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Spruce

The three commercially important spruces growing in British Columbia are Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmanni), Western white spruce (Picea glauca), and Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis).

In general, spruce wood is light in colour, nearly white to pale yellowish brown, with little difference between the sapwood and heartwood. Growth ring figuration is slight. It is usually straight-grained, non-porous, with a fine to medium texture.

Uses

Engelmann spruce and western white spruce are part of the spruce-pine-fir (SPF) species group that is used extensively in structural and non-structural applications.

Sitka spruce is used in boat building because it is easily shaped and glued. Due to its excellent resonating qualities, it is used as the sounding board in grand pianos, acoustic guitars and other stringed instruments. Because it is stronger than the same weight component made of steel, Sitka spruce is used in building airplane framework components. It has virtually no odour or taste so is suitable for food storage and processing.

Products

Structural lumber, veneer, masts, spars, wooden ware, agricultural implements, boxes, food-containers, oars, paddles, organ pipes, barrels, tubs, crates and casks, cutstock, shelving, millwork, joinery, furniture components, musical instruments, architectural joinery, window louvers, interior wall paneling.

Technical Specifications

The spruces are light in weight, have moderate strength properties, good resiliency, medium hardness and low resistance to abrasion. Sitka spruce has above-average stiffness with a high strength-to-weight ratio. Engelmann spruce is highly resilient.

The wood dries readily with moderate shrinkage, small dimensional movement and minimal tendency to check. It is relatively easy to work and has satisfactory to good machining properties, turns, planes, shapes, sands and finishes well. It glues easily and has moderate nail and screw holding ability.

Engelmann Spruce

  • Density (air dry average): 450 kg/cubic meters
  • Specific gravity (oven dry average): 0.42
  • Modulus of elasticity: 10 700 MPa
  • Modulus of rupture: 69.5 MPa

Western White Spruce

  • Density (air dry average): 420 kg/cubic meters
  • Specific gravity (oven dry average): 0.39
  • Modulus of elasticity: 9930 MPa
  • Modulus of rupture: 62.7 MPa

Sitka Spruce

  • Density (air dry average): 430 kg/cubic meters
  • Specific gravity (oven dry average): 0.39
  • Modulus of elasticity: 11 200 MPa
  • Modulus of rupture: 68.8 MPa

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