The Art Of Wood Burning Or Shou Sugi Ban

When you are designing a piece of furniture or decor project and want to add something different to the finish, give some thought to the traditional art of wood burning or Shou Sugi Ban.






In Japan, the traditional process of wood burning or Shou Sugi Ban is referred to as Yakisugi and was this method was used for charring cypress boards to make them waterproof. Yaki means to char, while sugi means cypress, so this is the method of charring cypress. Here in the west this traditional Japanese art has evolved and is used for wood burning many different types of woods as part of a the process known as Shou Sugi Ban - or to char wood planks.



Shou Sugi Ban is the traditional Japanese method for preserving wood by charring the surface to bring about carbonisation. This carbonisation process protects the wood against insect attack and creates a waterproof barrier without applying sealer or varnish.





The method of Shou Sugi Ban is a simple one that uses a blowtorch to burn the surface of the wood until it becomes charred, as shown in the image above. I have tested this method on our local PAR and untreated pine with successful outcomes and it works very well with pine being a softwood.





How to burn wood with a blow torch

Shou Sugi Ban is the traditional Japanese art of scorching wood by using a blow torch to burn the surface. I have used this method plenty of times over the years by testing on various types of wood that have a medium-burn finish that brings out the grain of the wood to a totally burnt finish where the effect achieved leaves the wood looking cracked and glossy black. A good way to learn how to achieve this look is to have some pieces of pine on hand and try different levels of heat to scorch the wood until you have the desired finish.



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Bernzomatic Max has instant on and off ignition and the convenience of a flame lock if you plan to use the torch for extended periods. Pressure regulated for continuous use at all angles - even upside down - these torches have a cast body construction and are ideal for large diameter soldering, light brazing, woodworking, and even cooking.





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