Pinewood Derby Stories and Photos from Maximum Velocity
Ten Commandments of Pinewood Derby Racing (An update of an article originally published October 6, 2004)
Most people know of the Ten Commandments.(1) When I was young they were posted in the schools, courts, etc. With the shift to a secular society this has changed somewhat. But life would certainly be better if everyone lived by these commandments.
In looking on the Internet for those elusive pinewood derby tips, on a few sites I found a version of the Ten Commandments for pinewood derby racing.(2)
TEN COMMANDMENTS OF PINEWOOD DERBY RACING
1. Thou shall have no other car except thy own kid-built car.
2. Thou shall not exceed 5 ounces for thy car.
3. Thou shall not swear, or grumble or even bite thy lip over any race result, whether thou be car owner, sibling or relative.
4. Remember, Pinewood Derby is for the kids; thou shall keep it for the kids always.
5. Honor thy race committee and judges, lest thou be thanked for volunteering to be the next pinewood derby committee chair.
6. Thou shall not kill a child's happiness on pinewood derby day by being a bad sport.
7. Thou shall not commit acts that undermine the bonds of parent and child.
8. Thou shall not steal the enthusiasm of any child on race day.
9. Thou shall not bear false witness as to any race result.
10. Thou shall not covet thy neighbor's car, nor thy neighbor's graphite, nor thy neighbor's decals, nor thy neighbor's good fortune.
I applaud these commandments, as following them certainly would help keep fun and excitement in pinewood derby racing.
But since I can't leave well-enough alone, I would like to offer my version of the Ten Commandments for pinewood derby racing. These don't necessarily parallel the Ten Commandments, but are certainly important rules to follow to have a fun and low-stress event (and a fast car too!).
TEN COMMANDMENTS OF PINEWOOD DERBY RACING Maximum Velocity Version
1. You shall start building early -- Overnight jobs can turn out well, but the process is tough on the parent and the child (this also saves money on shipping charges if you purchase supplies on-line!)
2. You shall understand the rules before building the car -- Don't get disqualified, or have to do a last minute part change.
3. You shall design the car, including the weighting method, before cutting out the car -- Adding weight after the car is cut out is difficult, and oftentimes a car-damaging undertaking.
4. Remember that a good looking car and a fast car can be one and the same, but often are not -- Reserve enough time to work on the wheels and axles. They are responsible for at least 80 percent of the speed of the car.
5. Honor the spirit of the event by letting the child do as much work as they physically and safely can -- It's their car after all!
6. You shall respect your tools' cutting edges -- Keep them sharp, and away from your fingers!
7. You shall apply graphite to the wheels and axles at least three times -- Apply the graphite before the wheels and axles are attached to the car. Spin the wheels 10 times after each application. (Keep mom happy, don't do this in the house!)
8. You shall test and adjust the alignment of the car before race day -- A well-aligned car has a big advantage over a poorly aligned car. Don't break this commandment!
9. You shall handle the car carefully -- Don't play with it before the race, and store/transport it in a padded container.
10. You shall be a good sport -- Don't brag about your car either before or after the race, and offer your compliments to the other car owners.
Whatever your stance on the Bible, or on posting the Ten Commandments, I believe we can all agree that our society would be a better place if everyone lived by these rules. And I guarantee that your pinewood derby experience will be greatly improved if you abide by either version of the Ten Commandments of Pinewood Derby Racing!
(1) In summary, the Ten commandments are listed below (NASB version). They can be found in the Bible in Exodus 20:1-17.
1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
2. You shall not make for yourself an idol.
3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
6. Honor your father and your mother.
7. You shall not murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
10. You shall not covet.
(2) Author unknown. Edits were made to make the commandments generic.