Debbie Knight

And that about “covers” it

In research log on September 20, 2012 at 9:30 am

So yesterday, I posted the Photo of the Week of a lab chair enshrouded in black plastic and green labeling tape. A pragmatic way to address lab safety when working with biohazardous materials. Specifically, no fabric-covered chairs are allowed in a biosafety level 2 designated laboratory.

My lab had two chairs, used in a desk area, that were fabric covered. Something we finally had to address after a lab safety inspection.

The chairs in question were great lab chairs. We didn’t want to cover them in a black plastic trash bag secured with duct tape.

I considered clear plastic vinyl — you know, the stuff with which some people cover their sofas. But when I went to the fabric store, the fine print said that this was flammable. Not something that we would want in the lab where safety is a huge concern.

I did find some non-flammable black vinyl that I thought would work. I bought a yard for $16.99  which turned out to be just enough to cover the two lab chairs.

I should note here that this was only my second attempt at reupholstering and I didn’t do anything “fancy” here.

The learning curve was actually figuring out how to remove the seat forms from the chair. The rest was pretty easy.

First step was to remove the seat bottom and seat back from the lab chair.

The next step was to make a “pattern” to guide how I would cut the vinyl.

Next, I gently “stretched” the vinyl over the seat back form, using a staple gun to hold in place.

Then, I stapled the fabric all around the seat back form. This material wasn’t going anywhere when I was done. Not pretty, but no one will see it (well, except you).

The final product. I’m not entirely happy with the corners, but the vinyl reupholstery looks much better than a black plastic trash bag.

Two lab chairs, reupholstered for less than $20.

They may not look quite as nice as they did in their former fabric-covered selves, but at least they are safe to use anywhere in the lab now.

  1. […] more here: And that about “covers” it « biologyze This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged address-lab, black-plastic, photo, […]

  2. Finally a great solution! my lab is requiring us to either buy new chairs (which sadly we don’t have money for) or else buy plastic chair covers and use those (they are quite unsightly) I’m going to try this solution, assuming I can take apart the chairs 🙂

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