It is essential to know the wood to choose, its purposes, and application for any woodworking project, especially when you want the best choice for your construction. There are many types of wood you can find; Aspen and Alder are very common.
Now you have found two great choices, but which is better? It all comes down to your preference. They both have amazing properties but are you aware of their differences?
Aspen wood is perfect for furniture that gives a rustic look as it stains and sand well, while alder wood is more on the higher grade side for carpentry and cabinetry construction.
|Hardness||The wood is soft but fairly firm.||It has a very soft texture, the most temperate hardwood you can find.|
|Cost||Less expensive compared to Alder wood.||More costly but not a significant difference.|
|Color||Sapwood is a creamy-white color and hardwood, light brown to greyish-white.||Reddish-white to reddish-yellow to light brown.|
|Availability||Barely available in bulk.||Always readily available.|
|Durability||It is not very durable; it is not perfect for outdoor furniture because of its resistant to wood preservatives.||Althoughit is a very soft wood, alder wood is considerably durable.|
Aspen is a popular deciduous wood native to the cool regions of North America. It is also commonly found in Sweden. The trees have a high growth rate, ranging from 15-30 meters which are 50-100 feet in length.
The wood is relatively soft but reasonably firm, with a bending strength of 8400 psi and an elasticity of 1.2 million psi. It is weather-resistant.
Aspen is a hardwood but is usually sold by softwood manufacturers. It has a straight grain with diffuse pores and a medium texture. The color of the sapwood and heartwood are pretty similar, with the former being creamy-white and the latter ranging from light brown to a greyish-white.
Alders are natives of the Northern Hemisphere, and they include about 30 species or more. They are commonly found around damp areas, streams, and rivers. The lifespan of the Alder tree is approximately 100-120 years, with the length ranging from 10-30 meters.
The wood is hardwood but is the softest hardwood you can find, so it is called semi-hardwood. Due to how soft it is, it does not end up denting.
The colors of Alder wood vary from reddish-white to reddish-yellow to light brown, which gets darker over time. It has a smooth surface with a closed and straight grain which allows for was finishing. The wood may display tight knots and rays.
Aspen vs Alder Wood Uses
What is Aspen wood for?
- Aspen wood is used for a number of things, and some of them are listed below:
- The wood is used to make matchsticks and paper because it can resist flame.
- The bark and leaf of an Aspen tree are used to make medicines.
- The wood chips are used to make animal bedding because it contains chemicals that are not harmful to animals, compared to other woods.
- It is used to make food containers because it is lightweight and lacks odor.
What is Alder wood used for?
Below is a list of some of the things Alder wood can be used for:
- It is used for carpentry, cabinetry, musical instruments, doors, picture frames.
- It is used for making charcoal and gun powder.
- Alder wood is used to make boats, parts of boats, water pipes because of its durability.
- It can also be used to make carvings and decorative woodwork.
Cost of Aspen and Alder Woods
Hardwoods are typically more expensive than softwoods are. Both Aspen and Alder are hardwoods, with Aspen being used mostly in home developments. This is probably because it is cheaper than Alder wood.
Although, the price difference is not significant. For example, an Aspen wood sheet can cost $2.35, while a sheet of Alder wood (same thickness) can cost $3.15.
Durability of Aspen vs Alder Woods
One of the most important things that need to be considered is how durable your wood is. This will determine how long your woodwork will last. Aspen wood is odorless and flame-resistant, which makes it a good choice for your furniture.
However, its low impact resistance and other drawbacks like the heartwood not being worm-resistant but resistant to preservatives may not be the best choice for outdoor furniture. It is not the best when it comes to durability.
On the other hand, Alder wood can handle a lot of moisture and maintain its size regardless of how much water is in it; but it has low impact resistance.
It is an excellent choice for outdoor furniture, even though the heartwood is not worm-resistant. It is considered to be very durable despite its soft texture. This is because it absorbs wood preservatives, unlike Aspen wood.
Aspen is easy to work with; it is lightweight and odorless, an added advantage. Trimming, cutting, and nailing is done efficiently without stress. When applying glue to the Aspen wood, one should mix the glue with water and use a lot of pressure until the glue dries, else it does not bond properly.
The tools being used must be sharp, and the screws large-headed. It stains well and does not break easily, an excellent choice for building furniture. Screwing is also easy as the wood is soft and holds the screws well. When working with Alder wood, workers should avoid denting it as it is incredibly soft. This shows how easy it is to work with. It stains well, finishes nicely, glues well, sands well, and cuts well. You can use either machine tools or hand tools.
Pros and cons
Pros & Cons of Aspen Wood
- It does not split easily.
- Holds paint well.
- It is flame resistant compared to other hardwoods making it a safe option.
- It is easy to work with.
- Less expensive compared to Alder wood.
- It is not always available to buy in bulk.
- It has a short lifespan of about five years.
- Does not absorb wood preservatives.
- Does not resist moisture very well.
Pros and cons of Alder wood
- Easy to work with because of the soft texture.
- It stains well.
- Easily absorbs wood preservatives.
- Its durability makes it an excellent choice for cabinets and doors.
- It is readily available.
- Expensive when compared to Aspen wood.
- The soft texture makes it easy to be dented and scratched.
Aspen and Alder wood has significant advantages, so it is challenging to say which is better. Although, Alder is more advantageous over Aspen wood. It is durable, not resistant to wood preservatives, and easy to work with. Aspen wood is a great choice for constructing some woodwork, likewise, Alder wood. The properties vary, which is why it is essential to check your requirements before picking any of these two choices.