How To: Repairing a hooked rug and restoring a brass samovar

June 22, 2011

Q. I have a hooked rug that was made by an aunt and is frayed at the edges. I would like to have it repaired. Do you have any suggestions?

— The District

A. Hadeed Oriental Rug Cleaning in Old Town Alexandria (www.hadeed
carpet.com
; 703-836-1111) does all kinds of rug and carpet repair (for a hefty $98.50 an hour). The company also gives tours of its repair workshop, so if you decide to take in your rug for a free estimate, you might want to arrange ahead of time for that. Sarah Hill, who owns Curzon Hill Antiques in Old Town Alexandria (www.linen
connection.com
; 703-684-0667) also repairs hooked rugs and charges a somewhat more modest $70 or so an hour.

Another option is to contact Jessie Turbayne (781-769-4798), a Massachusetts rugmaker who does hundreds of hooked rug repairs each year, including ones being prepared for display at the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum in Washington. You can ship the carpet to her or visit her shop in Westwood, Mass., so she can see the piece and give you a set price before she begins work. Some repairs cost just $10; one current project is for $20,000. The range is huge because one rug might need to have a strand or two pulled through the backing while another requires stabilizing big sections of a fragile backing.

If you wonder whether repairing your aunt’s handiwork might be simple enough for you to do yourself, you can read an article about repair techniques that ran in the September-October 2004 issue of Rug Hooking Magazine. Buy a copy for $12.95 through the back issues department of its Web site (www.rughookingonline.com). The Web site also lists rug-hooking events and gatherings by state. Washington area rug-hooking instructors include Karen Rose of Oak Hill (703-264-1760, karenlrose@gmail.
com
) and Jane Halliwell Green of Edgewater (www.rugandwool.com). In addition, Stitcher’s Stash (www.thestash.biz) in Fairfax City has occasional rug-hooking classes, and there will be a beginner rug-hooking class at the Virginia Fall Fiber Festival in October (www.fallfiberfestival.org/workshops.htm).

Q.We have a Russian brass samovar, dating at least to the 1890s, that my husband’s grandmother brought with her from Latvia. The wooden handles are in bad shape, and the wooden top on the lid is missing. But the big problem is the brass. Years ago, my sister-in-law polished it but never got all the polish residue off. I would like to have the finish restored and possibly the handles restored or replaced by someone in the Washington-Baltimore region.

— Columbia

A. Try Lawrence Miller & Co. in Alexandria (703-548-0659; www.lawrencedmiller.
com
). Although the company’s Web site focuses on its skills in restoring antique silver, it’s also worked on samovars made of brass. “If it’s made out of metal, we can handle it,” says Lawrence Miller, who has run the company since 2003 after working as an apprentice in the shop for years.

Michael Kaydouh, a lawyer in McLean who runs a Russian antiques business on the side (703-790-5080), says he’s taken pieces to Miller and been pleased by the results, especially the fact that the company doesn’t try to over-restore. Antique samovars used to be hot collector’s items, typically going for $750 to $1,000, Kaydouh says. But after the Soviet Union collapsed, Russian antiques flooded the market. Today, at antiques shows, high-quality samovars go for $250 to $550. “Don’t spend too much since you can go buy a better one for less,” he cautions.

Of course, the cost-benefit equation works out differently when a family heirloom is involved. Still, Kaydouh said, it’s important not to overdo any restoration, because that wrecks the value and removes the patina and signs of history you cherish. He recommended asking Lawrence Miller for a recommendation about whether you might want to just polish the brass yourself and leave the rest as-is, even if the wooden handles look a little worn. For brass and many other metals, you might be able to get the residue from past polishing off simply with a new application of metal polish and some elbow grease. Polishes typically contain solvents that dissolve surface residue.

Have a problem in your home? Send questions to localliving@washpost.com. Put “How To” in the subject line and tell us where you live.

The Checklist: Read Jeanne Huber’s roundup of home-improvement tasks you should tackle in June.

6Have a problem in your home?

Send questions to localliving@washpost.
com
. Put “How To” in the subject line and tell us where you live.

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