Battim Repair & Redos Can Often Yield Very Satisfying Results.
In this section we will explore what can and what cannot be done with battim that are in need of repair, and battim that look very old and worn out.
These are before and after pictures of tefillin battim with rounded corners:
These are the before pictures.
Here the pictures after the corners were fixed and painted:
Tefillin Battim Redos
A tefillin redo is the process of removing all of the finish from a set of battim, sanding them down, and refinishing them. When all goes well, they can look so stunning it is hard to believe that they are the same old battim that you gave me. This is one of the side benefits of gassos battim: they are thick enough to sand down without making holes in them. Whenever I start a redo I always have high hopes, but the truth is that not every redo that I start will actually be completed. I won’t really know if a set of battim can be made to look like new until all the paint is removed and we see if there are any underlying problems that affect the overall kashrus of the battim. In the pictures below you can see a set of battim that a customer brought me to start the process of a redo. His goal was to give his son the tefillin that his father used while he was alive. Many people come to me with this goal in mind, but at the same time, they want to present their son with a set of tefillin that not only helps them connect with their past, but also have a nice appearance. Nice looking tefillin are important, as part of every mitzvah is that the objects that we take for their performance should be nice (this is a halacha that you can read more about in my guide Hiddur Mitzvah and the Purchase of Tefillin and Mezuzos). Perhaps equally important is that we want our children to feel good about their tefillin. If they see their friends with beautiful tefillin and their own tefillin look like the ones pictured below, they may not relate to connection with their past in the same way that an adult does. A tefillin redo is a way to fulfill both objectives. We can make an old set of tefillin look new and respectable, and at the same time maintain the connection with our past.
Lets take a look at a real set of tefillin that a customer brought me to redo. As you can see, they are looking pretty shabby. Lets follow the process and see how far we can get with these battim.