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Thread: P-wood Derby

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    St. Louis, MO

    P-wood Derby

    My son had his first Pinewood Derby over the weekend. We started out by having the all of the kids in his den over to the shop for a "meeting" where we started working on the cars. Of the 6 kids, i'm the only parent that has a shop, much less a work bench or basic hand tools.

    I was a bit curious to see how it would go - a bunch of 8 year olds confined to a space with a million ways to hurt themselves for an hour and a half. But, after they got the shapes of their cars sketched out on their blocks of wood, we gathered around the band saw to show them how it works, discuss focus and proper use, and instill the fear of amputation firmly in their heads.

    Each kid roughed out the shape of his car on the band saw. My son was the only one who had used a power tool before. It definitely held their interest. Some took the cars home and slapped some paint on them for the race. My kid worked on his every night for a week and a half.

    Race day came, and everyone had fun. I did have to smirk a bit as another parent was criticizing me for building my son's car for him. If only she had known the facts. I didn't say much, but did have to remind her that i helped her son cut his car out on the band saw just a couple of weeks prior. I helped my son with instruction and a touch of filing, but 95% of the effort was his and his alone - including the 5 coats of spray paint that turned out smooth as glass.

    Through the process, my kid used the band saw for the first time, learned how to use a rasp, did a lot of sanding, and learned to spray paint. I think that was a pretty good effort. To him, though, it was no effort at all. He was pretty absorbed in the process for two weeks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Reno NV
    That's just great!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Vancouver Island, Courtenay/Comox Valley, British Columbia
    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Dowell View Post
    That's just great!
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
    AKA The Rookie

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    DSM, IA
    One of my best memories as a kid was making pinewood cars with my dad!
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -Henry David Thoreau
    My Website

  5. #5
    Some time after our son moved on up to Boy Scouts, the Cubs in town started having two races, one for the kids and one for the parents.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    Awesome My son and I had a great time making his for 4 or 5 years. We finally came up with a winning design. The first car we made got stuck on the track half way down
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Long Hill Township, NJ
    Brings back memories . . . Your son was definitely more into it than my son.

    Get a rough shape, paint it and he's done!

    The perennial top finisher in our local PWD was a father who spent WEEKS tuning his sons car. Even boasted about how much effort he expended on it.

    I'll admit - it was fun seeing him get trounced on occasion.


    Last edited by Jim Mattheiss; 01-26-2011 at 11:07 PM. Reason: added something

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Bower View Post
    One of my best memories as a kid was making pinewood cars with my dad!
    Same here. I did the "official" Pinewood Derby a time or two when I was a little kid in Cub Scouts, but then a few years later the small country school I attended had their own version, with a little less strict rules. My dad helped me come up with a way to use rubber model airplane tires with brass tubing for axles. Made for a fast car.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Orem, Utah
    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    My dad helped me come up with a way to use rubber model airplane tires[...]
    I started to read that as "model airplane rubber bands". Now that would make for a fast car!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Rochester, NY
    Brings back memories of making pinewood derby cars with my son. He's 25 now, I still have one or two of his cars somewhere. I miss those days.

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