Skip to main content

Hodges Wood Products Lab

From informal talks and tours to the development of industry-specific performance standards, the Department of Forest Biomaterials offers a range of technical services to help academic and industry partners overcome their wood products challenges.

wood lab

The Laboratory

Opened in 1960, the Hodges Wood Products Laboratory is the industry’s premier testing and technical service facility. Through the generous donations of our partners, the 21,000-square-foot facility is outfitted with the latest woodworking tools, small-scale industrial equipment, testing machines and instrumentation for investigating the properties of wood, forest biomaterials and energy products.

Assistance ranges from informal talks and tours for civic and professional groups to a detailed analysis of technical and production problems, supplemented with testing of materials and wood utilization techniques. The laboratory currently houses the following services and programs:

  • Wood Products Technical Services
  • Wood Machining and Tooling Research Program
  • Biomass-Pellet Characterization
  • Housing Element Research Chamber
  • Lumber Kiln Drying
  • Sustainable Additive Manufacturing Research Lab

Laboratory Testing and Evaluations Services

Biomass-Pellet Characterization: This includes evaluations of woody biomass materials and complete assessments of solid fuels, such as pellets and briquettes. Particle preparation, material compaction, and product testing, such as proximate and ultimate analyses and trace element quantification are available. Tools include: debarker, splitter, grinder, hammermill, pellet mill, briquetter, and furnace and moisture meters. For more information, contact

Conditioning Samples: We offer cabinet-sized chambers and walk-in rooms for testing products at a variety of temperature and relative humidity conditions, allowing us to understand the behavior of their dimensional changes within different environments.

High Pressure Laminate NEMA LD-3 & ISO 4586 Tests: We are well-equipped to conduct testing on high-pressure laminates, laminated panels, and melamine-faced boards.

Laminate flooring testing: We work with the North American Laminate Flooring Association to develop and update performance standards. We also provide a range of services related to laminate flooring, including stability, abrasion resistance, and mechanical and physical tests as well as the newly-developed surface swell test to evaluate topical moisture resistance.

Lumber Kiln Drying: We are capable of performing conventional and high-temperature lumber drying with our 1,000-board-foot masonry kiln, which can accommodate a lumber stack that’s up to 4 feet wide, 12 feet long, and 4.5 feet high. For more information, contact

Mechanical Tests: We can use computer-controlled, servo-mechanical, and hydraulic equipment to perform static and dynamic tests and all standard physical and mechanical ASTM tests and analyses for solid, engineered, and composite products. We can also test structural materials, connections, and furniture parts.

Troubleshooting: We can evaluate faulty or defective wood products and recommend solutions to production, installation, or user issues.

Wood Products Technical Services: We work with various industry affiliates to develop and update various performance standards. We provide third party testing services and adhere to standards including ANSI/HPVA EF & HP, ANSI A208, ASTM 1037, ISO 4586, NALFA LF-01, NEMA LD3, and others to evaluate the performance properties of the following products: laminate flooring, thermally fused laminate (TFL), engineered and hardwood flooring, particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), high-pressure decorative laminates, and more. Additionally, mechanical testing is available and performed on our two MTS testing machines. For more information, please contact

Other Services and Programs

Fabrication lab: This lab allows productivity and development of innovation by employing more environmentally friendly methods and practices. This is part of the Sustainable Design Lab.

Ideation Lab: This is an area that Inspires and encourages creative thought processes that intend to facilitate and promote collaboration on creative thought while reducing the use of resources. This is part of the Sustainable Design Lab.

Sustainable Design Lab: North Carolina State University’s program of Sustainable Materials Technology offers a Sustainable Design and Testing Service Center that aids companies in creating and testing new
sustainable product development. The design and testing lab is within the Hodges Wood Products Facility, enabling students and faculty to design and fabricate more environmentally and human-centered products. Some of the critical areas are to utilize technology that will streamline the ideation process to minimize the overuse of resources. For more information, contact

Wood Machining and Tooling Program:  An applied multidisciplinary research program that aims to increase machining efficiency and improve wood utilization in a sustainable manner. Research areas include machine/tool vibration and dynamics, thin kerf sawing, tool materials and wear, wood by-product utilization, process monitoring and control, surface quality evaluation, abrasive machining, technology transfer, education, and early-stage research incubator projects. The multidisciplinary nature of the WMTRP facilitates the transfer of engineering methods and analytical techniques to wood machining and tooling applications. NC State programs involved In the WMTRP include: Sustainable Materials and Technology, Mechanical Engineering, Industrial Systems Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, and the Integrated Manufacturing Systems Engineering Institute. For more information, contact