Have you heard of shou-sugi-ban a.k.a yakisugi-ita? Even if you haven't heard of this woodworking technique, you've probably seen it on television design shows or in high-end magazines. Designers are in love with the rich look of wood that has received this treatment. This Japanese technique of charring wood beautifies and preserves it, as well as making it more fire resistant.
Yes, you read that right: charring wood with fire makes it more resistant to fire! As anyone who has tried to light the leftover wood from a previous campfire knows, it's really hard to get that fire started. Charred wood just doesn't want to burn! This makes it hard on campers but is a boon for homeowners. Not only does this charred wood resist flames, but it also resists UV rays, rot, and insects. It also lasts for decades longer than painted or stained wood—with less maintenance.
Perhaps even more important than those benefits, however, is its rather dark and mysterious beauty. The shou-sugi-ban process highlights the grain and brings out the wood's natural beauty. Knotholes, checks, and other natural features are more noticeable, but in an understated way. This beautifully charred wood looks especially nice when it's combined with metal or glass in a modern design. Shou-sugi-ban is also lovely when used to complement the natural beauty of plants.
Use shou-sugi-ban as exterior siding, for a feature wall, or build amazing furniture or accessories with it. However you choose to use it, this ancient technique will add a touch of timeless beauty to your home.