Author Topic: Help: My penholder stinks (literally)  (Read 6583 times)

Offline tintenfuchs

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Help: My penholder stinks (literally)
« on: January 12, 2016, 10:28:05 AM »
Hi everyone,

I've got a curious problem today, maybe one of you knows something about this. This summer, I purchased a penholder and recently it has started to smell really bad. It smells like a wet towel you've forgotten about and left crumpled in the corner for two weeks, if you know what I mean. Kinda mouldy, rotten, disgusting. I can't see anything but the smell is getting worse. I've cleaned the surface but the smell just clings. Is it possible that the wood is rotting inside or something like that? I'd really appreciate any kind of advice.

Should I contact the person I bought it from? I'm a little embarrassed to be honest. I hope I'm not the first person with that weird experience.

Best,
Natascha
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Offline Estefa

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Re: Help: My penholder stinks (literally)
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2016, 10:44:48 AM »
I mean that sounds really, really disgusting!!! I understand about the embarrassent but then I guess I would contact the seller. Maybe really the wood is sort of molding inside? Is it a burl or something like that?
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Offline ericp

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Re: Help: My penholder stinks (literally)
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2016, 11:10:00 AM »
To me the only possible explanation is the place where you fit the nib has gotten humid and that part is rotting.  (One would assume that they would design the "head" of the penholder to be waterproof!!!!)

Offline tintenfuchs

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Re: Help: My penholder stinks (literally)
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2016, 11:20:34 AM »
I mean that sounds really, really disgusting!!! I understand about the embarrassent but then I guess I would contact the seller. Maybe really the wood is sort of molding inside? Is it a burl or something like that?
I have no clue what kind of wood it is. Pretty wood? :D
I guess I'll contact the seller ...
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Offline AndyT

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Re: Help: My penholder stinks (literally)
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2016, 12:20:52 PM »
Any chance of a picture, Natascha?

Offline AAAndrew

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Re: Help: My penholder stinks (literally)
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2016, 12:35:09 PM »
And is it an oblique or a straight holder? If it was straight, I'd think that you've got mold growing behind the ferrule. Even rotting wood doesn't really smell unless it got really active mold and is rotting quickly. If it's an oblique, then look for someplace where there's an opening into the wood through the finish.

Mold needs air, warmth, moisture and food. Take away any one of these and it won't live. Give it all four, and mold will find a way in.
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Offline tintenfuchs

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Re: Help: My penholder stinks (literally)
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2016, 01:36:44 PM »
It's an oblique. The only opening is at the front, where the slit for the flange is still open.

Do you think freezing the holder for a day would kill the mold? I have no idea what it would do to the wood though.

Andy, I'm afraid a photo would be useless, since you really can't see anything.
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Offline AAAndrew

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Re: Help: My penholder stinks (literally)
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2016, 02:20:26 PM »
So, it's wood. I wonder if something is eating the finish. Try wiping it down with the strongest alcohol you have.

Freezing may do something, but it would probably only slow it down, not kill it. Freezing works well for wood worm, if you're willing to leave it in there for a while, but I don't think it kills mold that well.

I wonder if drying it really well with a hair drier or heat gun would help? Just stop before it starts to crack.  ::)

You can't microwave it with the flange, and that's very risky with wood anyway. If there's moisture in it, you make either cook it or it could explode.

I'd think about the finish first and try the alcohol, or a very mild bleach solution.
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Offline Matthew_R

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Re: Help: My penholder stinks (literally)
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2016, 02:55:36 PM »
Sounds like you need

Swell

by

matthew r.

The first fragrance exclusively for pen holders.  Available at fine retailers.  Maybe.

Offline Salman Khattak

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Re: Help: My penholder stinks (literally)
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2016, 03:29:27 PM »
Is it made from some exotic wood? Some woods have a nasty smell.

If the flange is not glued in place, you can try pulling it out and seeing if there is any mold on the flange itself e.g. between the two layers that go into the slit. There isn't much room in there to have enough mold to have that much smell but you never know.

You can also try working a bit of ammonia into the slot (after removing the flange) with the tip of a toothpick to clean it up. Leave it out for a day so it can dry out completely. Don't leave it out in direct sunlight as the wood might crack if it gets too dry.

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Offline Doesy

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Re: Help: My penholder stinks (literally)
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2016, 05:30:34 PM »
Oh no! I think it might be difficult getting the smell out of the porous wood. I don't know if this would work but it's what I use for my smelly outdoor gear (hiking clothes, boots, neoprene fishing waders etc). Over time, the gear - esp boots and waders - build up a, err, odor that no amount of washing seems to get out. I use an enzymatic cleaner (mirazyme) that seems to get the smell out. It's supposed to break down the smelly causing proteins that are stuck on the gear.  Maybe it would work on pen holders too.

Offline AAAndrew

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Re: Help: My penholder stinks (literally)
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2016, 07:52:02 PM »
Sounds like you need

Swell

by

matthew r.

The first fragrance exclusively for pen holders.  Available at fine retailers.  Maybe.

An attractive scent of fresh iron gall with hints of cotton paper and envelope glue. Guaranteed to drive any pen lover back to their desk!
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Offline JohnNealBooks

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Re: Help: My penholder stinks (literally)
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2016, 10:02:00 PM »
Matthew, I think we just must stock this new scent.  I am sure it will be a hit  :)

Thanks for the chuckles! 

Cheers, Michael

PS: if you buy a holder from JNB that develops an odor, please do let me know.

Offline tintenfuchs

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Re: Help: My penholder stinks (literally)
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2016, 05:49:15 AM »
So, it's wood. I wonder if something is eating the finish. Try wiping it down with the strongest alcohol you have.
I can't - it's beautifully painted :(

JNB: I didn't purchase it from you.
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Offline melanie jane

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Re: Help: My penholder stinks (literally)
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2016, 06:31:04 AM »
It sounds as if water/ink has gotten into the slot where the flange is inserted and is either causing the wood to rot, or fungus to grow inside.

Please contact the seller to let them know that this has happened...as a pen maker myself, I would rather know if there is a problem with my holders, and be given the chance to rectify it (on this and future pens), than have customers be too polite to tell me and never know that there is a problem.

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