Sunday, April 5, 2009

Pinewood Derby

It's that time of year again, where the desire to let my boys feel a sense of accomplishment is countered by my desire for them to make it into adulthood with all their fingers attached. That's right, last Friday was the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby.

Ryan's car was "The Frankenstein" & Ethan's was "The American"

After reading a friend's post about his boy cutting out his own car, I approached Peter about doing the same. He promptly reminded me that Ryan almost cut off his hand last year when carving soap with a pocket knife. In other words, no way. So I settled on letting them draw their own designs on the block of wood while Peter handle the band saw. They did sand and paint their creations (I might have done some touch up after they went to bed).

And here is the amazing thing: Ethan took 1st place!! I think he was glad I wouldn't let him go with his first choice in car design (a book) or his second (a ruler) or his third (scissors). In fact, after our original brainstorm, I decided to insist on a car looking design. Although slightly underweight, his car zoomed!

We thought for sure Ryan's car would be faster, but a small design flaw (weights too far back and back wheels too far forward) caused his car to wheelie at the bottom of the track. He did win one heat and took it all in good measure.

Here is what I learned:

  • there are a lot of sites with printable car templates;

  • googling "pinewood derby car templates" will bring up a mix of those site and really nasty sites;

  • using masking tape is an effective way to let boys add stripes to their cars;

  • polishing the axles makes a huge difference;

  • in a scrape, drywall patch can be used to cover holes drilled to add weights;

  • see the weights sticking out of Ryan's car- never use that kind they are hard to cut;

  • and as much as Peter rolls his eyes in reference to my blog, I heard him telling all his family I was posting about the pinewood derby and they should go check it out.


  1. It seems like no matter what I google lately I get a mixture of good/disgusting sites. When I was making Addie's schedule poster, I did a Google image search for "bubble bath", and later for Barlow's Christmas present I did one for "massage". You wouldn't believe the stuff it pulled up! (Sadly, I am not joking... temporary insanity must have cut off my "duh!" filter.)

    Anyway, I'm not much a pinewood kind of gal, but it looks like you guys derbied well.

  2. I am still quite impressed with the size of the trophy. I don't even want to imagine what my husband will be like when my boys are pinewood derby age, heaven help us all.

  3. Andrea- you're lucky you didn't see what happened when my friend googled farm animals with her son. I am also not a derby kind of girl, but my husband is a derby kind of dad. The 1st year he can attend, they happen to start winning ...

    Kim- they found the trophies in the back of a closet and decided to use them instead of throwing them out. 1st year they had trophies. (I think we are going to redonate it for next years race.)

  4. Were you around when I tried to organize a Pine Wood Derby for boys of all ages (adults included) in Lehi? I was trying to create an actual event since I didn't think our two Cub Scouts would get off on competing only against each other. A lot of adults signed up, and I don't think anyone ended building anything. Oh well. That seemed to happen to me a lot in Lehi, so I wasn't too surprised. Thanks for the tips. Only five more years until my own little guy is in Cubs!

  5. Great job, Ethan! I'm going to have to bookmark this post for future reference. I see many, many pinewood derby in my future.

  6. That's amazing!! I love the car designs! These kids are pretty amazing!! I am glad that Ethan won! That's so awesome. Ryan's car actually has a Frankenstein look with the weights on the side. lol. I love it!!