Passing the t i m e with the cubscouts : LUSENET : Junkyard Wars : One Thread

My son and I recently participated in a fun challenge of sorts with the Cub Scouts. Each year they have pine wood derby, this involves building a car out of a block wood, 4 wheels and 4 nails, given to the Scout by the Scout Pack and racing them on a down hill track. The Scouts are given a couple months to do this in, most all the Dads I talked to said they made thiers in the last few days befor the race. My son's car won first place and won best design. At times while building the car we made believe that we were in Junkyard Wars, the deadline was to get done before bedtime. This was one of the ways I kept buisy while......... w a i t i n g.

-- Matthew, Harebrained B.R.O.T.H.E.R.S (, March 26, 2001


Sounds like a great scout competition... for the dads! lol

-- Uncle Orange (, March 26, 2001.

Did the kids do the actual work, and build the car with their own hands????? Be honest??????

-- Mitch (, March 26, 2001.

Mathew! I am Akela of the 1st South Brant Cub Pack up here in Ontario Canada. The Kub Kar races that we put on as an organization are an exellent way for the boys to use their mechanical skills. What I do for the boys is hold a 2 day sleep over. We invite the fathers of the cubs also. The boys are taught to use band saws, scroll saws, drill presses, and electric sanders. I find that boys around power tools can be an exhausting experience for the fathers as well as the cub leaders... When I told the boys that i was entering for JYW, they all thought that was pretty cool. I would say about 75% of the boys watch the show with their father, and they want me to come up with a challenge like JYW for them to earn some of their badges.....

As for the boys building the cars themselves.HMMMMMMM. I know that our pack does. But there must be alot of budding artists/engineers out there by the look of some of the cars... You be the judge..

-- Craig Wardle (, March 26, 2001.

I did that in my youth. The rules were that the under 15 class had to do all the work themselves (excluding cutting the basic shape on a bandsaw), couldn't use power tools, and had to use the axles (roofing nails) provided.

The over 15 class could use any axle system they wanted. The winners were always the pinpoint axles, the axle running through both wheels, pointed at both ends with cupped holders keeping over the pinpoints. I tried a couple other axle systems, but never had anything too effective.

I wonder if cub-car races could be made a bit more exciting if they had an "open class" that only specified wheel track and weight? Turn it into an engineering class!

-- Michael (Canadian P.Eng.) (, March 26, 2001.

For 6 years I traveled around the country with a track, putting on valvecover races at Goodguys car shows. We had classes for kids and adults, what a hoot. we had a maximum height, width, length, wheel diameter, and 2 weight classes. 6lbs for kids, and 10 lbs for adults, we also divided the classes into stock and modified ( the valvecover itself ). I never knew there were so many ways to cheat.


-- JustJay-captain-Three Rusty Juveniles (, March 26, 2001.

Anyone that thinks the Cub Scouts' Pine Wod Derby is just a bunch of kids carving cars out of a block of wood hasn't heard the whole story. Wheels and axles get lathe-turned for precision, then polished for smoothness. The wood bodies are cut down to a wind-cheating airfoil shape, then lead is poured in toward the rear of the car to meet minimum weight requirements. The wood body is finished in the slickest paints you can imagine and then- and only then- do they go racing. That's if you want a winning car. Otherwise, yes, they let the kids have some fun and actually touch "their" car. Oddly enough, this would make a tough JYW challenge thanks to the required precision of manufacture for a winning entry.

-- Chip Haynes (, March 27, 2001.

Ah, Pinewood Derby. My favorite part of Cub Scouts.

You can have a winning car built (in large part) by the boy himself. In our family (we are now on boy #2, boy #1 having graduated to Boy Scouts last year), the boy makes the car, and dad does the axles and weights. I roughout the shape (per boy instructions) on the bandsaw and then he does everything else -- the shaping (rasps, files, sanding), decoration, paint. At the speeds Pinewood derby cars go, I do not believe wind resistance matters. Perfectly aligned, polished axles make a HUGE difference. Putting the weight in the right spot helps too. If local rules permit changing the wheelbase, the longer the better.

We haven't won yet, but following the above formula my younger son has finished fourth, third, and second in a Cub Scout Pack of 65 boys, and he got to do most of the car himself. (His fastest car was a barely-rounded block of wood decorated with magic marker. A fair number of dads were unhappy to have their sleek cars with 26 coats of hand-rubbed lacquer defeated by a car covered with 8-year-old printing of "LIGHTNING!" in different colors of magic marker). If there was a special award for "car that most looks like it was made by an actualy boy," he would have won best design this last race, too. (He shaped a pretty good replica of an early-sixties Offenhauser powered Indy racer, without knowing that was what he was doing. It just looked like a race car should look, I guess.)

-- Rick Tyler (, March 27, 2001.

Not an answer,but a question.Are Pine Wood Derby Race Cars considered collectible? Just bought a sleek one today at the local flea market.Its painted Metallic blue with yellow trim,how fitting eh? I was a cub scout in 1962 and I just could"nt resist.Did a 49 yr. old kid by a $3.00 Memory, or is this something I should look into?Thanks for your time.Wanna Race? Joe Marsac

-- Joe Marsac (, July 24, 2001.

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