Skip to main content

Official Journal of the Japan Wood Research Society

Application of near-infrared spectroscopy for moisture-based sorting of green hem-fir timber


A rapid, non-destructive, in-line method suitable for sorting green hem-fir timbers (115-mm square) based on moisture content was established by near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy. The accuracy of NIR sorting was compared with a commercial capacitance-type moisture meter. Mixedspecies samples consisting of three moisture classes were assessed in this study. The NIR-based prediction model showed positive correlation with the actual calculated values as determined by oven-drying, regardless of knots, surface roughness, and the mix of two wood species. NIR proved to be capable of detecting the moisture content between all pairs of the three moisture groups, whereas the capacitance-type moisture meter failed to establish a significant difference between middle- and high-moisture groups. These findings clearly demonstrate that NIR spectroscopy has a potential to estimate average moisture of green timber indirectly, although it inherently gives only surface moisture content values, as it is limited by scan depth.


  1. Oliveira LC (2003) Drying sorted spruce-pine-fir (spf) timber. In: Proceedings of the 8th International IUFRO Wood Drying Conference, Brasov, Romania, pp 178–184

  2. Elustondo DM, Oliveira LC (2009) A method for optimizing timber sorting before kiln-drying. For Prod J 59:45–50

    Google Scholar 

  3. Hoffmeyer P, Pedersen JG (1995) Evaluation of density and strength of Norway spruce wood by near infrared reflectance spectroscopy. Holz Roh-Werkst 53:165–170

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Karttunen K, Leinonen A, Sarén M-P (2008) A survey of moisture distribution in two sets of Scots pine logs by NIR-spectroscopy. Holzforschung 62:435–440

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Adedipe EO, Dawson-Andoh B (2008) Predicting moisture content of yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera L.) veneer using near infrared spectroscopy. For Prod J 56:28–33

    Google Scholar 

  6. Defo M, Taylor AM, Bond B (2007) Determination of moisture content and density of fresh-sawn red oak timber by near infrared spectroscopy. For Prod J 57:68–72

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Watanabe K, Hart F, Mansfield SD, Avramidis S (2010) Detection of wet-pockets on the surface of Tsuga heterophylla (Raf.) Sarg. by near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy. Holzforschung 64:55–60

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Watanabe K, Hart F, Mansfield SD, Avramidis S (2010) Near infrared technology applications for quality control in wood processing. In: Proceedings of the COST E53 Conference, Edinburgh, UK, pp 332–341

  9. Western Wood Products Association (WWPA) (1997) Hem-fir species facts. Accessed Sep 8, 2010

  10. Savitzky A, Golay MJE (1964) Smoothing and differentiation of data by simplified least square procedures. Anal Chem 36:1627–1639

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Kelley SS, Rials TG, Groom LR, So CL (2004) Use of near infrared spectroscopy to predict the mechanical properties of six softwoods. Holzforschung 58:252–260

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Williams PC, Sobering DC (1993) Comparison of commercial near infrared transmittance and reflectance instruments for analysis of whole grains and seeds. J Near Infrared Spectrosc 1:25–32

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Siesler HW, Ozaki Y, Kawata S, Heise HM (2002) Near-infrared spectroscopy principles, instruments, applications. Wiley, Weinrich, pp 180–183

    Google Scholar 

  14. Ali M, Emsley AM, Herman H, Heywood RJ (2001) Spectroscopic studies of the ageing of cellulosic paper. Polymer 42:2893–2900

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Jessome AP (1977) Strength and related properties of woods grown in Canada. Forestry Technical Report 21. Eastern Forest Products Laboratory, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

    Google Scholar 

  16. Zhang Y, Oliveira L, Avramidis S (1996) Drying characteristics of hem-fir squares as affected by species and basic density presorting. For Prod J 46:44–50

    Google Scholar 

  17. Thygesen LG (1994) Determination of dry matter content and basic density of Norway spruce by near infrared reflectance and transmittance spectroscopy. J Near Infrared Spectrosc 2:127–135

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Schimleck LR, Michell AJ, Raymond CA, Muneri A (1999) Estimation of basic density of Eucalyptus globulus using near-infrared spectroscopy. Can J For Res 29:194–201

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Taylor AM, Baek SH, Jeong MK, Nix G (2008) Wood shrinkage prediction using NIR spectroscopy. Wood Fiber Sci 40:301–307

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. Gindl W, Teischinger A (2002) The potential of vis- and NIRspectroscopy for the nondestructive evaluation of grain-angle in wood. Wood Fiber Sci 34:651–656

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. Kelly SS, Rials TG, Snell LH, Groom LH, Sluiter AD (2004) Use of near infrared spectroscopy to measure the chemical and mechanical properties of solid wood. Wood Sci Technol 38:257–276

    Google Scholar 

  22. Kelley SS, Rials TG, Groom LR, So C-L (2004) Use of near infrared spectroscopy to predict the mechanical properties of six softwoods. Holzforschung 58:252–260

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Fujimoto T, Kurata Y, Matsumoto K, Tsuchikawa S (2008) Application of near infrared spectroscopy for estimating wood mechanical properties of small clear and full length lumber specimens. J Near Infrared Spectrosc 16:529–537

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ken Watanabe.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Watanabe, K., Mansfield, S.D. & Avramidis, S. Application of near-infrared spectroscopy for moisture-based sorting of green hem-fir timber. J Wood Sci 57, 288–294 (2011).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Key words

  • Near-infrared spectroscopy
  • Sorting
  • Hem-fir
  • Moisture estimation
  • Green timber