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Spruce, Sitka

Spruce, Sitka (Picea sitchensis)

Spruce, Sitka is a domestic softwood

Location

Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) is a large tree that grows along the northwestern coast of North America from California to Alaska. It is also known as yellow, tideland, western, silver, and west coast spruce. Much Sitka spruce timber is grown in Alaska, but most logs are sawn into cants for export to Pacific Rim countries. Material for U.S. consumption is produced primarily in Washington and Oregon.

Characteristics

The heartwood of Sitka spruce is a light pinkish brown. The sapwood is creamy white and shades gradually into the heartwood; the sapwood may be 7 to 15 cm (3 to 6 in.) wide or even wider in young trees. The wood has a comparatively fine, uniform texture, generally straight grain, and no distinct taste or odor. It is moderately lightweight, moderately low in bending and compressive strength, moderately stiff, moderately soft, and moderately low in resistance to shock. It has moderately low shrinkage. On the basis of weight, Sitka spruce rates high in strength properties and can be obtained in long, clear, straight-grained pieces.

Primary Uses

Sitka spruce is used principally for lumber, pulpwood, and cooperage. Boxes and crates account for a considerable amount of the remanufactured lumber. Other important uses are furniture, planing-mill products, sashes, doors, blinds, millwork, and boats. Sitka spruce has been by far the most important wood for aircraft construction. Other specialty uses are ladder rails and sounding boards for pianos.
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