American Hardwood Information Center

The Authoritative Resource for American Hardwoods

Soft Maple

Acer rubrum, Acer saccharinum Other Names: Red maple, silver maple, box elder

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

GENERAL DESCRIPTION
Alder, a relative of birch, is almost white when freshly cut, but quickly changes with 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
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 or cherry. It dries easily with little degrade and has good dimensional stability after drying.

PHYSICAL PROPERTIES
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.

MAIN USES
Furniture, kitchen cabinets, doors, shutters, moulding, panel stock, turnings, carvings, and kitchen utensils.

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