Poplar vs Alder Wood – What’s the difference?

Both Poplar and Alder are hardwoods. They exhibit almost similar qualities that make them highly preferable and demanding. Hardwoods are a prime source of making furniture. Not only that, but hardwoods are essential in everyone’s life.

Alder and poplar are both lightweight woods that are widely used to build instruments and furniture. They are also popular amongst tonewoods. However, they have some distinctions that we need to analyze before making a decision. So let us dig deeper to know their characteristics.

Poplar vs Alder Wood – Difference

Poplar Wood

Poplar woods are known to be quite similar to alder wood. They are hardwoods, but they are soft and easy to work with. Poplar wood can work like softwoods like pine, but they are hardwood, so they are tougher.

Poplar is a straight-grained wood with an even and uniform texture. They are white and ivory with unique green and brown streaks that run through their heartwood. They are not very rich in color that makes them easily stainable. They can take stains and paints very well and also glues easily. They are very versatile and are widely used in making cabinets, drawers, and moldings.

Poplar woods are strong wood. They have relatively high density than other woods like Alder and have good bending qualities. However, it is not harder or stronger than the hardwoods like Oak or any other that falls under higher Janka ratings.

Poplar woods are also stable. They are also known to be rot resistant and immune to some insect attacks. That makes them moderately durable. And their soft nature provides higher workability.

They are popularly used to make furniture, trims, moldings, drawers, cabinets, musical instruments, etc. Compared to Alder, Poplar is relatively cheaper and is always available.

Alder Wood

Alder wood is amongst the highest graded hardwood lumber. They are unique as they are the softest amongst the hardwood and yet very strong and reliable.

Alder wood is a very soft hardwood, just like poplar. In fact, it is above Pine and Poplar. They are smooth and straight-grained wood. They have a uniform texture and rich reddish tint that makes them unique and pleasing. They are widely used to build indoor furniture. They also take stains very well, which makes them very versatile.

Alder woods are less dense, but they are still considered to be durable and more stable than other soft hardwoods like Poplar. They are also highly stable in fluctuating climates. It can be machined, cut, and turned easily, providing high workability. But despite being soft, they are tougher than Poplar and Pine. That makes Alder more suitable for beddings, cabinets, etc.

However, they rank lower when it comes to resistance. Alder woods are not rot-resistant and are poor against insect attacks. This adds to why they are mainly and widely used only for indoor furniture.

Alder is popularly used for furniture, hand tools, moldings, millwork, etc. Regarding price, Alder is a bit expensive than poplar. While they are quite similar, Alder is a little high-end than Poplar and is not as available as Poplar wood.

Thus, we see that both are very similar, but they still exhibit some distinction. These need to be analyzed to choose the one which is required.

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