A new approach is proposed for the evaluation of the brittleness of heat-treated Styrax tonkinensis wood. Heat treatment made wood more brittle when wood was heated at a higher temperature or for a longer time. The brittleness increased to four times that of the control when wood was heated at 200°C for 12 h. For treatment at 160°C, the increase in brittleness without any change in weight is thought to be possibly caused by the relocation of lignin molecules. At higher temperatures, loss of amorphous polysaccharides due to degradation is thought to become the main factor affecting brittleness. The crystallites that were newly formed after 2 h of treatment showed brittleness that was different from that of the inherent crystallites remaining after 12 h of heat treatment. This inherent crystalline cellulose possibly plays a role in brittleness. There is also the possibility of using color to predict the brittleness of heat-treated wood.