Yakisugi (Shou Sugi Ban)

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Yakisugi bedside tableThere has been confusion surrounding the name Yakisugi in recent years. In Japan, Yakisugi simply translates to “burnt cedar,” and is the traditional name for this ancient wood-burning technique. Yakisugi involves charring the wood by lightly burning it. However, the name Shou Sugi Ban is more commonly used in Western countries. Why the two names? A student supposedly mis-pronounced the kanji characters during a talk, which translated Yakisugi to Shou Sugi Ban. And the rest is history.

To cover all bases and the infamous student, we shall refer to both names.


The Yakisugi (Shou Sugi Ban) technique was developed in the 18th century and was predominantly used for Japanese housing. This technique made the wood stronger and prevented the wood from decay. As well as darkening the appearance of the wood, it treated it for mould too. It also repelled the wood against water, sun damage and insect infestation. Environmentally sound, this technique was used before chemical wood protection was invented.

Yakisugi (Shou Sugi Ban) not only changes the appearance of the wood by removing the wood’s moisture, it protects it.


When upcycling furniture, we lightly char the wood with a blow torch to highlight the wooden grain and make it.. POP! Following this, we wire brush the wood to remove any residue.

After cleaning, a high-quality furniture oil is applied to seal and waterproof the wood. As a result, the wood is more durable and is left smelling like new.

The technique works best with soft wood like Pine, Cedar, Redwood and Fir. Once treated, choose your favourite colour wood stain or choose keep it classic, the choice is yours.

The results vary with hardwood furniture. Once charred, the hardwood becomes a deep brown or almost black in colour. We can do this option, but Yakisugi (Shou Sugi Ban) is a technique best used for soft wood.

We think the Yakisugi (Shou Sugi Ban) is the perfect way to upcycle your furniture and to give it a brand-new look to admire for years to come.

If you are a Yakisugi expert and you would like to work with us, complete our WORK WITH US form online.