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Red Alder

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Due to increasing demand for commercial use, red alder prices on the West Coast actually are competitive with the cost of many Eastern hardwoods of its caliber. Expect to pay about $3 per board foot for Selects and Better, the finest grade.

You may be able to buy red alder at retail hardwood outlets in the Midwest. But in the eastern U.S., hardwood species such as yellow poplar and red gum beat its price.

If you plan to order red alder from a small sawmill or operator be sure to specify normal, uniform color. Although red alder may be about the easiest North American hardwood to dry, it does require a special kiln schedule that avoids discoloration through the oxidation of extractives. This oxidation frequently results in mottling. By introducing steam in the kiln drying, skilled operators can produce colors that range from yellow to dark red, a technique that can enhance the final finishing if red alder is to be substituted for costlier stock. Once you have your red alder, you'll want to keep the following tips in mind.

Continued on page 5:  Machining methods


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