How to connect L-shaped sofa when parts are missing

September 19, 2012

Q. I moved last December. When I was ready to set up an L-shaped couch, I realized I did not have the attachments to keep the pieces together. The place where I bought the couch is out of business, and I can’t find any tags or labels on the couch. How can I get replacements?

Washington

A. From the pictures you sent, it appears that the existing attachment plates are threaded on one side but have T slots on the matching side. If so, you might be able to use standard carriage bolts to link the plates. The idea would be to screw in one end of each bolt, then slip the bolt heads into the slots on the matching plates. Or, if there are threaded recesses on both sides (it’s hard to tell from the pictures), you might be able to use something called a double-threaded stud, which is threaded in opposite directions at the ends, allowing you to turn the bolt to draw the two sections together. If you can’t find this at your local hardware store, perhaps you could use something called the universal steel furniture connector ($13 for a set of four at Homeplace Parts).

If reusing the existing attachments doesn’t work, you should be able to find new hardware that does the trick. A device called a Sofa Snap sectional couch connector ($17 on Amazon) screws to the bottom of the pieces. Couch Clamp ($6 for four) is even simpler to install, because it involves slipping a band around legs of adjoining sections. If the bands aren’t the right size for legs on your couch, you can probably improvise something similar on your own once you get the basic idea from the Couch Clamp Web site.


Reader’s L-shaped sofa connections. (Reader photo/READER PHOTO)

I recently received a needlework picture that was done by a member of my family, probably in the 1930s. I know that it was probably matted and framed before acid-free materials were commonly available. It looks like it should be cleaned, remounted and the mat replaced. I usually do my own mounting, but I am reluctant to do this because of the age and possible fragility of the cloth. Can you direct me to someone who can help?

Waldorf

You might want to begin by taking advantage of several free or virtually free sources of information. Then, with that background information in hand, contact a conservator who specializes in textiles for an estimate.

For information on caring for vintage textiles, a good place to start is the Web site of the Textile Museum in Washington. The museum also offers a program from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays, September through May, to which you can bring a piece and ask the conservation staff for advice about caring for it. This is free if you are a member or $5 if you aren’t.

Also, look over the textile information available in the “learn more” section of the Web site of the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute. Among the useful advice is how to photograph a piece so that you can get estimates without having to drive all over the area.

To find a conservator to do the actual cleaning and mounting, use the “find a conservator” service on the Web site of the American Institute for Conservation. One person in the area is Anna Grishkova (703-680-2712) in Woodbridge. You can e-mail photos to her and discuss prices, and she will provide an estimate before she begins work.

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

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

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