Yakisugi (Shou Sugi Ban) Frequently Asked Questions

Paying homage to the centuries-old Japanese technique of yakisugi “shou sugi ban,” Bandon Burn is Oregon’s premier charred wood product. Using only the best Port Orford Cedar from the Coquille Valley in southwestern Oregon, Bandon Burn – with its striking ebony hue and incredible texture – is a distinctive, weatherproof product suited for exterior cladding as well as interior paneling. This beautiful wood is an extraordinary combination of ancient technique and modern style, and one that the architectural design community will embrace for decades to come.

We get asked a lot but actually very cold and very dry climates are super easy for wood compared to humid or marine climates. Yakisugi is time-tested in Japan (a long, skinny country with climate ranging semi-tropical to Siberian, and almost all coastal marine) and will probably outlast any other softwood in any climate.
Due to the traditional resaw pattern optimized for wood longevity and dimensional stability, as well as the nature of how wood dries, there will generally be cupping of approximately 1/16″ in most boards. We spec two face nails every 16″OC to minimize cupping. Note samples cup much more than final product due to short lengths.
Absolutely. There are also more stain, topcoat, and fire retardant options for interior applications.
The Japanese heat treatment process is never used for flooring or furniture since cypress is too soft for flooring, and yakisugi planks are too thin for most furniture applications. Yakisugi is for wall and ceiling cladding only. Burning flooring or furniture or counters is a fun design thing we’ve seen but it is not Japanese yakisugi (shou sugi ban) heat treatment.
In Japan standard thickness is 3/8” (10mm), but we stock 9/16” (15mm) since that is as thick we can heat treat with good yield. Trying to heat treat a plank thickness over 9/16″ (example 3/4″) by the Japanese process doesn’t work since interior moisture content will stay around 12% while the surface goes down to 0%–which results in crooking, warping, twisting, or checking. Siding and panelling needs to be straight and flat, and this is heat treatment not a cosmetic surface finish. Please see the standard profile cross section here.
T&G will wick water and rot on an exterior unless covered by a roof. Exterior wood cladding cannot be blind nailed since it will always move over time and the fasteners must be accessible to tighten the wall plane back to flat. Plus you can’t burn a thin T&G profile deeply enough to heat treat. We only stock profiles that can be used for interior and exterior, and we specialize in products that have best possible longevity.
We have premium select clears in our Portland stock. Our focus is to supply at a low price point and ship quickly, therefore we do not mill custom profiles or lengths.
Yes, yakisugi is just regular wood with a unique surface treatment.
The wood is heat treated and therefore has improved longevity, but most people want the color to remain consistent over time. Without an oil stain the wood will change color just like any other wood. Some people embrace the traditional “sabi” patina aesthetic, and look forward to the organic, colorful weathering. With yakisugi, owners have the choice of doing maintenance or not. Re-oiling can be done as a periodic maintenance, or the patina can be enjoyed as it develops over the decades. Also most owners want the soot to be bonded into the surface with an oil stain so that it doesn’t come off when touched. Another reason we use oil stain prefinishes is that most designers or owners want a specific color or look, and since all exterior grade oil stains have a pigment load as the primary UV inhibitor, the designer or owner can decide what color they want their siding to be. Note that Newport Gray/Gendai is the only product we will sell without an oil stain. Bandon Black/Suyaki is too soft to ship and install without prefinish, and Gold Beach/Pika-Pika will get sooty fingerprint blemishes all over it without a prefinish.
Yes, please inquire on your project’s specific requirements.
Yakisugi is just solid wood lapped siding and is installed the same as untreated wood siding. See our Installation Guidelines.
For exterior we recommend headed, ring-shank stainless nails at least 2” long. Some customers paint the nails to match the finish. We have yet to see a screw option that installs efficiently and looks good, and siding nails are standard for installing our product on exteriors same as most wood. For interior applications finish nails and construction adhesive work well.
There are several options same as any siding/paneling, and it really is a designer decision. We stock extruded aluminum profiles for outside corners (specs on our Accessories page), you can use our square-edge profiles, stain thicker un-heat-treated trim-stock to match, miter, square cut with shadow gap, etc.
Yakisugi (shou sugi ban) will shed soot over time on an exterior but the erosion is simply so gradual that you will never notice. Most yakisugi is installed prefinished, which bonds any loose soot to the surface with the oil stain. Wipe the wall down after install with a sopping wet rag to clean any soot residue from the install, or simply let a good rain or two wash it off. Our Newport Gray/Gendai can be installed without a prefinish so it will be sooty for several months. Otherwise surface soot is never an issue due to oil stain prefinish. Note that since cypress has tannin content, on an exterior application there is always a chance the tannins could bleed out from rain. This can temporarily stain a lighter color underpinning below the wall. There is a chance tannins could leach out during the first several months, but after a year or