AbstractThe sanding process influences the surface morphology and chemical components of wood, which are two important factors that influence the surface free energy and wettability of wood. The objective of this study was to investigate the roughness of sanded poplar wood and the effects of sanding and aging on the surface free energy using different methods. The roughness parameter (Ra) decreased as the grit number increased, but no change was evident when the grit number increased from 120 to 240. The contact angle of water on the fresh wood samples decreased as the grit number increased. Fresh wood samples were more easily wetted by water than was the aged wood sample, and the contact angles increased as the surface roughness decreased. The surface free energy of sanded, aged wood obtained by the Zisman method may be unsuitable. For the fresh wood samples, the change of surface free energy and its components were not significantly changed when the grit number was higher than 120; for the aged wood samples, the dispersion component appeared to increase slightly as the grit number decreased. The effect of roughness on the acid/base component, acid component, and base component calculated by the vOCG method was unremarkable. The surface free energy of the wood samples (obtained using the liquid parameters provided by Volpe and Siboni (1997)) can effectively balance the relationship between the acid and base components.