Shou Sugi Ban: The Art of Japanese Wood Burning

Updated: Dec. 11, 2021

Learn how to use the ancient Japanese wood burning technique of shou sugi ban to create a unique shiplap accent wall.


Follow the steps below and watch the video tutorial to master this technique yourself!

Tools Required

  • Garden torch
  • Table saw
  • Wire brush

Materials Required

  • 1x6 cedar boards
  • Boiled linseed oil

What is shou sugi ban?

Shou sugi ban is an ancient Japanese technique for waterproofing and preserving wood. It involves charring the cedar wood surface until it turns black. While shou sugi ban originated for the purpose of weatherproofing wood, it has recently become popular as a rustic, textural design element inside the home.

Watch this video to learn how you can create a stunning shou sugi ban accent wall in your home:

Project step-by-step (4)

Step 1

Create shiplap

Shou Sugi Ban: create shiplap

Use a table saw to cut rabbets into each side of your raw cedar boards. Check out this short video to get more details for how to make your own shiplap.

Step 2

Japanese wood burning

Shou Sugi Ban - japanese wood burningFamily Handyman

Now comes the fun part! Use a garden torch to burn the surface of the wood. The longer you hold the fire on the wood, the darker the char.

Note: Be sure to work in a well-ventilated area with no flammable materials near your workspace. And keep a fire extinguisher close by.

Step 3

Finish the wood

Shou Sugi Ban - finishing the wood

Rub the charred surface with a wire brush to remove the light layer of ash. Then coat the boards with boiled linseed oil.

Step 4

Install the shiplap

shou sugi ban - installing the shiplap

First screw furring strips into the wall studs. Then cut your shiplap boards to length and screw them into the furring strips.