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Old 04-27-2012, 11:40 PM   #1
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Alder or Parawood - Experienced Carpenters


I am trying to buy unfinished furniture and since I am buying a dining table, chairs, sofa table, center table, side tables, the cost is quite a bit. The sole reason for thinking about unfinished is that it can all match and that it is hardwood (went to an unfinished store and found this out).

The two wood choices are parawood (whitewood company) and alder (whittier company) . Both have been used in arguments as soft and easily dented, etc. I want to know your suggestion as to how easily dented parawood or alder can get (I have two girls 4 and 6 years old, not rowdy - but still wanted good tough furniture that I dont have to replace anytime soon). The previous cheap furniture I bought has stayed with me for ten years - so I dont splurge on furniture frequently - so want to do this right. One more opinion from you please - whats the difference between butcher block table and plank table (exists in both the woods). Kindly Help. Thanks in advance.


Last edited by harinin; 04-28-2012 at 09:57 AM. Reason: Add one more thing to my question.
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Old 04-28-2012, 09:54 AM   #2
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Bookerc - Thanks, that is a good post on Alder. I have a few more days to decide - so am hoping someone who has worked with both woods sheds more light by comparing them.

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Old 04-28-2012, 01:38 PM   #3
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Alder or Parawood - Experienced Carpenters


? Why not just go with maple or white oak and buy it prefinished.
Both are super hard and there made in all the pieces your looking for.
That's going to be a whole lot of work finishing all that furniture.
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Old 04-29-2012, 08:40 AM   #4
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? Why not just go with maple or white oak and buy it prefinished.
Both are super hard and there made in all the pieces your looking for.
That's going to be a whole lot of work finishing all that furniture.

Sorry Harinin but, ......my thoughts exactly! Unless your not working at the moment, you'll be finishing furniture for the summer! Then again, you may be willing to except that fact, to which I say; "Go get'em!!
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Old 04-29-2012, 04:18 PM   #5
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Alder or Parawood - Experienced Carpenters


I would go for the alder, it stains well and as one person called it "the gread immitator" cannot tell if it is maple or some other wood. The future dents will add character and memories of your children. I you can find it try a stain called "Flood stain" It does not show overlaps from staining.
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Old 04-29-2012, 05:14 PM   #6
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I bought a Whittier Alder table and chairs set about 20 years ago. Stained it in a medium oak color and it has held up beautifully. Two kids growing up here with it too.
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:37 PM   #7
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Go with the alder, I've refinished pieces from both compaines and parawood is quite difficult to get a nice-looking stain job done.
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Old 05-04-2012, 06:34 AM   #8
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Whole lot of replies
I would check with the people you will be buying from
There may be a sealer on that furniture that may not take stain well
I may be late with this reply if not it wont hurt to ask
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Old 05-04-2012, 10:52 AM   #9
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You know it rather depends on what kind of use your furniture is going to get. Alder is rather soft and around 590 on the Janka scale as I remember and I should have looked it up for you. It is delightful to stain and finish and it does, in some ways, look like harder woods.

And to be honest, and for the price point, put a couple coats of nice oil based urethane reinforced finish on it or even water based epoxy reinforced finish on and your kids will not ding it. It may ding structurally since it is a softer wood but the finish should help from keeping anything major happening to it. I personally would look at something harder like at least oak. Do note as you climb to far up the woodness hardness scale you are going to need things like carbide or diamond bits and sandpaper.


Last edited by user1007; 05-04-2012 at 10:55 AM. Reason: Added Hardness Scale Chart
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Old 05-05-2012, 04:52 PM   #10
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Bookerc, sdsester, snikosnitzo, masterofall, ghostlyvision, sixeightten - Thanks a ton for your inputs. I was out of town this entire week (from Sun) so didnt reply to all your posts, but excellent info. I will go with Alder - and I was considering Whittier produced Alder furniture and shall go with it. Shall just come to terms with the work involved for another 3-4 days before ordering. Did check before posting with an unfinished wood work dealer locally and according to him both Alder and Parawood takes on stain easily - he is ready to do the staining himself - but expensive - to give an idea... one chair staining would be about 90-100$.

Joecaption, CrossWorks - You want me to go with other woods - here is my small input - please know that I am an utter novice here - so forgive me upfront before reading furthur. I really really want furniture to have matching stains. I am willing to learn to get this the hard way. I would love to get this the easy way - but it is very costly. Companies offer a few stain choices (and one company's does not match another - those that mass manufacture Maple, Oak, etc) - so unless you buy all their furniture it wont match. These mass manufactured furniture is not cheap - they are equivalent to Amish made tailored pieces - means expensive - I cannot afford to order all pieces from them. Stores like "Freeds" sell good dining tables in Dallas, TX - but they are made in China - they have no knowledge of what wood or anything that is used - but I want to know what I am getting. For the same money that I plan on spending, I can get good finished furniture from Freeds, but wont be satisfied.

What I had planned on spending for unfinished furniture - Table 750$, Six Chairs 650$, Two side tables 200$, One Center table 200$ and maybe a server for another 200$. This was my spending amount and I will spend a couple of hundreds or more on staining, but maybe a couple of months after buying. I have to get one dealer to sell me at these prices still - because I will get a good deal then - also most unfinished furniture stores locally are way expensive - I have only found good prices online so far. So will have to spend on shipping. Also going with Alder increases prices a bit, so hopefully I dont have to give up on the server.... lets see based on total price. Example of a website with good prices for the same ones I saw at a local unfinished store is : http://www.1unfinishedfurniture.com/548w559w.html.

Last edited by harinin; 05-05-2012 at 06:19 PM.
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Old 05-05-2012, 05:27 PM   #11
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also most unfinished furniture stores locally are way expensive - I have only found good prices online so far. So will have to spend on shipping. Also going with Alder increases prices a bit, so hopefully I dont have to give up on the server for now.
Best prices I have ever found for furniture come with working with accredited interior designers.
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Old 05-08-2012, 11:27 PM   #12
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Alder or Parawood - Experienced Carpenters


Hi All,

I bought all Alder furniture and my summer project is to finish them. Suggestions from all you folks are welcome on how best to finish this. I have never done this kind of a thing and I shall read up a lot and wait to read all your suggestions before buying products end of June. Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-09-2012, 05:54 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harinin View Post
Hi All,

I bought all Alder furniture and my summer project is to finish them. Suggestions from all you folks are welcome on how best to finish this. I have never done this kind of a thing and I shall read up a lot and wait to read all your suggestions before buying products end of June. Thanks in advance.

I applaud your motivation. I sure would like to see pictures of the final outcome this fall. In fact, before & after pictures.

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