Hand Tufted Verses Hand-Knotted Rugs

If you are considering buying a traditional style hand-made rug you should definitely pay attention to today's featured video in which you will learn why you might want to stay away from hand-tufted rugs and instead opt for a hand-knotted rug.  After watching this video I think you'll have a better direction in which way to go.

Rug Buyers Guide - Tufted Rugs and Their Problems

Hi I am Chris Klinges. I am the co-owner of Brandon Oriental Rugs here in Furlong Pennsylvania which is located in Buckingham Township Bucks County. I welcome you to the first of what I hope will be several videos which will be instructive to you as a rug owner or potential rug buyer concerning the care of rugs, the use of rugs in particular room settings, and other things that might help you to appreciate better why traditional hand knotted oriental rugs represents such a tremendous value relative to other choices you might have in the market for solving your area rug needs in a particular room.

This first video is going to deal with the subject of tufted rugs as we call them in the business. These are frequently and almost exclusively sold as hand made rugs by the home centers and the department stores that feature them. They are attractively priced but for reasons that we will explain here in this video, you will see that although the price is low to begin with, long term the cost can be very high in terms of the need to replace them more frequently relative to a true hand knotted rug and also the dissatisfaction you are likely to experience as the owner of such a product as time goes forward. What we are going to show is that based on how these things are put together it really is a matter of construction compared to traditional hand knotted rugs these rugs are really not a value and in fact detrimental to the environment although they claim to be a green product.

I'll start with the diagrams of how these things are put together and hopefully this will help you to understand from the demonstration we will give later on why if you invest in these you're basically throwing your money away. Going to contrast now the differences in construction from beginning to end between the hand knotted rug and tufted rugs. What you see here on the screen is a woman working at a vertical loom. She is tying a hand knotted rug. You see the warp as we call, which is the fringe of the rug which goes end to end form the top of the bottom of the rug. She is working from a cartoon. She is creating the design on this cartoon in the rug itself. Knot by knot she ties rows of knots around every two pieces of fringe from one edge of the loom to the other. Between the rows of knots she will be inserting wefting and this will all gets hammered down to create a rug with tremendous integrity.

After several rows of knots she will trim it so that she can kind of see where she is where you see some of the clippings below here. Go on to some other examples of this. There is another woman you see more close up. This is a tribal piece. Now this is tufting gun. This is how tufted rugs are put together. Person stands in front of this cloth which is the substrate of the rug and with this machine, shoots lines of wool into the fabric which creates the design of a tufted rug. Now, to keep this all from falling out and not being visible, after this step is completed, they slap a lot of latex rubber on the back and then cover that with cloth so that you don't see it. This is kind of what we are explaining elsewhere in the video with the problem with these things.

Now this is a diagrammatic representation of a hand knotted rug. Again you have fringe goes end to end through the rug. Around every two pieces of fringe you tie a knot. It's actually an open loop if you will but it's a knot and then between rows of knots they insert wefting which goes up and down across the warp of the rug. This gets hammered down towards the bottom of the rug and then they proceed to put another row of knots in. Once this is hammered down it's impossible to remove this knot. It can't really be pulled out. As you can see there is no way to, it's just tightly in position which enables the rug to wear like a tank for literally generations in many cases. This is a diagram of a tufted rug. Again you have a cloth into which that gun shoots loops of wool but this is the shape. Again going back, this is a hand knotted rug. You see the shape of the knot and in a tufted rug you just have these loops. The only thing holding these loops in place is that latex rubber that gets slapped on the back after the tufting is completing.

This is what a tufting gun looks like. It works at really high speed if you see videos of these on the internet it's amazing. Another picture of a woman working at the loom. This is actually a Nain rug she is completing. This is another type of tufting gun. Another diagram of a hand knotted rug. See the integrity of this is really ... Multiple steps but these knots which are the pile of the rug do not come out. That contrasts with these loops in tufted rugs which are easy to pull out as we will demonstrate in a moment. This is an oriental rug loom. Time from beginning to end to complete a hand knotted rug can be up to a year or in excess depending on the density of the weave. Most pieces being produced now are usually around three to six months production time. Again this contrasts with the time to produce a tufted rug. They can knock out several tufted rugs per day with that machine we had shown earlier.

The history of hand knotting of rugs goes back literally centuries. This is a picture of medieval women working at a loom creating a rug in the same way that the diagram for the piece earlier. This is a village in Northwest Iran. They are using a vertical loom to create rugs as the rows of knots are completed so they can get to the top of the rug, this seat if you will is raised so that they are actually elevated way off the ground before the rug is completed. This is a Bidjar type carpet it seems. Yes. This is a weaver in Southwestern United States, Navajo tribe probably. They are using the same techniques. This is a nomadic type loom, happens to be vertical but this can be easily broken down and set up as the people go with the herds from area to area. This is again a traditional method of production going back literally centuries.

We have here two rugs. The one on the left is what we call a tufted rug. Some people go so far as to mislead the public and call them hand made tufted rugs or hand made rugs. The rug on the right is actually a traditional hand knotted oriental rug. As you can see they have similarities. They are actually made by the same importer. The rug on the left, the tufted rug, is made to look like the better quality rug on the right. Now the real significant difference between these two rugs is in the construction. I have shown you by the diagram how they are basically put together at the foundational level. If you look at the way they differ on construction, now again, the borders, the colors are virtually the same. There is not quite as much detail in the rug on the left as there is in the hand knotted rug on the right, you see. The real big difference is in the back. See the tufted rug has this cloth backing where as the hand knotted rug looks virtually the same on the back as it does on the front. The design goes all the way through because those knots which maybe I can get up close enough you can see. You see those little ridges, each one of those little dots there is a hand tied knot. In this rug there are actually 178 per square inch. Whereas this rug, there is no design on the back and as you will see in a demonstration in a few minutes its just little V shaped tufts of wool in a foundational fabric.

You have two rugs virtually identical in appearance but one looks like that on the back. The other looks like that on the back. Going to give a demonstration here which we do in the store frequently for people interested in these things which as I said we don't offer for sale, but the problem with the tufted rugs based on the construction issues that I showed in the diagram earlier. If we can just have Pam here demonstrate the removal of a tuft. See that? Just put down here against the rug, put it down so we can see contrast. There you go. Tuft just pulls out like a V. Want to do it again? Hold on. Just get you in focus here. Okay go ahead. See they just pull out. Now the very thing she is doing by hand, is something that your vacuum cleaner is going to be doing day by day and the rugs get a very fuzzy look very soon. After about three, four, five years of this, the rug is going to be in a condition that will disturb you enough that you will basically dispose of.

We do not sell tufted rugs here at Brandon Oriental Rugs. I can't stand behind the product. It's a threat to the environment despite it sometime being sold as a green product because it is basically going to be a landfill clogger as time goes on. Being produced with millions of square feet per year in India and to some degree in China as well. Every last one of them has the same problem in terms of lack of durability and as a result they are going to be disposed of in short order and create a problem in terms of the disposal issue.


As you can see, hand-tufted rugs have their fair share of problems.  If you don't mind the issues addressed in the video, then perhaps a hand-tufted rug is for you.  On the other hand, if you want a rug that is meticulously well built and designed to last generations then the obvious choice would be a hand-knotted rug.  In fact, it's the only way to go if you are looking for a traditional rug that will outlast other options that may be available in today's market.

What do you think?  Have you previously purchased a hand-tufted and/or a hand-knotted rug?  What was your experience?  Leave us a comment.

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