Spruce, Norway

Norway spruce is an economically important coniferous species grown in Europe and North America. It is used widely in general construction. Superior grades are prized as a premium tonewood.

Other Names

Nordic Whitewood, Baltic White Pine, White Deal, European Spruce, Romanian Whitewood, White Fir, White Spruce, Violin Wood, Picea excelsa, Carpathian Spruce

Botanical Name

Picea abies, syn. P. excelsa

Common Form
Sawn
Species Type

Norway spruce is one of the most economically important coniferous species in Europe, where it is forested for paper production, and for its timber, known as deal or whitewood.

The timber of this species is flexible and durable. Its relative lightness, long length and straightness make it ideal for wooden ladders, oars, roofing timbers and paper pulp. Construction grades are commonly used for non-structural applications such as flooring and cladding, inexpensive furniture, joinery and general carpentry. Top-grade Norway spruce is a premium tonewood prized by luthiers for its acoustic properties; it is a timber of choice for acoustic guitar soundboards.

The sapwood of Norway spruce is white to pale yellow in colour, its heartwood is not always distinguishable but often tinged with brown and reddish-brown hues. Growth rings are prominently marked by the darker, denser summerwood. The grain of Norway spruce is relatively fine, and typically straight. Knots are clustered together rather than randomly distributed. Timber surfaces often exhibit a slight lustre.

Norway spruce is easy to work, except for the small tight knots that quickly dull tool edges. It glues satisfactorily using standard bonding procedures. Norway spruce can give poor results when being stained, due to its closed-pore structure. A sanding sealer, gel stain or toner is recommended when colouring Norway spruce timber.

Norway spruce is resinous, and its sawdust is reported to cause skin irritation and respiratory problems among some users.

Shrinkage

Very Low Low Medium High Very High

Tangential :

5.00%

Radial :

1.90%

Unit Movement Tangential:

0.33%

Unit Movement Radial:

0.16%

Strength Group

Very High

High

Reasonably High

Medium High

Medium

Reasonably Low

Low

Very Low

Unseasoned:

S1

S2

S3

S4

S5

S6

S7

S8

Seasoned:

SD1

SD2

SD3

SD4

SD5

SD6

SD7

SD8

Stress Grade

Structural
No. 1
Structural
No. 2
Structural
No. 3
Structural
No. 4
Structural
No. 5

Unseasoned:

F8

F7

F5

F4

Seasoned:

F17

F14

F11

F8

F7

Density per Standard

Seasoned:

470kg/m3

Unseasoned:

580kg/m3

Joint Group

Very High

High

Reasonably High

Medium

Low

Very Low

Unseasoned:

J1

J2

J3

J4

J5

J6

Seasoned:

JD1

JD2

JD3

JD4

JD5

JD6

Colour

  White, yellow, pale straw to light brown Pink to pink brown Light to dark red Brown, chocolate, mottled or streaky
   

Mechanical Properties

Modulus of Rupture - Unseasoned:

35

Modulus of Rupture - Seasoned:

66

Modulus of Elasticity - Unseasoned:

7.3

Modulus of Elasticity - Seasoned:

8.2

Maximum Crushing Strength - Unseasoned:

17

Maximum Crushing Strength - Seasoned:

41

Impact - Unseasoned:

Impact - Seasoned:

Toughness - Unseasoned:

Low - up to 15 Nm

Toughness - Seasoned:

Low - up to 15 Nm

Hardness - Unseasoned:

<1.8

Hardness - Seasoned:

2

Durability

Low Moderate Reasonably High High
(0 - 5 yrs) (5 - 15 yrs) (15 - 25 yrs) (more than 25 yrs)

In-Ground:

(0 - 7 yrs) (7 - 15 yrs) (15 - 40 yrs) (More than 40 yrs)

Above ground:

(0 - 20 yrs, usually < 5) (21 - 40 yrs) (41 - 64 yrs) (More than 60 yrs)

Marine Borer Resistance:

Lyctid Borer Susceptibility:

Not Susceptible

Lyctid Borer Susceptibility - Other:

Termite Resistance:

Fire Properties

1 - non-combustible 2 - reasonably non-combustible 3 - slightly combustible 4 - combustible

Fire Properties Group
Number:

Average Specific Extinction Area:

<250

Bushfire Resistance:

Not Tested
Appearance

The sapwood of this species is white to pale yellow in colour; the heartwood is brown to reddish brown. Growth rings are prominently marked by the darker, denser summerwood. The texture of Norway spruce is relatively fine, and its grain typically straight.

Common Applications

The timber of this species is flexible and durable. Its relative lightness, long length and straightness make it ideal for telegraph poles, wooden ladders, oars, roofing timbers and paper pulp. Construction grades are commonly used for non-structural applications such as flooring and cladding, inexpensive furniture, joinery and general carpentry. Top-grade Norway spruce is a premium tonewood prized by luthiers for its acoustic properties; it is a timber of choice for acoustic guitar soundboards.

Workability

Norway spruce is easy to work, except for the small tight knots that quickly dull tool edges. The timber glues satisfactorily using standard bonding procedures. However, it can give poor results when being stained due to its closed-pore structure. A sanding sealer, gel stain or toner is recommended when colouring Norway spruce. It is a resinous timber, and its sawdust is reported to cause skin irritation and respiratory problems among some users.

Origin of timber
Europe
Scandinavia and other European countries
Readily Available
NSW
Considerable quantities of Norway spruce are imported into Australia from Scandinavia and other European countries.
Source of timber
Native Forest
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Joinery

Timber joinery offers a classic, stylish touch to any interior or exterior space.
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Cladding, External

The natural appeal, versatility and strength of timber makes it the superior choice for external cladding. Through specification, planning, design and finishing processes, timber cladding not only creates a building of superior strength, acoustic and thermal performance but also creates a place of beauty, style and natural appeal.
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Framing

Since people began building simple shelters, wooden framing has played an important role in shaping structures of many kinds. One of the most popular types of wooden framing is known as lightweight timber construction.
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Flooring

The warmth, strength and natural beauty of timber flooring is enduringly popular in a wide variety of domestic, commercial and industrial applications.

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