Community wood projects

Author: Rob Brown
lemonade stand

It seems like just the other week I was skating on the canal here in Peterborough with my kids, and it’s hard to believe that Victoria Day weekend is in the distant past.

It seems like just the other week I was skating on the canal here in Peterborough with my kids, and it’s hard to believe that Victoria Day weekend is in the distant past. Now that the unofficial start to the Canadian summer is behind us, and everyone is out and about, I’m sure we’ll see a lot of entrepreneurial kids on the side of the road, trying to make a few dollars selling lemonade and other treats. Sometimes these kids have just a simple table, though I’ve seen many elaborate lemonade stands in my time, too. I have a feeling it’s not usually the kids who’ve built these stands, but an encouraging parent who has some tools who has spent the time to design and build a stand that will make their kids feel like serious retailers.

I think these parents are the unsung heroes of lemonade sales across the country. My kids have sold lemonade before, and I know that without the support of a parent the stand can look pretty weak and, even worse, the lemonade can taste sub-par. Showing support for your kids at a time like this can go a long way in making them feel not only more confident but ensuring their product tastes great and that they make a few bucks for their (your!) hard work.

One fancy stand

I used to write a project article for Home Hardware every three months, and they would feature it in their [email protected] magazine. Once I made a super sleek (if I may say so myself) lemonade stand. My stand included a few shelves for storage underneath the main serving work surface, a bright red sign to let people know what was being sold and a sunshade to ensure nobody finished the day with a sunburn. You can read the article here.

Obviously, it was a lot fancier than most people need to make, but that’s the sort of thing you do when the project is going to be featured in a magazine. Although it was a fair bit of work to design, the construction phase didn’t take up too much time. Simple joinery coupled with some common materials helped the project move along swimmingly. The hardest part was coming up with an appropriate design that was simple for readers to build and was modular so it could be moved and stored.

Not just lemonade

I’ve also noticed several other stands in my neighbourhood recently. One was made to display free plants. The owner of the house is a gardener and wants to encourage local residents to plant and grow vegetables and flowers in their gardens. It’s a simple but well-built stand that looks quite nice. Over the growing season they give away all sorts of potted seedlings that just need to be planted.

Food, too

There’s another stand in Peterborough that offers free packaged food to whomever needs it. I spoke to the homeowner the other day, who mentioned it’s his daughter’s stand, and she was on the local news recently to talk about her food stand. It works on the “leave what you can, take what you need” system.

The homeowner mentioned how he built it mostly from found pallets, but admitted he got a surprise when he had to purchase a few pieces of wood to bring the project together. “Wood’s expensive!” he laughed, while we spoke.

All of these stands are nice to see and make our communities even stronger and closer. A simple table with a cloth over it gets the job done, but there’s something really great about getting something from a well-built wooden stand on the side of the road.

A Cold Glass of Lemonade
This is a lemonade stand I wrote an article about for Home Hardware’s [email protected] magazine about seven years ago. It’s designed so it can be knocked down and stored fairly easily.

lemonade stand

Free Plants
This plant stand isn’t far from where I live. Show up at the right time and grab a free tomato or green bean plant you can pop in the ground and water.

wood stand

Take Some, Leave Some
This stand was set up by a young girl and her dad so people who don’t have money to buy food can drop by and take something. I like the colourful signage.

wood stand


Published:
Last modified: June 10, 2022

Rob Brown - [email protected]

Rob is a studio furniture maker and the editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement.

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