HV Property Clearance often get asked when we are undertaking a House Clearance how to tell the difference between handmade rugs and machine made rugs.
To an untrained eye it may be difficult to tell the difference between hand knotted, handmade and machine made rugs. This guide will help you understand the differences.
Hand Knotted Rugs
Hand knotted rugs are made on a specially designed loom and are knotted by hand. The rug weaver inserts the “knots” into the foundation of the rug and they are tied by hand, this makes up the “pile” of the rug.
Hand knotted rugs can be made of wool, cotton, silk, jute and other natural materials. Silk is sometimes used in wool rugs for the outlines or highlights of the pattern to enhance the design. Hand knotted and hand woven rugs can last many generations if they are of good quality and properly maintained.
Flat Weave or Hand Woven Rugs
There is also a category of handmade rugs called flat weave these rugs are hand woven in a flat weave pattern and there is no pile.
Machine Made Rugs
The are made by large machines called power looms. A power loom is electrically automated and controlled by computers. Machine made rugs can be made quickly and are manufactured with materials including wool and synthetic fibers such as polypropylene, nylon, acrylic and art silk. Machine made rugs can offer a lower price alternative to hand knotted rugs. Machine made rugs usually have a life span of about 20 years. There are exceptions if the rug is high quality and well maintained, it can hold up for much longer. Machine made rugs are generally not of any value to a collector.
Hand Crafted Rugs or Hand Tufted Rugs
They are another type of rug that is considered handmade or hand-crafted. This particular type of rug is made using a modified hand held drill gun that inserts the pile into a cloth foundation which creates a loop pile. If the loop pile is sheared, it then becomes a cut pile. The loop pile rug, if not sheared, is called a “Hand-Hooked” rug. Some designs have both loop and cut pile combined to create a dimensional effect to the pattern.
A latex coating is then applied to the back of the rug to hold the “tufts” in place. A canvas type fabric is then applied over the latex coating to finish the back of the rug.
These rugs have a handmade look but they cost much less because using a gun speeds up the process dramatically. For example a good quality 8′ x 10′ hand knotted rug might take about 10 to 14 months, while the same size rug made in a hand-tufted method might take one day.
Although Hand Tufted rugs can be just as beautiful as hand knotted rugs, they typically are not of value to a rug collector or someone who is looking to buy an Oriental rug as an investment.
Look at the Back of the Rug
One of the best ways to tell the difference between hand knotted and machine made rugs is to look at the back of the rug.
In hand knotted rugs the weaving and the knots will be slightly uneven and not perfectly uniform.
On the other hand, a machine made rug will look very uniform and perfectly even with machine made stitching.
The more detail in the design when looking from the back, the better the quality of the rug.
Look at the Fringes of the Rug
Another way to determine if a rug is hand knotted or machine made is to look at the fringes. As you can see from the picture above, the fringe of a Machine made rug is sewn on and is attached as a finishing touch.
The fringe of a hand knotted rug is an extension of the rug foundation, as in the picture below.