Source for Pine used in Pinewood Derby Cars (or type)

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gotvolts
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Source for Pine used in Pinewood Derby Cars (or type)

Post by gotvolts » Sun Nov 24, 2013 12:21 pm

Hello,

My son and I are planning on building about five different cars this year for the Pinewood Derby. We are planning on doing the design on the computer and then cutting them out on my CNC machine. My question is, what is a good source to purchase the type of wood used in Pinewood Derby cars and is there any source online?

From what I understand the cars are generally made with Ponderosa or White Pine, but it seems many of the sources I've seen sell pine with lots of knots in that.

The pinewood derby car blocks sold by BSA seem very homogenous in nature and do not have knots. Unless, they use a selection process and discard any knotted blanks.

Any help is appreciated!

Thanks much!
-Dan



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whodathunkit
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Re: Source for Pine used in Pinewood Derby Cars (or type)

Post by whodathunkit » Sun Nov 24, 2013 2:37 pm

:welcome: gotvolts.

Dan, is the pinewood derby race.. outside of Scouting?

If it is and you are just looking for pine blocks to play around with on the CNC machine.
The only on line sorce I can think of.. and know that offers just the pine blocks is
Randy at maximum-velocity..
http://www.maximum-velocity.com/5600.htm" target="_blank


What type of automobile can be spelled the same forwards & backwards?

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Re: Source for Pine used in Pinewood Derby Cars (or type)

Post by FatSebastian » Sun Nov 24, 2013 3:11 pm

whodathunkit wrote:If it is and you are just looking for pine blocks to play around with on the CNC machine.
My sense was that Dan is looking "lumber" rather than "blocks", meaning that he is looking for something that is more than a standard block. This may be because his machine needs stock of a minimum dimension that is larger than a standard block, or the designs they have in mind are wider than a standard block, or that they want cheaper bulk material because a level of experimentation is involved, or...
gotvolts wrote:From what I understand the cars are generally made with Ponderosa or White Pine, but it seems many of the sources I've seen sell pine with lots of knots in that.
What sources have been checked? I am not a woodworker but I would be surprised that a well-stocked lumber yard would not have higher grades of pine available. And you'll only need ~7" length at a time that is clear of knots.



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Re: Source for Pine used in Pinewood Derby Cars (or type)

Post by Topspin.D » Sun Nov 24, 2013 5:14 pm

Just check your local lumber yards. The best kind of pine to get is "Sugar Pine". It's the lightest pine typically available.

Depending on where you buy a BSA kit (and year) it could be one of several different types of pine. Many are Southern Yellow Pine, some are white pine.



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Re: Source for Pine used in Pinewood Derby Cars (or type)

Post by BallBoy » Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:08 pm

It is very rare to find knot-free pine. Pine wood is classified into one of four grades: C, D, #1 and #2, with C being the clearest (i.e. fewest knots) and #2 being the most knotty. Places like Lowes and Home Depot generally carry C grade pine in 1" thickness (actual thickness is closer to 3/4"). If you are looking at buying pine stock thicker than 1" then you will likely need to contact a local lumber dealer. Look for hardwood lumber suppliers near you. Buying from a home center will get you a nice board that looks good on all 4 sides, but will cost you 2-3 times more than rough cut wood at a lumber supplier.

Wood sold by lumber dealers is sold by the board-foot, which is one square foot of wood that is 1" thick. The thickness of wood is given in 1/4" increments. A board that is 8/4 thick is 8 quarters of an inch, or 2" thick. A piece of wood measuring 4/4 thick (1") by 24" long by 6" wide is 1 board-food. A piece 8/4 thick (2") that is also 24" by 6" is two board-feet.

Sugar pine is not widely available for retail sale, but is commonly used in commercial applications. Eastern white pine and ponderosa pine are readily available. Your profile puts you in PA. Sugar pine is a west coast species and may be tough to come by in your neck of the woods.



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Re: Source for Pine used in Pinewood Derby Cars (or type)

Post by TXDerbyDad » Mon Nov 25, 2013 1:36 pm

Skip the pine and go straight to basswood. Similar properties and usually easier to get in decent grades.



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Re: Source for Pine used in Pinewood Derby Cars (or type)

Post by gotvolts » Mon Nov 25, 2013 1:37 pm

Thanks so much everyone. Very informative answers especially about the different grades.
I will check at Lowes and Home Depot to see what they have. I agree local lumber yards are probably cheaper, and most likely better quality wood, but the amount i'd pay in gas to get to one probably outweighs any savings i'd get from just visiting the Lowes down the street from me.

Thanks again everyone!

Dan



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Re: Source for Pine used in Pinewood Derby Cars (or type)

Post by BallBoy » Mon Nov 25, 2013 4:18 pm

gotvolts wrote:I agree local lumber yards are probably cheaper, and most likely better quality wood
I don't know that the quality is necessarily any different at lumber yards. The stock at Home Depot/Lowes has alreay been planed down and is surfaced (i.e. flat) on all four sides. You are paying to have someone do that for you, which is why it costs more.
When picking out a board look at the grain pattern on the end of the board. For pinewood derby cars you want grain that is arranged vertically rather than diagonally or horizontally. Vertical grain boards are more dimensionally stable, which is what you will want if you are going to be CNCing your cars.



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