AbstractUrea-formaldehyde prepolymer and hot-press drying were used to improve the properties of poplar wood. The wood was impregnated with the prepolymer using a pulse-dipping machine. The impregnated timbers were compressed and dried by a multilayer hot-press drying kiln. The drying rate was more rapid during the chemical modification and hot-press drying than conventional kiln-drying. In addition, the properties of timber were also enhanced obviously. When the compression rate was 28.6%, the basic density, oven dry density and air-dried density of modified wood improved 22%, 71%, and 70%, respectively. The bending strength and compressive strength parallel to grain increased 60% and 40%. The water uptake of treated wood was significantly decreased compared with the untreated wood. The FTIR analysis successfully showed that the intensity of hydroxyl and carbonyl absorption peaks decreased significantly, which was attributed to a reaction of the NHCH2OH of urea-formaldehyde prepolymer with the wood carboxyl (C=O) and hydroxyl (-OH) groups. The XRD results indicated that the degree of crystallinity increased from 35.09% to 36.91%. The morphologic models of chemical within wood were discovered by SEM.