This report covers:

  • Remember…
  • Back to the present
  • Teach me to shoot
  • Pinewood Derby
  • What is it?
  • Track
  • However
  • Men’s Pinewood Derby
  • BB’s car?
  • Denny’s car
  • More
  • Why

The other day in the report titled, “Thank you” I told you that I get as much from this blog as any of you. Today I’m gonna prove it.

Remember…

You veteran readers will remember that in 2017-2018 BB wrote 7 reports titled, “How to sharpen a straight razor.” Let’s look at the beginning of Part 1 of that report, because it tells you about today’s message.

Note to readers: This report was written over time and I was learning as I went. Parts 1 through 3 were written before I had done enough research to know what is right and, more importantly, what isn’t. Read them for enjoyment, but begin with Part 4 for the serious information on sharpening straight razors.

Don’t be fooled by the title of this report. I will indeed show you how to sharpen a straight razor, but that’s not what the report series is about. It’s about me getting into something new and fascinating, like airguns, but something I know nothing about, and wondering what I don’t know. It’s about learning something new. It’s also about wondering what is true and what is either misleading or an outright lie, when you are unfamiliar with the subject.

I’m writing this series for all the newer airgunners, some of whom are also new to the shooting sports. There is so much to absorb and comprehend! Where do you start? Many of you started in the wrong place, as did I. You acquired an airgun and immediately began seeing that it didn’t live up to your expectations. It didn’t do the things other people said it should. Was it the gun, or was it you? Or, were you just being steered wrong by people who talk a lot, yet have very little to say?

Back to the present

That’s what I said in 2017, updated after I learned a few things. Man, did I learn a lot about sharpening things from that report and from the comments left by you readers!

tank razors
After learning a few things about straight razors, BB designed these two beauties and had a local knifemaker make them.

Teach me to shoot

Remember last year that I told you about teaching kids to shoot with the Daisy 499B for the Royal Rangers? Well, my kids did learn to be safe with a gun — airgun and firearm both, and some of them even learned how to shoot, but old BB was the one who learned the most. Gonna do it again this year with a new crop of kids.

Royal Ranger small
Some of my students were smaller than the average bear. This fellow in the yellow shirt turned 6 as were were shooting.

One final comment on this. The kid’s pastor asked me if I could take the kids to the next level and teach them how to shoot 10-meter target rifles. Sure I can. Give me two assistant coaches and each kid has to spend three hours every week in training for six months, as well as shooting practice matches on Saturdays. And I want the parents to attend the first three sessions.

Oh, well, he didn’t know that it took that much time to learn to shoot targets. It doesn’t. It takes ten times longer. That was just to get them to the point where they knew how to shoot in a match!

Pinewood Derby

Okay, dads and grandpas — have I got your attention? A guy on the internet talking about the Pinewood Derby said dads and grandpas like building the cars because when they were kids their dads and grandpas built their cars and pretended that the kids built them. So BB opened his rememberer and, sure enough, the guy was right. When my son Tom was in the Pinewood Derby, I remember doing a lot of the work for him. I think I let him paint it. Tom turns 50 at the end of this month. A whole lot of water has flown under that bridge.

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What is it?

The Cub Scouts have been building and racing Pinewood Derby cars since 1953. An estimated 100 million cars have been built. The purpose is to foster a better father-son relationship.

A Pinewood Derby racer is an individually built race car that operates on a gravity track. It’s like the Soap Box Derby, but on a much smaller and more affordable scale.

Track

The track is scaled for human use. It fits inside a larger room and has a lever to release all the cars at the same time.


The cars accelerate down the track, pulled by gravity.

The cars are built from an official kit that includes a block of wood, 4 axels and wheels.

Pinewood Derby kit
An official Pinewood Derby kit. The slots in the wood are for the axels.

The kits are cheap, at less than $5 each. A dollar of that goes to the Boy Scouts. Cheaper kits are available, but the Boy Scouts don’t benefit.

However

There’s always a “however” when BB is involved — right? The official Boy Scout wheels are wide and it’s not allowed to thin them in any way. There are wheels that are narrower because it was learned years ago that thinning the wheels reduces friction and allows the car to go faster. Now the thinner wheels aren’t officially sanctioned, but — wouldn’t you know it — there is an “outlaw” class where they are.

Our Royal Ranger unit bought both official kits and outlaw kits, and I am leading up to something. Our Royal Rangers are having a Pinewood Derby race this week! But the men of the church remembered what fun it was when they built them with their sons, AND SO…

Men’s Pinewood Derby

This Saturday the men of my church are having a men’s Pinewood Derby. We are following many of the rules, such as the car must not weigh more than 5 ounces when it races, but there are a whole lotta thin wheels on campus. Including on BB’s car.

BB’s car?

Yes, BB Pelletier, the great wood butcher whose work looks like the output of a rabid beaver has made a car to race. Hey — someone’s gotta come in last, and I find it so easy to do.

Pinewood Derby BBs car
BB’s car has the outlaw wheels and of course for weight — bullets. What else?

Denny’s car

So I invited my next door neighbor, Denny, to come and race with us. And of course he knows how to work wood. So he built a fine-looking car. Denny made Pinewood Derby cars with his boys years ago and he remembers just like BB.

Pinewood Derby Dennys car
Now, my neighbor, Denny, made his car to win. To each his own, I say.

More

No doubt many of you know a lot more about the Pinewood Derby than BB. There are leagues that race frequently. The National Pinewood Derby Racing League is perhaps the best example. There are outlaw classes with all sorts of cool tricks to speed cars up. I have seen You Tube races where the cars weigh several pounds!

Why

Why did I write this? It’s not about airguns. But it is about doing something new and trying to learn as you go. We have a lot of new readers who are doing just that, and I want them to know that we have all been where they are now. I try not to write my reports using too much jargon, but occasionally I slip. You readers who comment seem to try to do that too, and I thank you for that.

The shooting sports are booming (pun intended) these days and airguns have become so capable that they are surging to the forefront. I can’t keep up with all the advances — a fact some of you point out from time to time.

We have a great sport and interest area. Let’s see how many new folks we can introduce to our hobby !