stamforum

stamforum
פורום בינלאומי לנושא סת"ם

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

WEATHER PROOF MEZUZAH CASES

I recently wrote an article in which I discussed the common misconception of the weatherproof mezuzah case. While in recent years some companies claim to manufacture outdoor weatherproof cases, it seems, at least in my experience, that many of these are not as good as we think.

Waterproof cases are normally made of one piece with a screw or plug on the bottom that keeps moisture out. They can be made of metal, plastic, or wood. The metal cases are strong but I find that if exposed to heat ie sunlight, they may become hot and the heat no doubt affects the mezuzah. The plastic ones are good, especially the opaque ones, as they are less affected by heat or sunlight, however they easily develop cracks and can break easily, which renders them no longer waterproof. The wooden ones are great as they don't get hot and most have a waterproof coating / veneer over the paint. This works well initially, but after some time this layer seems to come away and then the wood rots and no longer remains waterproof.

So a really good, solid outdoor mezuzah case remains hard to find. If anyone has any experience with good outdoor mezuzah cases, or ideas how to better protect a mezuzah from the elements, please share.

9 comments:

  1. Make the mezuzos themselves waterproof! Write with dio lanetzach on Gvil or קלף מעובד בעפצים and the mezuzah will be water resistant. It may get wrinkled but generally not passeled.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed, in my experience dyo lonetzach (on any type of klaf) will help when the ink comes in direct contact with liquid.

      But even if you write with dyo lonetzach (which is waterproof), if the klaf gets wet repeatedly and is exposed to a lot of heat it will harden and get stuck together and the mezuzah will eventually look like a dried cigar (for lack of a better description) when you take it out of many of the standard outdoor cases.

      I've never experimented with dio lanetzach on Gvil or קלף מעובד בעפצים davkah, but will that really stop the klaf turning hard and solidifying to the point that you can not even open the mezuzah, something I see so often?

      Surely its time for a scientifically developed proven heatproof and waterproof outdoor mezuzah case. Today people easily spend $100 plus dollars on a mezuzah, so even if such an item will be costly, if it means expanding the life of an exposed mezuzah significantly, surely there would be a market for it??

      Delete
    2. Gvil and Klaf Me'uppatz are actually tanned like shoe leather, unlike regular Klaf. Obviously if you soak a shoe in water and heat it it won't be in its new, pristine condition anymore but it won't be like regular Klaf--which gets completely ruined because the water washes out the סיד that preserves the parchment. I don't know exactly what will happen to "waterproof mezuzos" after repeated exposure to heat and water but they sure stand a better chance than regular mezuzos. That's why "water resistant" is perhaps a better term.

      Delete
    3. The fact remains that most sofrim write on ordinary klaf and most pre owned mezuzos are such, so we don't always have the option for such mezuzos. A really reliable weatherproof case is still the best option

      Delete
  2. The best waterproof cases are the metallic ones. For heat protection, if the case is exposed to sunlight, paint the case with glossy white exterior-grade paint.

    In hot desert-like locations the white paint may not be enough. In that case, tape thick aluminum foil over the case, with the shiny side out. Keep a little space between the foil and the case so that the space can get ventilated by natural convection. Leave the top and bottom of the foil open so air can flow through. This will significantly reduce the temperature of the case.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I only recommend the original, white/opaque Lucite cases made in Israel. (Not the cheap plastic Chinese copies.) I've been working with the Israeli maker for over 2 decades and am very pleased!
    1) I've never seen them crack due to the elements. Perhaps the cheap plastic ones do?
    2) They are roomy and the klaf doesn't have to be rolled rightly
    3) The klaf remains in the correct position
    4) The rubber plug can be easily removed
    5) The rubber plug has a small indirect opening to allow flow of air to prevent moisture build up while providing excellent protection from rain. (When the maker first made them the plugs were solid but after complaints he changed them to prevent moisture build up.) Due to this small indirect opening, water from a sprinkler may get into the case but anyone who allows the sprinkler to hit any mezuzah is negligent.
    6) The color and material reflect sunlight and prevent hear buildup.

    In addition to the issues mentioned, addition cons of the screw cases are:
    1) The space is usually tight and the klaf has to be rolled tightly.
    2) There's a metal or plastic insert at the entrance to the wood cases (to enable the screw to be screwed in) that requires the klaf to be rolled tightly to get it past that insert.
    3) If the klaf is rolled a little loose and is forced past the above mentioned insert it becomes difficult to remove.
    4) I've found the screws to provide poor protection and moisture damage is common.
    5) The screws often are difficult and sometimes impossible to open. it becomes a job to get them open and sometimes requires deepening the slit in the screw with a Dremel and even having to cut the case open with a hacksaw just above the screw.
    6) Even if you can get the case open, it's often difficult to remove the mezuzah from the narrow, brass cases
    If using such cases they need to be white, silver or a light wood color to reflect sunlight. Stay away from the other colors.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks Yerachmiel for your comment.

    I know the cases you refer to but they are susceptible as well in heavy rain particularly when it is very windy as moisture can get through the hole in the bottom (not just from sprinklers).

    I agree that they are probably better than the metal ones though, for the reasons you point out.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The hole is very small and indirect and the chance for rain to get in is unlikely and even if a little moisture gets in at the bottom, the fact there is an opening allows it to evaporate. The material wrapped around the actual mezuzah klaf should mostly prevent damage from this minimal moisture. These are the only cases I recommend for outdoors.

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.