Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pinewood Derby Car Display

Cub Scout Pinewood Derby Car Display by MomsGonnaSnap
Last fall we had all 8 of the 2nd grade Cub Scouts from Anthony’s troop over to our house for a “build night”.  The purpose of the night was to learn how to use a variety of tools, but of course in a fun way.  After practicing with the tools, each of the boys got to make (mostly assemble) their own display stand for their Pinewood Derby cars.  They loved it!

This part of our garage is where handy hubby does all of his handiwork magic.  He has built so many great things in this shop!  This is probably as clean as it’s been in a long time (scary, huh?).  Yikes! 

Anthony had a chance to do a little exploring of everything on the work bench that hubby set up for the boys.  There are little work stations for the boys to work on around the table.  And safety glasses for all – safety first!  To the right of the safety glasses there is a board (clamped to the table) with screws in it.  The boys all had to use a screwdriver to practice screwing the screws in/out.  Just around the corner to the right is where the boys used a file to knock down the hard edges on their blocks of wood. On the other side of the table another board was clamped down to the table.  The boys were able to use a handsaw to cut off the ends of the board and hammer nails in and pull them out.  They each had a chance to try using the clamps too.

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Okay, so for the photo below, please ignore the pile of junk in the background.  You know, the bucket of birdseed, the bucket/mop, bags of bags (I recycle them to Goodwill), the cut pieces of wood (future project, I’ll get to it eventually!), and everything else that I’m not mentioning… Ugh.  Our garage is always a disaster because we are always in the middle of projects!

If you look closely at the boys here, you will see one using a handsaw, another using a socket wrench, and another hammering a nail. 

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The boys all had a chance to practice using the handsaw before making one of the cuts for their project (hubby had all of the other cuts made and ready for the boys to assemble their projects).

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The line-up below! Obviously faces have been blocked for confidentiality purposes but here there are two excited boys waiting their turn to use the handsaw and another using the hammer (it’s blurry) at the other end. 

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Let the assembly begin!  Anthony loved being able to work on this project at his own house with his friends there.

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Several of the dad’s stayed to watch the boys work.  Even though I was freezing, I couldn’t get myself to go inside because I was worried about the excitement of the boys and the tools they had access to!  Eek.  Seriously, though, they all did GREAT.  No band-aids necessary!

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This Cub Scout decided to label his stand to show where each car will go.  Anthony did the same thing with his too!

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Here is the stand with Anthony’s Pinewood Derby car from last year.  The “cage” on his car is open because he wanted to get his Lego Batman guy back out to play with him.

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Here’s the whole group with their Pinewood Derby car stands.  Of course I didn’t get a photo with Anthony smiling, but he was thrilled with his project, even though this photo doesn’t show it.

This is the PERFECT project for any Cub Scout troop looking for a way to teach the boys some how to use some tools.  It’s a pretty simple project and then you can send them all home with a project they will be excited to have in their rooms!

Update: I have received a few questions about the measurements for each of the pieces required to build this, so here goes! All of the wood we used was scrap wood from projects at our house and you'll notice by my description that I am clearly not the woodworker of the family! The bases are made from scrap IKEA butcher block, which worked perfectly because they are heavy and keep the stand from being tippy once the cars are loaded on it. Hubby had the bases cut and ready to go for the kids. The dimension of the base is 5 x 10 inches. The 4 little blocks for the cars to sit on were also cut and ready to go.  They are 1-5/8 x 5 x 3/4 inches. This size should work perfectly for cars made from the standard Pinewood Derby car blocks when nothing is added to the sides of the car. It's almost a bit snug, which is perfect (they don't easily fall off!). The initial design included a small spacer to set the blocks out a bit from the post, but that doesn't seem to be necessary with most cars. The long post is the one piece that hubby cut long, so that after each Scout had a chance to practice with the handsaw, they could make a cut on their project (the cut line was marked for them). The finished long post measures 19 x 1-1/2 x 3/4 inches. This stands allows space for up to 5 cars (with one sitting on the base). Hubby had measured and pre-drilled the holes on the back so the Scouts just needed to line up the little blocks with the post and hammer two nails into each. Then they screwed in two screws to attach the base to the post. The Scouts were at our house for 1.5 hours, which was perfect. They had a lesson on safety and the names of the tools, an opportunity to practice all of the skills, and then they used their new skills to build their Pinewood Derby Display Stands. I would love to hear if you build these with your Cub Scouts!

Linking to: Sugar Bee Crafts


  1. It was great to watch the boys try out the tools and have fun!

  2. What a great idea. thanks for posting.
    Amy @ www.hertoolbelt.com

  3. shnasta1994@att.netFebruary 10, 2014 at 8:55 AM

    This is awesome. Do you have any specifics on measurement and how you went about building it? I am not to knowledgeable about wood working at all and could use more info if you would be kind enough to provide any. Our boys are just getting ready to build and I have no idea how to go about it. =o) Thanks for your patience!

    1. Of course! I will check with my husband and add the details to this post later this week! The boys loved building them and it really did go surprisingly well!

  4. I would love the directions and details also. Can you please email them to me. I am in charge of my areas day camp and I would really like for the boys to make this at day camp. bruceandsuewilliams@gmail.com

    Thanks, Sue

    1. Hi Sue, did you see the "Update" at the end of the post above? The dimensions for everything is there! :)

  5. I love the look of these. I'm going to try them out with my Webelos Scouts. Some of them have four cars in their collections already. I don't have any butcher block handy, though. I'm going to try some 2x6. Hopefully that will do the trick. For the little shelves, I guess I'll buy 1x2s? Are there such a thing. I think so. I think that's what I used for the pinewood derby trophies I made last year. They were NOT heavy enough on the bottom though. :-( I think I only used a 2x4 base. I should have added lead, or something. The long post also appears to be a 1x2. The Webelos requirement includes paint. I am loath to try that at a meeting. We don't have a workshop where we could do this. We meet in a library. I love how all the boys are bundled up out in the garage. We are also doing this in the winter time, and it is cold out in the garage. :-)

    1. Erin,

      You can try making the bases out of 2x2's. I'll post how I did it below.

  6. Thanks Shawna for the idea.

    I built one up as a test and plan to have my den build these over the next couple of weeks.

    I didn't have the same pieces that you did, so here is how I built it for anyone else looking for an alternate way to make a solid base:
    - One riser - 21.5 inches long (1x2).
    - Five shelves - 4.5 inch long (1x2's) each.
    - Three base pieces - 7.0 inches long (2x2's) each.
    - Assemble the base by gluing/nailing/screwing the three 2x2 base pieces together to form an 'H'.
    - Lay the 'H' on the floor (so that all three 2x2's are touching the floor), then attach the long riser board to the middle part of the 'H' so it rises into the air.
    - By making the shelves 4.5" long, you can center them easily on the riser by placing a scrap piece of 1x2 on each side of the riser.
    - Position the shelves so that there is 4 inches from the top of the base to the top of shelf #1 and then four inches from the top of each shelf to the top of the next higher shelf. This gives you room for 5 cars (or 6 if you place one on the base).
    - With these dimensions, the top shelf is flush with the top of the riser. If you want the riser to extend above like in Shawna's photos you'll want to make it a little longer.

    - Ended up very stable.

    1. Hi TimR, :-)

      Do you have a picture of your finished piece?

    2. Anthony decided to leave his as "raw wood". I believe some of the other Scouts painted or stained theirs at a later date.

  7. There should be five shelves. Tiger, Wolf, bear, Webelos one and Webelos two

    1. The boys are using the base as the "5th" shelf :)