Photo Essay: Yakisugi Using Reclaimed Wood

Finishing views of a 4×16′ timberframe shed constructed as an opportunity to further develop and practice basic techniques of Japanese structural joinery. As with the kajiba project, the main inspiration for aesthetic and design is the humble Japanese inaka naya (納屋) style style of a century ago. From rough sawn lumber the preparation of frame parts took four weeks, the frame and roof assembly one day, and the siding and doors about a week.

The siding for the walls is yakisugi (焼杉), a traditional charred cypress cladding technique used extensively in Japan. To block uv and increase resistance to decay the surface is fully charred into a layer of charcoal, allowing the heat to penetrate deep into the thin plank (~12mm), changing the whole board and making wood vinegar to repel insects. In this case a shallower char was used as the wood is reclaimed tongue and groove fencing boards. Care must also be taken to protect the thin edges during charring or they will overcook.


Simple Japanese structural joinery
Charred with the tongue and groove protected from the heat, then separated and washed to remove the loose char.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
Sorting and installing the boards, because of the length available two segments were required to cover the wall.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
Installed section on the front wall.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
Working around towards the back, wedged supports were located based on available lengths of fence board.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
A lovely sunlit view of the interaction between the charred floorboards and the sill beams.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
The upper section along the back is finished with weathered boards from another reclaimed fence.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
The upper boards along the back have spaces between them for ventilation and light.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
The sliding doors are ready to hang.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
The ends are finished with slats for light and air as well.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
The interior surfaces of the boards are left in their natural weathered state.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
Exterior view of the finished end slats.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
View of the trim on the ends.
Simple Japanese structural joinery
A view of the cornerstone through the momiji (Japanese maple).

Simple Japanese structural joinery

Simple Japanese structural joinery

Simple Japanese structural joinery

Simple Japanese structural joinery

Simple Japanese structural joinery

Simple Japanese structural joinery

Simple Japanese structural joinery

Simple Japanese structural joinery


see photos of the frame preparation and assembly | see all timberframe archives

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