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Alder vs Pine [Which Wood is Better for Your Project]

This article is for informational purposes. Always seek the advice of qualified professionals.

Depending on the type of project you work on, you may require a different type of wood.

But which wood to pick among alder and pine?

There are many characteristics that differentiate both the woods. 

So, who will win the battle between alder vs pine?

Alder and pine wood have different characteristics. On the scale of hardness, alder wood is much harder than pinewood. But alder wood does shrink whereas pinewood shrinks to a minimal amount. But it’s easier to cure alder wood in comparison to pine wood. Also, alder wood has a fine texture. 

There are different characteristics of both the wood. And those were just a few.

You can find more characteristics and a detailed analysis of the two woods below.

So, why don’t you carry on to the rest of the article!

Short Comparison

Different woods come from different trees. Also depending on the wood, many characteristics can differ. Such as the durability, how to cure it, how to maintain the wood, etc. 

That is why it is important to know your wood before you start working with it. There are some major differences between alder and pine wood.

That is because depending on the wood, your project can come out differently. You have to choose your wood wisely. 

In the table below we have put both alder and pine wood in comparison. Here both of the wood has been put against the same factors. It’s even a comparison between them.

Let’s get started!

FactorsAlder WoodPine Wood
Hardness DurableWeak 
Treatability Easy Difficult 
Durability Very Durable Slightly Durable
Shrinkage Does shrinkSlightly 
Difficulty of CureHigh Low 
Texture Fine Medium 
Density 449 kg m^3670 kg m^3
Color Light or medium BrownReddish Brown

Now, that was a quick look at all of the information. But without the details, you’ll not get a clear idea.

That is why we have given the details below. We have talked about both of the woods from the same factor standpoint.

So, let’s jump right into that!

Extended Comparison

Here we have divided each of the factors and there we have given the details on each of the woods. In each factor, there will be a winner, so it’s easier for you to pick the best. Let’s get started!

Hardness

Depending on how hard the wood is, the outcome of your project can vary. On the basis of how hard the wood is, you can prepare for any unwanted cracks. 

Alder wood can be used in furniture, wooden models, picture frames, and even musical instruments. Using wood for musical instruments is the most difficult. Because depending on the wood the music can change. Alder wood is more durable in comparison to pine wood. 

Pine woods are really durable. But that requires you to cure it properly. With the proper cure, you can get the best out of pine wood. With pine wood, you can make furniture, garden beds, etc. but in comparison to alder wood, it’s much softer. 

So, in this round pine wood wins!

Treatability

In the case of alder wood, treatability is easier than pine wood. That is because alder wood is much softer and can use the cure more easily. With the proper treatment, you can make a wood real glossy

To treat your alder wood you need to do glazing. Using wax seal coat and sand the wood and coat it with any gel stain. This way your alder wood panels will look better and can last you a long time. 

If you are looking for gel stains to apply to your wood, check the links below:

Product-1
Product-2

Both of these gel stains are applicable for alder wood. Follow specific application methods to apply the gel stain. 

But in the case of pine wood, the process is a bit more intensive. You need to seal pine wood panels with danish oil or linseed oil. Which will give the pine wood a light blond color. And you have to repeat the process several times to get the best look. 

Durability

No matter what wood you are getting, durability is a really big key measure. Because if the wood is more durable your project will last you a long time.

And even though pine wood is harder than alder wood, alder wood is more durable. Alder wood is resistant to many insects which can damage your furniture. And with different coats and seals, you can increase durability. 

On the other hand, pine wood is strong, but in comparison to alder wood, it’s a bit weak. Don’t get us wrong, pine wood is higher than normal generic woods in the market. And with proper treatment, you can expect pine wood to last you a long time as well. 

So, alder wood is the winner. 

Shrinkage

No matter which wood you are getting, shrinking is a known problem. Because when woods are not cured properly, there is a lot of moisture in between the fibers. And you need to dry them properly so that the wood will not shrink in the future. 

But in the battle of alder wood and pine wood, alder wood has more moisture in it. And you need to dry the wood for a longer time than pine wood to make sure it won’t shrink. 

On the other hand, pine woods have less water in them. So the drying process is shorter. And there are fewer chances of the wood shrinking after you build your project. But with the right method, you can stop wood from shrinking

So, alder wood is the winner in this round. 

The Difficulty of Cure

The curing process is not the same for all types of wood. Some woods require less maintenance whereas some wood can give you real pain. 

Alder wood needs a lot of time before you can use them in your project. You need to dry alder wood properly so that there is no shrinkage. Also, you need to use different sealers. So that the wood will not get damaged throughout the lifespan. 

But on the other hand, the curing process is simpler for pine wood. Pinewood has less moisture in it. So the drying process is much shorter than alder wood. Also, pine wood requires less preparation before you start using it on your project. 

So, pine wood is the winner. 

Texture

Different types of wood have different levels of texture. And between pine and alder wood, alder wood has a finer texture. 

It is easier to apply paint and sealers on alder wood. That is because it has a finer texture. Whereas with pine wood you have to do much more sealer and sanding. 

Pine wood has a medium level of texture. Pine wood will get the wood grains in the wood panel. Depending on the texture, different finishes can matter. Such as with finer texture wood, you can get a better glass finish the wood

There is no winner in this round. 

Density 

Different types of wood have different levels of density. If the density of the wood is high, the harder it will be to cut. Also, depending on the density, the wood can be more or less stronger. 

The density of alder wood is 449 kg per cube. But the figure can vary between 10 to 20 percent. On the other hand, the density of pine wood is 670 kg per cube. This figure can also vary from 10 to 20%. 

Final Decision

Now it all boils down to this, which wood to pick for your project? Now the wood you are going to select can greatly define the project you are working on. So the type of project has a great role to play. 

If you are going to make something that needs more durability, go with alder wood. Also, alder wood is great for musical instruments. 

But if you are making cabinets and doors, pine wood is a better option to go with. So the type of wood really mattress depends on the project. Such as, pine wood can be better for the wooden panel under the kitchen sink

So, depending on the characteristics we have discussed above, choose your wood. 

FAQs

Is alder better than pine?

According to the scale of hardness, pine wood is stronger than alder wood. But pine wood is better than alder wood because alder wood shrinks a lot. So, depending on the scale both wood can be worse or better. 

Is alder cheaper than pine?

Pine wood is much cheaper than alder wood. But in comparison to oak, alder wood is much cheaper. Pine is a soft wood, so it’s easier to cut and use in non durable than alder wood. 

Which is harder pine or alder?  

Alder wood is harder in comparison to pine wood. But in comparison to oak, both of the wood is much softer. Alder wood is also around 20 percent more expensive than pine wood. Harder the wood, the pricier it is. 

Is alder a cheap wood?

Alder wood is not cheap. In comparison to pine wood, alder wood is 20 percent more expensive. Also, in comparison to other generic woods in the market, alder wood is expensive. 

Endnote

So, that was everything about alder vs pine. 

Different kinds of wood have different kinds of characteristics. So, depending on your need, pick your wood wisely. 

Good luck with your project!