These are the BEFORE Images:
Worn-out Mantel cover
NOTE THE FADING LETTERING
I HOPE THIS GIVES EVERYONE AN IDEA OF THE WORK THAT'S BEING DONE PRESENTLY BY THE SOFER
A Torah scroll may only be written on parchment from the skin of a kosher animal. However, the animal need not necessarily be slaughtered in a ritually acceptable manner. As long as the species is kosher, the parchment may be used for a Torah scroll. Parchment made of fish skin cannot be used for this purpose; fish skin exudes an unpleasant odor, which is not becoming to a Torah scroll. The parchment must be prepared with the intention that it be used for a Torah scroll. Therefore, a Jew must carry out or, at the very least, assist in this task.
Before beginning to write a Torah scroll, the scribe must mark off the lines (scoring) on the parchment with slight grooves. The utensil used for this purpose may not leave any coloring on the parchment. It is preferable that this marking, too, be carried out with the intent to write a Torah scroll.
Only black ink is acceptable. Ink of any other color is not kosher for a Torah scroll. The ink must also be permanent-not erasable.
In ancient times, the ink used for writing a Torah scroll was obtained by boiling oils, tar and wax, and collecting the vapors. Afterwards, that mixture would be combined with tree sap and honey, and then dried out and stored. Before its use, it would be mixed with gall-nut juice. Nowadays, scribes prepare ink using gall-nut juice and gum. The black color is achieved by adding various tints.
The scribe writes with a feather pen or reed pen, filling its tip from the ink. An iron pen is not proper because (a) it may puncture the parchment; (b) iron is often used to make weapons of death and destruction, both of which oppose the intent of the Torah.
The letters of a Torah scroll are written in the "Assyrian" script; the various scripts or fonts in which Hebrew is commonly written or printed are not valid. The lines must be perfectly straight and even. Numerous laws detail the precise figure of each letter, and if even one letter is missing-or, in some instances, merely cracked or smudged-the whole Sefer Torah is not kosher A printed Torah scroll, even if its letters conform to the required form, is not valid.
Because the Sefer Torah embodies the holiness of its message, it should focus exclusively on its pure text; any illustrations or artistic decorations are forbidden.
The Sofer (Scribe):
To become a scribe requires rigorous study and training-and great skill. Certainly, a person who has not carefully studied the laws pertaining to composing a Torah scroll cannot be a scribe. Above all, however, the scribe must be a G-d-fearing and pious person, dedicated to the sanctity of the Sefer Torah.
The scribe may not rely on his memory, but must copy the letters, word by word, from a kosher Torah scroll. A right-handed scribe writes only with his right hand; a left-handed scribe, only with his left hand. The Sefer Torah, and especially the Names of G-d contained therein, must be written with utmost purity and devotion. It is therefore customary that the scribe immerse himself in a Mikvah (ritual pool) before beginning his work. He also recites a blessing at the outset of his work and before each time he writes the Name of G-d.
There are 304,805 letters in a Sefer Torah (i.e., Torah Scroll). The most common letter is Yod; the least common is the letter Tet.
There are over 4,000 laws a sofer (scribe) must know before he starts writing the Sefer Torah. These laws are collectively called soferut.
Kosher Parchment called klaf must be prepared specifically for a Sefer Torah. A Sefer Torah may require approximately 80 or more skins in all. Kosher quills are used to write the Hebrew calligraphy.
A Sofer will have at least three to four columns on each piece of parchment - called amudim (from amud - a column). There are 248 amudim in a Sefer Torah and each has 42 lines.
No letter may touch another one. If only one letter is missing the whole Torah is pasul (not Kosher).
The average Torah takes 6 months to a year to complete.
About the letters.