Richlite is an incredibly durable material made from paper, ideal for a variety of uses. Developed over 70 years ago for industrial tooling, Richlite has evolved into a premium surface material used by aerospace, extreme sports, marine, food prep and the architecture and design community.
The innovative surface material’s mottled appearance, honed look, leathery feel and warmth complement a range of interior and exterior applications including furniture, cabinetry, shopfitting, cladding, consumer products, signage, retail displays, restaurant tables, bar tops, and worktops.
Nonporous, heat and water resistant, the paper composite material can withstand everything from food preparation environments to the harsh outdoors. Whether selected for its natural appeal, durability, strength, sustainability or its unique look and feel, Richlite outperforms and outlasts conventional materials.
HOW IT'S MADE
Made from many layers of high quality decorative paper, Richlite’s surface texture comes from the natural variation in the way fibres lay within the paper. These rolls of paper are saturated with a thermosetting resin before they are cut to length and laid up by hand. Each sheet is carefully stacked, alternating the direction of paper for the ultimate balance and stability. The stacks are pressed under even heat and pressure, which bonds the layers of paper together and cures the resin. The panels are then slowly cooled to produce a solid, stable sheet material.
Richlite’s colour comes from a combination of the colour of the paper and the deep amber tone of the resin. No dyes are added to the material, and all of the paper is either post consumer waste recycled or sustainably harvested FSC® Certified paper (FSC® C007915). Richlite is also Declare Certified and Red List Approved, Greenguard Gold Certified with an Environmental Product Declaration and a Healthy Product Declaration.
The Northwest Collection is available in earth tone colours with names that reflect natural and historic landmarks near Richlite's manufacturing facility. These colours machine well and are best suited to interior joinery or consumer product applications.
Richlite Cascade layers Northwest colours to create multicolour edges. These layered materials can be easily machined for a striking contrast of colour and texture. Cascade layers can also be customised and adapted to use different thicknesses, patterns or colours.
Richlite Stratum combines the recycled paper composite colours from the Northwest Collection with a specialty Bamboo Ply or Birch Ply core. The reduced weight, enhanced stability and attractive edge from the Stratum Collection is perfect for doors, drawer fronts, wall panels and signage.
The first colours Richlite started making in 1943 are still available in the Heritage Collection. These colours are all NSF approved and can be used as exterior cladding, signage, food prep and industrial applications.
Like wood, all Richlite colours develop a natural patina as they age - becoming darker, warmer and more dramatic. Because of the natural variation in the paper fibres, Richlite has a mottled appearance that runs down the length and is less visible in darker colours. The through colour material can be refinished and restored like new, or repurposed in a new application.
Richlite is unlike stone or solid surface and works very similar to an incredibly dense hardwood that can be laser etched, milled, sanded, routed and joined. Richlite is supplied with a factory mill surface with a slight texture created by the manufacturing process.
Richlite can be used raw, usually in exterior or industrial applications like food prep, machine moulds or stage floors. Most architectural and interior joinery applications will need to be processed by a fabricator to achieve a leathered or honed surface. The leathered surface wears more evenly and is lightly buffed with a hard wax oil applied, maintaining most of the original texture with a more leathery feel. Honed Richlite surfaces are sanded and buffed, dulling over time like a polished metal.
Richlite can be pressed to order from 3mm to 75mm in a range of sheet sizes up to 3660mm x 1525mm. Surface Matter stock the most common colours and thicknesses in our warehouse in Rye. We support Richlite by offering architects, designers, fabricators, makers, students and material enthusiasts alike with samples, product and technical information and supplying the material from our warehouse in Rye. You can find a range of large samples and live applications in our studio in London Fields or request samples on the link below.