Aspen Wood vs Alder Wood: Pros and Cons

When it comes to woodworking projects, choosing the right wood is as important as expecting the final output. After all, there are different types of wood. Among the most commonly used ones are Aspen wood and Alder wood. Are you in a dilemma right now as you need to choose between the two? In this article, let us take a look at Aspen wood vs Alder wood comparison, check their advantages and disadvantages, and other information that will help you make a good decision. 

Wood Origin and Characteristics

  • Aspen Wood

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Aspen is a poplar tree that grows in cold-climate areas. It is considered as one of the most common species of trees in Sweden. It features a straight trunk, and is known for its high growth rate, reaching heights up to 30 meters. Aspen wood is characterized by bright hues, and are similar with heartwood and sapwood. 

This wood is relatively soft, lightweight and brittle. With these features, the wood shape stays constant even with a drop in moisture. On top of that, Aspen wood is also less affected by the conditions of the weather when left outdoors, even for a longer period of time. 

Thanks to the capability of Aspen wood not to emit resin, or its low thermal conductivity feature, they are often used to create panels or sauna beaches. 

  • Alder Wood

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The Alder tree comes from the birch family, along with other 30 or more ornamental trees and shrubs. They are spread in the Northern Hemisphere areas, and in certain spots in western South America in damp, cool environments, and at elevations reaching up to 2,500 meters. 

When the trees reach maturity, they reach up to 10 to 30 meters in height, depending on the specific species. The average lifespan of Alder trees is also quite long, about 100 to 120 years. One of the most unique characteristics of Alder wood is the color. They range from reddish to reddish-yellow to reddish white. The hue darkens over time. 

On top of that, Alder wood is also known for its sturdiness, being a hardwood. It features a fewer knots and less prominent grain. Alder wood is sustainable, with enough supply, along with a reasonable price. For this reason, people use this frequently for furniture, and even in electric guitars. 

Durability

  • Aspen Wood

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When used in making furniture, wood durability is a very important factor to take into consideration. Aspen wood is good enough in terms of durability. This is all thanks to its odorless, light, robust features, making it stable for furniture making. Aspen wood is also known for its low thermal conductivity, which means that it is less prone to fire. Another aspect that should be noted is the fact that the wood’s resistance to impact is just ordinary. This means that impact should be restricted if they want their furniture to be protected. 

  • Alder Wood

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Alder wood is also a beauty of its own. In fact, it is quite durable. It dries fast, less prone to decay, and has the capacity to keep its size regardless of the amount of moisture content, whether it is high or low. 

On the other side of the edge, Alder wood features low impact and bending resistance. Since it is not worm resistant, it is quite susceptible to termites. Since Alder wood also absorbs preservatives in its layers, it is easier to provide protection than furniture made out of Aspen wood. 

Workability 

  • Aspen Wood

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Aspen wood is known for its commendable workability. It is easy to cut and trim. Also, Aspen wood is quite odorless and light. It also has a good capacity to hold screws and glue. Specifically, screws that come with big heads are suited for this type of wood. After glue is applied, you need to apply pressure to the surface of wood for a specific time period. If pressure not well applied, the glue may dry, not properly adhering. 

  • Alder Wood

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Alder wood, on the other hand, can be easy to work with. When dealing with Alder wood, you may either complete your project manually, or with a machine. Since red Alder wood is soft, it is easy to carve and cut. 

You may also want to work with Alder wood since it has the capacity to hold screws together quite well. On top of that, this type of wood also offers enough pliability to screw without the need to do pre-drilling. 

Hardness

  • Aspen Wood

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The Janka scale is often used to measure the hardness of wood. In the fight between Aspen wood vs Alder wood, the Alder wood is the obvious winner. Aspen only features a hardness rating of 350 lpf or 1560N. Despite this rating, Aspen wood is still a suitable option for furniture production and construction.

  • Alder Wood

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As mentioned, Alder wood is the harder hardwood. As such, it is a better choice for the manufacturing of musical instruments, most especially in making the bodies of guitars. 

Cost

  • Aspen Wood

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Aside from the quality, cost is no doubt another factor that needs to be taken into consideration. Aspen wood generally comes with a price of $2.34 per sheet (4”x24” and 1/16” thickness).

  • Alder Wood

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Alder wood is more expensive compared to Aspen wood, with a price of $3.15 for the same size and thickness of wood sheet. 

Conclusion

In this Aspen wood vs Alder wood comparison, the different factors that contribute to their similarities and differences have been provided. It may be challenging to decide which is better, there is no doubt that Alder wood comes with some advantages over Aspen wood. 

Since the characteristics of the wood actually varies, it is safe to say that each type is suited for different types of furniture. With this in mind, you will be able to achieve your goal if you take into consideration your requirements, and choose the best option on wood for your needs. If you find this post helpful, don’t hesitate to share it to friends. Feel free to comment below!

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