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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.