Alder wood - the proven imitation

Alder wood has long been used to imitate special and expensive wood species. In addition, it also has a few other proven applications. What else you should know about alder wood, you can read here.

Technical values

Reading Descriptionvalue
density0.49 - 0.64 g / cm³
Medium volume density447 kg / m³
Compressive strength47 - 55 N / mm²
flexural strength85 - 97 N / mm²
condensing4.1 kWh per kg, 1,500 kWh per room meter

Alderwood types and DIN names

Similar to the lime tree, there are also several European species in the alder tree and a species occurring exclusively in the USA and Canada - that is the American red alder, also known as Oregon alder. In our case, the following species are common:

  • Schwarzerle
  • Gray alder (or Weißerle)
  • Italian alder (especially in Calabria and Corsica)

With regard to the wood, the individual species differ only insignificantly.

National designation according to DINalder
Abbreviation according to DINHE
International designations according to DIN EN 13 556Gray alder and black alder
International abbreviationALIN, EU or ALGL, EU for the American red alder there is no separate name in the DIN EN


The alder is a sapwood tree, which means there is no difference in color between sapwood and heartwood. The gray alder is always slightly lighter and finer than the black alder, this applies to both the color and the grain.


Alder wood has a very fine drawing, with widely dispersed, but very fine pores. Annual rings are only weakly recognizable, the wood rays are very fine and are particularly dense.


Common shades are reddish yellow to pale yellow, with fresh wood, the color can also turn into orange. However, this hue darkens to a brown color during drying. The surface shines matt with alder wood.


Alderwood is rather light and rather soft compared to other native hardwood species. The Weißerle (gray alder) has slightly less strength than the black alder and is considered qualitatively inferior. Accordingly, the black alder is more valued and valued higher and preferably used.

Shrinkage and drying

With alder wood one finds only a rather moderate shrinking behavior. Like linden, alders are also very likely to upset. Proper storage during drying is therefore very important. Alder wood should be protected from direct sunlight during drying.

Deteriorated wood can be recognized by the following signs:

  • Formation of dark and blackish marbling
  • Crumbling of the wood
  • Swelling of the wood fibers

Deteriorated wood can no longer be used and no longer be burned. The wood structure is completely destroyed.


Alder wood can not withstand the weather when used outdoors. Completely under water, however, it is very durable. It is not resistant to fungal and insect infestation, but on the contrary extremely susceptible to it.


Especially in furniture making, and also in chairs, alder wood is often used as a substitute for expensive precious woods (especially walnut). That is also connected with its particularly favorable price. Alderwood is still widely used in musical instrument making today. American alder is increasingly used as a substitute for the also very expensive cherry wood.

Traditional use

Traditionally, alder wood has been used mainly for the tables of sewing machines. Smoke chips were usually made from alder.


As sawn timber, alder wood costs around 500 - 700 EUR per m³, and steamed wood costs between 600 and 750 EUR per m³. American alder is usually offered in wood trade only in very small quantities and therefore at much higher prices.

Here you will find all types of wood at a glance

Tips & Tricks

If you would like to have the look of high-quality walnut wood ("walnut"), you simply need to stain alder wood in the corresponding shade. That's easy and saves a lot of money.

Video Board: [email protected]: Kim Stanley Robinson