In January and February each year Racine founded Dremel Corporation hosts a Pinewood Derby Demonstration at Lowes stores across the US. You can learn more on the Derby Days website: http://www.dremelderby.com/about.aspx

This morning was the first of the sessions, and although we’ve built cars together for several years, we decided to go down to Lowe’s on 27th and see what kind of tricks we could pick up. Last year was the first year I let my older son (now Webelos 1) use powertools to build his car – a belt sander, and a Dremel rotary tool for routing and drum sanding. I was hoping that this year he would be able to take this to the next level.

The experience was less than what we had hoped for – due to communication issues at the store, the demonstration wasn’t ready, and while the woman who helped us was very nice, she definitely wasn’t prepared. She showed us some car blanks, but didn’t do any actual work on a car or relay any tips or tricks. She told us that the workshops were supposed to start NEXT weekend. While we were there another 8-10 or so Cub Scouts came in for the same program, given that the dates on all of the promotional materials did state today I’m sure there were going to be more. We did get a very nice patch for our 10 minute or so on-site investment.

I am sure the experience will vary from store to store, and probably even from week to week – since they will continue to hold these clinics each weekend now through February. One thing I did pick up, and recommend taking a few minutes to look through, is the guide and how-to videos on the Dremel Derby website. They have a car designer that prints out templates you can paste to your block to help you cut, videos that show you how to polish your axels for maximum speed and pictures of some pretty creative & unique cars others have built.