by Eric Meier
Spruce is a softwood with a good strength-to-weight ratio, as is favored in aircraft construction; it’s excellent acoustic properties make it a popular choice for many acoustic musical instrument tops, such as violins or guitars.
When dealing with Spruce (Picea genus), there are a few main species and groupings that help to sort things out.
Additionally, the following species of Spruce are technically not “Eastern” in their provenance, but still share all or most of the same characteristics:
(Engelmann Spruce can sometimes be distinguished on the basis of its lighter weight and more abrupt earlywood to latewood transition.)
(Of all the species of spruce, the only one that can be reliably separated from other species on the basis of macroscopic features is Sitka Spruce.)
|Lookalikes:Fir/Hemlock – Fir (Abies spp.) and hemlock (Tsuga spp.) are both very similar to spruce in appearance and weight. However, only spruce has resin canals, with fir/hemlock totally lacking resin canals.Larch – Larch (Larix spp.) can sometimes be mixed up with spruce because they both have small resin canals, and both are more or less odorless. However, the darker reddish heartwood, greater color contrast between earlywood and latewood, and its heavier average weight all serve to differentiate larch from spruce.
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