Frequently Asked Questions

What is your minimum order?
There is no minimum order for local pickup from our yard in Portland, Oregon, but for shipping the minimum is $2k due to inland freight packing/shipping costs.

What advice can you give me to help DIY the shou sugi ban / yakisugi for my project?
Basically you won’t be able to do it correctly, you won’t save any money, and it is laborious, miserable work.  There is a holistic series of millwork steps to get good heat treatment and dimensional stability that are different from American millwork–it is not just burning lumber until it looks right or copying techniques from videos online.  The information available in English is incomplete and few people actually know the correct process (though lots of people think they do).  We have been milling yakisugi for 75 years and use logs from our own forests–so in any case there is little chance you will be able to DIY it for less cost than we sell retail.  However, if you’re dead set on doing it yourself here are the rules:  use cypress only, face the outside of the log to the outside of the profile, do shiplap or square edge (not T&G), use planks about 1/2″ thick, dry the wood completely, burn it way beyond your comfort level to where you think you’ve ruined the plank, then if desired use a soft wire brush to knock down the soot.

Is yakisugi suitable for all climates?
Yes.  Yakisugi is time-tested in Japan—a long, skinny north-south country spanning many local climates.  The south is semi-tropical, the north is Siberian.  They have a rainy season, a summer season with intense sun, and much of the country is exposed to harsh ocean weather.  Yakisugi can last 100 years or more in all regions, and is especially long lasting in coastal climates compared to untreated wood.

Is there potential radiation contamination in Nakamoto Forestry’s yakisugi due to being from Japan?
Absolutely zero for a number of reasons.

Is Nakamoto Forestry’s yakisugi more expensive and does it have a larger carbon footprint due to being imported?
We are actually able to offer a lower price point since our logs are sourced internally and our kilns and entire manufacturing process are to economies of scale above and beyond any “shou sugi ban” manufacturer in North America.  In terms of shipping cost and carbon footprint, 99% of the trip is by efficient ocean freight with only a total trucking time of two hours.

Is yakisugi installed horizontally or vertically?
Both–also diagonally.

Some of the samples are cupped but will the wood be cupped when received?
Due to the nature of how wood dries and the resaw pattern required for good longevity and dimensional stability, there will generally be cupping of approximately 1/16″ in most boards.  This is normal and acceptable, and will not be noticed after installation.  Wood is an organic product that moves and anyone that promises no cupping is resawing incorrectly or is not giving accurate information.

Can yakisugi be used for interior paneling?
Absolutely.  There are also more stain, topcoat, and fire retardant options for interior applications.

Do you offer a yakisugi product for flooring?
The Japanese heat treatment process is never used for flooring since cypress is too soft, and harder species do not burn well by this method.

What are the standard dimensions?
In Japan standard thickness is 3/8” (10mm), but we stock 9/16” (15mm).  It is not possible to burn thickness over 9/16″ (example 3/4″) material by the Japanese method on one side and get good heat treatment penetration while maintaining dimensional stability.  We stock 1×6 shiplap and 1×4 S3S all in 12’ (3670mm) lengths.  Please see the standard profile cross section here.

Why don’t you sell T&G?
T&G will wick water and rot on an exterior unless covered by a roof.  Exterior wood cladding cannot be blind nailed.  Plus you can’t burn a thin T&G profile deeply enough to heat treat.  We only stock profiles that can be used for interior and exterior, and we specialize in products that have best possible longevity.

Can Nakamoto Forestry supply custom profiles, dimensions, or clears?
We have premium select clears in our Portland stock.  Please consult with us on custom dimensions.

Can North American carpenters and painters install and finish yakisugi without specific experience?
Yes, yakisugi is just regular wood with a unique surface treatment.

Why do you recommend prefinishing?  Doesn’t yakisugi have improved longevity without oiling?
The wood is heat treated and therefore has improved longevity, but most people want the color to remain consistent over time without weathering organically.

Can yakisugi be treated with flame retardant?
Yes, please inquire on your project’s specific requirements.

How is yakisugi installed?
Yakisugi is just solid wood lapped siding and is installed the same as untreated wood siding.  See our Installation Guidelines.

What fasteners are recommended?
For exterior we recommend headed, ring-shank stainless nails 2” long.  For interior applications finish nails and subfloor adhesive work well.  We stock highest grade nails with black-painted heads.

What corner or window/door detail do you recommend?
There are several options same as any siding/paneling, and it is the designer’s detail decision.  We can supply trim to match (installed flat, furred proud, or run over field), trim can be untreated wood contrasting or matched, the joint between siding and penetrations can be grouted with a high-grade urethane caulk, metal profiles can be bent custom (as schlueter), and corners can be mitered.

Does the charred finish shed from weather exposure and will it make lower wall surfaces sooty?
Yakisugi will shed soot over time on an exterior but the erosion is simply so gradual that we have never had a problem. Most yakisugi is installed prefinished, which bonds any loose soot to the surface.  Wipe the surface down after install with a wet rag to clean any residue from the backsides.

Note that is some situations tannins may bleed out of the cypress on an exterior, and these can temporarily stain a lighter color underpinning below the wall.  The tannins leach out for the first several months, but after a year or more will wash off the underpinning, resolving any staining (see pics below).

What is your minimum order?
There is no minimum order for local pickup from our yard in Portland, Oregon, but for shipping the minimum is $2k due to inland freight packing/shipping costs.

What advice can you give me to help DIY the shou sugi ban / yakisugi for my project?
Basically you won’t be able to do it correctly, you won’t save any money, and it is laborious, miserable work.  There is a holistic series of millwork steps to get good heat treatment and dimensional stability that are different from American millwork–it is not just burning lumber until it looks right or copying techniques from videos online.  The information available in English is incomplete and few people actually know the correct process.  We have been milling yakisugi for 75 years and use logs from our own forests–so in any case there is little chance you will be able to DIY it for less cost than we sell retail.  However, if you’re dead set on doing it yourself here are the rules:  use cypress only, face the outside of the log to the outside of the profile, do shiplap or square edge (not T&G), use planks about 1/2″ thick, dry the wood completely, burn it way beyond your comfort level to where you think you’ve ruined the plank, then oil the wood before installing.

Is yakisugi suitable for all climates?
Yes.  Yakisugi is time-tested in Japan—a long, skinny north-south country spanning many local climates.  The south is semi-tropical, the north is Siberian.  They have a rainy season, a summer season with intense sun, and much of the country is exposed to harsh ocean weather.  Yakisugi can last 100 years or more in all regions, and is especially long lasting in coastal climates compared to untreated wood.

Is there potential radiation contamination in Nakamoto Forestry’s yakisugi due to being from Japan?
Absolutely zero for a number of reasons.

Is Nakamoto Forestry’s yakisugi more expensive and does it have a larger carbon footprint due to being imported?
We are actually able to offer a lower price point since our logs are sourced internally and our kilns and entire manufacturing process are to economies of scale above and beyond any “shou sugi ban” manufacturer in North America.  In terms of shipping cost and carbon footprint, 99% of the trip is by efficient ocean freight with only a total trucking time of two hours.

Is yakisugi installed horizontally or vertically?
Both–also diagonally.

Some of the samples are cupped but will the wood be cupped when received?
Due to the nature of how wood dries and the resaw pattern required for good longevity and dimensional stability, there will generally be cupping of approximately 1/16″ in most boards.  This is normal and acceptable, and will not be noticed after installation.  Wood is an organic product that moves and anyone that promises no cupping is resawing incorrectly or is not giving accurate information.

Can yakisugi be used for interior paneling?
Absolutely.  There are also more stain, topcoat, and fire retardant options for interior applications.

Do you offer a yakisugi product for flooring?
The Japanese heat treatment process is never used for flooring since cypress is too soft, and harder species do not burn well by this method.

What are the standard dimensions?
In Japan standard thickness is 3/8” (10mm), but we stock 9/16” (15mm).  It is not possible to burn thickness over 9/16″ (example 3/4″) material by the Japanese method on one side and get good heat treatment penetration while maintaining dimensional stability.  We stock 1×6 shiplap and 1×4 S3S all in 12’ (3670mm) lengths.  Please see the standard profile cross section here.

Why don’t you sell T&G?
T&G will wick water and rot on an exterior unless covered by a roof.  Exterior wood cladding cannot be blind nailed.  Plus you can’t burn a thin T&G profile deeply enough to heat treat.  We only stock profiles that can be used for interior and exterior, and we specialize in products that have best possible longevity.

Can Nakamoto Forestry supply custom profiles, dimensions, or clears?
We have premium select clears in our Portland stock.  Please consult with us on custom dimensions.

Can North American carpenters and painters install and finish yakisugi without specific experience?
Yes, yakisugi is just regular wood with a unique surface treatment.

Why do you recommend prefinishing?  Doesn’t yakisugi have improved longevity without oiling?
The wood is heat treated and therefore has improved longevity, but most people want the color to remain consistent over time without weathering organically.

Can yakisugi be treated with flame retardant?
Yes, please inquire on your project’s specific requirements.

How is yakisugi installed?
Yakisugi is just solid wood lapped siding and is installed the same as untreated wood siding.  See our Installation Guidelines.

What fasteners are recommended?
For exterior we recommend headed, ring-shank stainless nails 2” long.  For interior applications finish nails and subfloor adhesive work well.  We stock highest grade nails with black-painted heads.

What corner or window/door detail do you recommend?
There are several options same as any siding/paneling, and it is the designer’s detail decision.  We can supply trim to match (installed flat, furred proud, or run over field), trim can be untreated wood contrasting or matched, the joint between siding and penetrations can be grouted with a high-grade urethane caulk, metal profiles can be bent custom (as schlueter), and corners can be mitered.

Does the charred finish shed from weather exposure and will it make lower wall surfaces sooty?
Yakisugi will shed soot over time on an exterior but the erosion is simply so gradual that we have never had a problem. Most yakisugi is installed prefinished, which bonds any loose soot to the surface.  Wipe the surface down after install with a wet rag to clean any residue from the backsides.

Note that is some situations tannins may bleed out of the cypress on an exterior, and these can temporarily stain a lighter color underpinning below the wall.  The tannins leach out for the first several months, but after a year or more will wash off the underpinning, resolving any staining (see pics below).

What else should I know about yakisugi but don’t know to ask?
Please keep in mind that yakisugi is a unique and organic wood product, different from anything else available.  While our grading and millwork produces the most consistent yakisugi product available in the world, it is still a unique product and will weather over time.  Make sure you are completely comfortable with the product before specifying it for your project.

What else should I know about yakisugi but don’t know to ask?
Please keep in mind that yakisugi is a unique and organic wood product, different from anything else available.  While our grading and millwork produces the most consistent yakisugi product available in the world, it is still a unique product and will weather over time.  Make sure you are completely comfortable with the product before specifying it for your project.

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