Shou Sugi Ban

Tonight’s project involves a blowtorch, a nice piece of poplar wood, some sandpaper, a stain and sealant, a drill and some drawer pulls.

Sword holder made with Shou Sugi Ban technique on poplar

Shou Sugi Ban or Yakisugi is the process of charring wood, cleaning it and then using an oil or stain / sealant to protect the wood. It weathers the wood and paradoxically protects it via a charred outer shell to give it resistance to the elements.

I first learned about this watching a documentary about an architecture class building a tiny house and using this method instead of more expensive materials to weather seal the outer structure. its becoming all the rage for interior design as the grain patterns are intensified and it lends a look that you cannot achieve otherwise.

A fantastic example can be found on this forum –

Burning a timber

Clay Moisture

I’ve been seeing videos where people are picking up the clay and moving it nearly effortlessly. It takes me a lot more effort to move the clay and to do my pulls. I’m sure it will get easier with more experience but to try something new I  wedged a bunch of 14 oz balls of clay and intentionally made it more moist than I normally throw. Well this works, in a way… it certainly makes the clay more pliable and easier to make the movements and gestures but I had the biggest problem getting it off the wheel head. I don’t use bats. I do it old school, just cut it off with a wire like the olden days! So I had the idea that a small propane torch would do the trick to dry the outside enough for me to get it off the wheel. It works great! I dont think that I am going to continue to throw with the clay moisture at this level though. It just doesnt seem to be worth it.