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BARGAINS / GERI COOK

On the Mend : Rattay's Repairs restores crystal and china, from a common chip to a shattered dish.

October 16, 1992|GERI COOK

From about the age of 9, Joe Rattay played at his father's store, Tarzana Glass. By the time he was 16, a career was born, and he has been mending broken crystal and china now for about 20 years.

The most common ailment is a chip on the rim of a crystal piece--an easy assignment for Rattay's Repairs. The price is generally $10 each for the first two pieces, or $7.50 each for three or more.

The not-so-easy tasks usually involve missing parts and cost more to fix. If it's a valuable piece, you can probably justify the repair. Estimate the repair cost by figuring $5 per shard. If a precious porcelain is in 10 pieces, the repair should be about $50.

One woman brought in a 3-foot-high German antique bisque statue that had been dropped on a marble floor and smashed into about 200 pieces. Rattay says he spent close to a year putting it back together at a cost of about $500. The statue was one of a pair--and the couple's favorite art treasure--so they thought it was worth the expenditure.

Rattay says he tries to give the prospective customer an honest appraisal of the job. If he feels the cracks will be visible once the pieces are bonded, he will say so. The crystal that takes repairs the best--and in Rattay's opinion the finest crystal produced--was made in America from roughly 1870 to 1920. Most of it is so heavily cut that once it is bonded the cracks are not obvious. Manufacturers of this crystal include Hawkes, and Libbey and Clark.

A colleague and I recently inspected many repaired vases and figurines and fine crystal goblets--all painstakingly put back together. Rattay says he could see the patches, but we could not. Rattay does beautiful work, and I have spoken with customers who praise his skill.

For an estimate of the repair bill, take in your piece for a look-see. If the estimate is less than $20, Rattay asks for payment up front; if it's over $20, half will do.

WHERE to Go

Location: Rattay's Repairs, 18054 Ventura Blvd., Encino.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday.

Credit Cards: Cash/check only.

Call: (818) 345-2136.

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