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.
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