Kebony adopts a fiery finish



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Shou Sugi Ban, a UK based manufacturer of charred timber products, has selected Kebony, a beautiful wood recommended by leading architects, to create a distinctive modified timber cladding using the ancient Japanese techniques of burning, brushing or pre-weathering timber to provide a long-lasting and beautiful wood. This unique manufacturing process has been used in the UK for over eight years; the process requires a fine attention to detail and can be dangerous, however the end-result is remarkable and a worthwhile feat of ingenuity.


Shou Sugi Ban is a Japanese term which literally translates to ‘burnt cedar board’. Historically, Japanese carpenters sourced driftwood from the coastlines of Japan, both for its impressive durability and distressed appearance, after being subjected to salt water and harsh weather conditions. Over time, it became increasingly difficult to source this driftwood due to high demand for such a hardwearing product. As a result, Japanese carpenters chose to create the desired effect by burning or weathering timber to give the original wood a charred and fragile finish.


Based in the UK, Shou Sugi Ban has added Kebony to its list of products, applying the ancient techniques to Kebony cladding to deliver unique and intriguing appearances. Both Kebony’s clear and character grade claddings are available in various different profiles, each varying in textured grain and tonal palette. Kebony Character is available in Kuril (charred) and Kyushu (brushed), while Kebony Clear is available in Minami No (charred), Kiiro (brushed), Tekusucha (soft brushed) and Hijo Ni Mirikiteki Na (pre-weathered). Despite these variations, all Kebony products share the same high level of durability instilled by Kebony’s environmentally friendly patented technology which modifies sustainably sourced softwoods by heating the wood with furfuryl alcohol – an agricultural by-product. By polymerising the wood’s cell walls, the wood gains greatly improved durability and dimensional stability, giving it characteristics similar to those of the best tropical hardwood.


Pre-weathered Kebony by Shou Sugi Ban was carefully selected by Claridge Architects for the external cladding of a single-storey family home located in Hampstead, North London for its level of durability. The wooden house suitably named, Oak Hill, is set at the foot of an original Victorian mansion block which comprises an extensive use of glass panelling to provide a widescreen view of the natural surroundings to promote the property’s open-ended nature. Diagonally laid strips of Hijo Ni Mirikiteki Na Kebony were incorporated into the design; creating a neutral palette with simple grey tones which complement the suburban nature of the surrounding garden.


Karl Harrison, Founder of Shou Sugi Ban commented: “Kebony is one of the most durable woods that we have had the pleasure of working with. The charred effect helps to emphasise the detailed grain of the wood and this has been a popular choice for our customers. We can’t wait to showcase Shou Sugi Ban projects with Kebony in the future.”


Adrian Pye, International Sales Director at Kebony added: “It is wonderful to see the versatility of Kebony and how it reacts to the ancient Japanese technique of charring. Shou Sugi Ban has cleverly added a new element to Kebony’s repertoire and we are thrilled to be a part of this process.

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