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AMERICAN RED ALDER

V. Ryan 2008

 

A versatile, common hardwood that can be stained to look like a similar grained species.

Distribution: Pacific coast of Canada and USA

Alnus rubra
Family: Betulacae

Commercial names: Western Alder, Oregon Alder.
 
 
 

General Description: Pale yellow to reddish-brown in colour. Fairly straight grained and of uniform texture.

Mechanical Properties: This is a soft and weak wood of medium density. It has low bending strength and shock resistance, medium crushing strength and very low stiffness.

Working Properties: The wood works well with both hand and machine tools, with only a slight tendency to pick up the grain in planing, overcome by a reduced cutting angle. There is a slight blunting effect on tools which should be kept sharp. It has good nailing and gluing properties and takes stain, paint and polish well.

Durability: The wood is perishable; liable to attack by common furniture beetle but is permeable for preservation treatment.

Uses
: Lathe work, carving, plywood, plywood, laminated products, cabinet work and veneers. In decorative veneer form its natural defects are exploited, such as knots, burr (burl) clusters, minor stain and streaks etc.

The close grain makes American Red Alder similar to many other more expensive hardwoods. With no colour difference between the heartwood and softwood, it has a uniform honey colour. These characteristics when stained, can take on the appearance of many hardwoods particularly Cherry, Walnut, Mahogany and even Apple and Pear.

   
 
 
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