Laminar composites have been formed from waste paper and suitable water based binders using a two stage binding technique. The new materials can have physical and mechanical properties equivalent to spruce pine and superior to other wood substitutes such as MDF. The degree of penetration of the binder into the paper is a critical factor in achieving the desired properties and there is a need for rapid assessment of the penetration of the binder. A technique based on the forcing of a probe into the laminate has been developed. Several probe geometries have been investigated and an optimum process established. By analysing the force / displacement graph generated by the probe, and applying a fast Fourier transformation the degree of binder penetration can be established.