SCI Joinery Gallery
Timbers - Norway Spruce
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English name, Norway Spruce, Common Spruce, European Spruce. Also known as European Whitewood.
Remarks, Similar to the Sitka Spruce, This is the work horse of timbers in our region. British grown Norway Spruce is not as good as native grown, it grows even faster due to the very short warm Winters, and to much rainfall. Causing the growth rings to be bigger than they should be, with even less resistance to decay of insect attack and less load bearing capabilities. Home grown is mainly used for fencing or posts. To make it a serviceable timber it needs to be kiln dried and turned into glulam timber, with all knots and weak points cut out.
Species, Picea abies.
Age, 600 years. Although there is an individual specimen nicknamed “Old Tjikko”, in Sweden which is 9,550 years old!!
Height, 50m. The tallest on record is 63m in Bosnia.
Tree shape, Narrowly conical.
Leaves shape, Needle like, slender and rigid to 2cm long, four sided, sharp point at tip, dark green
Flowers colour, Male red opening yellow/Female red.
Fruit, A cylindrical brown hanging cone, to 15cm long.
Bark, Red brown to grey, peeling in thin strips.
Native region, Europe.
Natural habitat, Mountains.
Weight, Green 740 kg/m3. Air dried 480 kg/m3.
Maturity, 20-25 years.
Soil type, Acidic soils.
Wood type, Softwood.
Timber colour, Yellow/white to red/white darkening with age.
Durability, Slightly durable. (1 very durable, 2 durable, 3 moderately durable, 4 slightly durable, 5 not durable).
Treatable, Extremely difficult. (Easy, moderate easy, difficult, extremely difficult).
Moisture movement, Medium.
Environmental, Not listed as an endangered species.
Availability, Readily available at good timber merchants.
Drying, Dries quickly with little distortion. Knots can loosen or split.
Working qualities, The timber works well by hand or machine. Clean smooth finish. The timber can be stained, painted, glued, nailed or screwed satisfactorily.
To Europe, Believed to be prior to 1548.
Uses, Internal carpentry and joinery.
Externally carpentry and joinery only when treated against decay and insect attack.
Paper making due to it's long wood fibres which help it bind together to make strong paper.
Instrument making e.g. pianos, harps, guitars, cellos, violins and mandolins.
Information, The Wright Brothers first aircraft was made of Spruce.
It is planted for Christmas trees.
Every year the Capital City of Norway, Oslo provides the Cities of London, Edinburgh, New York and Washington with a Norway Spruce to use as their main Christmas tree for their City Centres.
It is a very fast growing tree, it can grow up to 1m a year under ideal circumstances, when it reaches about 20 years old it starts to slow down.
Spruce has no resilience to decay or insect attack after felling, it is advised to only use internally.
If the timber is left outdoors unprotected it is not expected to last more than 1-2 years depending on the environment.
The name Picea is believed to come from the Latin word of pix which means pitch.