Do this to repair your shoulder rest upholstery

One of my absolute favorite feelings is running my hands over brand new vinyl.  The clean, smooth, and uniquely soft feeling of Reformer upholstery is so satisfying, like new car smell.

Conversely, cracked, ripped and dented upholstery can make the whole machine feel old.  No matter how much scrubbing, dusting, and tuning you might do to the rest of the apparatus, the worn vinyl is like a broken headlight on a brand new car.  It just doesn’t fit with the high-quality movement practice you’re teaching.

While Balanced Body makes it easy to replace your upholstery without any sewing skills.   I always use their replacement kits for studios I visit because it’s a great way to ensure you get new vinyl and foam that lasts through years more teaching.  However, sometimes you don’t need to replace the entire upholstery kit.  When the foam is still in good condition and the damage to the vinyl is small, a quick repair might be the answer.

Today I’m going to walk you through my method for gluing a corner seam back together on a Reformer shoulder rest.  I see this kind of bulging a lot, and with five or ten minutes of effort you can make it look like new again.

Example of Upholstery Busted Seam

Photo of Glue and Tape

In order for glue to work (I use this one) you must make sure that you can use your fingers to push the edges of the vinyl together again.  This method will not work for rips, cuts or tears that are missing material or cannot be easily held closed.  If your material is not a candidate for glue, try using this black repair tape.  I love it because it’s meant for outdoor gear and has a great texture.

Once you’ve determined your repair can be done with glue, gather some masking tape.  Use small pieces of tape to mask around the edges of the rip/tear so that the excess glue will not smear over perfectly clean vinyl.

Photo of Upholstery with tape

Next, apply a medium amount of glue into the gap between the edges of the vinyl.  You don’t need the gap to be overflowing and making a big mess on your tape, but you do want to be sure the glue can penetrate between the edges of the vinyl.

Finally, to hold the rip closed, wrap more masking tape around the shoulder block.  The glue takes a couple of hours to dry, so you need some way to hold the gapped vinyl closed.

Upholstery covered in tape     Photo of finished glued upholstery

After a few hours, remove all the masking tape and check your handy-work!  You now have a great-looking shoulder block.  Caution: Avoid heavy usage of the repaired component for 12-24 hours to let the glue fully set.  You may need to use some tweezers to scrape away small bits of your tape, but in general using your fingers should work.

Happy Reforming!

This article was also posted on the Balanced Body Blog.

Do this to keep your Allegro 2 bumpers from falling off

Picture this: Your clients are right in the middle of footwork, dutifully pressing in and out, coordinating their breath, paying attention to their spinal position, and following all your other cues.  All of a sudden, the next time they bring the carriage in, instead of a soft thump when the carriage hits home, there is a loud, metallic clang.  Maybe, even, there is now a humming reverberating along the reformer rails as they move.

How embarrassing.

But luckily, it’s a simple fix.

First, some background.  Earlier versions of the Allegro 2 used U-shaped rubber bumpers which attached to the carriage itself.  Over time, these can come loose and either fall off, or get caught half-way off and make noise as the carriage moves up and down the rails.  It’s time to get rid of these bumpers.

Regardless if you experience these symptoms, if you have these U-shaped bumpers you should replace them as a preventative measure.

The new style bumpers are square and flat.  Here is a great photo showing the difference between the two.

Now, to apply the new bumpers, you need to provide a clean surface to adhere them to.  The place to look is a little hard to see, but if you take a light and look down the rail toward the footbar, you’ll see a flat, silver, rectangular surface.  That’s where you’re going to put it.

Before you stick one of those squares on there, you need to make sure the surface is clean.  Especially if there was a square bumper there before.  This is one time that I advocate using GooGone to get rid of any lingering sticky mess.  (It’s totally fine to use because you are using it on a metal surface, but don’t make a habit of using this everywhere!)

This is very important!  You don’t want the new bumper to fall off right away.

Finally, stick your new bumper on the clean, dry surface.  Check out these two photos.  You need to stick the bumper on the side closer to the inside of the reformer, rather than the outside.

If you place the bumper too far to the outside, the edge of the carriage that comes into contact with it will only hit the edge, and that can cause it to wear and fall off really early.  Can you see the squishy-ness on the side of the bumper that is pushed too far left?

You can even test the position by putting your finger on the edge of the carriage rail (a silver metal piece underneath the carriage) and gently moving the carriage toward the bumper, feeling where the edge of the carriage contacts the bumper.  The carriage edge should be about centered on the bumper.

Once you verify that placement, repeat the process on the other side of the Reformer (right/left).  You’re now ready for a session!

Happy Reforming!