The principal commercial use of black spruce in Canada and the United States is as pulpwood for making high quality pulp with balanced strength properties. Its long fibres, light colour and low resin content make it a favourite pulpwood for facial tissues and newsprint. It is used with white spruce, pine and fir where requirements for spruce-pine-fir (SPF) are indicated, as lumber for light and medium construction, boxes and crates. Because it is heavier, stronger and harder than white spruce, it is used for mine timbers. It has exceptional resonance qualities; therefore, it is used in the manufacturing of sounding boards for musical instruments.
White spruce and black spruce are produced predominantly as SPF lumber* in structural grades according to National Lumber Grades Authority (NLGA) rules for dimension lumber. Select Structural, #2 and better, and stud grades are the most common grades produced. Specialty in-house grades, lamstock and export grades are also available. Appearance grades are also produced according to NLGA rules. Clears, shop lumber and moulding stock are most common, though there are many potential appearance grades that can be produced.
* Marketed as structural lumber in the SPF (spruce-pine-fir) species mix. SPF includes lodgepole pine, white spruce, Engelmann spruce, red spruce, black spruce, jack pine, balsam fir, and subalpine fir.