Can You Shou Sugi Ban Any Wood, And How Long Does It Last?

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Shou Sugi Ban isn’t solely an aesthetic endeavor, but the charring of the wood’s surface is also performed to create a natural sealant to protect against rot and insects. Although any wood can be burned, not every wood can be used to create Shou Sugi Ban’s signature look and seal. Nakamoto Forestry, a crafter of high-grade Yakisugi siding, suggests that the best woods for making Shou Sugi Ban are light, porous softwoods. The company explains that lighter woods are preferable, because they allow for deep penetration of heat treatment while staying stable. They also grant a faster dry time in damp climates, whereas harder woods are more prone to twisting, splitting, and distorting when burned or used for home exteriors. 

Nakamoto Forestry uses woods such as sugi, hinoki, pine, oak, cherry, cedar, spruce, and larch for their Shou Sugi Ban siding. Other wood manufacturers echo this sentiment, with the company Anova Bois advising against harder woods like walnut, and exotic woods like teak, as their density makes them highly difficult to carbonize. With many timber options to think of, cedar is often the number one recommendation for Shou Sugi Ban due to its bold, rich grain and soft porous nature, which perfectly complements this technique and enhances the inherent beauty of the wood. Pine exhibits a similar grain pattern, but offers a more rustic aesthetic, and is typically considered a cheaper alternative. 

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