Shop Talk – Choosing the Right Hand Saw

In today’s modern age, power tools have largely supplanted the use of hand tools.  Not long ago, one of the primary tools of a carpenter was a hand-powered cross cut saw.  But the advent of the circular saw put a big dent in hand saw sales.

However, the average pinewood derby car builder doesn’t have a shop equipped with power tools, and it doesn’t make financial sense to invest in expensive tools for the once a year car building event.  So a hand-powered saw is the tool that makes the most sense for most car builders.

The question then is: “What type of saw should I purchase for working on a pinewood derby car?” Hopefully, this article will give you the information to make a wise purchase.

Cross Cut Saw and Rip Saw


Source – www.traditionalwoodworker.com

Using a Cross Cut Saw is the traditional way to saw a board into shorter pieces.  Similar in appearance, but less popular is the Rip Saw.  It has coarser teeth, which makes it easier to saw a board along the grain of the wood.

If you are building a wedge-shaped pinewood derby car, or a car that is essentially a flat board, then a Cross Cut Saw or a Rip Saw will certainly work.  But both saws will leave significant teeth marks in the wood (especially the Rip Saw), so quite a bit of sanding will be required.

Back Saw


Source – www.traditionalwoodworker.com

A Back Saw is the generic name for a hand saw with a reinforced top edge to minimize flexing, small closely spaced teeth, and a narrow width. It comes in several varieties including the Miter Saw and Tenon Saw.

Because of the stiffness and finely spaced teeth, a Back Saw will cut very straight and will leave minimal teeth marks.  However, the stiffened edge limits the depth of the cut.  So if, for example, you were making a flat car, the back saw would not be able to make the full seven inch cut.

Hacksaw

Source Source – www.acehardware.com

A Hacksaw is designed for cutting through metal.  The saw frame supports replaceable blades with very fine teeth, is adjustable for different blade lengths, and allows the blade to be rotated either parallel (normal), or perpendicular to the frame.

The fine-toothed blade will readily cut through pine and leaves minimal teeth marks in the wood.  The limitation of the cut depth can be avoided by rotating the blade to be perpendicular to the frame.

Another feature of the hacksaw is that many of them will support the mounting of two blades.  The dual blade width is just about right for making new axle slots.

Many hobby shops offer a small version of a Hacksaw, often called a “Hobby Saw”.


Source:  www.towerhobbies.com

It is not as versatile as the full-sized Hacksaw, but it nice for making tiny cuts when making a more detailed car.

So, if you are looking for a saw that can make straight cuts and can be used after pinewood derby season, the hacksaw would be a good choice.

Coping Saw


Source – www.traditionalwoodworker.com

The Coping saw sports a very narrow, fine-toothed, replaceable blade, which allows making curved cuts. The large bow allows a fairly deep cut, but like the Hacksaw, the blade of the Coping Saw can be rotated to eliminate any restrictions.

Overall, the Coping Saw is the most versatile hand saw, and likely the most popular saw for pinewood derby use.  With it you can make straight or curved cuts, leaving minimal teeth marks in the wood. Another use of the Coping Saw is to make inner cuts.  Let’s say that you want to make a car similar to the Speeder.


Standard Wheelbase Speeder

To hollow out the inside, you would first drill a hole through the car (alternately, drill four holes, one at each corner of the area to be cut out). Next, disassemble the saw blade, insert it through the hole, and reattach it to the Coping Saw frame.  Then cut out the center area, and remove the blade.

Other Saws

The world of hand saws goes well beyond the saws described in this article.  Other saws include the Jeweler’s Saw, Keyhole Saw, and Dovetail Saw.  All of these could be used on pinewood derby cars, but are less common and certainly less versatile than the Coping saw.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 10, Issue 9

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(C)2016, Maximum Velocity, Inc. All rights reserved.

Maximum Velocity Pinewood Derby Car Plans and Supplies

Pinewood Derby Car Showcase – October 21, 2016

Black Widow – Ashton Walden

This car belongs to my son Ashton, and was raced when he was a Tiger. He placed first in his class and went on to win Grand Champion. He also participated in the district race, placing third in his class. We are very proud of all his efforts.

TuSpek – Dave Amstutz

This is my latest car, TuSpek. It will be running in the new “Spec/Tuner Division” at PWDRacing.com in 2011. A minimal amount of modification is allowed, including sanding. The purpose of the division is for everyone to use the same specs and to “tune” the car to the best of their ability. It should provide for some really close racing!

The Bee – Tommy Grassia

This car is owned by my grandson Tommy. The car came in first place in his competition.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 10, Issue 8

Subscribe to this Free Pinewood Derby E-newsletter

(C)2016, Maximum Velocity, Inc. All rights reserved.

Maximum Velocity Pinewood Derby Car Plans and Supplies

Pinewood Derby Times, Volume 16, Issue 2 – October 19, 2016

PINEWOOD DERBY TIMES
Volume 16, Issue 2
October 19, 2016

In this Edition

– Editor’s Notes
– Feature Article – Weighting – How Heavy is Too Heavy??
– Humor
– Product Showcase – Car Plans 9
– Pinewood Derby Memory – Pinewood Derby Car
– Pinewood Derby Car Showcase
– Q&A


Editor’s Notes

New Products for the 2016-17 Season

New Plan Booklet: “Car Plans 9” is now available with plans for the Jaguar, the Annihilator, and our new Raptor design.

New Car Kits: We are introducing two new car kits: the Detonator II and the Raptor. The Detonator II is a redesign of our popular Detonator design. The Detonator II is much more aggressively weighted
to accommodate rail-riding. The Raptor is an aggressively weighted kit, and it looks intimidating. We even designed a paint stencil especially for this kit.

Specialty Tools: We are pleased to offer the T-Tool Weight Drilling Jig. The T-Tool is a precision-machined, aluminum jig that allows you to drill precise 3/8 inch (or 25/64 inch) weight holes into the side, back, or bottom of a pinewood derby block with a hand drill.

We also have a 1-1/16 inch Forstner Drill Bit for recessing our tungsten rounds in your car body.

MV Wheel & Long Axle Sets: We now offer lower prices on our MV Wheel & Long Axle Sets, and offer a bulk package of these popular sets.

To see all of the new items, please Click Here.

Inventory Clearance Sale
We are clearing inventory on several items including:

– Discount slotted blocks
– Formula One car kit
– Wheel Flares and Paint Stencils
– Raingutter Regatta Decals

We don’t have many left, so don’t delay. You can find these items Here.

Pinewood Derby Memory
Again this season I plan to re-run some of the pinewood derby memories from earlier issues. If you would like to contribute a memory, please see the submitter information in the Pinewood Derby Memory section.

Can We Help?
If we can help you in any way with your pinewood derby project, or if you have any feedback regarding this newsletter, please contact E-Mail Us.


Feature Article
Weighting – How Heavy is Too Heavy?
By Randy Davis

Although there are exceptions, most pinewood derby races have a weight limit of five ounces. Why is there a limit? Because a heavier car will potentially be faster. So to keep parity, a limit must be set. Five ounces is an arbitrary limit, but it seems about right. If the limit was lower, a larger percentage of cars would not make it to the finish line. If the limit were higher, the cars would tend to overshoot the braking section leading to damaged cars.

However, there are races with no weight limit or with a much higher weight limit. Generally, these are “Outlaw” or “Adult” races, where the rules are stretched to allow more creativity. In these races cars sometimes are weighted up to one pound, two pounds, 5 pounds, or even more.

Do these bricks on wheels really perform better than a lighter weight car? Is there a point at which the car actually slows down? What is the optimum weight?

Considerations
These are not questions with hard and fast answers. There are many factors at play that can vary the optimum weight. These include:

1. Track length – It is generally believed that heavier cars perform better on longer tracks, as the additional momentum keeps the car rolling for a longer distance.

2. Lube – Graphite and Krytox 100 will likely give different results. It is generally believed that Krytox 100 will carry more weight than graphite.

3. Wheel Alignment – Since most of the weight is on the rear wheels, rear wheel contact will have a greater negative effect on a heavier car than on a lighter car.

I am sure there are other considerations as well.

Experiment Setup
Unfortunately, I couldn’t address all situations. So, this experiment provides a result for one set of factors. These factors were:

1. Track length – 32 foot Freedom Track (aluminum).

2. Krytox 100 – I considered graphite, but my concern was that it would not last through the number of heats involved, thus relubing would be required. Since that would change the behavior of the car, it might invalidate the experiment.

3. Wheel Alignment – The car was set to rail-ride, but the rear wheels sat virtually flat (the wheels did run to the nail heads in both the forward and backward direction). I did not angle them as I thought that they would take the load better in the flat orientation.

4. Weight Amount – I designed a car (described below) that could be adjusted from 4.5 ounces up to 16 ounces without varying the balance point or the exterior profile of the car. This minimized the effect of other factors.

Test Car
The car is shown in Figures 1 – 3. The base car (without added weight) is 4.5 ounces. The balance point is in the middle of the metal plate (note the black line on the plate in Figure 2). When weight is added, it is stacked on the rods in pairs. When there is an odd plate, the plate is placed between the two pins. So, in all cases, the weight is placed symmetrically around the balance point.(1)


Figure 1 – Test Car


Figure 2 – Bottom of Test Car (Note black line showing COG)


Figure 3 – Weight Stacking

The car was equipped with Pro-Stock BSA Speed Wheels and polished BSA Speed Axles. It was lubed with Krytox 100. The front left wheel was raised, and the front right wheel was adjusted to rail-ride.

The Test
One plate was added between the two pins to bring the car to five ounces. Two heats were run to achieve an average time for the weight. The weight was then incremented by 0.5 ounce and the test was repeated. This continued until sixteen ounces was tested. After the sixteen-ounce test, the car was adjusted back to five ounces to verify that the car still performed as originally measured (it did).

Results
The results are shown in Figure 4. As you can see, best performance was achieved at 14.5 ounces. After that, the performance began to degrade.


Figure 4 – Test Results

Conclusion
So, if you are involved in a race with a high weight limit, and the track is of typical length, then I would limit the weight to about fourteen ounces and use Krytox 100 lube.

Another consideration is that heavy cars take a lot of force to stop. So make sure there is an adequate braking section on the track, and that the car is robust. Cars with fragile parts or thin sections may not hold up to the stress of racing and stopping.

(1) Not shown is a Kleenex that was stuffed into the cavity to keep the plates from rattling.


Humor
Three Things You Need To Survive

A Scout Master was teaching his boy scouts about survival in the desert.

“What are the three most important things you should bring with you in case you get lost in the desert?” he asked.

Several hands went up, and many important things were suggested such as food, matches, etc.

Then one little boy in the back eagerly raised his hand. “Yes Timmy, what are the three most important things you would bring with you?” asked the Scout Master.

Timmy replied: “A compass, a canteen of water, and a deck of cards.”

“Why’s that Timmy?”

“Well,” answered Timmy, “the compass is to find the right direction, the water is to prevent dehydration…”

“And what about the deck of cards?” asked the Scout Master impatiently.

“Well, Sir, as soon as you start playing Solitaire, someone is bound to come up behind you and say, “Put that red nine on top of that black ten!”


Product Showcase

Car Plans 9 – $3.00 Off


Whether you are involved in a Pinewood Derby race through Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts, an Awana Grand Prix, or a similar race through Royal Rangers, Indian Guides, Christian Service Brigade, or another organization, Maximum Velocity Car Plans 9 provides you with three car
design plans to turn your car kit into a winning car. All plans include templates and step-by-step instructions, and the plans provide for:

– Optimal quantity of weight

– Optimal weight placement for both the standard (scouting) wheel base and the extended wheel base.

Also included is a construction timetable, woodworking tips, weigh-in instructions, thoughts on adult involvement in the pinewood derby car building process, and a bibliography. Most importantly, all of the information is in an easy to read format with many helpful drawings and diagrams.

The three plans in the Car Plans 9 booklet are relatively simple to build, thus, they are ideal for those who have had limited experience with woodworking and with pinewood derby racing.

Through November 1, 2016, you can get a Car Plans 9 download booklet for $3.00 off. To take advantage of this limited time offer, add part 1060 to your shopping cart, and use coupon code OCT19NL during checkout.


Pinewood Derby Car Showcase

Heath Bar – Mark McGrew
This year – in addition to the Cub Scout race – family members were invited to race in an adult race as well. I modeled this car after my favorite candy bar.

Family Cars – Deryck Robertson



Here are some cars we built this year and raced this past Saturday in Peterborough, Ontario.

My son, Stuart (yellow car) came in second in our Kawartha Waterways Area Rally and had the fastest time. This was the third year in a row he had the car with the fastest time.

The red car is mine, which was sponsored by a friend who is a manager at Christian Horizons, a group home that cares for adults with developmental disabilities. The car came in third in the leader’s race.

The blue car is my wife’s car, which I used to thank some friends of mine who ran a contest this summer for canoeists called “Paddle in the Park”. It came in second in the leader’s race.

Share Your Car With Our Readers

Do you have a car you would like to “show off” to our readers? If so, send us a photo of your car along with a description of any special features to:
info@maximum-velocity.com

Please include your full name. If selected, we will include the photo and description in this newsletter.

Photos must be sent by e-mail in JPG format (minimum size of 640×480, maximum size of 1280 x 960). Please shoot photos from the front left of the car, similar to the orientation of this car:

For better focus, keep the camera four or five feet away from the car, and then use the camera’s zoom to fill the frame with the car. Also, use a solid (preferably white) background for the photo.

Send only one photo per car, unless an additional photo is needed to adequately show a feature. Also, only one car per subscriber per year please. Thanks.


Pinewood Derby Memory
Pinewood Derby Car

The Pinewood Derby race fast approaches in my son’s Cub Scout den, so you know what that means for a handy guy like me: updating the homeowners insurance. I have all of the neat power tools a dad would need to make a classic Pinewood Derby car. And, I know how to plug every one of them into the socket. It gets tricky after that.

So, needless to say, when my son received his rectangular block of solid wood, four wheels, and four nails to hold the wheels in place, and he stared up at me with those hero-worshipping eyes that said, “What masterpiece are we going to build dad?” – I went right for the rules.

“What are you looking for?” my wife asked. “The rules on how much a dad can do to help build the car?”

“No,” I answered. “The rules on how much a dad can pay to purchase one on eBay.”

“Oh, won’t that be lovely,” she said. “I can hear it now. On race night, when the Cub Master goes around the room asking the boys what part they played in the design and build of their Pinewood Derby cars, our son can say that he typed in your credit card number? Maybe there’s a patch for that?”

I got the point. I also explained I was inept with tools, but, she reminded me that our son had his hopes pinned on making a car, and as his father, it was my responsibility to help him realize that dream. So first, I tried the easy approach.

“What are we going to make, dad?” my son asked as we walked ceremoniously into the garage.

A wide, dramatic smile spread across my face (the same I used when telling him the doctor’s shot wouldn’t hurt). “This,” I said as I pulled the uncut block of wood from the original box and held it above my head.

My son’s face sank. “A block of wood?”

“Yep,” I said excitedly.

“We aren’t going to cut it and sand it and put in a steering wheel?”

“We don’t need to,” I explained. “Now, don’t scream for joy too loud and frighten the neighbors, but, this block of wood is really…now brace yourself…a RUNAWAY TRAIN.”

His face brightened. “Cool! You mean a steam engine with cow catcher and smoke stack?”

“No, silly,” I said, maintaining my enthusiasm. “I mean a box car with Southern and Pacific.”

After my son stopped crying, I switched to Plan B: Making a sports car.

Several hours later, my wife walked into the garage. “You’ve been working on that car all of this time?” she asked looking at her watch.

I nodded. “All except the two times I drove to the Boy Scout store to purchase more Pinewood Derby kits.”

She studied my efforts. “What are you making?”

“Guess,” I said, holding up the near finished car.

“It looks like driftwood.”

“Because it’s smooth and sleek?”

“No, because it’s bent.”

Plan C called for sending my son to his grandpa’s house with a new Pinewood Derby kit. They made a beautiful car.

Later, my wife told me that it was okay I’m not handy – she said there were plenty of good things I did with our son. She also said to look on the bright side.

“Which was?” I asked.

“We now have kindling for the fireplace.”

I wonder if power tools burn too?

© 1999-2002 Ken Swarner
Used by Permission

Do you Remember?

If you have a pinewood derby story that is funny, unusual, sad, heart-warming, etc., please send it to me in an e-mail. Don’t worry about literary polish. We will edit as needed before publishing. Also, please read our submission policy.

If your story is used, you will receive a $10 coupon in May of 2017.


Q&A

Q: Pro bore wax….have you ever tried it on axles prior to using any dry lube?  I thought it may work, but wasn’t sure. I’m not interested in being the first to try. 😉

A: Generally, if an axle pre-coat is used, it is not wax. Typically Sail-Kote, Jig-a-Loo or a similar product is used.

Q: The instructions with the Low-Rider GT kit state that I should avoid spray painting with enamel paint.  Why is that?  I already purchased a can of enamel spray paint that I would like to use if possible.

A: I don’t recommend enamel paint as the dry/cure time can be quite long. Until the paint is totally cured, it tends to remain spongy. Also, recoat times for enamel can be a little odd. Certainly read the instructions on the can and if you use it, make sure to follow the instructions exactly.

Q: The instructions with your Pro-Stock wheels state that the wheels will become damaged if used with unprepared axles. I spun each wheel from the set for about 20 seconds each on unprepared axles. I was holding the axle in my hand while spinning the wheels. Do you think I have anything to worry about?  Any suggestions?

A: If you spun the wheels on raw BSA nails (with the crimp marks on the shaft), it is possible that some damage was done to the bore. But they may be fine. If you have a strong magnifying glass you can check out the bore.

Want Answers?

Do you have a pinewood derby-related question? If so, e-mail us your question.

We answer all questions by e-mail, but not every question will appear in the Q&A section of the newsletter.


Back Issues

Are you a new subscriber, or have you missed some of the previous newsletters? Don’t miss out; all of the issues for Volume 5 through Volume 16 are posted on our web site Here.

Issues from Volumes 1 to 4 are available in four formatted documents, ready for immediate download. To find out more, Click Here.


Newsletter Contributions

We welcome your contributions. If you would like to contribute an article, a web site review, a speed tip, or a pinewood derby memory, please e-mail us.

Please read our submission policy.


Subscription Information

The Pinewood Derby Times is a free e-newsletter focused on pinewood derby racing. It is published biweekly from October through March.

If you haven’t already done so, please forward this issue to your pinewood derby friends. But please don’t subscribe your friends. Let them decide for themselves. Thanks.

If this newsletter was forwarded to you, why not subscribe to receive this newsletter. There is no cost, and your e-mail address is safe, as we never sell or share our distribution list.

To subscribe, send a blank e-mail to
mailto:pinewood-derby-times-on@mail-list.com

You will receive a confirmation e-mail. Reply to the confirmation e-mail and you will start receiving the Pinewood Derby Times with the next issue.


Randy Davis, Editor, Pinewood Derby Times
E-Mail: mailto:info@maximum-velocity.com

(C)2016, Maximum Velocity, Inc. All rights reserved. Please do not reprint or place this newsletter on your web site without explicit permission. However, if you like this newsletter we grant permission, and encourage you to e-mail it to a friend.

Maximum Velocity disclaims any personal loss or liability caused by utilization of any information presented in this newsletter.

The Pinewood Derby Times is not specific to, and is not affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, YMCA, Awana, or any other organization.

(R)Maximum Velocity is a registered trademark of Maximum Velocity, Inc.

(R)Pinewood Derby and Regatta are registered trademarks of Boys Scouts of America.

(R)Awana is a trademark of Awana Clubs International.

All other names are trademarks of their respective owners.

Mailing list services are provided by:
www.mail-list.co

Pinewood Derby Car Showcase – October 14, 2016

We received these four cars from Tim Grimstead and his children. Thanks Tim.

Optimus Prime – Rohan

My 5 year old son, Rohan, won first in design for Cubbies with his Optimus Prime car and took first in overall speed. At the awards ceremony Rohan received a speeding ticket from a Sheriff Deputy and was cuffed.

Fireball – Chloe

My 11 year old daughter, Chloe, took second in overall speed and first in design for her group with her Fireball.

Froggy – Tessa

Tessa, my 9 year old daughter, placed fourth for overall speed and first for design with her Frogger car. The Frogger’s front end broke half way through the event but still placed. It was a short track; there was nothing to absorb the impact at the end.

Ziggity – Flora

Flora, my 7 year old daughter, won first in design for her group with her Ziggity car, and ended around fifth for speed. I suspect the placing was do to the inability of the car’s front-end  to trigger the timing light accurately.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 10, Issue 7

Subscribe to this Free Pinewood Derby E-newsletter

(C)2016, Maximum Velocity, Inc. All rights reserved.

Maximum Velocity Pinewood Derby Car Plans and Supplies

Pinewood Derby Times, Volume 16, Issue 1 – October 5, 2016

PINEWOOD DERBY TIMES
Volume 16, Issue 1
October 5, 2016

In this Edition

– Editor’s Notes
– Feature Article – Now, How Did We Build That Car Last Year?
– Humor
– Product Showcase – T-Tool Weight Drilling Jig
– Pinewood Derby Memory – The Duck
– Pinewood Derby Car Showcase
– Q&A


Editor’s Notes

Welcome to the New Pinewood Derby Season
It’s fall, and time for the new pinewood derby season again. I’m looking forward to a super race season, and I hope you are too. Here at Maximum Velocity we have developed some great new products to help you be successful in your upcoming races.

Here at Maximum Velocity, we have a full agenda of articles and photos to educate, entertain, and (hopefully) inspire you. But we are always looking for your input. So, please send us your photos, speed tips, articles, memories, etc.

New Products for the 2016-17 Season
New Plan Booklet: “Car Plans 9” is now available with plans for the Jaguar, the Annihilator, and our new Raptor design.

New Car Kits: We are introducing two new car kits: the Detonator II and the Raptor. The Detonator II is a redesign of our popular Detonator design. The Detonator II is much more aggressively weighted
to accommodate rail-riding. The Raptor is an aggressively weighted kit, and it looks intimidating. We even designed a paint stencil especially for this kit.

Specialty Tools: We are pleased to offer the T-Tool Weight Drilling Jig. The T-Tool is a precision-machined, aluminum jig that allows you to drill precise 3/8 inch (or 25/64 inch) weight holes into the side, back, or bottom of a pinewood derby block with a hand drill.

We also have a 1-1/16 inch Forstner Drill Bit for recessing our tungsten rounds in your car body.

MV Wheel & Long Axle Sets: We now offer lower prices on our MV Wheel & Long Axle Sets, and offer a bulk package of these popular sets.

To see all of the new items, please Click Here.

Inventory Clearance Sale
We are clearing inventory on several items including:

– Discount slotted blocks
– Formula One car kit
– Wheel Flares and Paint Stencils
– Raingutter Regatta Decals

We don’t have many left, so don’t delay. You can find these items Here.

Pinewood Derby Memory
Again this season I plan to re-run some of the pinewood derby memories from earlier issues. If you would like to contribute a memory, please see the submitter information in the Pinewood Derby Memory section.

Can We Help?
If we can help you in any way with your pinewood derby project, or if you have any feedback regarding this newsletter, please contact E-Mail Us.


Feature Article
Now, How Did We Build That Car Last Year?
By Randy Davis

I am in a unique situation; I talk about, write about, and think about pinewood derby racing all year long. Since this is my job, I can readily rattle off information about every aspect of building cars, sourcing supplies, race management, etc. I’m sure you can readily talk about the various aspects of your job as well.

The only area where I get a little hazy is preparing for the annual race that we stage. Since I only stage one race per year, there are some details that are a bit hazy. So, I have a checklist that I can refer to each year to help me remember the items that I need for the workshop, the check-in, and the race itself. Without this checklist, I would be less organized and would likely forget something important.

Most people build one or two cars per year, so they are in pinewood derby mode for only a week or so per year. Like me and my annual race, when pinewood derby time rolls around, it can be difficult to remember some of the basics of building cars. In today’s article I want to provide a check-list to help you remember the key aspects of building a car. Typical questions include:

1. In what order do I build the car?

2. Which is the front and back of the block?

3. Where does the weight go?

4. How and with what do I lubricate?

5. What kind of paint should I use?

6. What kind of glue should I use?

My hope is that you will keep this article, and use it during the next racing season to get up to speed on car building. You may think of some other items that you wish to remember, so feel free to add them to the list.

Preparation
1. Start Early – Don’t wait until the last minute. Start work as soon as the car kits are passed out. This reduces stress on you, and will likely give better results on the track.

2. Order or Shop Early – If you plan to order supplies, get the order in several weeks before the race. You will save on shipping, and won’t have to search around at the last minute to find a store that is not out of stock.

3. Check Rules – Oftentimes rules change from year to year. Don’t assume that the rules are the same as the previous year – get a copy of the rules and read them.

Design
1. Design for Speed – On many kits, including BSA kits, the wheelbase is offset. Use the axle slot closest to the end of the block as the rear axle.

2. Weight Location – Before cutting out the car, decide where the weight will be placed. A good “rule of thumb” is 1/3 of the added weight behind the rear axle, and 2/3 of the added weight just in front of the rear axle.

3. Prepare Axle Slots (or Drill Axle Holes) – Before doing any cutting on the block, pre-insert a spare axle into each slot location, then twist and pull it out with a pair of pliers (or use a Pro-Body Tool to pilot drill the slots, or drill axle holes – if allowed by the rules).

4. Full Length and Width – Don’t shorten the car, and don’t narrow the car body more than 1/16 inch at the axle slots.

Building
1. Build Progression:

a. Drill weight holes or create weight pockets.

b. Cut out the car shape.

c. Do the final shaping with coarse sandpaper, a Dremel tool, or a wood rasp.

d. Sand with 120, 220, and 400 papers.

e. Paint, apply decals, then clear coat.

f. While the paint is drying, polish the wheels and axles.

g. Lubricate the wheels (before putting them on the car). Do this thoroughly, and use a high-quality graphite (not a cheap hardware store brand).(1)

2. When painting, use an acrylic brush paint, or a lacquer spray paint.(2) Avoid enamel paints.

3. Use a clear coat that is the same brand and formulation as the paint.

4. Glue in weights with hot glue or epoxy. Don’t use any expanding glue (like Gorilla Glue). Only use super glue in an emergency.

Check-In
1. Bring the car to the weigh-in a little low on weight. Use the official scale to determine how much weight to add.

2. Have a hole in the bottom of the car for adding weight.

3. Resist the temptation to add more lube before checking-in the car.

Conclusion
I hope that you find this list helpful. If you have other items that you think should be on the list, please email them to me at: info@maximum-velocity.com

Make sure to keep the list in a place you will remember. You don’t want the next pinewood derby season to arrive and have to say, “Now, if I could just remember where I put that list!”

(1) I recommend Max-V Lube.

(2) I recommend Dupli-Color Perfect Match, available at auto parts
stores.


Humor
The Magician and the Parrot

There was once a magician on a cruise ship who performed mainly sleight-of-hand tricks. He had a regular spot on the ship’s cabaret evening entertainment. He was actually quite a good magician, but his routines were regularly ruined by the onboard parrot who would fly around squawking and giving away his secrets like:

“IT’S UP HIS SLEEVE, IT’S UP HIS SLEEVE!” or

“IT’S IN HIS POCKET, IT’S IN HIS POCKET!” or

“IT’S IN HIS MOUTH, IT’S IN HIS MOUTH!”

The magician was getting pretty sick of this and threatened to kill the parrot if it ruined his act one more time. That evening right at the climax of his act, just as he was about to disappear in a puff of smoke, the ship hit an iceberg and sank in seconds.

Amazingly, the magician and the parrot were the only two survivors. The magician was lying on a piece of driftwood in a daze. As he opened his eyes he could see the parrot staring at him out of its beady little eyes.

The parrot sat there for hours just staring at him and eventually said, “Okay, I give up, what did you do with the ship?”


Product Showcase

T-Tool Weight Drilling Jig – $2.00 Off

For top speed, weight needs to be accurately placed. Now anyone can create accurate weight holes for tungsten cylinders, lead wire, or tundra rod with only a hand drill.

The T-Tool is a precision-machined, aluminum jig that will improve the speed of your pinewood derby car through accurate weight placement. The T-Tool:

– Ensures accurate weight placement by allowing you to drill precise weight holes into the side, back, or bottom of a pinewood derby block.

– Can drill straight holes, or holes at a slightly downward angle for wedge-shaped cars.

– The guide holes in the T-Tool are sized for a 25/64 inch drill bit (perfect for tungsten and lead). The drill bit is not included; it is sold separately Here (part 5001).

Through October 18, 2016, you can get a T-Tool Weight Drilling Jig for $2.00 off. To take advantage of this limited time offer, add part 5070 to your shopping cart, and use coupon code OCT05NL during checkout.


Pinewood Derby Car Showcase

Batman 4 Ever – Mark McGrew

My son Ethan is a Cub Scout with severe hearing loss – however pinewood derby has been something he can win at.

In an attempt to make a really cool car we reached out to Count’s Kustoms (from the television show Counting Cars) to paint our car. Ryan Evans agreed and custom air brushed the car. We told him we were going for something like the movie Batman car.

We had won our first race with a Batman car, so we stuck with it in our 4th and final race. So the car was named “Batman 4 Ever”. It took 1st place at pack and district.

Hot Rod – Scott Hoffmaster

This hot rod was built by Christian Hoffmaster from Pack 39 in Douglasville, Georgia.

X-Wing Fighter – Ken Koziol

I wanted to show off my son’s first car. Alex is in his first year of cub scouts and is a Tiger. He was so excited about the Pinewood Derby. In the Pack race he took first in his Den, and then he took first in the District race too. My favorite memories will be of him jumping up and down with his hands in the air when he heard his name called as the winner. He congratulated everyone he saw on their work and was proud of himself too.

This car is modeled after an X-Wing fighter. It has bent axles, one raised wheel, polished axle shafts and filed heads. The car weighs right at 5 ounces with the weight just under 1″ forward of the rear wheels. Wheel base is extended to maximum.

Share Your Car With Our Readers

Do you have a car you would like to “show off” to our readers? If so, send us a photo of your car along with a description of any special features to:
info@maximum-velocity.com

Please include your full name. If selected, we will include the photo and description in this newsletter.

Photos must be sent by e-mail in JPG format (minimum size of 640×480, maximum size of 1280 x 960). Please shoot photos from the front left of the car, similar to the orientation of this car:

For better focus, keep the camera four or five feet away from the car, and then use the camera’s zoom to fill the frame with the car. Also, use a solid (preferably white) background for the photo.

Send only one photo per car, unless an additional photo is needed to adequately show a feature. Also, only one car per subscriber per year please. Thanks.


Pinewood Derby Memory
The Duck

When the car was placed on the inspection table, I immediately knew there was a problem.

The car body had been nicely carved by the young girl to resemble the body of a duck, and additional wood had been added to create the curving neck and the duck head. It was an incredible piece of work. But it was also too tall to race. If it had been run on the track, the duck would likely have been decapitated by the finish line bridge. Not a pleasant thought.

The height of the car was measured and as I had estimated, the duck was nearly two inches too tall. The rules had clearly stated the height limitation, but it was not unusual that the rules had been ignored.

Another official and I held a brief consultation and agreed that the only possible course of action was surgery. To race, the neck had to be shortened.

As I explained the procedure to the girl, the area of the room where we were located got very quiet. Tears welled-up in her eyes, and the emotion of the moment spread through the onlookers.

But time was of the essence, so carefully selecting a fine-toothed hack saw blade, I went to work. Anesthesia was not required for “the patient”, but it would have been helpful for the young girl.

After the neck section was removed, some Elmer’s Glue served to close the wound. After a bit of cleanup, the surgery was declared a success – the patient would race in the derby.

Although it was still recognizable as a duck, the car no longer appeared graceful. Much of the craftsmanship that had gone into creating the car had gone by the wayside.

As I write this account many years later, I still wonder if we did the right thing. Maybe we should have counseled the young girl to keep the duck intact and skip the race. Maybe I was so focused on the race that I didn’t take into account the entire scope of the situation.

One can only speculate what would have been best since nothing can change the past. But I hope that should a similar situation confront me in the future that I will consider the larger picture before offering my counsel.

Randy Davis

Do you Remember?

If you have a pinewood derby story that is funny, unusual, sad, heart-warming, etc., please send it to me in an e-mail. Don’t worry about literary polish. We will edit as needed before publishing. Also, please read our submission policy.

If your story is used, you will receive a $10 coupon in May of 2017.


Q&A

Q: I just purchased the “Tungsten COG Weight”, can you please tell me how long each piece is and, if the weight of each piece is 2 ounces or is that the weight of the two pieces combined?

A: Each COG weight is 0.5 oz. You get four of them in a pack of 2 ounces.

Each COG weight is 5/8 inch long, excluding the stud. The stud nests into another COG weight, so they can screw in or out in tandem.

Q: I just read your article entitled “Transforming that Block into the Ultimate Derby Car” (Volume 15, Issue 10). It was my understanding that the weight should be placed 3/4 to 1 inch in front of the rear axle. The article suggests that it should be placed behind the rear axle. Where should I really put it?

This is the fourth year I have helped my grandson with his Pinewood Derby car. In the past den leaders have told us to put the weight in front of the rear axle. We have followed this advice and have never come close to 1st place.

A: What you were told is a common misconception.

The goal is for the finished car to balance on the edge of a ruler (or balance stand) at 3/4 to 1 inch in front of the rear axle. To make that happen, you will likely need to place 1/3 or more of the added weight behind the rear axle, and the remaining weight just in front of the rear axle.

This will vary a little depending on the weight of the car body, but is a good “rule of thumb”.

However, weight is only one factor. I have found that the number one thing you can do to make a fast car is to do a proper lube job with a high-quality graphite (such as our Max-V-Lube). Before mounting the wheels and axles on the car, spend five minutes per wheel/axle adding graphite, spinning the wheel on the axle, adding graphite, spinning the wheel on the axle, etc. Always end by spinning the wheel several times. To get a good lube job you have to spend the time.

Q: How do you attach a stand-up windshield to a car body? The kit instructions really doesn’t show us how to do that. By the way, are all pinewood derbies the same time of the year (ours is in February)?

A: I would use epoxy (2 part adhesive) to glue it to the top of the car. Just use a clear brand such as Super glue Brand.

Pinewood Derbies can be anytime throughout the year, but the majority seem to be in the first quarter.

Want Answers?

Do you have a pinewood derby-related question? If so, e-mail us your question.

We answer all questions by e-mail, but not every question will appear in the Q&A section of the newsletter.


Back Issues

Are you a new subscriber, or have you missed some of the previous newsletters? Don’t miss out; all of the issues for Volume 5 through Volume 16 are posted on our web site Here.

Issues from Volumes 1 to 4 are available in four formatted documents, ready for immediate download. To find out more, Click Here.


Newsletter Contributions

We welcome your contributions. If you would like to contribute an article, a web site review, a speed tip, or a pinewood derby memory, please e-mail us.

Please read our submission policy.


Subscription Information

The Pinewood Derby Times is a free e-newsletter focused on pinewood derby racing. It is published biweekly from October through March.

If you haven’t already done so, please forward this issue to your pinewood derby friends. But please don’t subscribe your friends. Let them decide for themselves. Thanks.

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Randy Davis, Editor, Pinewood Derby Times
E-Mail: mailto:info@maximum-velocity.com

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