What ingredients are currently used in the manufacture of ink for Safrus? Is there a different formulation for the paint that is used to dye tefillin straps/boxes?


2 Answers 2


This seems to be a good page to see.

For a more comprehensive source, see the Mishkenos Yaakov.

For retzuah paint, you can just use shoe polish. It doesn't require d'yo.

The above linked pages contain recipes for the ink used by most sofrim today, known as מי עפצים וקנקנתום -- oakgall juice and ferrous sulfate. This post, written by a very qualified sofer has a recipe.

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    Practically speaking, you don't need a hechsher. As to YS's concern, see Keses Hasofer 23:2 here: hebrewbooks.org/…
    – YDK
    Jul 22, 2010 at 14:44
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    DO NOT use shoe polish to darken your Tefillin straps. Many shoe polishes contain animal fat. High quality ones may contain ingredients like mink oil. Shoe dye would probably be ok but shoe polish is an oil based product which always contains some sort of wax/fat/oil and should not be assumed to be kosher. Oct 4, 2011 at 15:46
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    @Aaron Shaffier, do you have a source for that? Especially for where the unkosher ingredient is ancillary?
    – YDK
    Oct 6, 2011 at 2:27
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    @YDK, I would be disappointed in this answer for its lack of actual information, but I see this is one of your first answers on the site (2 and a half years and over 400 answers ago). If you've got the time, would you care to expand it a little so as to be more useful to more readers?
    – Seth J
    Jan 22, 2013 at 17:59
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    @YDK Can you include updated hyperlinks? It looks like at least two are now broken. What would be even better is if you could summarize the points in those articles in case the hyperlinks break again in the future.
    – Lee
    Jun 20, 2016 at 6:52

The Sta"m Forum has a page with a well tested recipe for STA"M ink almost identical to the one in Kol Sofrim. I can't vouch for it because I buy ink, but the person who posted it is a professional who has written several Sifrei Torah.

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