Alder is a soft hardwood with a fine, straight grain and even texture. Its color is light brown with a yellow or reddish tinge. When you compare Alder’s heartwood with its sapwood, there is insignificant color difference. Alder does not evolve as much in color, or darken when exposed to light or heat, as other woods do. Alder takes stains and finishes well. It is one of the softest hardwoods, so it can be damaged easily. Some small, tight knots can be found with standard Alder. Due to natural variations inherent to the species, stains on Alder will not produce a single, perfectly uniform color tone. Sometimes there will be regions of moderate to intense color variation, even within a single piece of Alder. This is considered to be due to the natural variation inherent to wood, and is part of wood’s natural beauty.