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diary of a sofer - part 37

Mordechai Pinchas Sofer

One of the things that a sofer needs to be able to do is take care of atsey chayyim. As I have mentioned in previous diaries, woodworking was not my specialist subject in school, but over the years in specifying these to turners and also in just seeing so many cross my desk, I’ve started to get an idea of how they are put together and how I can effect some repairs.  Below are a couple of spreads showing the restoration of a pair of atsey that had a quite a lot of character with interesting brass finials and discs that had seen finer days. Amazingly it actually worked and they don’t look half bad.

atsey fix 1 opt03

One was held together by metal and had a large crack.  This was filled with wood filler and sanded.  All the discs were loose.  These were padded, filled and sanded, which should prevent wobbling.  All holes were also filled in. The original design had some form of writing round the inside of the bottom discs but this had long since worn, so based on an ets chayim disc seen elsewhere, I have recreated this using the verses ‘ets chayim hi’.

atsey fix 2 opt02

Both rollers were then varnished - largely to cover the wood filler (the originals had been painted and some of this paint has worn but it gives character).  The quote bands were done in a traditional STaM font and have been covered over with a thin plastic strip for protection and kept in place with two brass studs (the original also had small studs keeping it in place).

Mordechai Pinchas

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