Aspen Vs Alder Wood: Detailed Comparison Of Wood Types

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Choosing the right materials is a top concern for anyone who wants to begin a woodworking project. There are many different wood types, of which aspen and alder wood are one of the most common. But do you know the differences between them?

In this post, we provide essential information about the distinctions between aspen vs alder wood. If you want to learn more, keep reading until the end. 

Overview Of Aspen And Alder Wood

What Is Aspen Wood?

Aspen is a cold-climate deciduous poplar tree. This tree is also one of Sweden’s most common tree species. It has a straight trunk, a relatively high growth rate, and can reach heights of 15 to 30 meters. The hue of the wood is also bright, with a minimal distinction between sapwood and heartwood.

Aspen wood is lightweight, relatively soft, and brittle. Despite the drop in moisture content, the shape of the wood remains steady. Besides, this wood is also less impacted by the weather if left outside for an extended period. 

Moreover, aspen wood has a low thermal conductivity and does not emit resin. Because of these properties, they are utilized to make sauna benches or panels.

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What Is Alder Wood?

Alder (genus Alnus), a birch family, includes roughly 30 ornamental shrubs and trees (Betulaceae). Alders are found throughout the Northern Hemisphere and in portions of western South America in cool, damp environments at elevations of up to 2,500 meters. 

When mature, the tree can reach a height of 10 to 30 meters, depending on the species. This kind of tree has an average lifespan of 100 to 120 years.

Color is one of this wood’s distinguishing characteristics. The color of alder wood ranges from reddish-white or reddish-yellow to reddish. As time passes, the hue darkens.

In addition, alder wood is a hardwood with sturdy construction. It is less prominent grain and has fewer knots. This type of wood is always available and reasonably priced. As a result, people frequently used it for furniture or electric guitars.

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Aspen Vs Alder Wood: 5 Main Differences

Workability

The workability of aspen wood is often commended. It’s simple to trim and cut. Moreover, aspen wood is pretty light and odorless. The capacity to hold glue and screws is also advantageous. In particular, screws with big heads are ideal for this sort of wood. However, after applying the glue, the worker must apply pressure to the wood for a specified amount of time. If the pressure is not applied, the glue will dry and not adhere properly.

Meanwhile, alder wood is easy to work with. When handling this type of wood, workers can use either their hands or machines. Because red alder wood is quite soft, it is simple to cut and carve. Besides, the ability of wood to keep screws is excellent. Additionally, alder wood is also pliable enough to screw without pre-drilling.

Durability

When utilized as furniture, the durability of wood is usually a significant consideration. Because it is light, odorless, stable, and robust for furniture, aspen wood is pretty durable. In addition, aspen wood is notable for its low thermal conductivity, making it less prone to fire. 

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On the other hand, the impact resistance of aspen wood is also ordinary. It means that consumers must take caution and restrict their impact to protect furniture. Furthermore, the heartwood is not worm resistant and is particularly resistant to preservatives.

Because of the moisture, alder wood is quite durable. This wood dries quickly, is less prone to decay, and maintains its size regardless of whether the moisture content in the wood is high or low.

However, alder wood has low bending and impact resistance. Its heartwood is also susceptible to termites because it is not worm resistant. Though, because alder easily absorbs wood preservatives, It is easier to protect than aspen wood furniture.

Color

On the one hand, alder wood is virtually white, with a hint of yellow. However, when exposed to air, the color of the wood changes to yellow or reddish. This feature distinguishes alder wood from other types of wood. When an alder tree reaches a particular age, it has a heartwood. There are no distinct borders between the sapwood and the heartwood. The hue of the wood will darken as it grows.

On the other hand, the hue of aspen wood is simpler than the alder wood color. There is very little difference between the colors of sapwood and heartwood. Sapwood is usually white, whereas heartwood is light brown.

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Hardness

If the Janka scale is used to determine hardness between aspen vs alder wood, the hardness champion is alder wood. The hardness of alder is 590lbf (2620N), whereas that of aspen is 350lpf (1560N). 

Despite its lower toughness, aspen wood is nevertheless excellent for construction and furniture production. In contrast, with higher hardness, alder wood is an excellent wood for manufacturing musical instruments, particularly electric guitar bodies.

Price

Aside from quality, the price is an essential and well-considered aspect before purchasing anything. In general, alder wood is somewhat more expensive than aspen wood. For example, aspen wood costs $2.34 per sheet size 4″ x24″ with a thickness of 1/16″. However, users must pay $3.15 for the same size alder wood sheet.

Aspen Vs Alder Wood: Which Is Better?

It is hard to decide which wood is superior: aspen or alder. However, alder wood has a few advantages over aspen wood. Alder is a strong, long-lasting wood that is widely available. 

Aside from that, its color is one-of-a-kind and varied, making it ideal for customers’ hobbies. Although this material is more expensive than aspen wood, it is widely used due to its numerous benefits.

Conclusion

To sum up, the article contains information and differences in the properties of aspen vs alder wood. Because wood characteristics vary, each type of wood is appropriate for other kinds of furniture. Consider your requirements, and then you can choose the best wood for you.

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