Alder refers to the timber derived from trees of the Alnus genus, primarily Alnus glutinosa (European alder) and Alnus rubra (red alder). It is a hardwood species commonly found in North America and Europe.
Appearance and Characteristics
Alder wood has a light tan to reddish-brown color with a straight and even grain pattern. It has a fine to medium texture and a natural luster. The wood has a moderate weight, weighing approximately 2.8 pounds (1.27 kilograms) per board foot. Alder has a Janka hardness rating of around 590 lbf (2,620 N), indicating that it is relatively soft compared to some other hardwoods.
Alder wood is highly workable and versatile. It is relatively soft and easy to machine, cut, shape, and sand. The wood accepts stains, paints, and finishes well, allowing for a range of desired finishes. Alder has good gluing properties and holds screws and nails securely. It also has good dimensional stability, minimizing the risk of warping or twisting.
Uses in Woodworking
Alder wood finds various applications in woodworking, including:
Cabinetry: Alder is a popular choice for cabinetry, particularly for kitchen cabinets and storage units. It can be finished to achieve a smooth, polished appearance.
Furniture: It is used in crafting a wide range of furniture, such as tables, chairs, and cabinets. Alder's straight grain and consistent color provide an attractive look.
Millwork: Alder is commonly used in interior millwork, such as trim, molding, paneling, and doors. Its fine texture and uniform appearance add elegance to architectural elements.
Turning: Alder turns well on a lathe, making it suitable for creating intricate wood turnings, such as bowls, vases, and spindles.
Musical Instruments: It is occasionally used in the construction of electric guitar bodies and acoustic guitar soundboards, providing a warm and balanced tone.
Alder wood possesses moderate durability. Here's a breakdown of its performance:
Indoor Use: Alder performs well for indoor applications, such as furniture and cabinetry. It is not naturally resistant to decay or insect attack. However, when properly finished and maintained, it can withstand regular indoor use with good longevity.
Outdoor Use: Alder is not considered suitable for prolonged outdoor use as it is not naturally resistant to decay or insects. It may be used temporarily for outdoor projects but requires adequate protection from moisture and weather conditions.
Bug/Insect and Rot Resistance: Alder is not naturally resistant to insects or rot. To enhance its resistance, it is recommended to apply appropriate finishes or treatments for applications where these factors are a concern.
VARIATIONS AND OPTIONS
All lumber now ships surfaced on 2 sides, and ripped on 1 edge at a minimum. Surfacing is done to a 1/16th over nominal (+- .030). Also the option for a rip to width is now available for a premium price. Ripping is done on an industrial straight line/gang rip machine. While the rip will be consistent end to end, the fence may not always end up in the same spot between orders. Rip widths will be within 1/8th of an inch of stated widths.
4/4 will be surfaced to 13/16ths.
5/4 will be surfaced to 1 and 1/16th.
6/4 6/4 will be surfaced to 1 and 5/16ths.
8/4 will be surfaced to 1 and 13/16ths.
10/4 will be surfaced to 2 and 5/16ths.
16/4 will be surfaced to 2 and 13/16ths.