Originally Posted by sribe
Does anybody have any idea what 300 year old slow-grown spruce would be like?
In short (giving you an overall consideration) it would be an excellent species and wood to work with
for many applications depending on condition of the wood, its treatment during the drying process and who did it, as well as the biome it came out of for just some of the primary factors...It actually takes finish extremely well
and only difficult for the less experienced trying to use only modern modalities of what woodworking has become. Traditional finishing stain and related finishing systems are recommended in general for most species if one is interest in their work developing an actual patina that will last and only get better with age. Spruce is well know for the positive affect occurring over time...
Sorry I'm seeing this late...I only get off of projects "in the woods" about once a week this time of year...LMAO...so only have time on weekends to be of any great service to readers here...
To your query...and one of the rather ignorant responses I'm sorry you received
...(or perhaps just misinformed but feeling a need to be relevant on this forum's conversation...by certain posters...???)...either way, I don't really have time to not be blunt or to debate such silly misguiding comments...
Spruce, in general, are actually in most of its species and forms regardless of age have a Janka Hardness: 380 lbf to 700 lbf which is much harder than White Pines as a great comparative. With a Janka Hardness at around ~ 380 lbf and sometimes softer... the "White Pine" group (which even novice woodworkers soon learn is an excellent species to work with in furniture)
...AND...BEING MUCH SOFTER AND OFTEN HARDER TO FINISH IN GENERAL THAN MOST OF THE WHITE PINES
...then neither would have been used for both Timber Frames (structural framing) and furniture alike for the last few millenia...to state otherwise is obtuse...and historically inaccurate.
Since that is the case for the White Pines...and Spruce alike, it is more about grain patterning/milling effects in generally which can effect its application in furniture. As such, both species groups can and do develop a patinas and the scars of use that we have grown to love in countless antiques...
"Old growth" (in general) is not always a plus to any given wood species. Many conifer actually are better employed if grown as fast as possible and/or from a younger forest growth population, but each case, application scenario, or biome type harvested from can lead to different effects accordingly...so that aspect is both subjective and dependent on a case by case basis...and/or...goal set for a project...
Originally Posted by sribe
Well, maybe I'll just have to cut a slice, sand, condition & finish and see what it's like...
Excellent idea, and let me know if I can expand on anything or be of further service to your goals...
Remember, the finest violins in history (many centuries old and in very "hard working"
daily service) are made of both Willow and Spruce...two species that very few woodworker ever get (or bother to take?) the time to learn to work and employ in their projects...
Originally Posted by BigJim
I have learned that northern species of wood are harder than the southern grown species so I may have been wrong about it being too soft. I will just say this, Southern Spruce is way to soft to use as furniture.
Jim shares an excellent regional example of variance in the species presentation characteristics...
Yet...even in the south this species in harder than many others that are both historically and contemporary employed in furniture and timber frames alike (mainly roofing structural timbers because of Southern Spruces great resistance in modules of elasticity/bending)...and in furniture...for large slab/plank of Harvest Table, in member application like trestle spans, legs, spring slats in beds...etc...