What is Alder Wood?

Initially used as an affordable replacement for cherry (which earned it the nickname "poor man's cherry"), the popularity of alder has grown in recent years to the point where it's specifically requested by many homeowners and remodelers. This is because alder possesses qualities that are unusual to wood, so much so that its popularity continues to grow despite becoming prohibitively expensive for many cabinet makers and carpenters.

Probably the most significant of those unusual qualities is the fact that alder can take on a different natural color depending on how it's finished. Alder finished with a water white lacquer and a blonde shellac, for example, will exhibit a light golden color. This style of finishing is particularly popular for pieces of alder that prominently feature knots, as the combination of color and knotting lends the resulting product a warm and rustic style. Finishing alder with an amber-toned finish, meanwhile, brings out a reddish color in the wood that resembles the hue of cherry. Unlike cherry, however, red-finished alder does not darken as it ages.