Pinewood Derby

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Dave Richards

Dave
Senior User
After a bunch of years of not being interested in being in Scouts, my son, age 11, decided to join at the beginning of the school year. He'll be going to Boy Scouts next month but he was able to get in one Pinewood Derby at least. Here's his car.



He was inspired by watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I had him do all the bandsaw work after he practiced cutting about 6 feet of 2x4 into little curvy pieces.



We spent a bunch of time talking about the steps required to cut out the car and organizing things. I drew some of the lines on the block for him to follow but he did all the cutting and a nice job of it too. We used pieces we cut away to make other parts of the car. You can probably pick some of them out. There were a few spots where we needed to add some wood filler and we made that from glue and sanding dust off the car.


His wasn't the fastest car but it wasn't the slowest, either. And he won an award for coolest car as voted on by the other scouts.
 
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AllanD

Allan
Senior User
Way to go! I remember those Pinewood Derby days, great to see your son get involved. I have seen a few Dads take over and do most of the work. Made my day.
 

Dave Richards

Dave
Senior User
Thanks Allan. His scoutmaster was surprised when I showed him the picture of Ian cutting at the bandsaw. Most of the cars in Ian's den were cut out by the other dads at the scoutmaster's house on his little bench top bandsaw. The scout rules don't allow the kids to do that sort of thing. I would have liked to have invited the den over to my shop but I was afraid some kid would get hurt and it would be my insurance on the line.

FWIW, there was a parents and siblings race too. I brought my cars from when I was in scouts. I figured they are 46 and 45 years old respectively. I just pulled them out to bring to show some vintage cars. I was surprised to see how well they ran showing up consistently in 3 or 4 place.
 

JGregJ

New User
Greg
Great job and a very cool car. Also like others commend you on having your son do the work and teaching him how to properly use the tools.
 

CrealBilly

Jeff
Senior User
Boy Scouts - your son is lucky to have access to a shop full of tools - great looking derby car :thumbs_up

I remember doing that with my dad, except he handed me his pocket knife. I must have shaved it down a little to much because I recall it looking a lot like an arrow. I also remwber my dad telling me I needed to carve a few hole in the bottom. I recall my mom melting some of my dad's fishing sinkers in a old pan on the stove and pouring it into the holes in the bottom of the car I carved. Then my dad put the wheels on with nails and a hammer, he then coated the nails with graphite. My car looked like crap but it won as the fastest :)

Another memory is making a tambourine out of old soda bottles tops that I smashed flat with a hammer. Poked a hole in the center with a ice pick. I thought it was so cool that my dad let me use his old rusty crappy coping saw to cut circles out of a piece of 1x12 pine. I also carved those circles smooth with my dad pocket knife. I even carved out a hole for my hand. It was a pretty cool project.

I also remember wining the nail driving contest. 2 wacka with my dad's 28oz hammer and I sunk a 16d nail into a 2x12. Yeah I was a beast of a skinny kid -:lol

Good memories and I know your son will have some too.

"I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy" - Sarah Palin
 
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Endless Pursuit

New User
Jeff
Scouts is a great experience for kids (and adults). Good, clean fun. We raised 2 Eagle Scouts and the experience has served them well. There are some simple tricks to making a Derby Car go really fast. I'd be happy to show them to you if they are in it next year.

My favorite part of scouts was lakeside or riverside camping and fishing. A lot of the boys had never caught a fish before and once they did, they were changed forever and for the better. I am certain we kept some kids from getting into trouble by providing alternatives to "hanging around" parking lots or worse. The key is to push the envelope of adventure whether it's outdoors, in your shop, or attending entertaining events. We did a lot of factory tours which the boys enjoyed. A Coca-Cola bottling plant was a great one. A LOT of places will admit Scout Troops for free - if you ask! Nice to hear they are involved. Good job - Dad!
 

tarheelz

Dave
Corporate Member
Wish I had my old cars. One year, I made state championship! (and got smoked)

I worked on them a lot and did all the painting but my dad did all the detail or dangerous work. (He also seemed to drive the design aspects.) All that said, it was some of my favorite memories with my father.

Oh well. I have a girl. ;)
 
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tri4sale

Daniel
Corporate Member
Wish I had my old cars. One year, I made state championship! (and got smoked)

I worked on them a lot and did all the painting but my dad did all the detail or dangerous work. (He also seemed to be drive the design aspects.) All that said, it was some of my favorite memories with my father.

Oh well. I have a girl. ;)
I'm thinking we should have a Woodworker Derby Event for us older folks, or younger folks with no kids in scouts (boys or girls)
 

Dave Richards

Dave
Senior User
I was telling a woodworker friend of mine from the UK about this. He'd never heard of it but thought it was a great idea. He volunteers at a community workshop where a bunch of old codgers come to putter and work on their own projects. I suggested he rally the troops and get them hooked up with some school-aged kids to make cars and race them. It seems like very few kids there get exposure to woodworking and this could be a good place to start.
 

tarheelz

Dave
Corporate Member
All is not lost Dave! I do believe Girl Scouts have something similar - I think it's called the "Powder Puff Derby".
Ha! The eight year old I have is into gymnastics, no girl scouts. She also digs working in the shop. For all the macho stuff some guys bring to the shop and their acquisition of tools, my kid put me in place about six months ago while she was using cherry scrap to "make dominoes for Mom." She said, "I like it out here. It's just like arts and crafts."
 

tri4sale

Daniel
Corporate Member
Ha! The eight year old I have is into gymnastics, no girl scouts. She also digs working in the shop. For all the macho stuff some guys bring to the shop and their acquisition of tools, my kid put me in place about six months ago while she was using cherry scrap to "make dominoes for Mom." She said, "I like it out here. It's just like arts and crafts."

There's a t-shirt logo in there somewhere.

Woodworking: Arts and Crafts for Big Boys (and Girls too!)
 

Paradise Farms

New User
Matt
Nice looking car, really like the steering wheel. My kids are involved in Awanas and have a similar derby. Here are a couple of picks of the cars we made. Not as nice looking as yours but built for speed. Canted polished axles, raised wheel steered into the rail. They all weighed in at 5 oz. with very aggressive centers of gravity. I found building the cars highly addictive!

57DF9950-5131-40FC-9817-930C7F3B68A8_zpsispkqiua.jpg FEEE9353-B6B4-4DAE-8196-13EB14900E5A_zpsizqdjhyv.jpg 82B79F3E-2738-4A40-93E3-B1541047300D_zpsguwdicnf.jpg
 

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Dave Richards

Dave
Senior User
Cool! Did you start with the standard block and cut it down? The rules Ian had to abide by directed that the original block must be used.
 

Paradise Farms

New User
Matt
The orange car and the gold car are from the blocks purchased for the race. I bought 4 blocks used one block to cut those two cars out of. The other two cars I made out of some 3/16 balsa or basswood I had with 1/16 veneers. They are hollow with just a frame with weights in the back the weights are 3/16 cubed tungsten. We had to purchase blocks to secure a spot in the races but got the ok to use the skinny planks for the other two.

FF2C4802-25E2-4F08-BF74-60016257B3B8_zpsame9d7kf.jpg
 

JGregJ

New User
Greg
When my son and I built cars for boy scouts we drilled holes and used coins as weights then covered them with sticker to close up the area. This approach allowed us to tweak the weight at the day of the race on the official scale. Can remember exactly, but something like 10-15 pennies were used across 2-3 holes.
 

Dave Richards

Dave
Senior User
My cars had lead melted into holes in the bottom of the car. Now they frown on using lead so I got some tungsten weights. About half of the weight was glued into holes on the bottom of the car, The rest went into holes drilled and covered by the black piece behind the cockpit. I used a piece of carpet tape to secure that piece once the weight was set correctly.
 
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