2 min read

Choosing a Finish

Traditional Char

Wood cladding is charred deeply with intense fire, burning the cellulose and hemicellulose layer of the wood to produce a robust and stable char (soot) layer. The carbon in this char layer makes the wood naturally hydrophobic, UV resistant and pest resistant.

The char layer is sealed with a penetrating linseed oil-based sealer that fortifies the char layer and seals the cladding so no soot rubs off when touched. The aesthetic is a black, crackled, alligator skin surface with a deep faceted char layer that reflects surrounding light and environment.

Periodic re-oiling is recommended every 5-10 years or as needed to re-fortify the char layer ensuring long-term stability. If re-oiling is not chosen, substantial erosion of char layer will occur over 30-40 years via the mechanisms of wind, rain, snow and snow. Maintenance is a straight forward, low-cost procedure with no prep — simply reapply original penetrating oil. This oil is pigmented black so any defects that have occurred will colour the exposed wood black to match the char.

Burn & Brush

Burn & Brush undergoes the charring just described, but the soot layer is then brushed off to varying degrees to reveal the board’s beautiful topographical grain and transformed colour tones. The process removes more of the board’s ‘spring wood’ (soft, light grains) and leaves the board’s ‘winter wood’ (denser, hard grains), producing a textured surface and colour palate unlike any other.

From here, the cladding can be finished with an almost infinite array of pigmented UV or non-UV oils to produce the desired aesthetic. From naturals, ambers, greys and our popular blacks; from semi-transparent to opaques; the combinations create stunning finished cladding that still have unmistakable shou sugi ban character.

Periodic re-oiling is recommended every 3-10 years or as needed to refresh the original factory finish and avoid substantial patina, ensuring a ‘day one’ look. If re-oiling is not chosen, UV oxidization of the original finish will occur and the pigment will patina out of the cladding, revealing brown to grey to silver wood. There is an emerging movement to embrace this natural patina of the material, particularly with grey tones which harken to shou sugi ban’s roots in Japan. The imperfection in organic material weathering, called wabi-sabi, was embraced and having no maintenance of the material was a secondary attribute. As with Traditional Char finish, maintenance is a straight-forward, low-cost procedure with no prep — simply reapply original penetrating oil.