On a gray day in early December, we traveled to east Austin to visit Delta Millworks, where the exterior siding for both the Lodge and Cedar Brake is currently in process. That “process” is exactly what we had come to see.
Delta has perfected a modern take on the ancient Japanese method of shou-sugi-ban (literally, burnt cedar board). This burning, besides highlighting the richness of the wood grain, also protects against decay, insects, and future fire.
The Lodge renovation project specifically calls for Western Red Cedar B&B (burned & brushed). Delta describes that technique like this:
B&B is charred heavily before it’s intensely brushed by hand. The brushing achieves an elegant and sleek look that provides the siding with a burned, yet classic, aesthetic. Different stains and sealers are put on top of the burned layer to protect and give a colorful tint.
We followed the journey of a single piece of cedar as it made its way through each step of the production process. Over the coming weeks, hundreds of similar boards will follow the same path (albeit a scaled-up, semi-automated version of the path) before being delivered to Laity Lodge where they will help define the buildings for years to come.
Special thanks to Taylor Young, Mike Martin, and Nick Riffle for welcoming us to Delta’s facility in east Austin; and to Gideon Tsang (photography) and Peyton Perry (video).