The Shou Sugi Ban Technique

In the article about Shou Sugi Ban, we would like to show you that the destructive element of fire can also bring such extraordinary effects as in the case of charred boards.

The process of wood carbonization, which involves restricting air and burning off organic matter, makes the wood more resistant to decay. Nevertheless, over the long term, under the influence of various factors, it can degrade.

The Shou Sugi Ban Technique

Shou Sugi Ban, also known as Yakisugi, is a technique of wood treatment using fire, leaving a charred surface. It seems a bit extreme? Well, it’s an ancient Japanese therapy that has returned to modern times and sets new trends in architecture.

It can be applied to many types of wood and in various forms, most commonly as facade boards, cladding, fences, and decking boards. Shou Sugi Ban uses the Yakisugi method for charring wood. Yakisugi is a traditional Japanese wood preservation technique. Yaki means using fire, and sugi refers to traditional Japanese cedar (softwood from Japan).

Yakisugi became a popular technique in Japan as a way to treat cedar siding to make it strong and waterproof; there is evidence suggesting that the practice dates back to the 18th century. The technique was extremely popular as a way to create beautiful, durable wood. Shou Sugi Ban fell out of favor in the 20th century with the emergence of plastics and rising wood costs. Architects and designers of the 21st century have elevated and revived this centuries-old practice, which has become popular again in exterior and interior cladding projects due to its aesthetic, durable charred finish.


The Shou Sugi Ban Technique

The proper choice of wood is crucial. The best type of wood used for Shou Sugi Ban is open-celled wood – following Japanese tradition. This is partly because there must be a minimum depth of charring to prevent the burned effect due to weather conditions. This depth is more difficult to achieve on hardwood. However, Japanese cedar – as an example – is a lighter, more porous wood, which significantly facilitates the charring process.

Charring of the wood is done using torches that produce a temperature of over 1800°C. Additionally, to properly protect it, you will need a brush, oil, and rags to finish the job. Depending on the type of wood, profile, finish, and oils used, the final product can vary significantly. Charred wood can be finished with oil to improve its appearance and durability

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