An Ancient Fire-Resistant Wood-Finish That is Green…and Very Elegant
There is an ancient traditional Japanese wood finish to make houses resist fire and rot.
The finish is based on the discovery by the ancient Japanese that it is harder for something already charcoaled to catch fire again. I’ll take their word for that; I had no idea.
Here’s how to do it. The first step is to…
…lightly burn the surface of each plank of wood, which is Cedar in this modern example, but was traditionally shou-sugi-ban or burnt sugi boards. Sugi is known as Japanese Cedar, but its really a cypress not a cedar.
This creates this lovely silver sheen on the blackened board.
Next take a brush with firm bristles and dust off the board. This leaves some sheen on it in the woodgrain.
Wash off the remaining dust.
After the boards are dry, to seal the wood, oil the boards with the oil extracted from Brazillian oiticica nut (Penofin) a natural oil that does not give off any toxic vapors.
Once a year, reapply the oil as a spray to keep this finish, or let it age naturally outside. The resulting finish has a dynamic appearance. From different angles the board can look black, silver, or dark brown.
Traditional burnt sugi Japanese homes create a very relaxing and calming atmosphere of refinement and comfort.
This makes for a very green technique for fireproofing, as the finished wood has had no nasty chemical treatments. The final result also has a strange beauty. It is a finish that lends itself to modern building too.
Source: Pursuing Wabi