Preservation. Sitka spruce
is resistant to preservative treatments under pressure, but
can be treated by a water diffusion process.
Sitka spruce is a strong and serviceable wood. It excels in
many characteristics, especially strength to weight, workability
and pulping characteristics. Lumber, pulpwood, sounding boards
for high quality pianos, guitar faces, ladders, components
for experimental light aircraft, oars, planking, masts and
spars for boats, and turbine blades. Sitka spruce slices well
and is suitable for veneering. A clean finish is obtained
in machining providing tools are sharp. It is an excellent
pulpwood with a long fiber and good density. Sitka spruce
is also perfectly acceptable as a structural wood. Stress
data are known, span tables are published, and applicable
grade rules are available.
Distribution. Sitka spruce
is the largest and most valuable tree species in Alaska. It
is native to the Pacific coast region from southern Alaska
(Kodiak Island and Cook Inlet), southeast through southeastern
Alaska, western British Columbia, western Washington, western
Oregon, and northwestern California.
The Tree. Sitka spruce
trees normally reach heights of 160 feet, with diameters of
5 feet. A record tree reached 216 feet tall, with a diameter
of 16.7 feet.
more detailed information, click here to review the publication,
Alaska's Spruce revised September 1979
The genus Picea is composed
of about 30 species native to North America  and
Eurasia . The word picea comes from the ancient
Latin name (pix, picis = pitch) of a pitchy pine, probably
Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris L.). The sitchensis
is for Sitka Island (now Baranof Island) in southeastern
General Wood Characteristics.
The sapwood of Sitka spruce is a creamy white to light yellow,
while the heartwood is pinkish-yellow to brown. The sapwood
may be 3-6 inches wide or even wider in young trees. Because
of the large size of the tree and its clear trunk, Sitka spruce
produces a large proportion of wood with a clear, uniform
texture and straight grain. It is moderately light in weight,
moderately low in bending and compressive strength, moderately
stiff, moderately soft, and moderately low in resistance to
shock. On the basis of weight, it rates high in strength properties
and can be obtained in clear, straight-grained pieces. It
is classified as good in ability to stay in place, easy to
work, very easy to glue, and takes paint and varnish well.
It takes nails without splitting and holds them moderately
well. It is a good serviceable construction wood but, like
all spruces, is low in resistance to decay. It has moderately
small shrinkage and is not difficult to kiln-dry. Thin panels
of Sitka spruce are highly resonant, making them desirable
for piano sounding boards and other instrument stock.
Sitka spruce can be easily worked when free of knots.
Durability. Sitka spruce
is rated as slightly or nonresistant to heartwood decay.