I sit by the stove feeding it with the scraps of wood and chopped up pallets that Krzysztof periodically leaves outside the front door for me, and I watch the fire devour the timber, I think about the charred wood cladding technique I have learned of.
Shou Sugi Ban (or Yakisugi) is an ancient Japanese exterior cladding technique that preserves wood by charring it. Traditionally, Sugi (Japanese Cyprus) was used. The process involves charring the wood, cooling it, cleaning it, and finishing it with a natural oil. This act of charring and coating the wood is said to protect the cedar or cypress cladding from weather, pests and rot for up to 80 years
The finish is beautiful as well as functional.It is blackened and wonderfully crackled. It is deeply meaningful, evoking the elemental nature of wood and that which can transform it- fire
Ever since I learned about this technique I have wondered about using it as a cladding option on our 5000€ extension. Could we use alternative wood? Not expensive cedar, Maybe reclaimed timber? Or scrapped pallet wood? Could we use modern tools like a blow torch to make the process more efficient?
I found this video with a contemporary take on Shou Sugi Ban, made by Postgreenhomes– they are worth checking out