Smart, Cost-Effective, Treasured for Generations.

Alder

Alnus rubra
 
 

Stain Selector

Clear

Light

Medium

Dark

 

Where It Grows

Principally the Pacific Northwest, where it is the most abundant commercial hardwood.

Average height is 90 feet and the tree matures in 25 to 40 years, but will begin to deteriorate by 60 to 80 years of age.

Alder grows well on burned over lands and thrives in areas that have been ravaged by fire, earthquakes or logging.

Main uses

Furniture, kitchen cabinets, doors, shutters, mouldings, panel stock, turnings, carvings and kitchen utensils.

Relative Abundance

2.9 percent of total U.S. hardwoods commercially available.

Did You Know?

Alder is used in the smoking of meats and fish.

General Description

Red alder, a relative of birch, is almost white when freshly cut but quickly changes on exposure to air, becoming light brown with a yellow or reddish tinge. Heartwood is formed only in trees of advanced age and there is no visible boundary between sap and heartwood. The wood is fairly straight-grained with a uniform texture.

Working Properties

Red alder machines well and is excellent for turning. It nails, screws and glues well, and can be sanded, painted, or stained to a good finish. When stained, it blends with walnut, mahogany or cherry. It dries easily with little degrade and has good dimensional stability after drying.

Physical Properties

Red alder is a relatively soft hardwood of medium density that has low bending strength, shock resistance and stiffness.

Availability

Available in dimension stock and lumber.

Working Properties


Machining

 
 
 
 
 
Poor
Good

Nailing

 
 
 
 
 
Poor
Good

Screwing

 
 
 
 
 
Poor
Good

Gluing

 
 
 
 
 
Poor
Good

Finishing

 
 
 
 
 
Poor
Good
 

Strength and Mechanical Properties (inch-pound)a


 

Static Bending

Moisture Content

Specific Gravity (b)

Modulus of Rupture
(lbf/in2)

Modulus of Elasticity (c)
(106 lbf/in2)

Work to Maximum Load
(in-lbf/in3)

Green-12% 0.37-0.41 6,500-9,800 1.17-1.38 8.0-8.4

Impact Bending
to Grain
(in)

Compression
Parallel to Grain
(lbf/in2)

Compression
Perpendicular to Grain
(lbf/in2)

Shear
Parallel to Grain
(lbf/in2)

Tension
Perpendicular to Grain
(lbf/in2)

Side Hardness
(lbf)

22-20 2,960-5,820 250-440 770-1,080 390-420 440-590

a) Results of tests on small clear specimens in the green and air-dried conditions. Definition of properties; impact bending is height of drop that causes complete failure, using 0.71-kg (50 lb.) hammer; compression parallel to grain is also called maximum crushing strength; compression perpendicular to grain is fiber stress at proportional limit; shear is maximum shearing strength; tension is maximum tensile strength; and side hardness is hardness measured when load is perpendicular to grain.

b) Specific gravity is based on weight when ovendry and volume when green or at 12% moisture content

c) Modulus of elasticity measured from a simply supported, center-loaded beam, on a span depth ratio of 14/1. To correct for shear reflection, the modulus can be increased by 10%.