What’s the Best Oil For Shou Sugi Ban Maintenance?

Charred wood, also known as Shou Sugi Ban or Yakisugi, is a traditional Japanese process for treating wood. Through this process, the wood is carefully burned and treated with oil. The charred timber that has undergone this treatment is visually stunning and highly resilient to the elements.

One of the benefits of burnt wood is its longevity and low maintenance requirements. The molecular structure of the wood is altered by charring, making it much less susceptible to degradation. If you want to go that extra step, though, you can “stain” the wood with oil to add that extra layer of protection.

But which oil should you use? It can be confusing with so many choices out there. That’s why we’ve compiled a list to ensure your blood won’t boil when choosing an oil.

Best oil for shou sugi ban
– Best oil for Shou Sugi Ban

Choosing the Best Oil Will Minimize Your Toil

Which oil you choose for your burnt wood project will depend on where it’s located. Outdoor Shou Sugi Ban wood tends to react better to polyurethane, whereas boiled linseed oil and tung oil may be better for indoor use.

It’s also worth considering that because oil tends to draw out the wood grain, some oils will produce a darker hue than others. You will need to test your oil with your specific type of Yakisugi wood to ensure a satisfactory color.

Whichever oil you choose, the application is relatively simple. Applying the oil or the stain should be the last step in the treatment process. Especially during the indoor application, be sure to have adequate ventilation to avoid excess inhalation. This is another reason why you may want to stick with natural oils for indoor charred timber projects.

You Don’t Need Much, So Use a Light Touch

You may have heard the classic phrase “less is more,” which holds for staining your charred wood. You want to apply a thin coat of oil onto the wood. You can either use a damp brush to apply the oil to individual boards or use a paint roller for larger surfaces.

Typically you will not need to perform any additional maintenance on burnt wood or even re-apply oil for at least 10 to 15 years.


Choosing the right oil for your Yakisugi wood can be somewhat time-consuming, simply because of the factors involved. But with a little time and effort, the aesthetics and durability of charred timber are unmatched.

If you’re interested in high-quality, timeless Japanese Shou Sugi Ban wood, Degmeda is here to serve you. Our team of professionals will find the perfect solution to turn all your ideas into reality and complement your home with a truly unique look.