What is Whitewood?

Today, we can find different types of wood and one of them is the whitewood. But it seems that some people only based on the wood’s color so they call it as a whitewood. The color might be the reason why it is called as such but not all white colored wood are whitewood.

Whitewood is the kind of wood which came from a spruce tree. Its heartwood varies from white to pale yellow-brownish color. The color difference of sapwood with heartwood is almost unnoticeable.

The growth rings of this wood are visible enough because a late wood is darker compared to light-colored early wood. It also have a straight grain and smooth with fine texture. This kind of wood have its very own natural luster and it dries well and fast but it needs more care to lessen future and possible defects.

The typical defects that whitewood might have are end stain, sticker stain and early rotting. Once wood is exposed to usual hot and wet condition, it will slowly darken and undergo rotting process. Sticker stains are dark stripes across the wood caused by improper and longer process drying.

Spruce Whitewood Stacking

Physical Characteristics

Whitewood has a density of 441 kg per cubic meter at 12 percent moisture content. It possess a 0.3% total longitudinal shrinkage, 3.6% total radial shrinkage and 7.8% total tangential shrinkage. It has a 7.0% and 16.4% equilibrium moisture content at 20 degree Celsius over 37% and 83% relative humidity respectively.

Mechanical Characteristic

Its elasticity under bending modulus is 12,500 N/mm squared and rapture bending modulus is 77 N/mm squared. Its tension strength is 95 N/mm squared, compression strength and Brinell hardness perpendicular to the fibers is 44 N/mm squared. When it comes to Janka hardness it is 1.6 kN with a nail withdrawal strength of 5.5 N/mm squared.

Other Characteristics

Whitewood’s workability is just easy once there is no knots present. It can be glued and finished well but it may have a bad result if ever it is stained which is caused by its closed pore structure. If you desire to color this, it is recommended to use sanding sealer, gel stain or toner.

Whitewood is known for its strength. Sawing and machining this wood would come easy as well as assembling the product. But nailing this wood might cause the two split. This wood does not have any distinctive odor. If you want to use a constructive wood, it is cheap and easier to find compared to a whitewood without knot which a little bit expensive. This kind of wood does not have any insect or decay resistant quality, it is only used indoors and never on construction purposes.

Its gluing characteristic is good but a little care should be given while doing so to avoid stain. This wood is known to be adaptive and good for polishing and varnishing process. Painting this wood is not a problem as well.

Whitewood also have different names such as North American timber and SPF or spruce, pine and fir. This wood may not be good to those who have skin irritations and respiratory allergies.

Whitewood is known to be soft but its surface have the chances to dent easily. It is also known to have a light weight and medium or close average density. This wood is rated from slight to non-resistant to decay.

Whitewood Usage

Whitewood flooring texture
Credit: WoodAndBeyond.com

Whitewood is usually used as a material in making boxes, crates and paper. It is also used for indoor building materials such as ceiling, flooring, general carpentry, parquet flooring, staircases and veneers. It can be used as decorative plywood, interior construction, joinery, packing cases and decorative veneers.

It is also used in making musical instruments like soundboards of piano, and bellies of violin and guitar. This is also effective for millwork and construction lumber. Any material made from this wood shouldn’t be left and exposed outside for it is only expected to last for 12 to 18 months.

If you desire to buy and use whitewood, you must look on the color closely. There are some cases where in the ends of the wood became darker because it is stored for a longer of time before it was cut. If ever the overall appearance of the board seems to be darker, it is the evidence where in the wood was not dried quickly.