At Hillside Designworks, we are always interested in exploring different building techniques, and recently Shou-sugi-Ban is something that came to our attention.  Shou-sugi-Ban is an ancient Japanese method that preserves wood by burning it.  The extent of burning determines the final look of the wood.   Here are some examples:


The wood is burned and then treated with linseed oil.  This is a low maintenance finish, as you put the wood up once and never have to finish it again.  The black color is also really cool looking when combined with other architectural highlights.

We thought we’d try this method on a new sliding barn door we completed last fall.

Typically the wood is burned, treated, and then put in place.  We tried building the door first, then burning it while assembled.

Here’s the door under construction.  The wood is Eastern White Pine, milled locally by Floyd Van Alstyne.  I guarantee Floyd can convert square feet to board feet faster than your computer.  He’s also the hardest working 90 something year old I’ve ever met.


Arranging the boards in a narrow – wide pattern will allow for an interesting visual effect, and allow for airflow through the woodshed space.

The boards are then burned with a weed torch.  This was time consuming – next time we would pre-burn the boards using a more traditional method.


The boards are then wire brushed and coated with linseed oil.

Here’s the final product installed:
And at night there’s a nice pattern of light coming through.:

The slat pattern also allows quite a bit of light inside during the day:

Overall this is a pretty labor intensive process, but one that provides for an interesting visual effect without the use of stains, and repeated application.  We’ll keep you posted on how it goes next time!