The long-term effect of soil disturbance (litter removal, topsoil removal and compaction) from forest harvesting on wood quality and quantity of second-rotation Pinus radiata growing on a clay loam soil, was assessed at the end the rotation, 26 years after planting. Relative to Control plots, average tree and stand total volume at rotation end was not significantly affected by litter removal and nil or light compaction, but was significantly reduced by 28% by litter and topsoil removal and moderate subsoil compaction, and further reduced by 38% by heavy compaction. Wood density at breast height in the inner rings of trees in the most disturbed treatments was elevated by up to 30 kg m–3. This occurred because these treatments were more N deficient as reflected by foliar N levels during the first 11 years of growth relative to the Control. However, no treatment differences in wood density were evident in outer rings, and by rotation age overall mean density did not differ significantly between treatments. Neither acoustic velocity of standing trees, nor acoustic velocity of logs, was significantly affected by soil disturbance, indicating that stiffness of lumber cut from trees in the trial was likely to be similar for all treatments. Economic impacts of soil disturbance and compaction on this soil type will therefore result largely from the considerable negative impacts on final tree size, with little or no compensation from improved wood properties.