Shou Sugi Ban

Shou Sugi Ban: Japanese Burned Wood

Shou sugi ban is actually an ancient Japanese way of finishing wood that has been around for many years, however, you may have noticed that it’s making a surge in Western design. We talk about shou sugi ban, what it is, who it benefits, and why it’s shaking up the design world now for its utilitarian use.

Why Burn Wood?

Burning the surface of wood has been used in Japan for centuries, and is known as yakisugi, yakisugi-ita, or yakiita in Japan. This technique was used mostly for exterior siding and shingles, and was prized for its ability to keep moisture from penetrating the wood, drive away pests, and help maintain longevity of the boards and wooden items. Burning the surface of the wood can also deliver a smoother surface without sanding it, which can help reduce the effort needed to make an acceptably smooth surface for walking or wood-working.

What are the benefits of shou sugi ban?

Moisture is one of the reasons that wood can be a poor contender for outside uses, but simply scorching the front, back, and sides of the wood can help it keep from taking on moisture. This works by locking out moisture through a thin barrier where the wood is burned or charred, which helps keep the inside dry. The wood can also be preserved after with a layer of oil or urethane to keep the look and feel of the shou sugi ban wood.

How is it done?

Shou sugi ban is usually completed by following four easy steps: burn the wood, brush the wood, wash the wood, then finish the wood. It’s a simple way to get some really remarkable results, whether it’s for a floor or for a statement piece.

Shou sugi ban can be paired with a colored stain to produce some beautiful variations. It can also elevate the look of otherwise “cheap” seeming wood materials like pine plywood, giving a textural quality to any room.

What do you think of shou sugi ban? Would you use it in your home? Let us know in the comments!

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