Oh, well. It’s worse than our second place last year, even our third place in 2006. But much better than the sixy-sixth we had in ’05. That was dead last. Result of some errant glue gumming up a wheel. We think we found the problem this year. Our wheels were crooked. Got to watch it when you drill those holes for the axles. Might even be worth drilling another one if the first one is bad.
We’re having fun this year making Mr. B.’s fourth racer for the scouts’ Pinewood Derby on Sunday. He wanted to go for a win, again, so we followed the speed rules: dimensions, etc. Then we made the axle holes too big, so the wheels are loose, and completely fouled up the camo decal. He was planning to go for wacky next year, but we already seem to be headed in that direction by default.
For all that, it’s been fun, specially with him doing more of the work this time. He’s finally old enough to hold a power drill steady and help saw the block of pine down to its speediest narrow shape. He practiced first, a bit shy at the noise the drill makes, but otherwise game. He’s growing up. He also decided we’ll take the car in Saturday for impounding, then go to his basketball game at the J on Sunday before catching the last hour of the derby and see what the car’s been doing against the competition. If the wheels stay on.
Mr. B.’s car tied for second out of sixty-one cars this afternoon in his Cub Scout pack’s annual Pinewood Derby race. Much better than last year when he came in dead last, sixty-sixth out of sixty-six cars–essentially because of a sticky wheel. Better even than his Tiger year when his car came in third out of sixty. We think part of what did it this year was having an optimal, wedge shape, using the same wheels and axles from the third-place car, and arranging it so this year’s car had only three wheels touching the track. What cost him first apparently was the weight distribution on the car. Too much in front of the rear axle. No trophies this year, but he got a ribbon.
Moral: never go to a Pinewood Derby with a car with a sticky wheel. I thought we could get away with it, after the epoxy spread to the wheel from where I had applied it to hold the axles on the wood. I turned it a few score times and applied powdered graphite to the axle and the tread in hopes of making it slippery enough that it would at least slide quickly. It came in 66th, dead last. It not only lost its three heats, it never got all the way to the finish line, but slowed and stopped about two-thirds of the way down the track. Next year, when Mr. B. is older and doesn’t have to rely on dumb old Dad, he should do better.
Have to get our Pinewood Derby racer weighed today and leave it with the race officials for tomorrow’s competition. We wound up using some tungsten putty, after all, gluing it to the bottom of the car with epoxy. That way, if we’re a little over the maximum of five ounces, we can shave some of the putty off. Something tells me we won’t be so lucky this year as last when we won third place. But we’ll see.
Last year, our first race, we got all complicated. Bought tungsten putty to stuff in drilled holes in the body, polished the nail-axles, sanded the plastic wheels, lubicated with powdered graphite. Even bought a scale to weigh the car. Then got to the official weigh-in and discovered it was too light. So used their hot glue gun and lead weights to bring it up to maximum allowed: five ounces. This year Mr. Boy did more of it by himself, including the polishing and sanding and picking out a decal body surface instead of using paint and clear nail polish to make it shine. Might still use the nail polish, but we blew off the tungsten. Going to wait until the weigh-in and use the free weights and remember to space them out on the car’s rear third, for fastest possible running. Last year Mr. B. took third place. This year?
Going to spend the afternoon after school with Mr. B. in finishing his Pinewood Derby car for next weekend’s race, but meanwhile I keep wondering if the Red Raiders will roll over the Longhorns tomorrow. Probably not, unless Texas plays the game the way they did the first three quarters last week against Okie State. With this 2007 Texas team you never can be sure, as BON points out: "Same as last week: who knows?"