Steve, Cathy, and Nicholas -- Nicholas competes in his first Pinewood Derby (created 2011-02-28)

One of the yearly traditions of Cub Scouts is the Pinewood Derby races. You get a wooden block with four wheels and four nails. There is a cut in the wood to show where the wheels should go, but otherwise it is an ordinary block of wood. Your job is to carve the block of wood into an interesting car design and then race that car against those created by other Cub Scouts. There is a weight restriction, five ounces, and you can't move the wheels from their designated locations.

Parents are encouraged to help, but the Cub Scout should do the design by himself. Nicholas was very excited to get to use a saw to cut wood. He did the initial cuts and I straightened out the lines a bit with a second cut. The wedge that was cut off to create a streamlined front was reglued back a bit to provide a windshield. We sanded everything down to further even out the cuts and to shape things a bit.

We spray painted the car a dark blue. Handing a can of spray paint to an eight year old is one of the most terrifying things I have done in the past year. We did this outside and far away from the house. Other than a bit of blue snow in our front yard, no damage was done.

We glued a couple of lego bricks to the car to serve as car seats and then attached lego people to those brick seats. We found some fun stickers to add as a final touch.

He did reasonably well in the first round of competion with other members of the the Bears den. It was a complex series of races that mixed up the competitors and allowed each car to race in each of the four lanes. When all the dust had settled, Nick won third place among the Bears and went on to compete in the finals.

The first race of the finals saw disaster strike. The repeated jostling of the previous races caused one of the wheels to come loose. We got an emergency shot of superglue for the loose wheel, but the car just wasn't the same. Still, it was an interesting competion.

Here's a picture of Nicholas with his third place trophy.

Nick holding his Pinewood Derby car

We're already thinking about what to design for next year's competition.

What now?

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Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. This page was written by Steve Simon and was last modified on 2010-11-03.