Picea sitchensis of the family Pinaceae, the pine family
Although generally very bland in appearance, the natural resonance qualities of sitka spruce make it an ideal choice for musical instrument soundboards, along with Engelmann spruce.
Sitka spruce is one of the few woods (along with maple and Ponderosa pine) that sometimes exhibit what is called "bear claw" figure. This is relatively faint lines in the face grain caused by what is known as "indented grain" (NOT by actual bear claw marks). In sitka spruce, unlike in maple and Ponderosa pine, the bearclaw "scratches" wander all over the face rather than go mostly straight up and down with the grain.
In my own somewhat limited experience, I have found that this wood is far more often presented in quartersawn or rift cut form rather than flat cut, but that may be because mostly I have seen it as tone wood and that always seems to be quartersawn so as to have a uniform straight grain.
my samples: NOTE: these pics were all taken in very bright incandescent lighting ("soft white" at 2700K) colors will vary under other lighting conditions
both sides of a sample plank of sitka spruce / Picea sitchensis
end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above
both sides of a sample plank of sitka spruce / Picea sitchensis --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.
end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above. The closeup pic has a pink tint that is not in the wood
both sides of s sitka spruce sample plank represented to me as a "burl" but it looks more like a near-crotch area. HUGE enlargements are present. The first pic is of a 320-grit sanded surface and the 2nd is of a 120-grit sanded surface.
end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above. The darker streak through the middle of the closeup is an area that did not get as well sanded as the rest of the piece.
first face and the end grain of a sample of sitka spruce / Picea sitchensis which has indented grain. This part of a collection which is discussed here: COLLECTION A
the second face, before and after sanding, showing how the patina from aging is only surface deep.
end grain closeup and END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above. Note the indented grain