Introduction: Shou Sugi Ban Shelf

Picture of Shou Sugi Ban Shelf

Shou Sugi Ban is an ancient Japanese exterior siding technique that preserves wood by charring it with fire.

Traditionally, Sugi wood (Japanese cedar) was used.

The process involves charring the wood, cooling it, cleaning it, and finishing it with a natural oil.

I'm going showing you this technique on a small shelf for my garage.

Step 1:

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Tools needed:

  • Blow torch
  • Stiff bristle brush


Protective gear

  • Face mask
  • Leather gloves



  • 1- 6"X12" Pine board
  • 2- shelf brackets (I cut a piece of 2x4 at 45 degrees)
  • Bees wax
  • Teak oil

Step 2:

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I started with a piece of pine I had previously used to test some different stains on and 2 pieces of 2x4 cut at 45 degrees.

Using my blowtorch I started on the face side of the wood until it was completely charred, then did the back, sides and ends. Then went over the face and back a second time.

Step 3:

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Time to brush the wood.

Do this in a well ventilated area and wear your dust mask.

When you use the brush follow the grain of the wood or else it looks like scratches in the grain. (no bueno)

After you've brushed all the char off take the hose to it and wash it down then dry it with a dry rag, and let it air dry.

Step 4:

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Now that it's dry, time to apply the bees wax, start by rubbing it into the surface of the wood then use the torch to melt it into the wood, after the bees wax has soaked in rub it down with a soft dry cloth.

Now take the teak oil and rub it in to produce a beautiful deep shine.

Step 5:

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I needed a place for my speakers in the garage, they were sitting on top of the parts washer next to the sander. (you can imagine the saw dust they collected)

Now they have a nice and fancy place of their own.

I hope I've inspired you to try this ancient process of protecting wood.

Thanks for looking!


SheilaDoak (author)2016-03-04

This technique really interested me while in Japan. In some cases the buildings were old while others were not. Now I know why. THank you

tiber954 (author)2015-10-30

Thank you for sharing. I plan on experimenting using this for some art displays.

Thank you, I'd like to see your finished project,

I love using this technique because it's very simple and brings such beautiful colors out of the wood.

tomatoskins (author)2015-10-27

This is such a cool technique! Thanks for sharing!

Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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