I want to build a coffee table out of cedar planks treated with the Shou-Sugi-Ban method.

The problem is that cedar is too soft for regular use and will get notched and scratched very quickly.

How can I harden the surface of the wood to ensure it lasts longer?

  • 1
    If cedar is too soft (for you) then build the top from something else. After all you're going to be burning it, it matters very little what the wood is underneath a charcoaled surface!
    – Graphus
    Jan 8, 2017 at 7:51
  • @Graphus I'm not going for a heavy char so the origininal color and texture are still somewhat visible.
    – JS Lavertu
    Jan 8, 2017 at 13:24
  • 1
    I guess you could do it on a smaller scale. Buy a cedar plank and cut it up and try different techniques. Do or do not, there is no try! Oct 20, 2021 at 3:47

1 Answer 1


Putting a glass top over it would be simplest.

There are epoxies made for bar tops which might work, but I have no idea what they would do over a soft wood.

There are compounds used to harden partially rotted wood, but I would be even more distrustful of trying to force them into a use they weren't designed for.

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