Alder is not the only hardwood in the world!
But trying to find a similar type of wood can be difficult.
This is because of the characteristics it has.
What wood is similar to alder?
There are 5 wood types that are almost like alder. They can be used for carving if you don’t want to use alder. These are birch, cherry, soft maple, basswood, and pine. They have similar characteristics to alder. For example, they are all easy to work with due to having less hardness levels.
This is the answer in short. I have added the features of these wood types here. I have also discussed the extra benefits of each wood. This way you can easily pick the one you want.
5 Alternatives to Alder: What Are the Similarities
As mentioned earlier, basswood has 5 popular alternatives: Pine, basswood, Birch, cherry, and Soft Maple. These all have similar features to alder. But what are these features?
Let’s know their similar carving features first:
Straight Grain Content and Softness Level
Alder is known for having straight grain content and being soft. Alder falls under the soft hardwood category.
Because of these characteristics, it’s pretty easy to carve. Alder also has low grain content. If you didn’t know, high grain content means the wood will be hard to cut. But you can easily cut alder in the same manner as cutting basswood.
The same can be said for cherry, basswood, birch, pine, and soft maple. They all have less grain content. They also have a softness to them. As a result, they are all easy to carve and work with.
Flexibility and Strength
Alder is pretty flexible. You can easily use it to make furniture.
The alternatives of this wood are also flexible. For example, basswood is much more flexible than alder.
But the others still have enough strength and flexibility. This makes it possible to make furniture with them too. You can even do other stuff with them too.
This is what makes them great substitutes.
Rot and Weather Resistance
Alder can resist rot and weather at a moderate level. But most alder types are non-durable so they can’t survive natural decay for a long time. Plus fending off rot in the wood can be difficult.
The 3 alternates also have these two qualities. But 2 comes with extra advantage-
Specifically speaking, pine can withstand any weather. It can be used outdoors too. But basswood isn’t the most suitable for outdoors.
Soft maple can also resist natural decay due to rough weather. It’s a good wood for outdoor wood projects too.
But birch, cherry, and basswood share the similarity of not being good for using outdoors. These three have less resistance to natural decay, unlike soft maple and pine.
Let’s now talk about insect infestation-
Pine along with soft maple can tackle insect infestation for a longer time. But basswood, cherry, and birch, on the other hand, do not have much resistance to insects.
As a result, in this case, soft maple and pine are much better alternatives to alder. If you are comparing pine and basswood in terms of decaying, pick pine.
Also, let’s not forget birch, basswood, and cherry can be used instead of alder too. But only in case you have an indoor wood project.
That’s all for the similar features! Do you want to know some additional benefits of picking any of these alternatives?
Keep reading with me then!
Extra Benefits of Alder Alternatives
Now that you’re familiar with the alternatives, you might want to know more about them. I assumed that would happen. That’s why I’ve got the information ready!
Option 1: Pine
Pine is an easily available piece of wood for carving.
The pros of pine are discussed here:
- Good pick for beginner woodworkers. This is because it’s easy to find and work with. You don’t need too much knowledge to carve it.
- Durable and strong. Pinewood has a lot of strength that helps it to last a long time. The wood can resist rough weather such as extreme cold, rain and heat. Pine can even survive an infestation of insects.
- Excellent elasticity. Pine has good elasticity. That’s why woodworkers love it so much.
- Good flexibility. You can use pine for a variety of purposes. For example, you can use it for making furniture, construction, and building. Pine can be handled by both machines and hands.
Seems like a good option?
But there are 4 more options waiting for you. Let’s see them-
Option 2: Birch
Let’s focus on birch. Alder and birch have differences but they somehow have a lot of similarities too.
Here are the pros of birch:
- You can pick among lots of color varieties. Birch can be found in a wide range of colors. It’s available in brown hues that are tinted with a little bit of white, red, and white.
- It’s durable and dependable. Birch is known to be a softwood, But it can be used for many heavy-duty tasks. You can use it for flooring, roofing, furniture, etc.
- Flexible. Birchwood is flexible enough to use for any work. This is because the stems of birch can be molded into any size or shape.
- It’s beginner friendly. Birchwood is much more beginner friendly than basswood. This can give you an upper hand if you’re a newbie.
Lots of benefits! But let’s keep reading.
Option 3: Soft Maple
Last but not the least, let’s check out how good of an alternative soft maple is. Soft maple is actually the softer version of hardwood maple. It has lots of advantages. For that, woodworkers are fond of it.
The pros are:
- Optimal density. Soft maple known for its optimal density is not hard to work with. You cut through it without having any issues.
- Good strength, stability, and beginner friendly. The wood is quite strong and stable. This is why it’s a perfect choice for newbie woodworkers.
- Quite flexible and extremely durable. The wood is flexible enough and can handle stress if you bend it. It can resist natural decay and survive longer than most softwood.
- Soft maple is used for furniture, posts, polls, and fences. But you can’t use flooring because it has less shock resistance. It’s good for both power tools and hand-cutting tools.
Looks good enough? But don’t stop here!
Option 4: Cherry
Let’s see cherry now! The benefits are discussed below:
- Easy to use and flexible. Cherrywood can be used for different applications. Because it’s pretty flexible. Due to its softness, you can easily cut, mold, and corve it.
- Moderate Strength. Cherry comes with moderate strength and the ability for resisting defay and shocks.
Option 5: Basswood
Last but not least let’s check out basswood’s benefits, shall we?
Here there are:
- Not difficult to work with at all and beginner friendly. Basswood is light and soft. As a result, it’s super easy to cut and carve this wood. You can do this with both hand and power tools.
- Moderate rot resistance. Basswood is mostly used indoors. This is because it doesn’t have much ability to resist decay or rot.
That was all I could provide on these three. Hope now you know which basswood alternative you want!
What wood is similar to alder wood?
Alder wood is similar to lots of wood. The list contains cherry, poplar, birch, etc. If you want a substitute with a little more extra benefits, there are options too. For example, you can choose from pine, maple, and basswood.
Is poplar similar to alder?
Yes, poplar is somewhat similar to alder. This is because both have a similar tone and almost similar hardness level. But poplar isn’t dynamic enough. This is where the difference is.
Is alder similar to pine?
Yes, pine is quite similar to alder. Pine along with golden oak has almost the same color as alder. Both are easy to use and work with too. But other than these, they both are different.
That was a whole lot of info, right? But I am done writing on what wood is similar to alder. I hope you now know which is the best substitute.
Make sure to go through the extra benefits parts. Because that can make you pick something out of the ordinary.
That’s it! Good luck with your wood projects!