How do you build a shou sugi ban fence? Is it a DIY project? No doubt, it is a challenge but with the proper knowledge and tools it can be a DIY project most folks can accomplish. First and foremost, safely is paramount given you are working with fire. You’ll want to have the proper safely equipment close at hand at all times. I kept a fire extinguisher, garden hose, and other safety equipment such as gloves and protective eye wear on hand at all times.
Here’s what I used to build my shou sugi ban fence:
- First, I found a local handyman on Craig’s list with a small tractor and auger to install the fence posts.
- Next, I purchased a propane torch. They are inexpensive ($20 – $50); check Harbor Freight and similar stores. The propane torch attaches to a standard 20 lbs. propane tank (typically used with propane grills, etc.).
- I attempted to use old fence panels reclaimed from a local fence company. They were removing a few thousand feet of fence from an apartment complex. Unfortunately, power washing, dismantling, and preparing the old fence pickets just wasn’t worth it nor did the reclaimed wood look all that great as a fence panel burned using the Shou Sugi Ban method. We’ll use the reclaimed wood for other projects.
- For the fence panel sections, I used standard dog-eared fence pickets sourced from the local home stores ($1.50 each at Lowes & Home Depot). I didn’t want the “dog-ear” look so I cut them off. Instead of 2″ x 4″ braces, I used standard deck boards ripped in half (bottom of fence panel on each side). Once burned, the deck boards show a lot of wood grain and worked well for this application.
- As a general how to guide for building the fence panels, I found a handyman article that was very helpful; see my Pinterest Fence Board link here. This article tells how to build a durable, good-looking fence, from start to finish.
- Initially, I burned the wood prior to building the fence panels. After a few panels, I found it easier to burn the wood once it was in place. You will burn some grass using this method so keep the hose handy for sure.
- For the garden gates, I used the more expensive dog-eared fence pickets (about $2.50 each). I built and burned the gates before hanging them in place. The better wood results in a slightly different Shou Sugi Ban look. It makes the garden gate stand out and we like the effect here.
Next is landscaping. I recently purchased an Earthwise electric tiller which helps out tremendously when preparing the garden beds in the spring. Well worth it. I’ve owned a gas-powered tiller but it was always a royal pain to start. It died after a few seasons and I won’t go back to the gas-powered option. The small engines on these things just don’t work consistently or for very long it seams.
Shou Sugi Ban Porch Stand (2016-05-11)
Another Shou Sugi Ban project recently finished is my plant stand for our front porch. This was an easy DIY project that only took a few hours to complete. It is made using two 2 x 4 frames (12″ x 12″), reclaimed fence boards (sides), and reclaimed barn wood top.