-cap and pressure bar is possible.

 

Do  check your ink supply as this may be the cause,  if there is mildew growth on the surface of the ink

I get rid of the bottle  why risk re-infection.

 

It is a pain the the neck but you will save the pen.

 

TJ


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