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Does anyone have experience with using Alder?

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Forum topic by Ccl2011 posted 09-05-2019 08:26 AM 418 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Ccl2011

14 posts in 2069 days


09-05-2019 08:26 AM

Topic tags/keywords: wood

Hi,

I recently got stationed in Okinawa, Japan and am now using the base wood shops where the cheapest material is rustic alder at $1.75/BF.

I’ve never used alder before and was wondering if anyone had suggestions as to pros and cons of it for small projects (end tables, stools, etc.)


2 replies so far

View Rich's profile

Rich

5725 posts in 1399 days


#1 posted 09-05-2019 03:02 PM

I love alder. It’s easy to mill, stable and finishes beautifully. Just be careful because it’s prone to blotching. It’s commonly referred to as Poor Man’s Cherry due to the similarity in color and grain.

Regarding blotching, you can use glue sizing made with white glue as a very effective blotch control. Mix approximately 1 part glue with 6 parts of water, brush on liberally, let dry and sand lightly with 220 or 320 to knock off the grain that the water will raise, being careful not to sand off the sizing completely. If you use test boards, you will be able to assess whether one application is sufficient, or if two are needed.

I assume what you are calling rustic is knotty alder. Clear alder is also available (maybe not on base though) at a slightly higher price, but still less expensive than most other clear hardwoods.

I’ve build many residential doors and vanities from knotty alder. You can see a few of them on my project page. The garage entry door is clear alder, to get an idea of the difference.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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farmfromkansas

210 posts in 424 days


#2 posted 09-08-2019 03:58 PM

If you are using an oil base finish, the blotchy look can be mitigated by coating the wood with a blend of sealer and thinner. Just a tiny bit of sealer in thinner will take care of it. Let it thoroughly dry before applying stain.

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