A nitrogen-fixing tree commonly found alongside rivers and streams alder is a common tree species. Living in such a damp environment it is little wonder that alder wood has a very high moisture content. Carving it in the green is therefore a very pleasurable affair as the soft creamy coloured wood is very yielding and forgiving. The cut surface of alder wood oxidises very rapidly on contact with the air, turning a rich orange colour. This characteristic process continues during the carving process, producing a cream coloured wood with attractive orange lines and streaks through the wood.
Its very softness means that alder does not easily allow for crisp detail in the carving, but is an excellent wood to start with and has the potential to produce artefacts of grace and beauty.