Blog

Feb 18 2013

Charred cedar: longer lifespan and dramatic color

By KC

When most folks embark on a building project, deliberately setting the wood on fire doesn't immediately come to mind as a brilliant move.

But when the desired outcome is a significantly extended lifespan, lighting the wood on fire is a great idea!

The technique has been around for centuries. Known in Japan as shou sugi ban, this style of finishing wood can extend the life of your cedar siding by many decades -- up to 80 years in exposed applications.  

It also looks beautiful and provides a dramatic contrasting color to an otherwise predictable installation, with none of the added chemicals or annual re-application needed with a stain.

The projects shown in these photos use our FSC Western Red Cedar.  The technique can be applied to other wood species as well, such as Douglas and others with a distinctive grain pattern.  Check out how Pioneer Millwork applied shou sugi ban to oak.

 For more inspiration, check out these photos on Pinterest, and read architect Michelle Jeresek's post on Houzz to see how to do it.