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Crib 5 is the short name for the test known as BS5852 Ignition Source 5. This test involves lighting a small balsamwood pile (like a game of Jenga and supposed to simulate a real chair), setting it on fire and then waiting to see if the fabric ignites and whether it self-extinguishes. There are a variety of tests for flame retardancy from Cigarette & Match through to Crib 7. Crib 5 is suitable for every contract use except inside prison cells and mental health institutions.

Chieftain Fabrics are delighted to announce that the entire Just Colour range is now a certified Crib 7 faux leather.

In the UK there are various tests for flammability of fabrics and these tests vary in their applicability to the domestic market and the contract market eg Hospitality, Healthcare sector, Education sector and so on.
When fabric is treated to a Crib 5 standard, it makes it suitable for most uses. Crib 5 fabrics are mainly used in contract environments where the impact of a fire can be very serious.

The Crib 7 test is a more stringent test, meaning when the fabric passes this test, it is suitable for more hazardous environments such as, prisons, mental health institutions and oil rigs for example.

During the test a wooden frame or ‘crib’ is made and placed on a chair that is upholstered in the fabric being tested.  The theory is that the bigger the crib (and consequently, the bigger the flame), the more likely the fabric is to ignite. The Crib 7 frame is bigger than the Crib 5 frame meaning that the fabric is exposed to a more severe flame.

Contract grade fabrics undergo the Martindale Test to check their durability and suitability for use. The test is also known as the Rub Test and it tests for abrasion to the fabric, simulating use in a real world application.

The test gives a score in thousands of rubs. Domestic grade fabrics typically have a rating of up to 20,000 rubs where contract grade tends to be much higher, circa 100,000+

Typical classifications include:

Light domestic use          15,000 rubs
General domestic use        25,000 rubs
Heavy domestic use          30,000 rubs
General contract use        40,000 to 50,000 rubs

Extreme or severe contract use 75,000 rubs and above

To see our Martindale machine in action, check out this Vine clip.

Just Colour and Chieftain have both passed the ‘Tropical Test’ / ‘Jungle Test’.  This is a well-known test in the upholstery market and while its actual name is the Tropical Test, it can also be referred to as the Jungle Test.

Vinyl fabric can be affected by moisture as well as elevated temperatures, and in certain applications very high humidity is experienced with relatively high temperatures. In order to ensure that the vinyl fabric in question will perform under these conditions, the Tropical / Jungle test was developed.

This test involves placing vinyl sample into a test chamber. This test chamber is an oven pre-heated to 70˚C and at least 95% relative humidity. The test pieces are then placed in the oven and exposed to free passage of air on both sides. It is important to remember that the pressure inside the oven does not exceed atmospheric pressure.

The test sample is then examined against a control sample at the end of each week for a number of weeks or until the product breaks down and fails. Failure of the test sample would be in the form of surface cracking, delaminating of the lacquer layer from the backing cloth or extreme changes in colour and gloss levels.

It is accepted that a product designed for domestic purposes should withstand 3 weeks in the test chamber, and a product designed for contract upholstery should withstand 5 weeks in the test chamber.

The result for Just Colour and Chieftain is 5 weeks, which in test time is the equivalent of 5 years. This means, that in real terms, Just Colour and Chieftain can withstand extreme conditions over a period of 5 years.

We use a combination of in house testing in our own lab and a number of UKAS accredited labs to prove our own findings. All of the certificates which we provide to back up our fabric come from one of these UKAS accredited labs.

Chieftain is a worldwide supplier of performance fabric, headquartered in Ireland and with offices in the UK, and partners around Europe. Our R&D, quality control, distribution and marketing all takes place in Ireland. All our fabric is manufactured in Europe, but is hand inspected at our facility in Ireland before dispatch.

You can buy fabric directly from us or through any of our distribution partners listed on our Distributors page.

We use recycled sources for our backing cloths whenever possible. These can either be recycled PVC sources or sustainable cotton. We have reduced the PVC content of all of our fabrics. We can recycle used fabrics which have reached the end of their useful life. We know plastics are not renewable, and we recognise that in an ideal world we would not use them, but we’re doing as much as we can … and more than most.

Full cleaning instructions are on our care page. However, if you care for the fabric properly, it will easily outlast the chair it’s covering.

All of our fabrics are guaranteed. Chieftain and Lionella for 5 years. Just Colour and Just Patterns for 3 years and Trimcell for 2 years.

Please contact us for more information about our guarantee.


All we need is a small sample of the colour you want matched. Whether that is a vinyl, a fabric, a Pantone number or an RAL code, we can match it. Our minimum run depends on the product ordered but is as little as 500m.

Width is between 1.37 and 1.41 metres. Usable width is at least 1.37 metres wide.

Minimum order quantity is 1 linear metre.

Follow these steps:

— Wipe off any dirt or residue with a soft brush

— Wipe the area with a cloth or sponge dipped in warm soapy water

— Clean the area in circular motions

If your customer is wondering what disinfectant is suitable to use on our fabrics, you can allow them to use the following: Chlor Clean, Haz Tab, Milton, Tristel. These can all be store bought.