Lexicon DIY-Knowledge


Fichte / Picea abies


Sapin rouge

The trade designation spruce refers to a large group covering more than 40 different types. In central, northern and south-eastern Europe wood sold as spruce is usually the American red fir (picea abies). In Germany, the spruce ranks before the pine as the most frequently found tree. Characteristic for all types of spruce trees is their extremely fast growth which makes them very attractive for forestry cultivation. Freshly chopped spruce wood can be easily recognised by its resinous, aromatic smell and its whitish colour which darkens with age under the influence of light to a light yellow to red colour (protection by UV absorbers is possible).

The technical characteristics vary greatly. Generally it is true to say that spruce wood is very stable due to its long-fibred structure, however, it is soft at the same time. Spruce wood can be processed cleanly and easily. It is not overly weather-resistant, but it can be subjected to any kind of surface treatment, whereby you should remove any pitch pockets. Planing, sanding and polishing leave an attractive soft sheen. Steeping in mordant can increase the contrast between spring and autumn wood. Spruce can be glued and screwed without any problems. Although it splits easily, it can be nailed well, too. Grey discoloration can occur if it comes into contact with iron. In addition, spruce wood can hinder cement bonding.
Surface treatment on spruce wood does not cause any problems. However, the use of polyester varnish can have an adverse influence on drying and the formation of a surface film over pitch pockets. For the improvement of the natural resistance against weathering it is recommended to impregnate the wood. This treatment is easily done with sapwood, however it is almost impossible to impregnate the heartwood.
Spruce wood is well suited for building and general purposes. It is mainly used indoors. Doors, windows, supporting beams, roof rafters, squared timber, planks and deals, but also shuttering boards are made of spruce wood. It is used to make chip- and fibreboard, as the core layer in wood core plywood, and also to make paper and wood wool. Special spruce trees which grew very slowly in mountain regions are used to make string instruments.
Younger spruce trees gain importance as Christmas trees.