Alder (European) Hardwood

Alder (European)

European Alder, scientifically known as Alnus glutinosa, is a versatile timber that is widely used in joinery, carving, and mouldings. It is part of the Betulaceae family and is a hardwood species. European Alder has a straight grain and a fine, close texture, and can sometimes be burry and contain sound burrs (burls) with highly figured patterns. The sapwood and heartwood of European Alder are nearly indistinguishable, both being a light orange-brown when freshly cut. On exposure to the elements, the wood matures to a light reddish-brown with darker streaks or lines formed by broad rays. European Alder is a sustainable and legal source of timber, and can be used to create beautiful and unique pieces of furniture and other woodworking projects.

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Material Type:

Also Called:
Black Alder, Japanese Alder, Grey Alder, Aune, Erle, Eis, Schwarzerle, Hannoki,

Durability Notes:
Alder wood is vulnerable to attack from the common furniture beetle. It is permeable for preservative treatment, but perishable. Non durable.

The drying and seasoning of Alder (European) is dependant on a number of factors; the speed in which it is processed after felling and logging, the method of drying and the specific kilns or location (if air dried). Generally the care taken by those processing the wood will have an impact on its drying and seasoning. As an overview; Alder (European) - Dries fairly quickly and well, with little impact on the grade and quality of the wood. Please note that all wood is liable to move when in service plus there can be dimensional change. The extent of this will depend on; the stability of the species itself, the conditions it is exposed to, the coating, decoration and protection. You will find more information about the suitability of this wood, for any proposed application, by using our interactive system and the filters shown.

Common Alder has low resistance to shock loads, medium crushing strength and low stiffness. It can be glued well and takes nails and screws adequately. Straight-grained wood works well with hand tools and it has only a slight dulling effect on cutters. Alder can be stained and polished to a good finish.

Typical Uses:
Furniture, Cabinetry, Joinery, Millwork, Boatbuilding, Flooring, Musical Instruments, Carving, Firewood.

Moisture Content:
Guide - 12-18% for KD

Possible Health Risks:
Dermatitis, rhinitis, bronchial problems

Commonly asked questions about European Alder Wood

Is Alder a hardwood or a softwood? Alder is a hardwood. It is the same for; is European Alder hardwood or softwood? - European Alder is a hardwood.

Most groups/families of species share the same characteristics but this normally relates to their life as plants. Individual species do not always share the same characteristics as their relatives, in terms of the wood. Many factors influence how we use the wood and what we use it for, including where it grows, how it is forested, how it seasons/dries, etc. The answers to the following common questions, therefore relate to this particular species/wood and not the Alder family as a whole. Even more specific – our answers relate to the wood (as we know it) in its form as a useable resource.

What colour is European Alder? European Alder can be described as brown, light brown, red

Is European Alder good for outdoor use? or is European Alder good for exterior use? European Alder is most suited for internal/interior use. European Alder should not be used as an exterior/external timber (without treatment).

Whether the wood is naturally durable or not we would still recommend that it is decorated and/or coated with a suitable product to provide protection and/or maintain its appearance. This even applies when using the wood internally as, even subtle, changes in temperature or humidity will affect the wood. This will depend on the application/purpose of the wood and the user’s desired appearance. We also recommend that a recoating, care and maintenance programme is adhered to, for the life of an exterior wood. Wood cannot rot if it is kept dry – coatings and decoration can provide this protection. All of that said there are many durable timbers that are often left to weather naturally and will last for many years untreated/coated – movement and visual changes will occur but this is sometimes the desired effect. All wood is hygroscopic (it 'wants' to be in tune with its environment) it will therefore take on water from moisture in the air (or when directly exposed to or submerged in water) and ‘release it’ when dry or exposed to heat. This, inevitably, results in movement and dimensional change. For more about moisture in wood please click here - Moisture in wood

No suitable uses for this timber have been found. This database is constantly updated and uses for this timber will be added in the future.

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