Water is heavy! And Here’s How to Dry Out Pinewood Derby Wood
Drying out pinewood derby wood is a great thing all around. And guess what, even in the Sahara Desert, a wood block will have some water in it and there’s a bonus!!! You’ll love the smell of wood drying in the shop.
Baking and drying pinewood derby wood blocks put the control of the weight in your hands. Don’t let mystery weight make you lose the race.
As I’ve shown in the past videos and resulting data, the more weight you put in the rear of the car, the faster the car will go. However, did you know that even the initial block contains weight that can be moved to the rear? All wood blocks contain water, and water is a very heavy substance. Just a little bit of moisture can throw things off because water is much heavier than dry wood and it’s irregular. All of the water locked up in the front half of your car is badly placed weight, so take it out. Weighing before and after drying, the block weight reduces significantly.
Before you do anything else to your car, put the wood block in an oven and bake it. This will cause most of the water locked up inside the wood to evaporate. With that water gone, you will be free to put more weight near the back of the car.
PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 250 DEGREES
Depending on the humidity in your area, you may need to adjust the temperature or the time you use for baking the block. Every gram of weight you move to the rear of the car will make your car go faster.
If you want to bake more than one block at a time, you may need to adjust the cooking time a little bit. I live in very humid NC.
ONCE THE OVEN IS PREHEATED
I placed the block on a cookie sheet and then right into the oven. Bake the block for about 2 hours.
Caution: Be sure to keep a close eye on what’s going on in the oven. If you neglect the block, you could start a fire or overbake the wood. If the wood begins to turn brown or black, you have the temperature too high.
Your goal is to evaporate the water, not burn the wood. Of course, there’s a disclaimer – Perform at your own risk. Children should not perform this task without adult supervision.