Sitka spruce grows along the Pacific Coastline from Northern California to Alaska. It thrives in moist, well drained soils and in humid climates where fog is often present. Its natural habitat is found from sea level up to 3000 foot elevations, and seldom more than 75 miles from the coast. It can be found in pure stands of spruce, in addition to mixed species of fir and cedar.
Sitka spruce is the largest spruce species in the world. It is a fast growing tree, and weighs an average of 28 lbs/cu. ft. The heartwood color ranges from pinkish-yellow to a light pinkish-tan. It is a moderately soft wood, but has a very high strength-to-weight ratio. Also, it is straight grained with a uniform, medium texture. Sitka spruce has low shock resistance, but is ranked average for bending strength. It has no identifiable odor, but does have a somewhat bitter taste. It is not recommended for bowls or other tableware. It is not considered a durable wood, and is primarily recommended for indoor uses.
Sitka spruce can be easily worked with machine equipment and hand tools. It holds fasteners well, and can be sanded to fine finish. Sitka spruce has good gluing properties, and accepts all types of glue without problems. It usually accepts light colored stains well, but dark stains will cause blotching due to obvious uneven absorption of the stain. It is recommended to use a shellac wash coat prior to staining to prevent blotching. Spruce will accept all types of finishes well, including paint.
Wood Species Index
Sitka spruce has a wide verity of uses. Some of these include: furniture, cabinets, doors, shelving, blinds, moldings, trim, and other types of millwork. It is classified as a tonal wood, and is used in the construction of guitars, violins, harps, and other string instruments. Because of its great strength-to-weight ratio, spruce is also used in the construction of gliders, and sail planes.