S&W Crafts, Mfg.
Makers of the world's finest Pinewood Racers
Most people think S&W stands for “Simply Wonderful” but S&W Crafts started in the late 1950’s by two teachers named Smeltzer and Williams, in Pasadena, California, who made wood craft kits for the students in their classrooms, then for the teacher across the hall and then teachers across the state.
The first Pinewood Derby® was held in Manhattan Beach, California in May 1953. The second Pinewood Derby® was held at Griffith Park, in 1954, as part of Los Angeles Parks & Recreation. Pinewood Derby® became popular. S&W looked at the design of the first Pinewood Racers and thought of a better way of building them. Since 1957 our cars have used the same wheels, screws and wooden dowel axles. All of the groups that have used our cars have been thankful for the improvement of the design.
Many of the wood craft kits are the same design as in the late 1940’s. A birdhouse is a birdhouse. We added many new crafts, to our line, over the years. All of our crafts are designed so the adult leaders can successfully help children build a wood craft kit to be proud of.
Over the years, the needs of adults and adult leaders have changed, so S&W has included some new and easier to build pre-cut racers. We have not forgotten the tradition of an adult and child working together.
In 1988 Ray and Cathy Kathol took over S&W Crafts, Mfg. Ray has 17 years experience teaching woodworking and theater for the Los Angeles School District. S&W Crafts, Mfg., has always been a family owned business. We are literally Mom, Dad and the kids, so we know what you need and want for your programs.
Ray and Cathy, owner’s and designer’s of S&W Crafts, Mfg., a business that supplies schools, scouts, church groups, camps and clubs with pre-cut wood craft kits. Ray sends Pinewood Derby® racers, birdhouses, bug cages, tool carriers and napkin holders---over 50 different kits in all---- to every state in the country with this guarantee: “Here is something any child can make.”
“Every child has a dream,” he says. “When they are given a block of wood, they can build a dream.”
In Ray’s shop is where the action is. It is here where the table saw, the band saw, the drill press and two machines of Ray’s own design have cranked out, in the course of 22 years, thousands of hobby kits for thousands of children.
“I was a woodworking teacher with the Los Angeles School District, when I decided to take over the business from Merv Fair. When the business changed from one family to the other, I was hit with memories of my own growing up and the Pinewood Derby® racer I built from an S&W Crafts, Mfg. kit years ago.”
For the past 22 years, if someone gave Ray a piece of wood, he made MAGIC. Those pieces of wood became pieces of dreams and pieces of memories.