People who know our family know that when one of us is having a particularly “sour” day, we refer to it as a Pickle Day. Well, this Pinewood Derby car is definitely a Pickle Car. Let me explain…
This afternoon is the annual Cub Scout Pinewood Derby for our group. Because there is a family class for entries, we have all made cars this year. Yes, the Prairie Family has 7 entries in the derby this year! We have been busy cutting, sanding, painting, decorating, lubricating, aligning wheels, etc. All of the cars have turned out very cute, and we can’t wait to race them today. The car pictured in this entry, however, has been such a HEADACHE!
This car was originally going to be my car when we traced the pattern onto the block of wood. When Dan was cutting out the shape, though, it cracked and had some problems, so he decided that he’d cut out another car for me and make this one his car. So, he patched up the cracks, added the weights, and all looked good. We even got it painted and decorated. Then more problems started…..
After we got it all ready to go, the Pickle Car was too heavy. This is not an uncommon problem because in order for the cars to do well racing, they have to be very close to the weight limit, but not over it. So, Dan decided to unplug one of the holes that the weights were in to lighten it a little. Well, the silly weight was kind of stuck in there, and when he was trying to get it out, the car cracked some more! Now remember, this car was already painted! Dan put more patching putty in the cracks, and I told him that after it had dried and could be sanded, I’d put a fresh coat of paint on it to cover up the putty.
That is only the BEGINNING of the story! True to my word, yesterday morning I put on a new coat of shiny black paint–and it crackled. Yes, for some unknown reason the entire car crackled. Dan had already left town for a meeting, so I had to make a quick decision on my own how to try to remedy this situation. So, yes, the day before the race I sanded the silly thing all the way back down to the wood and started over with primer and a new paint job!
Again, all looked good until I noticed a rough area on the top, and when I tried to smooth it out a little, I put a big scratch down the middle! Instead of starting all over AGAIN, I sprayed a little paint on a paper plate and used a brush to touch up the area.
Last night we were finally ready to attach the wheels. Now it is commonly known that the alignment of the wheels is really the most important speed factor for these little cars, so we were quite meticulous on all of our cars. I noticed a difference in the Pickle Car right away: one of the front tires just slid into the groove while the others had to be hammered. That didn’t seem quite right, and it wasn’t! The axle groove that is already carved in the original block of wood when the kit is opened must not have been carved correctly. So, we did our best to get that silly tire in, and tried multiple times to get it as level as possible so the car would track straight. Because the axle was so loose in the groove, we got it where we wanted it and put glue on to hold it.
Believe it or not, this morning I went to check on the Pickle, and the tire would not move at all! Glue had gotten into the tire hole and had secured it tightly to the axle! Not cool! So, we had to take that wheel off AGAIN, relubricate it, and try once more to get it all straight and flat.
After we got the car put back together, we weighed it–AGAIN–and it was way too light. So, we added some weights to the bottom, and we are calling it good. In fact, we are scared to touch the Pickle anymore lest it fall apart entirely!
Wouldn’t it be ironic if the Pickle ended up winning the race??!! We’ll find out later today!