Picea sitchensis

 

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Family: Pinaceae

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sitka Spruce

 

 

 

The genus Picea is composed of about 30 species native to North America [12] and Eurasia [20]. The word picea comes from the ancient Latin name (pix, picis = pitch) of a pitchy pine, probably Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris L.). The word sitchensis is for Sitka Island (now Baranof Island) in southeastern Alaska.

Other Common Names: Abete di Sitka, British Columbia sitka-spruce, coast west spruce, coast spruce, eipcea de menzies, epicea de Menzies, epicea de Sitka, epinette de sitka, great tideland spruce, menzies spar, Menzies spruce, menziesie, picea de Sitka, picea di Sitka, sequoia silver spruce, silver spruce, Sitka spar, Sitka spruce, sitka-fichte, sitkafichte, Sitka-gran, sitka-gran, sitkankuusi, sitka-spar, spruces d'america, tideland spruce, West Coast spruce, western spruce, yellow spruce.

Distribution: Sitka spruce 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 was recorded to be 216 feet tall, with a diameter of 16.7 feet.

General Wood Characteristics: The sapwood of Sitka spruce is a creamy white to light yellow, while the heartwood is pinkish yellow to brown. It may be 3 to 6 inches wide or even wider in young trees. The wood has a fine, uniform texture and generally has a 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 has moderately small shrinkage. It is not difficult to kiln-dry and can be worked easily (when free of knots). It has a low resistance to decay and is resistant to preservation treatments under pressure, but can be treated by a water diffusion process. Thin panels of Stika spruce are highly resonant, making them desirable for piano sounding boards.

 

 

 

Mechanical Properties (2-inch standard)

 

 

 

 

Compression

 

 

 

 

Specific

gravity

MOE

x106 lbf/in2

MOR

lbf/in2

Parallel

lbf/in2

Perpendicular

lbf/in2

WMLa

in-lbf/in3

Hardness

lbf

Shear

lbf/in2

Green

0.37

1.23

5700

2670

280

6.3

350

760

Dry

0.42

1.57

10200

5610

580

9.4

510

1150

aWML = Work to maximum load.

Reference (56).

 

Drying and Shrinkage

Type of shrinkage

Percentage of shrinkage
(green to final moisture content)

0% MC

6% MC

20% MC

Tangential

7.5

6.0

3.8

Radial

4.3

3.4

1.4

Volumetric

11.5

9.2

2.5

References: (185, 56, 192).

Kiln Drying Schedulesa

 

Conventional temperature/moisture content-controlled schedulesa


Condition

4/4, 5/4
stock

6/4 stock

8/4
stock

10/4
stock

12/4
stock

British schedule
4/4 stock

Lower grades

T7-A5

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

Upper grades

T12-B5

T12-B4

T11-B3

T5-B2

T5-B2

J

 

aReference (28, 185).

 

Conventional temperature/time-controlled schedulesa

 

Lower grades

Upper grades


Condition

4/4, 5/4 stock

6/4 stock

8/4 stock

4/4, 5/4 stock

6/4 stock

8/4 stock

12/4, 16/4 stock

Standard

294

294

287

287

287

290

288

aReferences (28, 185).

 

 

Working Properties: Sitka spruce is easily worked if free of knots.

Durability: Sitka spruce is rated as slightly or nonresistant to heartwood decay (14).

Preservation: It is resistant to preservation treatments under pressure, but can be treated by a water diffusion process.

Uses: 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.

Toxicity: Working with fresh wood may cause dermatitis or other contact sensitivities (8,11&16).

 

Additional Reading and References Cited (in parentheses)

1. Betts, H. S. Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis). Washington, DC, USA: USDA Forest Service.

2. Boone, R. S.; Kozlik, C. J.; Bois, P. J., and Wengert, E. M. Dry kiln schedules for commercial woods - temperate and tropical. Madison, WI: USDA Forest Service, FPL-GTR-57; 1988.

3. Cary, N. L. Sitka Spruce, its uses, growth, and management. Washington, DC, USA: USDA Forest Service, Bulletin No. 1060.; 1922.

4. Dallimore, W.; Jackson, A. B., and Harrison, S. G. A handbook of Coniferae and Ginkgoaceae. London, UK: Edward Arnold Ltd.; 1966.

5. Elias, T. S. The complete trees of North America, field guide and natural history. New York, NY: van Nostrand Reinhold Co.; 1980.

6. Harris, A. S. Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr. Sitka spruce. in: Burns, R. M. and Honkala, B. H., tech. coords. Silvics of North America. Volume 1, Conifers. Washington, DC: USDA Forest Service; 1990; pp. 260-267.

7. Harris, A. S. Sitka Spruce, an American wood. Washington, DC, USA: USDA Forest Service, FS-265; 1984.

8. Hausen, B. M. Woods injurious to human health. A manual. New York, NY: Walter de Gruyter; 1981.

9. Henderson, F. Y. A handbook of softwoods. London: HMSO; 1977.

10. Little, jr. E. L. Checklist of United States trees (native and naturalized). Washington, DC: USGPO, USDA Forest Service, Ag. Handbook No. 541; 1979.

11. Mitchell, J. and Rook, A. Botanical dermatology: plants and plant products injurious to the skin. Vancouver, BC: Greenglass Ltd.; 1979.

12. Simpson, W. T. Dry kiln operator's manual. Madison, WI: USDA Forest Service, FPL Ag. Handbook No. 188; 1991.

13. Summitt, R. and Sliker, A. CRC handbook of materials science. Vol. 4. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, Inc.; 1980.

14. USDA. Wood handbook: wood as an engineering material. Madison, WI: USDA Forest Service, FPL Ag. Handbook No. 72; 1974.

15. Welo, L. A. Emergency seasoning of Sitka Spruce. Scientific American Supplement. 1919(2269):404-405.

16. Woods, B. and Calnan, C. D. Toxic woods. British Journal of Dermatology. 1976; 95(13):1-97.