Sunday, February 6, 2011

Murder at the Pinewood Derby

Doesn't the title to this post remind you of an old Hardy Boys, or Nancy Drew, or Boxcar Children mystery novella? Fine, me either, but it was fun to write!

"I want a design that will go fast!" This is Jonah's response when I asked him to design his first pinewood derby car. Well, leave it to Dad of course, to put things off until the last minute. I advised him that the design couldn't be too complicated, since we only had a couple of days until the derby. Never mind that I had been asking him to do the design for a month. Of course I told him that it doesn't matter who wins, it's all in fun!

I call Jonah's...the Golden Doorstop.

I don't remember what he called it; the Golden Bullet? the Golden Rocket? The Golden Wedge? It looked better without the weights attached.

Jonathan's is the Silver Speedbump.

I can't remember the name he gave his, either. He designed his own too. He wanted it flat, with a bump in the middle.

Unfortunately, since Jon-Jon technically isn't a cub scout until March, he wasn't allowed to race with the other cubs. He did race in the open heats (free-for-all) after the cubs were done.

Jonah's did pretty well. We decided to have two wards participate since the rental cost of the track is so high. Jonah ran 1st in every heat he raced, but his overall time placed him 5th (out of 25-30?). The funny thing is there was a cub whose car weighed in at less than 3 oz (max weight is 5 oz), so I gave him the weights I was going to put on Jon-Jon's car, and the cub ended up beating Jonah's overall time, though they never ended up racing each other in an actual heat. I think the kid ended up in 2nd place. He kept having to retape the weights on every couple of heats or so.

(Jonah at weigh-in. The weights weren't yet attached. Did I already mention procrastinating 'til the last minute?)

Even without the weight, Jon-Jon's car beat a lot of others in the open heats, though weighing only 2 oz. Now, I have to pause here, and declare that I am NOT one of those dads who pours all this money into the cars, and squirts graphite powder onto the axles between every heat. (Yes, the cars that won all had that kind of attention lavished upon them.) (Oh all right. So I am honest enough with myself to admit that if I had known we could, I would have done that too. The graphite powder between heats, not the crazy money.)

I remember making my first and only Pinewood Derby car as a cub scout. I designed it myself, carved it with a cub scout knife myself, and painted it myself. It was a KITT Car, from the eighties television show "Knight Rider" with David Hasslehoff. I asked my dad for help when I was done, putting on the wheels and weights. He drilled holes and countersunk fishing weights. It was cool. And amazingly enough, I won the cub scout division in my ward! Ok. TMI. This is about the boys, not me.

They both had a blast! I made them design their own cars, and even though I made the cuts on the bandsaw (kudos to you Dave!), they did all the sanding, and some of the painting. I would have made them do all the painting but it was the last night before the race, and after a couple of coats, it was way too late for them to stay up. Who am I kidding, it was way too late for me to stay up.

So are you bored with pics of small, wooden cars?, then get ready for this!
More pics of small, wooden cars!!!

No wonder he lost! It's crooked!


1 comment:

Rob said...

That is awesome! How fun for them to do all of it on their own, well mostly. Congrats to them!