The Spruces (Engelmann spruce – Picea engelmanni, Western White Spruce – Picea glauca, and Sitka spruce – Picea sitchensis)
The three commercially important spruces growing in British Columbia are Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmanni), Western White Spruce (Picea glauca), and Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis). Engelmann spruce and Western white spruce are common throughout the interior mountain regions of southern and central British Columbia and on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta. Sitka spruce, the largest of all the spruces, is confined in Canada to the coastal region of British Columbia and the southwest corner of the Yukon.
In general, spruce wood is light in color, 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.
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. All species should be treated if used in situations favourable to decay.
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.
Western white spruce is widely available in all domestic and export markets. Sitka spruce is available in regional domestic markets but limited in export markets.
Cutstock, shelving, millwork, joinery, furniture components, musical instruments, veneer, structural lumber.