Monday, December 16, 2013

I love the smell of burnt cedar in the morning

I’m putting an interesting siding on my house. For one it’s tongue and groove and not overlapping like you see on most of the tiny houses. If that wasn’t enough I’m taking a huge blow torch and burning the living bajeezus out of it until it’s a nice toasty black. I feel like a bit of a pyro-maniac but I think the results speak for themselves. It’s called “Shou Sugi Ban” and it’s not that hard to do. Check it out!
Using a weed burner we burn the wood until it just gets that “Alligator Skin” look. It helps to have a partner there to put out any little flames that linger on the wood.
This is what it looks like after we burn it but before we brush it off.

Brushing off the wood with a stiff push broom takes more effort than you’d think, but the transformation is awesome.
After the soot and dust come off it looks like this.

This is the before and after picture. Crazy right?!


  1. For enlightenment purposes, what advantages are there to utilizing this burnt effect? Does it require a finish or polyurethane? Also, is there an advantage to going tongue-and-groove over the traditional overlap?

    1. Hey Owen,
      The advantage of this technique is that it does seal the wood up a little and also adds some fire resistance but I'll still be sealing it with a stain just like I would with any other wood siding to be double sure. It's mainly the look I am going after. The tongue and groove is a bit more secure than lap siding which is only attached at one end but the main thing here is also the look.

  2. I'm very interested in this technique however I prefer a lighter golden-brown finish over the dark you get from the "alligator skin" char. Does the level of bug/weather protection increase the longer you burn the wood?

    1. I believe that it would increase the protection of the wood with a more thorough burn but that's only a factor if you're not going to use any other protectant. I also used an oil after it was burned and that could protect the wood all by itself. It used to be more for protection and bugs and such, currently in modern times it's mainly for looks so do whatcha like!

    2. What kind of oil did you use? How's it holding up? Any maintenance?

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