Bernie Dawson



Dr Bernie Dawson is a scientist in wood processing research. He specialises in coatings and surface technologies that improve the performance of wood in service. Bernie’s current research is focused on supercritical carbon dioxide dewatering of radiata pine and reducing distortion in difficult-to-dry hardwoods such as Eucalypts nitens through alternative drying methods.


  • Leadership Excellence Programme, NZ Leadership Institute, University of Auckland (2008)    
  • Dip Bus Admin, Massey University, NZ (1997)
  • PhD (Chemistry), University of Canterbury, NZ (1982)
  • BSc (Hons) (Chemistry), University of Canterbury, NZ (1977)

Research capabilities

Research in a range of wood and surface technology areas:

  • Dewatering of green softwoods and hardwood using supercritical carbon dioxide to reduce stresses usually developed with conventional drying.
  • Influence of texture and coating type on weathering performance of coated wooden products.

    Career highlights

    • Member of the International Organising Committees for the All Division 5 IUFRO Conferences in Rotorua (2003) and Taipei (2007).
    • Elected as Fellow in the International Academy of Wood Scientists (2008).
    • Invited to the Editorial Board of J. Coatings Technology and Research (2008).
    • Research and travel awards from the Royal Society of New Zealand within the International Science and Technology Linkages (ISAT) Programme. Recipient of three such awards since 1992 to develop and strengthen research collaboration with German scientists.

    Selected papers

    Dawson BS, Pearson H, Kroese HW, Sargent R (2015) Effect of specimen dimension and pre-heating temperature on supercritical CO2 dewatering of radiata pine sapwood Holzforschung 69:421-430

    Dawson B, Singh A (2014) FE-SEM characterisation of Pinus radiata solid wood and plywood surfaces following machining IAWA Journal 35:69-84

    Adya P Singh, Uwe Schmitt, Bernard SW Dawson, and Catherine Rickard (2009) Biomodification of Pinus radiata wood to enhance penetrability.  NZ Journal Forestry Science 39, 141-151

    Dawson, Bernard SW, Adya P Singh, Hank W Kroese, Michael A Schwitzer, Suzanne Gallagher, Stephen J Riddiough, Shuhong Wu  (2008)  Enhancing exterior performance of clear coatings through photostabilisation of wooden surfaces.  Part 1: Treatment and characterisation. J. Coatings Technol. Res., 5(2): 193-206; Part 2: Coating and weathering performance. J. Coatings Technol. Res., 5(2): 207-219.

    Dawson BSW, Singh AP, Ward JV, Hands KD, Smolic T, Singh A (2007) Texture of wooden surfaces before and after coating. Surface Coatings Australia 43(10): 14-18.

    Dawson BSW Treatment of wood surfaces (2003) NZ Patent 50133

    Torr KM, Dawson BSW, Ede RM, Singh J (1996) Surface changes on acetylation and exposure to ultraviolet radiation of Pinus radiata using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy Holzforschung 50 (5):449-456.