An Exploration in Finishing
A modern take on jin-di-sugi and ebonizing
Kevin Rodel’s journey into the possibilities of Arts and Crafts furniture, seen on the back cover of Fine Woodworking #196, didn’t stop at design and construction. He also ventured into new finishing methods, jin-di-sugi and ebonizing. Jin-di-sugi is a Japanese technique ideal for woods like cedar and cypress because there is a big difference in hardness between the early growth and the later growth in each annual ring. Traditionally, wood was buried for years, then unearthed to reveal interesting decay patterns. But Rodel is experimenting with a more time-efficient method that uses fire to replicate the years of decay, revealing remarkable grooves, contours, and shapes.
Jin-di-sugi finish. This coffee table top was abraded to create a deeply textured, topographic surface.
Rodel creates the look of jin-di-sugi finish by torching the wood surface and brushing away burn marks. He uses a blowtorch with a flame spreader to burn the cypress.