I'm considering a shou sugi ban (Japanese burned wood) cladding on the building I'm currently working on. I've done a quick test with a few small pieces of the board I'm thinking of using and the result looks quite good, but it transfers black marks to anything it touches, even after quite extensive cleaning. Does this problem go away by itself, or do I need to apply some kind of treatment to prevent it transferring, and if so what would be appropriate? I've seen suggestions of tung oil, but that seems prohibitively expensive for covering a large area -- would linseed oil be appropriate?

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Charcoal (if not burned) is forever, more or less (ask an archeologist if you doubt that.) As such I'd have to doubt that cleaning which does not go so far as to remove the charred surface will help, nor will time and weather do much.

Linseed oil would be a reasonable approach for a building exterior, though I'd certainly test that before proceeding.

  • Beware spontaneous combustion! Commented Jun 14, 2016 at 2:42
  • ...of "oily rags" (including paper towels) sure, and you can get that with tung oil too. Throwing it out there without specifying the usual cause makes it look like you are suggesting the wood will spontaneously combust if coated with linseed oil - which is not going to happen. I tend to think that folks using the product probably should read the warning on the side of the can, which covers that issue quite well. Please don't fear-monger vaguely. There are risks; there are also risks in both getting out of and staying in bed; not to mention sitting in front of a computer too long ;-)
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Jun 14, 2016 at 2:48

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