When we needed an outdoor table for our recently completed patio, I figured I would have to build one myself. A few years ago, my husband Jeremy designed a beautiful table for our front deck. However, being finished in polyurethane it needed constant maintenance. As he watched the polyurethane crack and mold grow underneath, he was in no mood to make another. That was until I uttered the words “Shou sugi ban”. His eyes immediately lit up. I had him hooked!
Shou sugi ban, or Yakisugi, is a traditional Japanese method of burning cedar (sugi) before finishing it with natural oil. Normally used as exterior siding, the charred wood is pest and rot resistant for up to eighty years. So, charring is a beautifully simple way of ensuring the longevity of wood. Here are a few contemporary examples.
Clockwise from top: Fujimori's charred cedar house, Ubon, Hunsett mill, De Noorderparkbar, THOUGHTBARN office, Havet cabinet.
Though a few expletives were uttered during the making of this table (which come standard with my husband’s DIY projects), it was easy to make. Once charred, the wood appears a silvery grey or shiny black depending on how the light hits it. We love how this table turned out.
Hairpin legs (we bartered for a second-hand set at a local street fair, but you can purchase them new here)
2 laminated pine panels 47 ½ “x 15” x 1 ½ “
2 pieces of pine 27 ½” x 5 ½ “x 1” (supports)
1 Bernzomatic UL100 basic propane torch kit
12 wood screws 1 ¼ “
12 sheet metal screws 1 ¼ “
White Rust-Oleum spray paint
Linseed oil/ other natural oil
Clamps /tie downs
Use sandpaper to remove any rust from the hairpin legs and to help the paint adhere. Spray paint them in a well-ventilated room.
Glue the two pieces of laminated pine together and clamp. Let it rest on a clean, flat surface for approximately 2 hours while the glue cures.
Glue the supporting pieces of pine approx. 5” from the edge of either end of the table. Evenly space six wood screws along the length of the supports and screw into wood, making sure they go into the base of tabletop.
Assemble the Bernzomatic torch kit according to instructions. Light and begin burning the wood, following the grain.
NOTE: Burn the tabletop in an area clear of vegetation.
Once both sides are sufficiently charred, use a brush or wet rag to wipe off excess soot.
Use the sponge brush to apply several coats of linseed oil to the tabletop.
Use the sheet metal screws to attach legs to tabletop.
Sit back and enjoy your new table:) Thanks for visiting. Nicole