AbstractThis work deals with the influence of specific pressure during the press process on the radial and tangential penetration of urea-formaldehyde (UF) adhesive into poplar, as well as on the shear strength of lap joints prepared at these different pressures. An epi-fluorescence microscope was used for measuring the adhesive penetration when investigating microtome slides (20-µm thick) cut from the joint samples. The average penetration depth (dap) and the size of the interphase region (I) increased with the increase of pressure from 0.5 to 1.0 N/mm2. Further increase in the pressure to 1.5 N/mm2 did not produce a significant change in dap or I. On the contrary, the area of filled lumens and rays (A) showed a steady decrease as the specific pressure increased. Such behavior influenced the filled interphase region (If), which also decreased with increased pressure. Tangential samples (radial penetration) obtained higher values of lap shear strength and showed less dependence on the specific pressure than the radial samples (tangential penetration). Higher shear strength based on radial penetration corresponded to the thicker interphase region of these samples. The highest shear strength for both directions of penetration was obtained for the specific pressure of 1.0 N/mm2.