Telegraph Poles attacked by soft rot? We have the wood density tester for you.

Pilodyn makes it possible to assess the extent of decay objectively and to determine the amount of strength loss it has caused, a matter of special importance with telegraph poles.

The test consists in injecting a spring-loaded steel striker pin into the wood. A scale on the instrument gives the depth of penetration.

  • Pilodyn makes the line crewmen’s work safer. If penetration depth exceeds a certain figure it is unsafe to climb the pole without special precautions.
  • For the routine testing of poles, Pilodyn supplies readings in hard figures.

Testing Telegraph Poles for Decay

Heaviest decay is usually found at a depth of 50-100mm below ground level, so that is the best place to test. Bare the pole all round until there is room to work unhindered with the Pilodyn at an angle. Now locate the softest area by means of a sharp tool. This is the place to make a first shot.

Make two more penetration measurements at other points around the same circumference. Then take the average of the three measurements.

Testing is only possible where rotting has taken place from the outside inwards, and only when the pole is neither frozen nor extremely dry.

Evaluating the measurements

There are various kinds of decay, but SOFT ROT is the most dangerous, since is often overlooked by conventional testing methods. The wood looks strong and healthy, but in fact it has lost its strength. Poles in this condition can break at 1 to 1.5kN in a bending test (applied at the top). It does not take much imagination to realise what can happen if a lineman makes a violent movement while working at the top of a pole like that. Pilodyn can help you to avoid accidents of this kind.


PILODYN wood density meter tester, made in Japan and available from Hylec Controls, was developed to determine the density and strength of dead and living wood. Invisible soft rot can be detected rapidly and objectively in an easy non-destructive way and the reduction in strength associated with it can be determined. This can be of vital importance in the case of wooden playground structures, climbing frames and telephone masts.


Hylec Controls is Pilodyn supplier in Australia and New Zealand and has over 40 years’ experience in the sale and commissioning of new test machines and in the modernisation of existing machines. To enquire, simply email

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On April 4th, 2019, posted in: Latest News, Product News by Tags: ,