Boys' Life magazine

Watch How a Pinewood Derby Car Kit Gets Made

Even before you open the box, your Pinewood Derby car has traveled thousands of miles. The journey begins in a forest in Idaho. The wood blocks travel to Indiana, where they are packaged and shipped. Finally, they arrive at your local Scout shop. The rest is up to you and your parents or guardians. Cutting, sanding, painting and racing is the best part.

A Pinewood Derby Car’s Journey From the Forest to the Finish Line

Step 1: Each car block begins its life as a ponderosa pine. The trees come from a sustainable forest (where cut-down trees are replaced by seedlings) in Idaho.

Step 2: At Woodgrain Millwork in Fruitland, Idaho, the logs are split into planks. Those planks are fed through a machine that uses lasers to measure the wood and determine where cuts should be made. The goal is to get as many perfect 7-inch blocks as possible from each plank.

Step 3: The blocks are transported nearly 2,000 miles to South Bend, Indiana, home to Kahoot Products Inc. Each piece of wood goes into a box alongside four wheels, four axles, instructions and decals.

Step 4: The Pinewood Derby kit boxes are sealed and placed in large shipping boxes, each containing 48 car kits. These boxes are sent to local Scout shops across the country.

Step 5: The final step is the best one: it’s when you open the Pinewood Derby kit and begin making your very own Pinewood Derby car.