Surface colour change in wood during drying above and below fibre saturation point


  • M. C. McCurdy
  • S. Pang
  • R. B. Keey


Kiln brown stain, wood colour, colour measurement, wood drying.


A technique, useful for studying the formation of kiln brown stain in wood drying, has been developed to measure the surface colour change in a single board wood sample during drying.  The wood sample is planed carefully in the green state to remove any surface wood that was damaged during cutting.  The intact tracheids at the surface cause the evaporative front to remain at the surface during drying and therefore colour formation also occurs right at the surface. In this way, the colour can be measured using a spectrophotometer at various stages during drying without having to slice the sample.

Experiments were carried out to measure the change in colour of wood from green to EMC corresponding to the drying schedule used.  At the end of each schedule the boards were held at the EMC to determine how the colour changed below fibre saturation point.  The results show that the colour of the wood continues to change below the fibre saturation point and the nature of the colour change indicates an increase in the complexity of the coloured compounds present.

Further experiments were done to measure the rate of colour development at different temperatures using the technique developed.  The results have shown a correlation between temperature and colour development over the range 50ºC to 70ºC with the rate increasing significantly above 60ºC.


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How to Cite

McCurdy, M. C., Pang, S., & Keey, R. B. (2014). Surface colour change in wood during drying above and below fibre saturation point. Maderas-Cienc Tecnol, 8(1), 31–40. Retrieved from