Have you heard about Shou Sugi Ban or charred wood? It’s a type of wood that has been processed using the Ancient Japanese wood burning technique known as Yakisugi. Shou Sugi Ban looks more premium and luxurious than regular wood and it also has a ton of other superior properties which are irreplaceable when it comes to using wood as a construction material.

Advisory note: Our guide is a general overview of the technology and isn’t a professional instruction on how Shou Sugi Ban is to be made. Different companies and different experts can have different techniques, we’re here to just give you the overview.

It all begins by torching the wooden board

It’s essential that a burner which can reach very high temperatures is used. Degmeda, a company with lots of experience in the nice for example, uses torches that can reach up to 1100 degrees Celsius.

There are different methods. One is merely to render the entire surface from all sides, and the other is to set fire to the entire plank for a short while. Either way, after the texture enhances and gets all black (the surface carbonises), it’s time to move to phase two.

Scrubbing/brushing is next

Even though the charcoal on the surface has a good meaning behind it, scrubbing it off is a must because with it on top, the timber can have an odd, shatter-y glow which isn’t premium, it just looks burned. Scrubbing is to be done until a level tone on the entire plank is achieved.

A good way of checking your progress is to feel the surface and check whether it’s grainy.

Treatment is essential

After the previous steps are complete, Shou Sugi Ban is treated with oils and varnishes. It’s essential to note that fire is the primary element which gives Shou Sugi Ban its functional properties while the scrubbing and brushing does most of the magic in the department of aesthetics. The former boosts involve waterproofing, fireproofing as well as resistant to rot which is a common enemy for regular wood.

Moving back to treatment now, manufacturers tend to use high-quality hybrid wood oil to add a layer of UV protection and make the look better. Natural oil can be used although many would say that the look of Shou Sugi Ban treated with natural oil is inferior, but some customers prefer a more natural essence of the product.

Or you can leave it unbrushed

Charcoaled or unbrushed surface is the most resistant to UV light and rays. The colour should not fade which makes it an attractive option for people who want a very distinct look and a durable product which has a never-fading color