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  • First Knife

    Well, I'm about ready to start working with my son on his whittling chip card. Gonna practice with soap first,maybe then peel some potatoes, then work to balsa wood then maybe carving out some staffs or arrows maybe.

    So here's my question:

    From your experience, what would be a good first knife?

    See, when I was his age , my fist knife was a single blade pocket knife. It seems like there are soooooooo many new types and styles since I had my first one. Back when I was 9, you either got a single blade, a double blade, or a olive green Swiss Army knife that had so many attatchments that it weighed about 15 pounds!

    Pretty much,you didn't have alot of options.

    I have seen the cub scout knives, but my bigest thought is this: If I get him a 5 blade knife ( for starting out) he'll find 5 ways to cut himself! LOL!

    What worked for you/ your son/ the Cubs?

  • #2
    I had a hand-me-down CS Knife. I personally recommend something that A) has some type of locking mechanism and B) is carbon steel. That way you won't have to worry about the blade folding in on itself and once sharpened it stays sharp ("A sharp knife IS a safe knife")


    • #3
      I agree. A lock is the most important feature for a 1st knife. That and a good teacher.


      • #4
        for projects at home, my nephews used carbon steel paring knives from the junk store: cheap, designed for close work, little danger of folding up, made for small hands, didn't feel flimsy...


        • #5
          just a plain lockblade knife with out 200 other tools

          the knife I suggest is a kabar, #4065, foldable with easy opening hole, available in black, bright orange or pink

          Not an employee of kabar or any other knife company.

          the $5 knives are not worth the hassles of trying to keep them sharp


          • #6
            It's funny. I actually considered not getting a lock-blade because I thought that it might be too complicated and he'd cut himself trying to close it.

            But thenafter reading what everybody wrote,it made sense as he might pull backwards, turn it sideways , etc and cut himself that way too. Probably more likely that way.

            I bought a small $6.00 LB knife with a 2 1/4 inch blade yesterday at the Army/Navy Surplus store. Kinda has a slightly thicker handle and he said it felt better than a few other knived we tried.

            But then again, he bought dummy pineapple grenade and a WWII M-1 helmet made in 1941 for $20.00
            No liner, no cradel or chin straps: just the outter shell.

            He's all but forgotten the knife for now! LOL!

            Gonna buy a 12 pack of Ivory soap today. It will be the most time he's ever spent around soap! LOL!


            • #7
              I'd echo the claim on the locking blade. Whish they had that feature when I was a lad. Carbon steel blade is a good choice too.

              I'd say an entry level leatherman or gerber makes a fine choice. One main blade, maybe a smaller blade, small saw, and pliers are very nice. One or two more items and that's enough flash to be "cool" without being cumbersome to the kid's hands.

              One guide I was taught long ago (don't remember the source) stated that the closed knife should fit comfortably in the youth's palm and when they close their fingers around it, it shoudl be mostly covered by their fingers.

              Anything that sticks out past the sides of their palm or if its diameter is too large for them to close their hand around, is likely too much knife for them to safely control. That's aways been a good guide for me.


              • #8
                "One guide I was taught long ago (don't remember the source) stated that the closed knife should fit comfortably in the youth's palm and when they close their fingers around it, it shoudl be mostly covered by their fingers."

                AWESOME! The knife we got is completely hidden by his hand when both knife and hand are closed. It's just a single blade. Knowing him, he'd use the attachments to tear my house apart or something. It's not carbon ( for $6.00) but a slightly sheap stainless steel.

                Not a high dollar knife, but it's just until he gets familiar with using one. If he still has all his finger after a few months, I'll buy him a better one.


                • #9
                  I prefer to teach younger scouts with a lockable blade as well, but to teach proper closing it is best to have the unlock to be on the back side of the knife rather than where the blade folds in.

                  though for my personal use I prefer the one that is on the inside because I can close it with one hand - though this is not the way we teach it to scouts for safety.

                  now when he gets up to boy scouts I recomment a handy tool that you can snap open the plyers because it never fails that you need a quick tool to help with moving something hot. I prefer gerber as it's easy to use. Now this style takes longer to get to a knife blade, which is why I also carry a single blade pocket knife - so I can easily and quickly get which ever I need.

                  for my pervious job they were very handy to have and so I carried them always and still do now even now when I'm not working. I just have to remember to unload them when going to places that have rules about no weapons on property!


                  • #10

                    It sounds like you are working on this at home with your son alone?

                    In my experience, Whittling Chip has been done as a den activity at a series of den meetings. Has your den elected not to do this together? If so why or why not (maybe because the den is so large)? Have all of the parents been instructed to do this, or will it only be earned by the Scouts whose parents take initiative to do it on their own? (Not being critical at all, just curious - I'm always looking to compare how other packs handle things.)


                    • #11
                      Cub Scouting used to be a parent Akela son activity. With all of the advancement done at home with mom or dad. With Fast Trax being adopted all of the advancement will be done at the den meeting.

                      Why does it matter if he is doing it at home or at the den meeting?????

                      I applaud his efforts.


                      • #12

                        Well, I am doing it at home. I guess because I'm an ADL , I went ahead and steped up.Our DL is also working with his son and the other ADL is working with her son too. I think we have a total of 7 Bears workking on their whittling chip.

                        We are doing it tis way for 2 reasons:

                        1) With soooo many boys - 24 or 25 depending on how many show up, we didn't really want to have that many boys holding knives. You know how they are at that age. They me calm for 90% of the time, but all it takes is thjat one Cub to get hyper. Can't imagine anythuing good comingh out of it.

                        2) Well, some of our Bear could probably pass for small BOY Scouts instead of Cubs. They seem to act more mature than others. At the same time, there are som Cubs I don't trust carrying suckers or lolliepops without getting stabbed or poking their own eye out. The Dl and other ADL fel the same way.

                        Now, of course, we could even divid the boys into 3 groups for some watchfull one on one, but what happend when they get home? And I say that because those particular boys seem to have parents who may not know their childs den number, rank or what he's working on.

                        TRANSLATION: A Cub who's parents don't have the time or take the time to know what's going on, so probably, this Scout would be running around the house carving this, that,the cat and hjis own fingers too.

                        Basically, some of our Bears are just not ready or mature enough for a toy knife much less a real one.


                        • #13
                          Snow_White, One more thing.

                          I told my son that after I teach him all the stuff he nees to know, and after he takes that little written test, can recite/ demonstrate all the safety rules, and signs the pledge.... his Den Leader still must sign off on his Whittling Chip Card........if he thinks my son has proven he's ready.


                          • #14
                            I hear what you're saying, Scoutfish - I've even been around some Bear parents that I wasn't sure were mature enough for knives.

                            The sad thing about it is that these are probably the boys who can most benefit from being taught the right way to handle a knife. But I sure wouldn't want to be responsible for 24-25 of 'em.


                            • #15
                              With all of the good points being brought out in this discussion, I couldn't resist the urge to mention a What-NOT-To-Do example (And a True Story, to boot)

                              This goes back a few years...

                              Our Scoutmaster's younger son has just signed up, having recently reached the minimum age requirements, and his first camping experience is Summer Camp. Well, Papa SM decides that he can bring the boy up to speed better than the New Scout program the Camp offers, so the only thing the boy does with camp staff is merit badges; rank requirements are gone over with Papa SM. One of the first lessons is Totin Chip, and Papa SM is so proud of his son's supposed grasp of the subject, he goes to the Trading Post and buys his son a serrated lockback. The first thing Sonny does with his new "shraded" (rough approximation of the lad's pronunciation) knife: He tries to whittle. Needless to say, he slices his finger open. But this gets better. After we've patched up Sonny's finger, Papa SM tells him to be more careful, and to try again. (For the record, while we do know that Papa SM has bought Sonny a knife, we don't know that it's serrated) Needless to say, Sonny slices his finger open again, at which point one of the ASMs (a more experienced Scouter) picks up the knife, sees that its serrated, and has to explain to Papa SM that serrated blades are not appropriate for whittling.

                              Thankfully, you, Scoutfish, seem a brighter individual than our SM, so I'm confident that your son will retain all 10 of his fingers.