This blog is about our travels in our solar powered "Airstream" and living off grid, in our passive solar home, near Bancroft, Ontario, Canada.

If you have any questions send us a comment; we love to hear from our readers.
Click on pictures for larger view

Thursday 20 December 2012


Yesterday we spent the day at the Mill with Peter sanding and staining the poplar we will use as trim in the house. I was surprised at how clean and knot free the boards were and wonder why this wood isn't used more extensively in house construction.

We were very grateful to be able to work inside where the floor was heated and we had the space and tools to get the job done quickly.

All the poplar had been kiln dried and planed smooth last month so our first job was to run it through the sander to get the pores opened ready for the stain.

The Mill had a little machine that made the sanding job go so easily. The sandpaper was attached to a drum by Velcro and 4  little soft rubber wheels kept the board face pushed down tightly as it crossed the spinning drum. Voila! Job done.

The staining was a much slower job, no little machine to make it a Volia! experience. Using a cloth we rubbed the stain onto the board then stood the board upright to dry. By 5 o'clock we had given each board two coats and we were exhausted. 

Today I will take the trailer over and bring home over 600 board feet of trim. I know that's not enough but it will get us started and we will get the rest in the new year when Don and Carol are up.


  1. my dad found out about poplar this summer too when renoing a house! it's less expensive than pine too right? in my construction class they didn't talk about poplar either. I wonder if it's 'new' to the industry as a wood that works well.

  2. Hi Becca;

    I think one reason pine is so popular is because so much was planted after the war. Poplar is considered a weed tree by so many, good only for burning.
    I'm delighted to be able to use it for our trim; just wish we had been able to harvest it off our land.