Already know what you're looking for?
Species Discovery Filters
Considered to be the most abundant hardwood in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, Red Alder has long been used in the region for furniture and cabinetry production -- as well as being a popular choice for electric guitar bodies dating back to when the instrument first went into mass production, in the 1950's. Ranging in color from a light tan to reddish brown, Alder has a soft, lightweight stature -- which makes the wood very easy to work, and it finishes and glues well.
Red Alder is usually sold in two different grades: knotty, and clear. Clear grades are most desired by cabinet and furniture crafters. Many such tradesmen compare the wood's cooperative disposition to that of Black Cherry.
Although technically a hardwood, care must be taken with Alder until finished as its surface can be rather soft (thus, denting easily). The wood is decidedly non-durable, so confining its use to indoor applications and treating the wood with some type of hardening finish (such as lacquer) is recommended.
Heartwood can vary from pale yellow to a light, muted reddish brown; sapwood is grayish-white. There are many species of Birch, worldwide; it is one of the most popular woods, ironically, for both veneer and utility applications. Figured pieces are the more desirable for veneer, with wide, dramatic curly figuring (similar to Cherry) decorating the surface.
American Birch works easily -- it turns, glues and finishes well -- although most boards have very little natural luster. It's a versatile wood that can be used for a number of different applications, but it needs to be protected, as the wood will decay when exposed to the elements. (... and if left unprotected will rot.)
Grains can be wavy, interlocked or sometimes straight; its texture is fine, with a good natural luster.