NORWAY SPRUCE TESTING

| The first new wood species for construction-grade dimensional lumber in almost a century.

CASE STUDY

In 2016, the American Lumber Standards Committee (ALSC) approved the inclusion of Norway spruce in the Spruce-Pine-Fir-South group of wood species for home construction and industrial applications based on testing at the ASCC. This was the first time a new tree species has been added to the building industry in almost a century. 

Researchers at the UMaine Composites Center tested 1,320 boards, in bending and tension, cut from trees harvested in Maine, Vermont, Wisconsin, and four regions of New York state for the Northeastern Lumber Manufacturer’s Association (NELMA).

DEVELOPMENT

During the Norway Spruce testing process, a total of 1,320 full-sized pieces of 2x4s, 2x6s, and 2x8s of both Select Structural and No. 2 grades were tested to failure. Of the 1,320 pieces, 658 were tested for bending, and 662 were tested for tension. The results were used to establish strength values for the species for all 6 major design categories:

  • Modulus of Elasticity
  • Fiber Stress in Bending
  • Tension Parallel to Grain
  • Horizontal Shear
  • Compression Parallel
  • Perpendicular to Grain 

The ASCC Team derived allowable design values (for bending, tension, shear, and compression), and wrote the report that NELMA submitted to the ALSC. The inclusion of Norway spruce in the SPF-S grouping means millions of “new” trees will enter the North American lumber economy for the first time, benefitting landowners, loggers, lumber mills, builders, and retailers. 
ASCC has partnered with industry to produce value-added wood products since its inception in 1996. The Norway spruce project paves the way for future lumber testing at UMaine.

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