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!