Norway spruce has recently passed muster from strength testing to be used for a number of construction applications. The species was approved by the American Lumber Standards Committee (ALSC) in October for use in home construction areas such as wall studs, floor and ceiling joists, and industrial applications.
It is the first new U.S.-grown softwood species to be fully tested for strength values since the initial process for assigning design values from testing of wood samples began in the 1920s.
Norway spruce samples were destructively tested, and lumber strength data was calculated for the entire spectrum of design values: Modulus of Elasticity (MOE), Fiber Stress in Bending, Tension Parallel to Grain, Horizontal Shear, and Compression Parallel and Perpendicular to Grain.
Once cut into logs, Norway spruce is virtually indistinguishable from native eastern spruce species, with even the most experienced of graders not able to discern one species from the other, according to a press release from Northeaster Lumber Manufacturers Association.
About 50% of Norway spruce is located throughout New York State. The species can also be found in Maine, down into southern New England, and as far west as Wisconsin.