Behind the Tonewood: Sitka spruce

May 11, 2016

Left to nature, magnificent Sitka trees can live to be over 800 years old and can reach over 300 feet in height. Sitka is the largest, and longest-lived spruce, its slow growth and resulting tight growth-ring character creates beautiful acoustic sound. Clearcutting the old growth Sitka forest is threatening their existence. New-growth trees grow much faster with wider growth rings and typically produce lower density wood.

On average, the Sitka spruce trees that provided the soundboards for Bedell guitars lived to be at least 400 years old. It all began when a tiny little Sitka spruce seed sprouted in the diverse, wild, untouched forest of southeast Alaska. The spruce tree reached the 200-foot mark by the 1860s when the United States bought Alaska from Russia for 7.2 million dollars. Then one day in the early 21st century, the mighty spruce tree met its demise, most likely during a storm. Unprotected, it could no longer resist the elements and its life came to an end. After it had fallen, Brent Cole rescued it and kept it from returning to the soil.

Bedell is proud to source our Sitka spruce from Alaska Specialty Woods.  Get to know them better and learn a little bit more about how they find fallen or standing dead Sitka spruce trees.

“Being a good steward by protecting our corner of the world, the Southeast Alaska rainforest, is one of my most important principles in our business. I am absolutely thrilled to be working with a company that shares my passion. Tom Bedell gets it.” - Brent Cole Sr., Alaska Specialty Wood

Behind the Tonewood: Sitka spruce