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Tongue Depressor Knife illustration for Whittling Chip

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  • Tongue Depressor Knife illustration for Whittling Chip

    Saw an activity once where tongue depressors were used to make a faux pocket knife... one was painted with red ink that would rub off if the cub used it the wrong way, indicating a cut would have occurred had it been a real knife. Looking for that plan to make the pocket knife from tongue depressors, and a basic carving outline to utilize the depressor/knife.

  • #2
    There was a thread in the last month or so on just this topic. I'll bet if you do some key word searching it'll come up.

    My 2cents...... it's all together too much work.

    With parent supervision and approval, these boys can handle a real knife. They are plenty old enough. by Bear, and even by Wolf.

    and for soap carving, a standard table knife works fairly well for initial practice
    and don't waste time with other soaps, use ivory brand if you are going to carve soap.

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    • #3
      Yeah, plus unlike a lot of other soap, you can eat it without getting too sick. But I like the idea of putting some red ink on the edge to indicate a cut.

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      • #4
        WHen my boys were cub scouts, we did the disposable plastic knives cutting soap method. On reflection, based on the earlier discussion, I am pretty much now thinking that we should use real pocket knives with adult supervision to do the soap carvings.
        Last edited by perdidochas; 02-21-2014, 01:41 PM.

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        • #5
          Thanks for all the feedback.

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          • qwazse
            qwazse commented
            Editing a comment
            Hope your boys have fun and are quick on the uptake! That way they can whittle their pinewood derby cars!

        • #6
          With fake knives, the real danger of cutting oneself isn't as obvious. I have never used anything but a real knife to teach it's usage. I emphasize that there are no second chances and a major cut is a real problem. That fear of injury goes a long way to insure a focus on the work being done. Even cutting soap requires a certain sense of vigilance that may fall to the wayside if using a "safe" fake knife.

          Stosh

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          • #7
            Agreed. When using the table knives for whitlin chip, I saw that it was just natural to not follow the rules as the boys would have done with a real knife. The boys who's parents supervised the use of a real knife were better off.
            Originally, I had planned to buy knives for every boy as a gift, but then second guessed that as the den grew too large for my wallet..... but also second guessed since I thought some parents might object, even though I was going to make it clear that it was the parent's knife to give to the boy.

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            • #8
              It would be nice if you'd teach the proper way to use a knife....especially in a food preparation setting.

              I watched my son try to "whittle" an apple this past weekend. Remarkably, all of his work went into the sink.

              When I tried to show him a more productive way to slice an apple...he complained that "it wasn't the way he was told in Scouts."

              So I guess he'll go hungry in those survival situations.

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              • perdidochas
                perdidochas commented
                Editing a comment
                People cut apples for reasons other than apple pie and fruit salad?

            • #9
              I assume you're getting at grasping the knife and cutting towards yourself.(?)
              I actually did touch on that when I helped with the whitlin chip.
              It's all about knife control, having a good grip on things, and trying to cut towards a stop.
              That's another of those "rules" that I think are problematic......

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              • #10
                Teach using the "what if" game. We have guidelines, rules, etc. because of "what if". We pass knives blade back to the palm, handle toward the recipient and he says "thank you " and you then let go because if you don't....?

                I saw one example of fake knife teaching that worked: Our Troop did a Whittlin' Chip station at a Webelos Weekend camp (went thru 35 lbs of Ivory!). Mostly, the Scouts used my pocket knife collection. The SPL in charge of the station, while I was watching, came across a Cub who wanted the W/C, but was honestly scared of the real knife (talk about approach / avoidance) . The SPL went into the nearby woods, found an appropriately shaped stick, carved it into a knife and handle, and worked with that Cub for about an hour, until he could handle a real knife with some aplomb. I was very proud of that Scout. I still have that wood make-believe blade.
                But teach with real blades, teach 'em respect for the edge, respect for the tool.

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                • #11
                  Having handled knives all my life I have found that some of the teaching of BSA lacking when it comes to knives. We all know the proper way of handing off a folding/lock blade knife using the "Thank You/You're Welcome" technique. Because we ban sheath knives we have no way of learning the proper way of handing off fixed blade knives. But of course we use them nonetheless. Even if banned, the fixed blade knife is still used. I use the example of two boys prepping food for a meal. One paring/butcher/bread knife, two boys... After cutting up the potatoes, how does the boy pass it off to the boy cutting carrots? Handle first? Blade first? Put it back in the sheath/guard? What I do is let the boys think about it for a moment. On occasion there will be the boy who figures it out the first time. It's really easy. The first boy lays the knife down and the second boy picks it up. Where in the training is that taught? It works with a folding blade/lock blade knife as well. With our aversion to sheath knives we endanger boys using fixed blades! Well, if one teaches how to use kitchen knives properly, are they not also being taught to use sheath knives properly? Sheath knives for fishing? A fillet knife is no different than a sheath knife. We say it's okay, but we don't teach how the fixed blade knife is different than the folding or locking knife.

                  Maybe it is time we overcome our prejudices, fears and angst, and start teaching the boys to do it correctly.

                  Stosh

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                  • packsaddle
                    packsaddle commented
                    Editing a comment
                    When did the sheath knife ban take place? I must have missed the memo.

                  • jblake47
                    jblake47 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Neither have I. But for some reason there are those out there that seem to think it's necessary.

                    Stosh

                • #12
                  JB: I do teach that idea. Put it down on a safe surface (not wet or slippery), along with all the other stuff. Why do I and why would someone else not teach that?, Since there is no "official" curriculum (should there be? another topic, perhaps), and no "official" requirements as to skill acquisition (show how to do this and this and this...), in the W/C and T/C awards (just read the page in the book), we are left with "tradition". and the skill set of whomever is teaching and signing off on it. What is the right stuff to teach? Require? Demonstrate?
                  EDGE???
                  There are now many many websites with suggestions on how to teach, and what to require for the W/C and T/C.It is surprising (maybe not?) how consistant they are in these things, but not in how to do it.
                  We've done pretty well, so far. I like to hand out to my IOLS adults copies of the pages from my 1956 vintage Fieldbook. It shows photos of all the stuff we've been talking about: handing a knife/axe/saw to another, using a stone and file to sharpen, how to safely use the tools, limbing, felling (when is a modern Scout ever going to be allowed to drop a 12" maple?) , whittling, fuzz sticks. And it shows the BOY doing it. Compared to today's handbook and Fieldbook, this is radical stuff (?G2SS?).

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                  • #13
                    Yeah, "BACK WHEN I WAS A KID..." Literally,... I still remember learning how to sharpen an axe, how to prepare for chopping and not just looking at, but actually sharpening a knife, too. Everything was hands on back then, not diagrams, charts and instructor's demonstrations. We didn't have bow saws back then at camp. Of course if you needed an axe cover, you just went over to the garbage, pulled out last night's bean can, popped both sides of the open end with your church key, stomped on it and tied it on. End of discussion. I never cut myself on an axe, but I have cut myself trying to cut an 18" length of garden hose and then try to put on a bow saw blade.

                    I may have just barely survived my childhood axe and sheath knife adventures, but today's bow saws may be the death of me yet.

                    Stosh

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                    • #14
                      Good lord... first the irrational fear of fixed blade knives (despite the fact that they're the safest option for some camp tasks), now the irrational fear of folding knives taken to epic new extremes. Enough already.

                      Use real knives or don't bother at all.

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                      • #15
                        I took my "passing knives" lesson in the meat packing plant many years ago. The knives there were the sharpest I've ever encountered. We'd steel them 2 or 3 times and hour, just to stay productive. The were so sharp, most of the time you would see the blood long before you would feel the cut.

                        The preferred method was to table the knife with the handle facing the receiver, sharp edge to the table lip.

                        If passed hand-to-hand, it would be handle first, back of blade to the givers hand.

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