I could make up a pretentious story about how I was inspired by the volcanoes in Sumatra, but do you want to know the truth? I was planning on developing my St. Barts Collection, which requires a lot of sunlight and dry weather. I planned an entire trip to Indonesia during the dry season, and it wouldn’t stop raining! One day I just grabbed a blow torch to dry the wood and burnt it. I sanded it, burnt it again, and again, and the Triple Burnt Collection was born July 2006. Fast forward to 2013 and every one is obsessed with the Shou Sugi Ban method which originated in Japan in the 18th century as a way to treat cedar wood to make it water proof.
Now to be completely honest, we actually burn the wood eight times and it is a little more complicated than just burning it.
First we char the surface until the wood starts to separate, like you would see on a log burning in a fire. It is important to move the torch evenly over the wood, for about eight seconds until it goes black. We then use a wire brush to remove all the char created and repeat this up to about eight times. The wood will turn a dark, brownish-black color.
We then use a wet cloth to clean the wood and repeat.
We either finish it off with a polyurethane or a natural oil finish and then sometimes we will give it one final char to seal in the oil. You will get different effects with different types of wood. Some will crackle more than others and this is what I love about this finish. It’s clearly all one of a kind. Other times we burn it less so that it is not so black…it’s all in the secret final step….