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Red Alder

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Machining methods

Machining methods

Although you can work red alder easily with hand and power tools the wood does have a tendency to blunt cutting edges. So keep sharp ones handy or resharpen for high-quality cuts.


  • Ripping poses no problems with red alder because of its even texture. Crosscutting does require a backing board to reduce any possible tearout.
  • If you experience tearout when planing, either reduce the feed rate or adjust the wood to a slight (15) angle to the cutterheads.
  • For routing, slow the feed rate for smoother cuts.
  • All adhesives work well with red alder without special preparation of the mating surfaces.
  • Red alder is known in the wood products industry for its nail-and-screw holding power. But, predrill for screw holes to lessen the chance of splitting.
  • Red alder tends to fuzz just a trace during sanding, but unlike rock-hard sugar maple, it won't retain the scratches left behind should you skip a grit.
  • Because of its color consistency and pore structure, red alder takes all types of stains equally well without sealing or otherwise conditioning the wood.
  • You can use any type of clear finish on red alder. It also holds paint extremely well.

Continued on page 6:  Carving comments

 

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