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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mashuach on the Back - Does it Make Sense to Remove it?

A Sefer Torah that is Mashuach on the Back and Peeling.
(Photo found via Google images, and appears to be from Rabbi Avraham Chaim Bloomenstiel.)
It's quite common - an old Sefer Torah that is mashuach on the back, and the substance is peeling off, and perhaps covering or sticking to some letters.

It would seem to make sense to remove the substance, if possible. I was thinking along the lines of perhaps (carefully) using an electric sander combined with an air compressor to blow everything away, starting first with a medium grade sand-paper, and then finishing it with an ultra-fine grade sand-paper to give it a nice, smooth texture.

Does anyone have any experience with removing the coating, or any suggestions about how it could be done, or why it shouldn't be done?

Would it perhaps make sense to instead clear-coat the coating with various clear-coats artists use to protect their paintings, so that the coating stops peeling?

2 comments:

  1. i would sand it back manually with a medium grade sandpaper. You don't have to get rid of it all but at least it wont be lumpy and it will look better.

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  2. I once had a similar case, and decided to scrape and sand what was already falling off, while leaving intact sections that that were still in good to better shape. I then applied a clear coating to the back thinking that it would prevent whatever was left over from caking and dirtying the written letters on the other side once the sefer was rolled.

    Unfortunately, I have mixed reviews. The clear coating on the back did prevent white dust from subsequently dirtying the letters. However, white chunks of the left over mashua began to further separate, necessitating me to once again go over the entire back of the scroll.

    At that point, I just informed the client that we did the best we could, given the circumstances. The mashua would continue to deteriorate with time and cake-off. The scroll should be cleaned periodically as needed.

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