Heat treatment is often used to improve the dimensional stability of wood. In this study, the effects of heat treatment on physical properties and surface roughness of red-bud maple (Acer trautvetteri Medw.) wood were examined. Samples obtained from Duzce Forest Enterprises, Turkey, were subjected to heat treatment at varying temperatures and durations. The physical properties of heat-treated samples were compared against controls in order to determine their; oven-dry density, air-dry density, and swelling properties. A stylus method was employed to evaluate the surface characteristics of the samples. Roughness measurements, using the stylus method, were made in the direction perpendicular to the fiber. Three main roughness parameters; mean arithmetic deviation of profile (R-a), mean peak-to-valley height (R-z), and maximum roughness (R-max) obtained from the surface of wood, were used to evaluate the effect of heat treatment on the surface characteristics of the specimens. Significant differences were determined (p > 0.05) between surface roughness parameters (R-a, R-z, R-max) at three different temperatures and three periods of heat treatment. The results showed that the values of density, swelling and surface roughness decreased with increasing temperature treatment and treatment times. Red-bud maple wood could be utilized successfully by applying proper heat treatment techniques without any losses in investigated parameters. This is vital in areas, such as window frames, where working stability and surface smoothness are important factors. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.