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Alder, when freshly cut, is very pale, almost white in color. As it begins to oxidize, the color grows deeper and takes on golden and red tones. Heartwood occurs only in trees of advanced age. The boundary between Alder sapwood and heartwood is virtually invisible. The wood has a fine, uniform textured with a straight, yet subdued grain.

Formal Name: Alnus Rubra


Alder thrives throughout the Pacific Northwest, with growth occurring from Alaska, down through several Canadian provinces, and as far south as Southern California. It is the most abundant hardwood in the area.

Working Properties

Alder is a medium-density wood with low shock resistance and medium crushing strength. It is easily worked with both hand and machine tools and turns well. It has very good nailing and gluing properties. It is highly valued for upholstery framing, due to its stability and excellent tack- holding qualities. It stains and polishes well, producing a finish that blends beautifully with Walnut, Mahogany or Cherry. The inconspicuous grain also makes Alder an excellent choice for painting.

Main Uses

Alder is popular for use in cabinetry and furniture construction as substrate materials and also in Mission and Contemporary-styled case goods. It is commonly used as plywood core stock and for plywood paneling. Its easy turning characteristics also make it a good choice for millwork and decorative woodwork.