Alder comes to us in two different grades. The highest grade is clear and free of defect. The grain is very light when stained, and somewhat uniform. Soft and lightweight, it tends to look a bit like birch, but with a salmon undertone in color. It readily accepts stain well, though, and can be brought to a deep color evenly and easily. The other grade is referred to as “knotty”. This material has been selected for the many knots and visual defects that will be present in each board, often 5 or 6 per square foot. The knots are usually tight, meaning they do not fall out during machining. The character in the grain around these knots can be quite striking. If you are looking for a rustic looking wood, knotty alder is an excellent choice.