Norway Spruce: A New Lumber Species

By Robert Robillard on Remodeling

Norway Spruce SPF-S Species Grouping

Very, very soon you’ll start seeing a new framing wood species in the lumberyards. Norway Spruce is now making its way to lumberyards in New York state, Maine, across New England, and all the way out to Wisconsin. This is an industry first and probably last, since there are no other US to produce in volume. It is straight, has no knots, no limbs and STRONG!  Once Norway Spruce has been harvested and processed into dimension lumber, it is virtually indistinguishable from white spruce.

Norway Spruce: A New Lumber Species

Birth of a Species

Norway Spruce, a non-native species from Europe with tracked roots in America as early as 1860. It is the first new U.S.-grown, fully tested softwood species to be tested for strength values since lumber testing began in the 1920s. The vast majority (upwards of 50%) of Norway Spruce is located throughout New York state, but it can also be found in Maine, down into New England, and as far west as Wisconsin.

In the 1930s, President Roosevelt’s “FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps.” planted Norway Spruce was one of several softwood species planted specifically for the purpose of soil stabilization in abandoned agricultural land throughout the northeast. A 1936 Harvard study recorded evidence of the first Norway Spruce plantings at Woods Hole, Massachusetts, in 1860 by immigrants who brought stock from Europe.

Norway Spruce For Framing

Norway Spruce has been approved for use in home construction areas such as wall studs, floor and ceiling joists, and industrial applications. While you won’t be able to tell Norway Spruce apart from traditional spruce once it is cut, it’s the most renewable, strong, and durable building product on the market. NELMA, lead the species through the testing and approval processes, and testing was completed by the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composite Center. NELMA will grade this species in mills throughout the growing region of the tree.

Norway Spruce: A New Lumber SpeciesNorway Spruce Lumber Grades

Approximately 65% of Norway Spruce is graded at #2 and above, making it a very strong addition to the existing SPFs (spruce-pine-fir south) category.

What does This Mean For The Lumber Industry?

I’ll stop short of calling this a homerun, but it kind of is! It will no doubt boast the economy of the lumber industry, especially in areas where Norway Spruce is grown, harvested, and milled.  The introduction of Norway Spruce to lumber yards across the growing region means increasing the availability of a locally grown, renewable, strong building product.

Locally grown, sustainable products is always a win in my book!  Well done NELMA!

Birth of a Species Video


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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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