Understanding Shou Sugi Ban: Artistic, Chic Wood You Will Love

Understanding Shou Sugi Ban: Artistic, Chic Wood You Will Love

Shou sugi ban, which literally translates to ‘burnt cedar board’, refers to burning wood to create a more attractive, durable finish. The process encompasses charring the wood, cooling it, and cleaning it. It is then finished with a natural oil.

This is a traditional Japanese technique that dates back to the 18th century. The Japanese used it on siding as a natural sealant, which protected wood from decay, wind, pests, sun, water, and fire. Namely, burning wood forms a protective layer on the wood, which makes it last for up to eighty years.

The process can be untidy and time-consuming, but the result is stunning, with rich texture and dark hues.

Today, this technique is used by architects and designers in both exterior and interior home designs and décor. Let’s go a little deeper into the world of modern shou sugi ban.

Table and bench made form shou sugi ban
Image Source: AlleIdeen

What’s The Best Type of Wood for Shou Sugi Ban?

While this process was traditionally done with cedar, nowadays architects and designers use other varieties of wood, including:

  • Cyprus
  • Oak
  • Yellow Pine
  • Douglas fir
  • Western cedar

It is also worth noting that the end-result of charring will depend on the wood you use. Some woods would come out totally black. Conversely, other woods would keep their lines and crack-like outlines visible in spite of the color change.

Types of shou sugi ban
Image Source: amazonaws

Cypress is the most commonly used wood species for this process. This is largely attributed to the fact that it is easy to manipulate. Charring it can give you the totally black outcome as well as the one with shading. Yellow pine also delivers impressive results when charred.

Can You Make Your Own Shou Sugi Ban?

This process is mostly undertaken by experts in the timber selling business. If you are a DIY enthusiast, however, you can burn your own timber and get just as beautiful and stylish outcome.

Bar chairs
Image Source: Pinterest


Outdoor wall made with shou sugi ban
Image Source: resawntimber

So, let’s look at how to burn your own wood in 4 simple steps:

Select your timber

You should go for Cypress, cider, or Douglas fir as their soft wood burn more easily. Then, cut the pieces you need to char.

Fire a blow torch over the surface of the wood until it is charred to your desired color.

If the project is small, a 14-once blow-torch can work just fine. Larger projects usually call for the use of a heavy-duty blow torch attached to a 20-pound propane.

Burning wood
Image Source: nkadventures

Scrub off excess charring using a wire brush.

This is not applicable if you want to burn the wood totally black. If there are any light spots remaining, simply char and brush again.

Coat the charred surfaces to prevent them from shedding soot.

You can use a water-based, eco-friendly treatment to give your timber a matte finish. Conversely, high-gloss epoxy resin sealer is effective in accentuating the grain.

Wooden wall
Image Source: squarespace

Where to Use Shou Sugi Ban at Home

This popular technique was traditionally used in home exterior projects, such as walls and fencing. Today, you can find it in interior designs, furniture, as well as artwork. In fact, furniture made of charred wood exhibits a unique design, great functionality, and aesthetics.

You can use the furniture in any modern living space. The simple elegance of the furniture, coupled with the processing of natural and sustainable materials, can significantly enhance the visual appeal of a room.

Kitchen counter with knives, cutting board, lemons and bowl
Image Source: food52


Bathroom interior with shou sugi ban wall
Image Source: Pinterest

Final Thoughts

Shou Sugi Ban is a traditional Japanese technique used to make the wood unique, stylish, and durable by charring it. This technique is a great way to add attractive and awesome looks to your home exterior and interior applications. This article gives you essential information about this popular technique.




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