White spruce is one of the most widely distributed and hardiest native Boreal Forest conifers in North America. The species is acknowledged as one of Alberta’s most valuable commercial species. It accounts for 30% of the province’s total forest inventory, and 48% of Alberta’s merchantable volume of coniferous growing stock.
As lumber, white spruce is extremely versatile because of its high strength to weight ratio. It is used in building construction (framing, sheathing, roofing and sub-flooring), general millwork, interior finishing, boxes and packing cases. As a premier pulpwood, the species is used in the manufacture of newsprint and bleached kraft pulps. It is also used in the manufacture of medium density fiberboard (MDF), paperboard and felt, and it is a major species used in Canadian softwood plywood.
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.