Shou sugi ban, as I see it.

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Forum topic by RussellAP posted 04-23-2017 10:37 PM 1217 views 1 time favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3104 posts in 2488 days

04-23-2017 10:37 PM

Topic tags/keywords: shou sugi ban adirondack chair

I’d post some images, but the site is apparently broken for me.

Shou sugi ban is an ancient Japanese wood treatment mainly for preservation, but accidentally for looks.
The method:
Western red cedar wood 5/4×6 wood used:
Adirondack chair, subject:

I cut out my chair parts down to the band saw. I no longer need to route off the corners, the method mellows them nicely, I don’t need the drum sander, no sanding required. Then I line them up on my saw horses with a couple fencing poles, metal, and bring out the 30lb propane jug and a good roofing torch.

Burn the wood till you see it blacken and start to crack. You can stop before it cracks, or you can crack the hell out of it, it’s called alligatoring. Makes the burnt wood look like alligator skin.

Then I change the horse set up and put a few old plywood cutoffs down and a few blocks to screw into them to clamp the piece I’m working on. When the piece is secure on the bench, (by the way, do this outside), I get a good 2×6 wire brush and brush all the char off. It will groove the wood and give it a nice texture. When they are all brushed off, take out the hose and wet them down and use a stiff nylon brush to clean them up using the hose to wash off the char.

Let them dry out in the sun, then I take a large bowl and put some tung oil in it, I also put a bit of danish oil for a little color, then I use a paint brush and wet every piece with tung oil….all over. Get it nice an wet.

Let that dry and assemble the piece.

From what I’ve heard, this is the classic way to do it.

The theory is that very small microscopic pieces of char get into the pours of the wood, fouling it for bugs, keeping it from rotting, and considerably extending the life of the wood up to 80 years.
Some people swear you have to keep the char on or you’ll defeat the purpose, but they are wrong. The char protects the wood on a microscopic level and the winter growth has been toasted so the result is a very good finish. Trying to keep all the char on is like using wood with bark attached, it will flake off constantly.

I really wish I could show you a picture but you’ll have to follow this link to see it.

This is a closer look at the wood.


-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

3 replies so far

View MrUnix's profile


7050 posts in 2401 days

#1 posted 04-23-2017 11:09 PM

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2488 days

#2 posted 04-23-2017 11:13 PM

Thanks mrunix.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Bob817's profile


673 posts in 2584 days

#3 posted 04-24-2017 01:49 AM

That looks great!!

-- ~ Bob ~ Newton, N.H.

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