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  • teaching whittling chip/chit

    Anyone have experience teaching this to their scouts? since we meet at a school, this cannot be taught at our regular den meetings so we will try to do it at an upcoming camp out.

    i have seen the requirements so i am looking for the 'above and beyond' things that have helped get the safety portion across to the scouts or anything else that might help.

    currently doing some more google searches to see what i could find - but this is the place where most of my tips seem to come from

    thanks in advance

  • #2
    to answer my own question so far - heres a nice link i just found -


    • #3
      If you do your background work in your den meetings, you can spend more time whittling on your campout.

      Cubs familiar with firearm safety from council BB gun events and those familiar with fire safety from fire prevention week already know the tools not toys mantra, so you can use it to your advantage.

      Like lots of folks, I started my den with soap carving. Very fresh soap works much better than soap with any age to it.

      I found some popsicle stick-like doodads in the craft section of our local big box retailer. These were larger and thicker than popsicle sticks and made good training knives. We "sharpened" our training knives with sandpaper on a block of wood, just like real knives are sharpened.

      I teach sharpening basics when I do whittling chip also (with pocketknives, not just the wooden ones). I don't expect them to get it 100% right, but by understanding how much practice it takes to sharpen a knife well, they also seem to take better care of the knives they use. For some reason my guys were fascinated by my whetstones.


      • #4
        I just skimmed the list but had a couple of thoughts.
        Many years ago we had some cubs carving soap at day camp and sent several off to the first aid station to get their fingers bandaged because the soap stuck to the blade and so they would absentmindedy wipe it off with their fingers.
        Also it is good to have the boys planted in a stable location such as a picnic table which can help to control spacing and keep them from using their own leg to support the item on which they are working.
        I also like to ask individuals the question of would you do (example of something stupid) with a knife, which seems to be helpful as long as it does not just give them new ideas.


        • #5
          This is overkill but I have seen it done in the past and kind of wonder what all your thoughts are too ... this applies to Webelos only ...

          I have seen and when I was a Webelos den leader on a campout with a Troop have the Webelos go through the Totin' Chip course .. this is more then they need as their card is for knife only and the way we teach Totin' Chip in out troop its for any sharp objects (regardless if a knife, rock, stick, glass, etc)...

          One decent thing I have heard about for teaching younger cubs to use is knife is by carving a bar of soap...

          Anyway just my 2 cents...

          Scott Robertson

          Helping leaders one resource at a time...


          • #6
            One thing I did many years ago with a group that had very little exposure to knives was make one out of card stock (old manila folders). Cut one piece in kind of an elongated oval with a fold on one long side. It should be shaped like an old pocket knife. then cut blade out of another piece. Secure blade inside "case" with brass paper brad. Get a red lipstick and run it along the "sharp" edge. Let the boys practice opening closing and passing. If they get "blood" on their hands, they were handling it incorrectly and have been cut. (For you tough guys that don't have lipstick go to the mall and ask for a sample and then watch for the reaction... sure to brighten someone's day)


            • #7
              Here's my routine: (Webelos and mature Bears only):

              1) I send home a note to the parents telling them that at such and such a meeting we will be teaching "Knife Safety" and this will lead to awarding the "Whittlin' Chip". It's on page xx of the Rank book (I forget that. Gotta look it up). I say that this will no doubt lead to the boy wanting his OWN pocket knife, that that is up to the parent, that when the boy succeeds in earning his W/C he may carry the pocket knife to CS events, as appropriate, WITH THE PARENTS PERMISSION.
              I ask the parent to sign the note and return it. No W/C without that signature. The boy is made aware of that requirement.I also mention the school policy (here it is "no tolerance". A pocket knife is considered a weapon, immediate suspension). The Cubs can bring their own folding knife to the class with parents escort.
              2) On the day, I have three types of knives for show and tell, and a few loaners for practice. A large kitchen knife, a 'lock back' knife and some regular folding pocket knives (granddad called'em
              'clasp knife')I also have an oil stone, an Arkansas dry stone and a carborundum stone, and a diamond hone (Scout shop. Puts a real nice edge on a blade) and a ceramic 'steel'. If you have a REAL steel 'steel', good too.
              3) I talk about the different types, what they may be used for, and we practice handing them to each other. "Thank you" is not just being polite. Edge away from hand, flat to the ground, NOT edge down.. Handle to your taker. The big kitchen knife makes them think about mom's kitchen, grocer's butcher. "Thank you" for any sharp tool means you have it and won't drop it. Best to pass blade closed. This is a tool. Treat your tool with respect. Respect the edge. Lay it flat, never on concrete or a metal surface. Dulls and damages the knife. Cut wood, paper, soft things. Nothing else.
              4) Open and close the knife open palm. Two handed, open palm, slow and careful. Showing off (whip open, leg close ?) shows lack of maturity, just dumb. Who you trying to impress?
              5) Sharp that blade. Look for the shine of the light as you rotate the blade toward the light. See those nicks? A little oil on the stone and keep it flat. Palm open, stone flat. Nice slow circles, none of these sweeping motions. Hear that whistle? gettin' sharp. Hones, steels. Stroke the blade away from you on the steel. Really sharp now. Touch the blade with your thumb THIS way. Talk about types of stones.
              6) Okay, here's your very own bar of Ivory. Let's see what you can make. Cars, jet planes, bear head?
              7) Do it all again. Remind them about bragging, showing off, school policy. One knife in school equals no school. Praise them for being grown up enough to handle a serious tool correctly. Pass out the W/C card. Scout sign. Repeat after me. Sign the card. Keep the card, receive the patch at next meeting. Congratulations!

              When it comes up in discussion, 'sheath' knives are not allowed in Cubs. Boy Scouts? another time...

              Yes, the Cub has to prove his skill again for Totin' Chip in BScouts.



              • #8
                We taught the boy's the blood circle, with your knife closed extend your arm out and swing right & left, if someones in your circle you can't proceed. Also we laid a tarp down soap chips are not easy to pick up. roll the tarp up and throw away at home. Thats all I have to add use the other suggestions and you'll have a succesful requirment.

                Doug Buth


                • #9
                  "When it comes up in discussion, 'sheath' knives are not allowed in Cubs. Boy Scouts? another time... "

                  I am sure that this is one of those things that appears every time knife safety gets discussed, but can you tell me where this comes from? Is this a Pack rule? I just did a quick scan of the G2SS and did not find this rule, but I will admit that I may have over looked it.


                  • #10
                    "since we meet at a school, this cannot be taught at our regular den meetings so we will try to do it at an upcoming camp out."

                    There might be a way around that. I've taugh a firearms safety class at a local high school. I was given a letter from the program administrator that for purposes of the class, I was allowed to bring unloaded firearms into the school.

                    If you don't have a principal who's afraid of anything sharp, you might be able to get a similar letter.


                    • #11
                      The last time I checked Guide to safe Scouting Sheath knives are allowed at Boy Scout level... however I do not know 1 Troop that admits this to the Scouts ...the rule we have in our Troop is it has to be under 4 inches and fold ... there are exceptions for say mountain man costumes and that kind of thing on a case by case basis ...

                      Anyways just my wacky 2 cents ...

                      Scott Robertson
                      Helping leaders one resource at a time


                      • #12
                        the guide also shows pocketknives as 'appropriate' for wolf and above scouts


                        • #13
                          Great ideas everyone! I plan to start having my Bears earn their Whittlin' Chip in January! Thanks for the info!



                          • #14
                            From the "Guide to Safe Scouting" under knives -

                            "A sharp pocketknife with a can opener on it is an invaluable backcountry tool. Keep it clean, sharp, and handy. AVOID LARGE SHEATH KNIVES. They are heavy and awkward to carry, and unnecessary for most camp chores except for cleaning fish."

                            The emphasis is mine.

                            This is why only pocketknives, and not sheath knives, are mentioned in the G2SS's appendix, "Age-Appropriate Guidelines for Scouting Activities". The BSA does not believe ANY level of Scouts should be using them.