Pinewood Derby Trophy Stand




Introduction: Pinewood Derby Trophy Stand

It's getting to be that time of year where we start working on our Pinewood Derby cars for our Cub Scouts.

However, after all the work in building and racing your car, how do you plan to display your mean machine? Some people I know just store them in the cardboard box the kit came in.. how boring. Others may spend some bucks on a fancy plastic box... how unoriginal.

Well. when my oldest son started in Scouts, one of the parents wanted the kids to build trophy stands, good idea, but a very poor execution. Too many screws and nails, and they wobbled. So the next year, I offered to come up with a trophy stand kit. This is it.

I wanted it to look like a trophy, and be reminiscent of the Pinewood Derby track. Also, it had to be easy to put together, and inexpensive to produce. This kit fits the bill. No screws, no nails. Easy to glue and paint. Lastly, I just made 36 kits for $22.50 in supplies. Thats $0.625 per kit.

Here's what you need:

Pine boards 1"X4"(16 inches per kit)
Poplar Dowel 1/2" diameter (4inches per kit)

Mitre saw
Router in Router Table
Router Bits (3/4" straight, and some sort of fancy edge)
Drill Press
Drill Bit - 1/2" (forstner or spade)

Let's get started!

Step 1: Cut Your Boards

Each kit needs an 8" base and an 8" 'track'.

Start cutting your wood into 8" pieces. I used a miter saw with a clamp set at 8" so it could cut quickly and accurately.

You can use any saw you want, as long as you can cut the wood into 8" lengths.

Step 2: Route the Base

I always thought that trophies should have a fancy base. So get out your router, and your fancy bits, and route the edges of all of the bases.

Step 3: Route the 'Tracks'

Now it is time to route the 'tracks' into the top piece of wood.

This is how I set my router table.

(1) I used a 3/4" straight bit.

(2) I set the depth of the cut at about 1/8"

(3) I set the fence at about 5/8' from the center of the bit. Which will put the cut about 1/4" from the edge of the wood.

(4) After the initial 1/8" depth cut, I did a second cut at 1/4"

Step 4: Drill the Base

Next, we need to drill a hole in the base to hold the dowel.

As we are using a 1/2" dowel, we need use a 1/2" drill bit.

I used my drill press so I knew all my holes would be at 90degrees. If you don't have a drill press, you can use a drill that has a built in level. I actually did that before I got my drill press, and it worked fine. Just make sure you drill at the center of the wood.

Also, I used some guides to create a jig on my drill press. Basically, I set the jig to center on the first base, and from then on, I just slid the wood into the jig and it was centered.

Do not drill all the way through the wood. As far as bits, I used a 1/2" spade. I would recommend the forstner, but I don't a set, yet (you listening Santa?)

Step 5: Drill the 'Track'

Now for the really tricky part, drilling the dowel hole in the 'track'.

In order to get that 'trophy' look, we need to set the track at an angle on the dowel. Doing this on the drill press makes this alot easier, but i have done it free hand with a hand held drill.

On the drill press, I set the table to 25 degrees. Next, I adjusted the alignment of the jig to ensure the bit hits the center of the wood. Lastly, I adjusted the depth of the cut to ensure I wouldn't drill all the way through the wood.

Remember to dill the BOTTOM of the track piece.

Step 6: Cut the Dowels.

Each stand needs a 4" piece of 1/2" dowel.

I used my band saw. I set my fence at a 4" depth and just kept cutting dowels.

You can cut this however you please, jig saw, table saw, miter saw, or circular saw.

Step 7: Assemble!

This is really tough.....

Insert the dowel in the base

Place the 'track' on dowel.

Thats it!

For permanent assembly, glue the dowel in place. You can use wood glue or a hot glue from a glue gun. Also, we usually have the kids sand and paint.


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    5 years ago

    Great stuff. I have my Scouts build something like this every year as a wood project. Never had a router so had to spend a little more money, $1 each, for a pre-routed base from Michael's. I'm going to use Velcro this year to affix the car to the platform. That way the Scout can remove it but you don't have to handle the trophy with kid gloves worrying about the car falling off.

    Keep the ideas coming


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I used your design with my Bear Den last year. It worked out great. I made the parts in my shop and had them sand, glue and assemble at our meeting. Thanks for the Instructable!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    That's awesome! Glad to hear it worked for you.

    Feel free to post a reply with some pictures. Would love to see how your Scouts did!



    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    You can pretty much do whatever you want.

    For our Scouts, this was a project done in the week or two before the derby, and we let them finish as they saw fit.  Typically with water based paints or spray paint.

    Usually not the most beautiful finish, but one they could all be proud of.


    13 years ago on Introduction

    That's a great idea. I have a Webelos den that could use this idea. I only have one question. What stops the cars from rolling off the ends? Do you put anything on the bottom of the cars to hold them?


    Reply 13 years ago on Introduction

    Because the 'track' piece is at an angle, the wheels rest against the edge of the 'track' and they dont roll off. Also, if you drill properly, the track piece will be level. If you want to make sure the cars dont roll off, I would suggest putting in some 1/2 inch dowel, about 3/4 tall on either end of the car. Good luck, and let me know if you make them.

    Royal Explainer
    Royal Explainer

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Or just don't run the router all the way to the end.  That would create a "curb" at each end of the car. I really like this idea.  I've been trying to figure out an idea for my sons' cars.  Thanks!


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction


    In my case, it was just easier going edge to edge, because I had to make 36 stands!  8-)

    If you make one, feel free to post a picture. 



    14 years ago on Introduction

    cool instructable, i have like a whole bunch of trophies and theyre like all in my brothers closet LOL


    14 years ago on Introduction

    Nice Instrucable. clear instructions, good pictures, wish i knew this when i was in cub scouts. I'm Star scout now currently working on my eagle.