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ALBERTA WOOD: FOUR COMMON TREES AND THEIR PURPOSE

The beauty of Alberta, Canada is legendary.  People travel the world over to enjoy the scenic landscapes, the brilliant skies, and the dense forestry.  Alberta’s natural splendor, however, is more than just a pretty face:  The lumber industry in Alberta is alive and well, and with some of the most sought after lumberyards in North America, it is worth looking at four of the most popular and adored trees in Alberta, along with what they are typically used for.

White Spruce: 

This gorgeous conifer accounts for nearly a third of the forests in Alberta, and almost half of all lumber sales.  Boasting a high weight-to-strength ratio, White Spruce is a versatile piece of lumber.  In addition to building construction, MDF creation, and general millwork, White Spruce also can be used for food containers, paddles, oars, and organ pipes.

Black Spruce: 

Heavier, stronger, and harder than the White Spruce, the Black Spruce tends to be utilized for tougher and more extreme purposes.  Black Spruce, which accounts for 15% of the provinces forests, is used for building construction as well as support beams used in mines.  Don’t let the toughness fool you, though – this beast has a soft side.  The resonance of the Black Spruce also leads it to be a natural fit for musical instruments.

Jack Pine: 

Considered a Hard Pine, the Jack Pine is extremely hard and heavy.  The Jack Pine represents over 40% of all coniferous trees in Alberta, and is the go-to material for high quality composite board.  The Jack Pine tends to plasticize when exposed to high temperatures, and as such, is a natural fit for gluing and compression.  In addition to being used for pieces that require maximum strength and flexibility, the Jack Pine is frequently used for telephone poles, corral rails, fence posts, and even railway ties. 

Balsam Fir: 

While only making up 3% of the total acreage in Alberta, the Balsam Fir is highly regarded and sought after for its unique color, beautiful grain, and playful tight knots.  In addition to being used for furniture or other unique woodworking pieces that embrace the oddball appearance of this wood, it is frequently used for food storage, due in large part to the Balsam Fir’s lack of resinous materials or odd taste.

The trees of Alberta Canada are more than just lovely to look at, they are the backbone to our economy and are helping to create the infrastructure of the world we live in.  Whether the world travels to Alberta to walk among the trees, or if a furniture manufacturer ships a dining table made of Alberta wood across the globe – the trees of Alberta are ubiquitous with who we are and who we will always be.