Centro Lusitano


What you should know about alder in construction of hardwood cabinets

In most homes these days, stainless steel and glass dominate. From kitchen to the living room and even bedrooms, there have been an increasing presence of glass and other non-wood materials. Having hardwood cabinets provides a nice contrast due to the natural warmth and texture characteristic. Hard wood has characteristics such as knots and mineral deposits that make it beautiful especially when it is highlighted with glazes and stains. However, choosing which hardwood to use in the construction of the cabinets requires understanding of these characteristics, prices, advantages and disadvantages.

Alder is a strong hardwood whose grain is fine-textured and straight. The texture is uniform but there are occasional small knots and mineral streaks. It has a deep brown tone that makes it suitable for construction of a wide range of furniture including alder wood cabinets. This suitability is also enhanced by its ability to accept stain consistently and it is also easy to sand. Alder door cabinets can be stained in various ways to appear as if they are not made of the same hardwood. There can be cabinet doors having light stain(stained as oak), medium stain (stained as pine) or dark stain (stained as walnut).

Alder can also have small pin holes and different versions can be adapted to produce alder wood cabinets of varying appearances. They include:

– Knotty alder: minimal or no color and grain matching done to preserve its strong character

– Natural alder: only the extremes are removed and the version is clear of any pronounced defects

– Alder select: character marks and grain patterns are matched to come up with a uniform appearance thus changing the natural grades

Alder changes its appearance over time and after long times of exposure to light. Other factors that cause an impact on its appearance include humidity and physical scratches. To avoid damaging the wood permanently, humidity levels should be maintained at levels at or above 20% when temperatures are below 20 degrees and 35% when temperatures are higher above 20 degrees. Scratches should also be highly avoided.

Pros: Alder has a lower price than some of other hardwoods like maple. It also has soft consistent grains

Cons: Due to its relative softness, it can scratch or dent and darker stains may appear muddy.