Dining Table - Shou Sugi Ban

(William O'Brien) #1


As I mentioned in my intro post, I’m making a dining table, bench and legs for both out of 18mm birch faced ply.

I would like to do the Shou Sugi Ban finish on the table top. I’ve never done this before so I’ll carry out some test samples before doing the actually table top.

Question: Does the workshop have a torch, propane or otherwise???

I’d love to hear if anyone has had experience with this and how they got on.



(EdwardBilson) #2

Hi Will,

Flame work of all types is prohibited in the space because we’re under a network rail arch - no burners, no torches, no flame of any kind I’m afraid. It’s in our lease (and also presents a risk to the railway above)

(William O'Brien) #3

Thanks for the info CT,

I didn’t mention it in my post but my intention would be to do this outside of the workshop. Is flame work allowed out in the yard, or is this under the same safety constraints ?


(EdwardBilson) #4

Yep, afraid so - not least because that’s the fire escape route for the brewery and garage next door, and in the event of a fire they would be unable to escape.

(Duncan Jackson) #5

Hi Will & other Makers!

This is my 1st post here so please let me know if you want to have a chat in more detail / If I missed anything!

I volunteered to help construct some small stackable dining tables for the Platform community cafe (opposite Loughborough Farm in Loughborough Junction) with a similar kind of finish on the tops, we didn’t use gas burners just a small amount of paper and some scaffolding boards held together in a vertical prism with wire. The boards were kept apart with some wooden wedges - (important to allow the burn to reach the very edges of the boards). I’m not sure how this would work on ply; with the scaffold boards we had a lot of scope for wire brushing the charred parts without having to worry about going through the thin veneered layer. I guess you could experiment with this and try burning it for less time? I have a few pictures of the process and finished tables but can only put one up as a “new user”. You can see the finished tables “live” if you pop in to the cafe, it’s just down the road / 1 stop on the train!

It sounds like you need to find a location to burn but when you get that sorted I’d recommend having some fireproof gloves and a decent sized watering can to hand (ieadlly full of water!), when you (literally) knock it over to put it out you’ll need to give it a good soaking.

Wire brushing the boards back was a really filthy job, definitely wear a mask for that and the sanding too.

Once finished we used a natural Osmo oil to seal the boards, you’ll probably need 2-3 thinly applied coats of this.

Hope that’s in some way useful to you,


(William O'Brien) #6

Hi Duncan,

Thank you for the tips. I think finding a suitable location to the burning will be my biggest challenge, although the back garden might be the solution.

I’m aware that most of the examples, articles and tutorials on shou Sugi Ban are for solid timber so I will need to carry out some experiments to find the finish I want on plywood - if that’s at all possible.

What this space!