Here’s my recent project of trying the Japanese Shou Sugi Ban technique.

Over the holidays, my wife Lisa asked me to build some raised beds for her new garden, and they turned out well. However, when I was done, she said they looked bright and new and wondered whether there was any way to treat them to make them appear weathered. She did some internet research and found out about an ancient Japanese technique called Shou Sugi Ban where you lightly char the wood to preserve it.  This technique is not only for garden beds, but any wood-working project, such as sheds, cabinets, etc.

“We think these garden beds turned out wonderfully.”

So, I went to Lowe’s and found an excellent torch tool that’s designed to burn weeds but works well with this technique. The torch cost about $55, was easy to use, and the tank of gas cost $25. I’m not a Shou Sugi Ban expert, but here are a few safety tips if you decide to try this project at home:

  1. Wear a good pair of safety glasses.
  2. Wear a secure pair of safety gloves.
  3. Stay away from the tank when you’re burning. This torch throws out a large flame, and you don’t want any explosions happening!

We think these garden beds turned out wonderfully. Watch me using the Shou Sugi Ban technique starting at 1:00 in the video above. 

If you have any questions about how I made these garden beds or concerning real estate, feel free to call or email me. I’d love to share this technique with you. Arigato!