Shou Sugi Ban: What is it?


Welcome to our design blog!

Today we will be talking about the ancient Japanese technique of Shou Sugi Ban (焼杉板).

Shou Sugi Ban, or Yakisugi, is the ancient Japanese technique of burning the surface of wood in order to preserve it. Historically, this method was used to protect wood siding from water, insects, and fire. Burning the wood reinforces its structural integrity and acts as a flame retardant. Today, it has become a rediscovered trend for it's modern, but rustic aesthetic and eco-friendliness.

Traditionally, Japanese cedar was used since it was easy to access. In modern applications, many different woods are used since variations in grain and charring effects create a range of styles. This diagram below from a recent Dwell article illustrates the process:

We decided to try out the technique for ourselves with different types of wood. It was a fun process! Check out the photos below.

For more information about the Shou Sugi Ban technique and photos of it applied to buildings, click on these articles:

A Guide to Shou Sugi Ban and 8 Homes Featuring the Japanese Technique

What Is The History Of The 'Shou Sugi Ban' Charred Wood Treatment?

Use This Incredible Technique to Waterproof Wood Furniture

Shou Sugi Ban: How To Preserve Wood Using Fire