Alder Wood Characteristics

Written by marc chase
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Alder Wood Characteristics
(Close-up wooden Caucasian Alder texture image by Ragnarocks from

Though included among the various types of hardwood trees, alder exhibits its own unique characteristics that make it best suited for certain functions. From carpentry to outdoor cooking, alder wood is a much sought-after material.

Grain Type and Appearance

Alder wood exhibits a straight grain and fine texture known for ease in staining. Alder possess the ability to mimic the appearance of other hardwoods, based on the colour of the stain applied, according to woodworking author Sam Allen's website.

Common Colorations and Types

Alder often is orange, brown or reddish in hue. Types include common alder, grey alder and red alder.


Alder is softer than staple hardwoods--such as oak, maple and cherry--and dents easily.

Properties of the Smoke

The subtle, light flavour of alder wood smoke makes it a popular hardwood to blend with other wood fuels for outdoor barbecuing. Because the smoke is mild, it is a popular wood for the slow smoking of fish, as it won't overpower the delicate flavour of the main dish.

Common Uses

The softness of alder makes it a popular carving wood. Broom handles, toys, clogs, textile rollers and cabinetry are among its common uses, according to Woodbin Woodworking.

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