Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Paradise ponders...

Paradise ponders...  Yesterday a neighbor (Alan L.) asked if he and two of his boys could come over to use the woodworking tools in my shop to help them with their “pinewood derby” cars.  His younger boy (Nic) needed his for his scouts; the older boy (Zac) was doing it just for fun.  Both of them needed to cut the rectangular blocks that came with their kits into a slightly more curvy shape.  Nic had an ambitiously complex shape in mind; Zac wanted a simple wedge with a slight curve.

The right tool for both of them was a power coping saw.  I have the same model as the one pictured at right. 

Nic is about 11 years old, and has little experience with power tools (or tools in general, for that matter), so this is a good choice for its simplicity and relative safety, too.  We gave him a bit of instruction on the proper use of the saw, and let him practice on a piece of scrap wood.  He did fine during practice, and his “real” cuts on the block of pine that came with his kit were darned near perfect. 

Zac is a couple years older, and a lot more confident (though not necessarily justifiably :) than Nic.  His design was also much simpler, and he cut his block without any issues at all. 

I'm hoping Alan will share some photos with me; if he does I'll post them.  He is a photographer and web designer by trade, and his camera was clicking away like mad all evening :)

1 comment:

  1. Fun! Several years ago, I helped run our organization's pinewood derby. The first year, several cars didn't even make it down the track and one car (beautifully decorated) wouldn't fit on the track. I found that many of the kids just didn't have the resources to build a basic car.

    That just broke my heart, so the next year, I set up several building workshops. I borrowed a few tools, bought some more off of Craigslist, and was able to set up an entire car building shop on site. I had a couple of scroll saws like yours, a small band saw, a couple of benchtop belt sanders, a small drill press, an axle hole drilling station, and an axle polishing station. We had a table with paper and sample designs by the door for those that needed some ideas.

    I asked that a parent stay with each kid and help out, even if they didn't think they knew what to do. I think that those moms and dads had more fun than the kids. Many of those families had never built anything together and it was a real pleasure to see them working on those cars.

    We stopped doing the derby after a couple of years and my "portable shop" went into hibernation. However, I got to do it again this year for a friend's grandson's Cub Scout pack. It was still a blast!

    I may have to take this show on the road.