Optical polishing pitch has properties that can be quantitatively examined. These properties may be used to check batches of pitch for consistency, or to evaluate products for differences. In this work we explore the hardness, softening point and viscosity of pitch. The testing methods involved require little preparation, have quick turnaround time, use less than 200 g of pitch, and produce statistically significant results. The tests include: Shore A Durometer hardness test, ASTM Mettler softening point method, and dynamic viscosity measurements via a novel falling needle viscometer. Results from all three tests are given as averages with standard deviations for a variety of wood-based and petroleum-based products.© (2001) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.