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SHOU SUGI BAN: A NATURAL MATERIAL THAT STANDS THE TEST OF TIME

The Japanese wood preservation technique for sustainable, elegant and environmentally friendly homes



History

Yakisugi ( ) is a Japanese technique for wood preservation by burning or carbonizing. In Japanese Yaki means to heat with fire and Sugi means cypress. It is also known as Shou Sugi Ban (焼 杉 板). The technique dates back to the seventh century and is a predominant element in Japanese architecture. Horyuji Temple, the oldest wooden building in the world, dates from 711 AD. and was built using this method.


Shou Sugi Ban wood is very common in Japanese architecture where it is considered a relatively cheap and accessible finish. In modern architecture, however, it is regarded as a chic material with elegant design, due to its special black color.


Production technique

The technique is applied to either structural wood or finish. We use it to create the modular wooden facade of the NIDUS Homes.


Este o metoda simpla dar eficientă de tratare a lemnului și constă în câteva etape successive:


  1. Burning - on one or both sides, until a thin layer of charred wood is formed. The degree of burning differs depending on the desired appearance: a thicker charred layer to get a “crocodile skin” like appearance or just a superficial layer to highlight the wood fiber. It is very important that the wood is of soft essence (eg fir, pine, spruce, cedar), so that the carbonized layer is homogeneous.

  2. Brushing - to remove the charr, ashes, and to level the board.

  3. Cleaning - by washing the board of brushed ash and fixing any visible imperfections or unburned areas.

  4. Oiling or painting - no specific type is required. We use linseed oil. As shades of color, those that blend harmoniously with the burnt wood fiber are preferred.

  5. Drying - either faster by heat, which helps to impregnate the oil in the wood fiber, or by natural drying.

You can see the whole process in this very nice video. The manufacturing process can be done either manually, with a simple burner, or industrialized with specialized equipment.


Benefits

Shou Sugi Ban is a simple but effective wood treatment technique that increases its durability over time. As a finish, the wood becomes waterproof and does not need maintenance, unlike an ordinary wooden facade that must be treated periodically. At the same time, the wood treated in this way becomes resistant to weather, UV radiation, parasites, rot, and even fire, by the simple fact that the fiber burned on the surface and impregnated with oil becomes a good insulator.


The "manufacturing" process is rudimentary and with low impact on the environment, which does not require complex equipment, skilled labor, or chemical solutions. This is one of the main reasons why we chose it. We focus on traditional, modular architecture in which natural materials were once used, and we combine them with the currently available technology to create high-performant and sustainable construction systems.



#finish #shousugiban #wood #technology

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