Frequently Asked Questions
We do not have a strict minimum order, but please be aware that we cannot keep our attractive pricing for small volume orders, e.g. below 20 sqm our production process will be less efficient and shipping of small quantities get relatively more expensive.
In order to produce a high-quality and durable product, there is a holistic series of millwork steps to get good heat treatment and dimensional stability – it is not just burning timber until it looks right or copying techniques from videos online. The information available in English is incomplete and few people actually know the correct process (though lots of people think they do). We have been milling Yakisugi for more than six decades and use logs from our own forests – so in any case there is little chance you will be able to DIY it for less cost than we sell retail for the same grade of wood. However, if you’re dead set on doing it yourself here are the rules: use cypress only, face the outside of the log to the outside of the resawn moulder blank, do shiplap or square edge (not tongue & groove), use planks about 10-15 mm thick, dry the wood completely (takes weeks), use the traditional triangular flue method (weed burners do not work well at all) and burn it way beyond your comfort level to where you think you’ve ruined the plank, then if desired use a soft wire brush to knock down the soot.
We receive many questions in this regard, but actually the climate does not impact longevity of the wood itself very much. Timber products can perfectly handle very cold and very dry climates, and are also time-tested in Japan, where in many regions it usually gets very humid. Yakisugi being heat-treated can handle those as well – therefore it will probably outlast any other softwood in any climate.
Please be aware that the specific location where Yakisugi is installed, i.e. its exposure to heavy winds and rain or strong direct sunshine will have an impact on the color durability. If a natural greying / weathering effect is not desired, this can be remedied by regular re-oiling maintenance – periods recommended depending on the specific local circumstances. We are happy to consult with you on this.
From an economical point of view, we constantly work on maintaining attractive prices. Our price points will usually even lower compared to many of our European or North American “Shou Sugi Ban” competitors. This is mainly due to the long standing experience to produce high-quality, our scales being the largest Yakisugi manufacturer globally, our logs being sourced internally from own forestry andour lean direct distribution model without intermediaries.
In terms of carbon footprint, though it may sound not intuitive, maritime ocean freight is the world’s most carbon-efficient form of transporting goods – far more efficient (and less CO2 emitting) than road or air transportation. The emissions range from ca. 5-10 grams per tonne-km for ocean freigth, while truck transportation is 50-100 grams and airfreight would come at 400-500 grams. In this sense, the transportation from Japan by ship might even come more efficient than shipping Nordic larch timber from Scandinavia to Central Europe via trucks. We are currently supporting a study by the University of Hiroshima to scientifically assess the overall carbon footprint for our products and will publish them when finished (expected by end of 2019).
Both ways are feasible and commonly applied in Japan – also diagonally can be a way of choice.
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 1-2 mm in most boards. We spec two face nails every 40 cm on-center (OC) to minimize cupping. Please note that samples can cup much more than our final products due to their short lengths.
Absolutely, it is increasingly popular for interior purposes as well. Please refer to our portfolio projects where we can introduce you to beautiful applications. There are also more stain, topcoat, and fire retardant options for interior applications.
In Japan, burned wood is never used for flooring or furniture since cypress is too soft for flooring. Also, Yakisugi planks are too thin for most furniture applications. Therefore, Yakisugi is only for wall and ceiling cladding. While we have seen burned timber for flooring or furniture, it can be a fun design thing, but it is not authentic to Japanese Yakisugi (Shou Sugi Ban).
Our standard thickness is 15mm (while in Japan, regular thickness is 10mm). This is as thick we can heat treat the timber with good yield. Trying to heat treat a board thicker than ca. 18mm, the Japanese burning process would not work. During the heat treatment the surface and interior difference in temperature and moisture will provoke a high pressure on the would, usually resulting in crooking, warping, or twisting. Siding and panelling needs to be straight and flat. Ultimately, this is heat treatment to increase durability, and not a cosmetic surface finish.
Tongue & groove will wick water and rot on an exterior unless covered by a roof. Plus you can’t burn a thin tongue & groove 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 do hold premium select clear grade timber in our local European stock. However, regarding custom profiles, our focus is to supply at a low price point and ship quickly, therefore we do not mill custom profiles.
Yes, yakisugi is just regular wood with a unique surface treatment.
The timber is heat treated by the Yakisugi process and therefore has improved longevity. However, most people want the colour to remain consistent over time. Without an oil stain the wood will change colour over time just like any other natural product. Some people embrace the natural 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 colour 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 colour they want their siding to be.
Yes, we do provide a fire retardant coating as an option. 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.
Please keep in mind that Yakisugi (Shou Sugi Ban) is a unique and organic wood product. Please find additional information on Yakisugi here. While our experienced millwork produces the most consistent Yakisugi (Shou Sugi Ban) product available in the world, it is still somewhat foreign, sooty, and will weather over time. Make sure you are completely comfortable with the product before specifying it for your project. In the end what really matters is that you use a beautiful, sustainably harvested, and natural wood siding for your project and not chemically treated wood or cement board.