I am looking for some information about alder wood. I am trying to find out what the density is, and what other more common wood can it be compared to. I presume it is a smooth grain wood that may be comparable to soft maple? I would also like to find out how stable it is, and if it is useful in building furniture. I'm looking to use it as an interior grade part in furniture. Any information would be appreciated.
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor F:
I don’t know the scientific specs on alder’s hardness. It is stable and used extensively in furniture and cabinet making. At one time it was used a lot for the understructure in upholstered furniture (and probably still is). These days a lot of makers use it as a primary show wood, and it can be stained to mimic other woods like cherry. It certainly would be acceptable as interior furniture members.
It tends to warp as it dries, so if you are air drying you'll really need to sticker, strap, and weight it well. Alder isn’t very good in the realm of rot resistance. If you use it for furniture, use it indoors only. Under moist warm conditions (underneath a bathroom cabinet) it will turn to pulp. The fully sealed/oiled cabinet door will be ok, but the interior face frame will rot.
An excellent book “Utilization and Management of Alder” was published in 1978 by the Pacific NW Exp Station of the US Forest Service. Many libraries in OR and WA will have copies; your local library can probably get it through interlibrary loan from Oregon State university.