Alder or birch for dark-stained cabinets?

sungreenMay 24, 2012

We are building a house, and I have been soaking up all the wonderful information and beautiful kitchens on here that I can! We have a choice between alder and birch cabinets in our kitchen, and we want a dark stain on them. We just aren't sure whether to go with birch or alder. I can't seem to find much information about birch cabinets. Any advice is appreciated. Thank you!

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bahacca

Does one of them have more of an obvious grain pattern in them than the other? If so, that would probably be my deciding factor-do you want the wood grain to stand out or not?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 2:51PM
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mamadadapaige

I designed a kitchen for someone using alder wood with a java stain. The cabinets were absolutely gorgeous. The wood took the stain beautifully (must better than the dark stains I have seen on Maple)

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 3:04PM
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AnnaA

We just installed Alder cabs on our perimeter with a light stain (that I think looks more medium). Our GC then replaced our window frames with Alder, and stained to match. It is not the knotty Alder. You can find the finished pics by searching for 'Quartz', and a Finished KM thread will pop up.

But, while you will read on some previous Alder threads about concerns over the softness of Alder (yes, it is soft), this wood creates such a warm, buttery, soft feel that we are loving!

I have no idea what a darker stain might do to the overall feel/look of Alder. We did use a stained maple for the island, which we use much more than the perimeter. I am finding myself happy that the island wood is a bit more durable since we do bang things around a bit more.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 3:29PM
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deeageaux

Janka Hardness Scale

Sweet Birch 1470

Sugar Maple 1450

Cherry 950

Alder 590

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 4:07PM
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lazy_gardens

Alder stains better (more evenly, easier) than birch, which would be an issue if you are staining it dark.

Technically it's "softer", but unless you are putting it on a floor, it's not much of an issue. Are you prone to whacking your cabinetry with a hammer?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 4:25PM
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deeageaux

Technically it's "softer", but unless you are putting it on a floor, it's not much of an issue. Are you prone to whacking your cabinetry with a hammer?

There is no "technicality". It is softer.

A better question is will it ever be hit with something harder than wood? A metal object perhaps?

Or do you live in a fantasy land where accidents don't happen?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 8:58PM
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