This past weekend saw 3 out of 4 of my boys participating in the annual Cub Scout Pinewood Derby in our little town. Our youngest won't be eligible til next year, but he's looking forward to it, and hung out in the Smile Moon Workshop most of the time I was working with the older boys on their cars.
Now please understand that I can't get into the inner workings of building the perfect Pinewood Derby car here for you because A) it's a big secret, and B) I still haven't figured out how to build the perfect Pinewood Derby car - at least not for my own kids (more on that in a bit).
Front to Back: "Crazy Car", "Cuttle Fish", "Speeding Block 2", and "De Plane De Plane"
As you can see, we had a variety of ideas to work on this year. Depending on the age of the boy and his ability and willingness to participate in the construction, there were varying degrees of proficiency on display.
Calvin, who's currently completing his last year as a Cub Scout, designed and built his car from his own idea with very little help from his old man. I walked him through all the procedures we've done side by side in the past and let him do them on his own this year. I give him a lot of credit for thinking on his own about the design of the car he wants every year. He's always won an award for Most Unique Design, and this year was no exception. "Cuttle Fish" took 4th place behind some very good cars and he was happy with the results.
Mason, who's in his second year of Scouting, gets more help from yours truly. However, the design, rough shaping, and finishing of the car are all his. I invited his Den Leader to the Smile Moon Workshop so he could work on his kids' cars, since he doesn't have much for woodworking equipment at home. I let him in on some of the procedures I use, and wouldn't you know it - his son took first place for his Den! Mason's "Crazy Car" got 4th place like his older brother's, but he was happy with it.
Jacob, my oldest boy, was involved in Scouting years ago, and still loves participating in the Pinewood Derby. Unfortunately, his idea of participation is showing up on race day and watching his car speed down the track without regard for the work that goes into making the car. As you can see, very little effort was made to design his car (even less so than last year's "Speeding Block" which, as you can tell by the name of it, also required very little effort), so I had him at least prepare the axles on his own to justify his participation. [He had to do something!!] "Speeding Block 2" took 2nd place in the first heat of the adults & siblings race, but failed to move beyond the second heat due to a wheel that fell off. Tough break, but he was still pretty happy with the early showing.
As for myself, I waited til everybody else's cars were in the box, then started on my own. The idea for a model of a woodworker's plane came to me slowly while working on the other cars. My first attempt was severely overweight, though (the rules limit a car's weight to 5 ounces, or 142 grams), so I had to substitute softwoods where I had hardwoods before and hollow out significant portions of the body of the car. I was well pleased with the way it turned out, even if it only claimed 8th place in the adults and siblings race.
Yes, my son's block of wood with Sharpie decorations on it beat my own way-cool car.
I'm over it. Almost.
Under the dome...
3 years ago