This project is seriously simple, and there’s a reason for that. I wanted to try a new technique, so I wanted the build portion of this project to be really easy in case I ruined it. But good news! I didn’t ruin it, so today I am excited to share this easy DIY charred wood arm rest side table with you. For this table I used a shou sugi ban technique, which is a Japanese wood burning technique. It raises the grain and creates a really nice effect, but for mine I wanted to char it completely to the point of making it totally black and ebonized-looking. You could use this technique on any piece that you build, but the bonus here is the build took literally 5 minutes. (A YouTube video for this project will be available soon!)
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by The Home Depot. All opinions are my own.
- Bernzomatic Max Heat Torch Kit
- 1×12 board at 6 ft. long
- Circular Saw
- Speed Square
- Measuring Tape
- Pocket Hole Jig
- 1 1/4″ Pocket Hole Screws
- Stiff Bristled Brush
- Paper Towels or Cotton Cloth
- Gloves and Safety Gear
First I cut my wood to the following dimensions: 1 piece at 27″ long, and 2 pieces at 14″ long each. The length of the longest board will vary depending upon the height of the arm of your sofa, so measure that first and use that measurement, adding 1/4″ to 1/2″ or so.
Drill pocket holes at each end of your longest board. I recommend 6 pocket holes at each end for added reinforcement. Since I used 1x lumber, it was a tad more flimsy than a thicker board would have been, but I was ok with it since I really wanted it to have a thin profile. If you want something more substantial then I would recommend using 2x lumber and adjusting your measurements accordingly. I assembled the ends using 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws.
Now for the fun part. Playing with fire! But first let me just add this disclaimer: Try this project at your own risk and be sure to take proper safety precautions. I had a fire extinguisher nearby and eye protection and a mask are definitely necessary. For this project, I used my Bernzomatic Max Heat Torch Kit.
This torch can be used for large diameter soldering, brazing, heat treating, and light welding. It’s pressure regulated for consistent performance, and the auto start/stop ignition easily lights and extinguishes the flame. Its optimized swirl flame provides maximum heat output.
To use it, you just unscrew the cap on the tank and screw on the nozzle. Then you flip the black knob on and turn the yellow knob to the unlocked position. I held the torch a few inches away from my table and then pressed the yellow button to ignite the flame.
I made several passes over the wood and I loved watching the grain pop.
After I had charred the entire piece, I used a stiff bristled brush to brush away the loose charred pieces. Then, I wiped it down with a wet paper towel.
I repeated this process 3 times total to get the ebonized look I was going for. I charred, brushed, and wiped it down each time.
After I had charred and wiped it down for the final time, I allowed it to dry and then added two coats of Polycrylic in a satin finish using a paintbrush.
That’s it! I’m excited to try this technique on some more pieces in the future. For now, I put this little side table in my “mom cave.”
I’ll let you know as soon as the YouTube video is up on my soon to be launched channel! Look for it next month, and in the meantime be sure to follow me on Instagram for updates. For more project ideas, you can check out my project gallery here.
Disclosure: I acknowledge that The Home Depot is partnering with me to participate in the promotional program described above (the “Program”). As a part of the Program, I am receiving compensation in the form of products and services, for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.