Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Ultimate Chair (Part III)...

Today I put the finishing touches on the Ultimate Chair. I first went to Meijer and bought some supplies. A digital egg timer, some velcro with sticky backing, and a nice fluffy black pillow.

As I said in Part II, the lumbar support poked into my back and made sitting in the chair very uncomfortable. The first step to making a chair comfortable is to determine how to eliminate the uncomfortable components. I solved the majority of the problems by flipping the lumbar support over its support mechanisms and made it hang down the back of the chair. Detaching the unit entirely is possible but is rather difficult. Besides, it still looks "okay".

With the lumbar out of the way, I started experimenting and figured out the dimensions of a pillow that would make it possible to sit comfortably in the chair. I found a really great poly fill pillow that matches the black in the chair. I would have liked it to have an olive drab green in the center and black on the edge to better match the chair's color scheme, but all-black will work fine.

Amazingly, the back support on the egg timer was exactly the same width as the velcro I bought. Using a pair of scissors I cut out a properly sized velcro strip. I determined that the "hard stuff" should be on the piece I want to attach and the "soft stuff" should be on the chair. That way if I decide to remove a piece for whatever reason, the "hard stuff" won't be left behind and annoy me. Placing the egg timer's velcro was easy: I stuck both pieces together and removed the backing from the "soft stuff". This allowed me to place the "soft stuff" exactly where I wanted.

Then I moved on to the mouse pad support. I cut out two right triangles of a scrap 1" thick wood board. One triangle was 3" x 1.5" and the other piece was 3" x 2". Then I put both pieces together such that their right-angle corners were perfectly aligned using wood/carpenter's glue. I clamped the pieces together and left them overnight to dry. Then, I wrapped the two pieces in that funky rubber-like "grip-liner" stuff I used on the base of the mouse pad and stapled it down (with a staple gun) for a nice smooth black finish that looks really slick. Finally, I repeated the velcro procedure used with the egg timer and attached the unit to the chair.

The last step was to give the chair a go and here's my analysis: It is totally awesome inside. Assuming I get good sunshine tomorrow, I'll try it outside and take pictures. Part IV will have pictures of the key components as well as giving you a rare look of me sitting outside. Be forewarned...I'm still quite the ghost.

I'm impressed with what I've built. It is a highly customized chair designed for software developers. If I were to build another one, the cost would be considerably less. I have a much better idea of what is involved and I have a bunch of the materials already and what I don't have, I know how and where to get it.

Total cost for the project: $122.57 (USD)
Total time taken for the project: 1 week. Actually making it took only a couple days. The design work took most of the time.
Items used: 1 "Portable Outdoor Laptop Chair". A cordless phone. A surge protector. A mouse pad. A sheet of 1/4" Plexiglas. A sheet of rubber-like "grip liner". A bottle of contact cement. A digital timer (aka "egg timer"). Velcro strips. Fluffy black pillow.


  1. Whatever came of your outdoor office? I'd love to see a picture or hear a story about it.

    1. See the blog post I just wrote. Consider it my reply :)