Timber Spotlight: Alder

The alder tree is native to the UK. Of the Latin Alnus glutinosa, the alder tree is known to grow to heights of 25 metres and can live for 60 years.

The timber of the alder tree is widely used in boat making and for a range of other underwater uses such as water pipes and sluice gates owing to its porosity and ability to withstand rot. Much of Venice in fact is built upon alder piles. Alder trees are commonly used to boost the fertility of soil on former industry wasteland and are excellent at mitigating the effects of floods.

As a veneer, alder is very popular. The wood is an attractive colour, ranging from light tan to reddish brown, darkening with age. Heartwood and sapwood are very similar, and the overall grain pattern can be likened to birch, although it is slightly redder.

Alder displays a fine, even grain due to its closed pores. Whilst the grain is mostly straight, it can sometimes go off at wilder or more irregular tangents depending on how the individual tree grows.

Alder is considered straightforward to work with both with machine and hand tools, sanding very easily. It does need some care however as the wood is very soft, so caution must be exercised to ensure it is not dented. The wood lends itself to staining, finishing and gluing and turns very well, behaving much like black cherry.

Alder veneers are suitable for commercial, classic and architectural applications. Slicing techniques that work best for this veneer are crown and quarter cut, and for matching it’s book, slip, reverse slip an mix-match.

Our veneers A-Z presents three different anegre veneer options.

Alder veneers

Crown Alder and Crown Figured Alder

Crown alder displays a fairly rich colour with beautiful natural speckled features. Crown figured alder has faint suggestions of a fiddleback effect, combined with natural crown swirls and a rosier hue.

Straight Grain Figured Alder

Figured alder is a lighter, creamy colour featuring a fiddleback pattern, making it very sought after for high end cabinetry.

Alder Wood Veneer Specialists

If you would like to learn more about wood and joinery crafting using alder veneers, or if you have any questions about this particular veneer, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us for tailored advice.