Sofer David Haviv came to Beth Shalom on March 23rd to effect repairs on two sifrei Torah. Your correspondent was privileged to watch, inquire, and learn.
One repair was to a seam which had separated in Parashat Re’eh, and the other was to a paragraph at the end of Parashat Beshallah, in which a tav was missing a part of its leg (it had faded, though the letter still had its foot). The word with the faded tav was מִתַּחַת (that word about which many a Hebrew school student giggles when it appears at the end of Aleinu). In the Torah, the word appears right after the name of that fellow we are supposed to remember to forget, Amalek. David explained that after the scribe writes that name, the quill must be thrown away and a new quill begun. In fact, in warming up a quill to begin writing, a sofer writes that name and then crosses it out. For the seam repair, David uses gidin, which is cord made from the tendon along the back of a cow. (Your correspondent is grateful to Mr. Haviv for a tiny piece of it, should you wish to visit to see it.) For each procedure, there are prescribed processes and words. Photos are below!