When it comes to home decoration, it is very rare to hear about burning wood to make it last longer. In fact, burning a home décor material usually makes it weak and disfigured, but do you know that there is a way? If you burn wood correctly, it will be more beautiful than ever imagined.
Yes, you heard that right, and wood burning is actually an ancient practice that originated from Japan known as Shou Sugi Ban. This technique adds a classy finish to your wood interior, and also saves costs. Charred wood is fantastic for fencing, cladding, and decking. Additionally, they are also used as trim around windows and doors, and also as siding, just to mention a few.
A Brief History Of Wood Charring Practice
Shou Sugi Ban, which literally means burnt cedar board, has been practiced in japan for so long, but started becoming much popular during the 17th century. What made this so popular? The main motivation behind the idea of charred wood back then was as a result of high demand and low supply of driftwood. Back then, the carpenters couldn’t meet up with the high demand for driftwood, and as they thought about possible ways to meet the demand, the idea of burning wood became a better alternative which they embraced.
Naturally, burnt materials lose their essence, but charred wood was an exception. With a weathered look, these cedar wood became more durable, enhancing its acceptance. Its popularity seemed to be a disadvantage because more trees were uprooted, resulting in scarcity of cedar in the forest and promoted timber importation into Japan. However, importing timber was very expensive and this led to the ancient practice being abandoned gradually. Fortunately, the art wasn’t completely forgotten as it regained popularity in the 21st century, mostly in the United States.
How Does Burning Wood Make It Last Longer?
Actually, it is the transformation of the physical properties when wood is charred that makes it more resistant to damage from the sun, termite attack and even fire. The most popular type of wood used in this practice are cedar, oak and fir, but there are many others that can be charred too.
This change in the wood properties depends on what gets burnt and solidifies. When wood is charred, the cellulose is discarded and the lignin is hardened, making it very unpalatable for insects. The wood is also protected from severe effects of sunlight like drying, splitting and even breakage.
You Too Can Do It!
Charring wood isn’t rocket science and you too can make them at home. All you need are the right equipment, a little creativity and the zeal to succeed.
To get started, get a torch, preferably a Bernzomatic hand torch if you just want to do something small. Safety first, hence the need for gloves, eye protective glasses and a fire extinguisher. If you haven’t used a torch before or there are inflammable materials around, then you may want to avoid trying this. It is also important to note that this shouldn’t be tried indoors, so do it outside!
With these tools and a bit of skill, you too can practice Shou Sugi Ban and burn wood to your own taste. However, if this seems complex and you don’t want to ruin things at home or you simply don’t want to try it, you can always ask experts for professionally charred wood.
To round it up, charred wood has many benefits and can be done at home, depending on how creative you are and how much spare time you have but it’s not recommended as it obviously involves risk. Nevertheless, not everyone has the time or resources to make charred wood at home, and if you wish, you can always get gorgeous decorations from skilled artisans.