The Life of Wool Felt

February 15, 2018

Wool felt comes from sheep’s fleece, which is pressed tightly into a sheet fabric while applying moisture. Since it is a 100% natural material, wool felt is biodegradable and rapidly renewable.

A common question we hear at Submaterial is, “can this product be installed in a restaurant or café?” The answer is absolutely! In addition to softening harsh acoustics within a space, Merino fleece is stain resistant and non-subjective to odor retention. We found a great page with information about the qualities of Australian Merino wool here.

Below are examples of Submaterial wool felt wallcoverings in different programmatic spaces. Left to right: Index Dimensional Wallcovering installed at Two Brothers Brewing, Index Linear Wallcovering installed at Simple Headquarters, and finally an installation of white Index Dimensional in a bedroom by Lauren Rubin Architecture.

HOW IT’S MADE

Our wool felt comes from a mill in Germany, where raw fleece is mixed, untangled, and layered in fine sheets to create a batt. Moisture and steam are added before compressing several batts of fleece, and an oscillating motion raises and opens the fibers, hooking them together.  Once thoroughly interlocked, the felt goes through steel rollers with pressure, heat and moisture which helps densify the bolt (a roll of felt at full size). Finally, the felt is ready to be washed, dyed to one of FilzFelt’s 63 colors, and stretched out to dry.

The bolt of felt has completed the production process, and is ready for the final stages of cleaning. Since the material is non-woven, the surface has a sparse layer of fuzzy fibers, which get a trim for a flush felt face. The felt is checked for thickness consistency then rolled and shipped to the client, like Submaterial.

For more detailed steps and descriptions, visit FilzFelt’s page, How Felt is Made.

MERINO SHEEP

Merino wool is considered the highest quality and is harvested only once per year to allow for growth. Their felt is softer than felt from other sheep, decreasing the likelihood of skin irritation. The sheep providing Submaterial’s felt live in Australia, New Zealand and southern Africa.

SUBMATERIAL FELT USE

Submaterial utilizes natural materials like 100% wool felt, recycled cork, recycled leather, and reclaimed wood. Wool felt is the feature material in our Wallcovering and Wall Panel collections. Bolts of felt arrive in our material processing bay, where they are inspected for stains and texture irregularities. They get cut into strips for production and delivered to the glue team. The felt strips are laminated to cork, using a water-based, zero VOC adhesive, and trimmed to a precise tile size before being boxed and shipped to a client. Read about the acoustic dampening features on our Form, Function & Acoustic Design blog post.

Ask us how you can get a custom order for your home or office. Visit our website or give us a call at (505) 891-8356.

factory-photos courtesy of www.filzfelt.com 

 

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