Announcement Module
No announcement yet.

Pinewood Official BSA block

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
Conversation Detail Module
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Pinewood Official BSA block

    Ok, here was an issue this year, which I didn't hear about until a month or so after the event.

    Our pinewood official rules say that the car must be made out of the official BSA kit (block/wheels etc).

    Now I heard that the winning car at our race was custom made out of maple and some people were grumbling, the grumbling didn't get back to us organizers until a month after race :P

    Now, question, I assume this car would have been deemed "illegal" since it wasn't made from the pinewood block. But what do you tell your check in crew to look for when they are checking in cars to make sure it is the official pinewood block? Could they really tell if the thing was painted that it was a maple block and not pinewood? And how much difference did this make, if any, in the results of the race?

    Thanks for any pinewood derby expert advice.

  • #2
    I am not a wood expert but I assume maple is a hardwood and therefor denser. I think the major difference would be if you required using the slots vs. allowing custom holes. It could also allow for better alignment if I using a narrow body design. I wouldn't take the boys trophy away. I would shame the parent who did this as it wasn't the cub's idea. Never punish a boy for the mistakes of an adult. You could give a 1st place trophy to the 2nd place winner, I suppose. Get the movie Down and Derby (2005). You can show it at a pack meeting. It is really funny. I think it is on Netflix right now.


    • King Ding Dong
      King Ding Dong commented
      Editing a comment
      Sorry, having issues with paragraphs on the iPad.

    • jc2008
      jc2008 commented
      Editing a comment
      We have that movie
      Yeah we aren't going to do anything about it, just for next time. Its in our rules that the block must be the one from the kit. But we had volunteer leaders checking in cars, I personally wouldn't even know what to tell them to check for to make sure the block is the official block of wood.

  • #3
    Oh for petesake,

    More dense wood.........

    Did the car weigh 5 ounces????

    Did the car meet the size dimensions????

    Then your good.

    There are no official BSA rules......

    Now if your district has a district run off kinda race, I would make sure that your boys cars meet those rules.....

    We made marks on the blocks of wood and they had to remain unpainted and visible to qualify for trophies and door prizes......


    • King Ding Dong
      King Ding Dong commented
      Editing a comment
      BD, we have Dads that work for Boeing. Don't think some of these cars don't get wind tunnel tested.

    • Basementdweller
      Basementdweller commented
      Editing a comment
      The fix for that is a single day pinewood derby......Cut them out and have the boys decorate them with sharpies and race them in the same day....

      Removes dads from tinkering....

      Our speed trophies are small.....Our biggest trophy is for the best fuel economy, slowest, and Best Scouts own....Which is a car that was very obviously build by the scout.

      The best story for pinewood is a webelo, he got his kit at the christmas party and had it completed with paint by the first den meeting in january......Our race is mid Feb.....Well that car had probably 1,000 miles on it from trips on the church floor by race day....... Well the car was really rough, made with nothing more than a wood rasp.....and painted with water color paint. It was a mess, But ya know he placed third overall.

      We have had parents buy cars on ebay......

    • King Ding Dong
      King Ding Dong commented
      Editing a comment
      My fix is to have a Raingutter regatta in August and hopefully a space derby as well, just not sure when. Takes some of the pressure off the Derby.

      The problem with your solution is it takes away from the, admittedly few, scouts that really put in the time and hone their skills. I have been pushing as well for more emphasis on other categories other than winning.

      One can't escape the side benefit that it does emotionally invest the fathers in the Pack.

  • #4
    There are the rules on the paper that comes with the kit or else our district stated the rules for the district. I was the person who weighed and measured derby cars for the district race. It was interesting to see how incredibly meticulously some of the boys had made their cars. But if it met the weight and dimension requirements I then checked for lubricants (we banned silicone) or other custom features, different or modified wheels for example. One guy had custom machined axles in his machine shop and polished them to mirror finish. Then he tried to hide this by enclosing the wheels.

    At weigh-in I asked all of the boys who had made their cars. They're pretty honest at the weigh-in table. That car...I disqualified. Daddy not happy at all. He had been used to winning every race.

    I also sent quite a few back to remove weight. They claimed my balance was not accurate whereupon I produced a set of NBS standards and checked it in front of them. Not much they could do after that but to start whittling on that block of wood or else remove some lead.

    Type of wood. We didn't care as long as the other requirements were met. The wood itself won't make a difference. But if the stated rules say it has to be the 'official' block, then that's that. I have no idea how to check, though, if it's painted. If not painted, pine is pretty easy to tell from maple or other woods.
    Last edited by packsaddle; 05-27-2013, 06:25 PM.


    • #5
      Our Pack hasn't had any issues with people trying to cheat. The only thing that irks me is the pre cut sets. People go buy a coping saw and cut out a car. The only thing I do for my boys is cut the design they choose out with a band saw and they are on their own from there.


      • #6
        Originally posted by mdp3612 View Post
        Our Pack hasn't had any issues with people trying to cheat. The only thing that irks me is the pre cut sets. People go buy a coping saw and cut out a car. The only thing I do for my boys is cut the design they choose out with a band saw and they are on their own from there.
        I don't know if I see much of a difference between you cutting it out on a band saw and the pre cut set. In both cases the the scout is not cutting it out.

        Personally I am not a fan of the pinewood derby for being one of the most recognizable aspects of the cub scout program I think that cutting out the car and getting the wheels somewhat alligned is above the skill set for most tigers and wolves. Sure they can attempt it but they will be racing against cars that some of the fathers built.

        I actually like the raingutter better. At least with the catamaran (the only one my sone has built) the scout can build it himself.The wood is soft enough that the can sand it and screw the boat together.


        • #7
          Maple has a much higher density that pine, and is typically much harder and stronger. By my thinking it would offer better design options such as very small cross sections as opposed to pine that may break.
          Regardless, I think that's one of those rules that's nearly impossible to check for or enforce..... and for most situations won't matter anyway.
          Regardless, I think it boils down to a scouts honor thing & I think it's a shame with all of the store bought kits, store bought speed axles, etc....
          I'm not opposed to dads doing a lot of work on their cars, but for me and my son he is an integral part of the design team and has a hand in every step..... from cutting, sanding, painting, alignment. I think that's kind of the idea.... Dad showing, helping, and working together. Some of those lessons are even about doing your best and spending some significant time and effort in planning and execution if you want to excel. These aren't lessons really taught by the same day derby concept.


          • #8
            I like the idea of marking the bottom of the blocks. You could do a rubber stamp or even a wood brand:{keyword}


            • #9
              We used leather working letter stamps and symbols.


              • King Ding Dong
                King Ding Dong commented
                Editing a comment
                But that would just ruin it for the dads that work at Boeing and use the wind tunnels for fine tuning.