Alder (Red) Hardwood

Alder (Red)

Red Alder is a versatile and sustainable timber, with a uniform texture and a pleasant but not outstanding figure. The heartwood, which is not clearly separable from the sapwood, is pale yellow to red-brown in colour. Red Alder (Alnus rubra) is a fairly straight-grained wood, ideal for a variety of uses, from furniture making to construction applications. Its light weight and moderate strength make it a great choice for both indoor and outdoor projects.

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Also Called:
Western Alder, Pacific Coast Alder, Oregon Alder

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 (Red) 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 (Red) - dries fairly quickly and easily with almost no impact on the grade and quality of the wood. The wood is expected to move very little in service. 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.

Red Alder is a weak, soft wood of medium density, with low bending strength and shock resistance. It has very low stiffness and medium crushing strength. It works well. The wood nails and glues without difficulty and takes finishes well. There is only a slight blunting effect on tools.

Typical Uses:
Furniture, Cabinets, Flooring, Doors, Wood Turning, Clogs, Outdoor furniture, Firewood, Smoking chips.

Moisture Content:
Guide - 12-18% for KD

Possible Health Risks:
Dermatitis, rhinitis, bronchial problems

Commonly asked questions about Red Alder Wood

Is Alder a hardwood or a softwood? Alder is a hardwood. It is the same for; is Red Alder hardwood or softwood? - Red 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 Red Alder? Red Alder can be described as brown, light brown, red

Is Red Alder good for outdoor use? or is Red Alder good for exterior use? Red Alder is most suited for internal/interior use. Red 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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