This is what really floats my boat these days.
We divided up the projects for the year and we are going to spend
three sessions on the Design, Construction (Assembly) and Finishing of
a Pine car Derby Garage. We have been sitting all the cars out on the
floor, with the possible problem ( already realized, unfortunately)
that younger children will have the opportunity to stomp the cars.
I am intensely interested in how the Cubbies will respond to the
design phase. My only guidance will be in broad terms " The
Definition Of The Problem", "The Possible Solutions", "The Best
I'll wind up cutting the parts in the shop without help, because I
don't really have a kid friendly shop. The kids will then assemble
the parts during a meeting.
God knows what will happen during the Finishing Phase - I'll be damned
interested to see how it turns out.
I'd like to have any ideas on how to involve the kids in the shop by
the time of the Pinewood Derby. My shop seems like a kid deathtrap
right now but I would like to make it available at least to the kids
who don't have Dads around, so that they have a better shot at the
Maybe bandsaws and lathes with guards - I don't know - but maybe
someone has been there before me.
tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email)
We are just making the garage in the meetings but I'd be interested in
helping some of the people make cars, who don't have the availability
tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email)
It has been a long time but IIRC the cars are around 2" wide so maybe
you could have the little buggers cut them out with a coping saw.
Maybe even a jigsaw with a long enough blade (and one hand tied behind
their back like the electricians do) and the block clamped in the jaws
of life at kid height.
No way I would let them near a bandsaw or a lathe. A drill press would
probably be ok for them to drill holes for the wheels. Hey! wait a
minute, I don't have any of those 3 tools. I'll be over to help them
with the cars.
ROS or detail sander would probably be safe enough.
Only allow as many kids at a time in the shop as you can keep both eyes
on. Kids that age know how to plug things in and push green buttons
and chisels look a lot like the screwdriver they've used to take apart
Good luck Saint Thomas!
I helped a den do this. I brought my scroll saw and disk sander to
their house (yes, it made a mess, it was worth it). I also brought a
stack of pages printed with various views of the blanks, so they could
draw on them. The den mom had a set of dowels and spray paint, and a
block of wood with holes drilled in it.
It went like this...
The blanks were pre-drilled underneath for screwing fender washers in
Each cub got a pattern sheet. They drew their ideas on paper, then
copied them to the wood.
I did some of the scroll sawing, but we tried to talk the parents (and
a few cubs) into doing it. Parents and cubs did the sanding. They
were timid at first, but the tools I picked didn't bite much, so they
quickly got the hang of it.
The den mom hot glued a dowel into one of the holes in the bottom,
making carsicles. The cubs took them outside to spray paint them,
then put them in the blocks to dry.
Even if the cubs didn't *use* the tools, they still *saw* the block of
wood turn into a car, and that made a big difference to them.
May I offer a suggestion? Getting them to try to design a woodworking
project may be going to fast. They don't even know what then need to
consider in a design.
What I did was give them a very simple project that needed no design,
and have them try to build it. I let them discover for themselves what
they didn't know.
The project was a wooden tool tray with a dowel for a handle. To make
it easier, all of the wood parts were rectangular. I had them measure
cut and join the wood, and they marked where they wanted me to drill a
hole for the dowel handle.
All they needed was a saw, a square, and a way to measure and mark the
wood. They learned how to measure wood, make square cuts, compensate
for the thickness of the wood, join wood with nails/screws and glue,
sanding, and the importance of consistency of measurements.
This sounds trivial, but it teaches important skills in woodworking.
I saw tool trays that were lopsided, the holes and handle didn't line
up, wood was cut too short, etc. I had to help them fix a few problems... :-)
It was a simple one-evening project, and they got a feeling of accomplishment.
And it make a good Father's Day gift.
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After making many cars over many years I go the following route:
Each child must have a adult with them.
No one uses any tool until checked out by me.
ALL tool are disconnected from power until I reconnect them for use.
Any thing sharp is put away if at all possible until it is needed.
Shop is cleaned up as much as possible.
When kid arrive I give a safety lecture on the tools to the adults and kids.
Very simple and short. I then give each kid a predrawn 3 view page of the
car block, pencil, and drawing tools, with the instructions that they are to
draw the car they want to make, no adult help. When the car is drawn the
adults help them refine it, not design it. When finished the plan is
transferred to the block of wood and I cut it out with correct tools. Kids
and adults them finish shaping the car using rasps, files, sandpaper etc as
needed with me adding power tools when needed. We add weights to the cars
while in the shop in what ever manner the kids want. I provide lead
internal weights if the kids want them, other wise it is up to the kid and
adults as to what kind of weight and where it is placed.
I often have adults who can help by using drill presses or sanders which
lightens the load a lot. What ever the kid wants is what he gets, polished
axels, wings on car, spoilers, etc, can do. Paint and finish they do at
home with adult I hope.
Over the years I have had people who don't know what a screwdriver is to
ones who were more skilled then I will ever be. I have had a little blood
spilled (Band-Aid level only). I have had a lot of fun, made a lot of
winning cars a few of which did well on the track too. I like your 3
session idea, I usually am stuck with the first two all at once and with no
preplanning on the scouts part.
I agree with everything that has been posted and can very little, after
2 boys in scouts, being den leader and then cubmaster pine wood derby
was a blast for all involved. Good luck and have patience especially
with the parents...
What I am really hear to present is the very first derby I was in as a
bear cub scout we had the pine wood derby, I had a friend who's family
was strange and they did little to help their son in scouts, my mom was
the den mother and we offered to help. Well to make a very long story
short! John O'Neil of Chicago IL, simply, glued the axle blocks to
the wood block provided, stuck the axle nails through the wheels and
never painted nor carved his car. Most of the other kids had fancy
cars and my was very fancy too BTW. Well the winner of the
championship was you guessed it John O'Neil's. needless to say we were
all shocked as he went on to win the council championship!
So when I was doing the derby day sessions with the kids who had no
parents or only one parent I always recanted this story to the boys!
Because there always was at least one John O'Neil!
Markem (sixoneeight) wrote:
I've had cub scouts in my shop. I required the parents to attend to
watch the kids. I also made the rule that if they touched anything,
they'd have to leave without finishing their project. I unplugged
everything, and only plugged it in when in use.
Here were the problems: I wanted to break the scouts into small groups
of 3 or 4, but was vetoed. The problem with having 8 kids in the shop
is that they will get bored while waiting their turn and then start to
goof off. Not necessarily fool around with the tools, but I don't want
them jumping around and doing things that might distract me or the kid
currently using the tool.
I wouldn't trust a cub scout with a bandsaw. It's just too dangerous
for a kid (who won't have 100% attention span). I had kids trace
patterns on to wood and cut it out with a jigsaw. Then the got to sand
the parts on a pneumatic sander (with my hands helping to hold the
parts and make sure they didn't put their fingers on the drum).. Then I
let them use a drill press.
I gave the kids a demo on the bandsaw, and cut up some things for them,
but I'm not sure that was a good idea. The kids would reach on to the
bandsaw table to try to grab the cut scraps.. I stopped immediately,
but remember that kids do not think. They will grab before thinking
that the saw is still on.So I would definitely not let them use a
bandsaw. This session convinced me that the kids should at least be 16.
Now your own kid may be mature enough, but remember other people's kids
are very unpredictable.
other fixed power tool, though over familiarty is partly the problem here.
inc. Norm's "safety glasses" bit, I wouldn't trust him (nor the eldest)
in my shop without 1-1 close assistance (and supervision), and he's a
bright kid with good attention, some of the others.....
Ok I'll come clean I'm a Scouter, I don't mind assisting other leaders,
but tools are toys to most boys, so woodwork is reserved for those who
have a proven track record of sensible behavior, often older kids with
shop time at school, Cub's all to often are Beavers with attitude!
Niel, aka Badger the Beaver leader, JOTA radio operator and National
Scout Air Rifle Championship shooter (UK), and when time permits
Yes in hindsight this would've been best. The problem was that the
parents got bored too (it was a 2 hour session). Although the event
generally went well, and the kids didn't touch anything. There was just
one incident where they started jumping around that made me a little
I've seen this claim. I know I am naive, but to me it seems very safe.
I held the handle with the boy as he lowered the drill and had a depth
stop set. I emphasized to go slow, back out the bit, etc. Basically,
their hand was on the handle, but mine was on top controlling it.. so I
felt that was safe. And the workpiece was clamped down, no hands near
I got part of that cut off. I meant to say a kid should be at least 16
for a bandsaw, and that's the bare minimum (assumes the kid is mature,
respects safety, etc). I doubt I'd bring a bunch of 16 year old scouts
in to use the bandsaw.
Overall, it was a good experience. Not sure how much the kids enjoyed
it, but at least they've been exposed to the hobby. A lot of stuff in
scouts is like that. I try to show them something they may have
interest in as an adult.
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