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Showing posts from May 18, 2012

Gum Sandarac

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Just a quick post before Shabbos about a very useful tool that we've recently been discussing in the context of another post.  As R' Avraham said, it really does deserve to be better known and more widely used among sofrim.
Gum sandarac is a resin derived from the juniper like tree tetraclinis articulata, native to many parts of the Mediterranean basin.  The resin exudes from cuts made in the branches and is collected for use by scribes, varnish makers and woodworkers.

The lumps of resin are generally small and brittle and can be easily reduced to a fine powder using a mortar and pestle or a spice mill.  The powder is then placed in a small, loosely woven, cloth bag made from a square of fabric.  

By scribes, gum sandarac is used as an initial preparation for writing on parchment.  It's use accomplishes several important things: prevents ink from spreading on porous surfacesmakes the ink appear blackerimproves the sharpness of the writinggives a degree of tooth to the parc…