Alder Root – A Swedish Specialty
by Liza Laserow
Small square tilt top table in alder root with a brass lining the master by Jacob Sjölin. Available at 1st Dibs.com
During the 18th Century the small carpenter shops around Mälardalen became experts to master the art of veneering with alder root. They started veneering with influences from Engalnd where dark walnut was popular but because of the lack of walnut they worked with alder root of a local kind. The technique is mainly found on tilt top tables, boxes and smaller side tables. The tops were either round or squared standing on a blackened tripod base. When the tables werent used the top was tilted and placed against a wall. Just before the mid 18th Century larger cabinets and secretaries were made with alder root veneer.
A master before others was Jacob Sjölin (1737-85). He had his own shop in Köping, Sweden and was famous for his beautiful tilt top tables. Every single one that was made was signed and numbered (see picture above). Sjölin also made boxes and chests from the Rococo period.