Red alder: A rugged wood for a rustic look

January 17, 2013 2 min read

Red alder is a wood that many chefs are familiar with because it is extremely popular for smoking salmon. However, this variety of wood is also an incredibly attractive material forcreating furniture and even stair parts.

Knotty alder in particular, like the kind used by Stair Parts USA, has rich characteristics that set it apart from other species usedin stair building. The wood has great versatility when it comes to coloring, depending on the look you'd like in your home.

When a clear lacquer or blonde shellac is applied, this wood will appear to have a dreamy golden tone. However, if you decide to use a darker stain on this wood, it will take on a rich red coloring not dissimilar to an early American cherry wood. Unlike cherry, however, the red coloring won't get darker with age, making it a dependable wood if you like the look of a lighter red wood.

Whether you want your stairs to be light or dark, Alder still has rich, deep shadowing that gives it an extremely rustic look. You wouldn't need to bother painting this wood, as the tight twisting veins and shadows create an extremely rugged design. The term "knotty" is derived from these beautiful veins and the tree's characteristically bulbous roots, which produce a unique protein that helps in making it a savory wood for smoking foods.

Most red alder used in stair making comes from the Pacific Coast where the tree is indigenous. Different species of alder are found all over the world, however, especially in the woods of Central and Eastern Europe.

This kind of material works beautifully in homes with a rustic theme reminiscent of a log cabin.

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