As the days grow longer and warmer, it's finally time to begin working on those outdoor DIY projects you put off last year. Maybe you need to install a new cedar fence. Maybe you plan on building new patio furniture. Maybe you need to repair your old wood deck. Regardless of the project, all DIYers know the importance of protecting wood from the elements, especially rain and snow. Instead of staining and sealing, consider waterproofing your wood using the traditional Japanese method of shou sugi ban. All you need is a blowtorch.
According to Katherine Cooper for Clever by Architectural Digest: "While shou sugi ban originated in Japan in the 18th century primarily as way to treat cedar siding to make it weatherproof, the technique—which involves charring a wood surface to render it a deep charcoal-black—has caught on recently as a treatment for contemporary exteriors and indoor furnishings alike. You can even find variations elevated to fine art, as in the work of the artist Maarten Baas. The gravitas imparted by the process and finished result (called yakisugi) are undeniable, a blackening of the wood that reveals clean, distinct lines and an inherent textural beauty. You might not be the proud owner of a blowtorch (yet), but any intrepid DIYer can absolutely accomplish the technique at home to give an existing piece of wood furniture a new look."