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  • Whittling Chip

    Just a quick question, who and how does one become qualified to teach this "advancement"?


  • #2
    You must know and understand the requirements printed in the book, and you must be Akela.


    • #3
      Good question. This is one of those awards that could be awarded by the Den Leader or could be awarded by the Parent. I think in practice, most Den's work on the Whittling Chip together and the Den Leader awards the card, but if a Parent says their child has earned the Whittling Chip, then it should be awarded on the Parent's say.

      Why should the Parent be allowed to award the Whittling Chip? Because earning the Whittling Chip is part of Bear Achievement #9, and we all know that the Parent (aka Akela) signs off on Bear Achievements. Why should a Den Leader award the Whittling Chip? Because it's a great activity the Den can do together and the lads hear the safety talk from two different sources.

      What makes them qualified? They're parents and adults who have read the book and understand the rules.

      By the way, has anyone else noted that in order to earn the Whittling Chip, one must first complete Bear Achievement #9 but to complete Bear Achievement #9, one must earn the Whittling Chip?



      • #4
        Good question. Here's a quick answer - Read and Practice.

        1. Borrow or buy the Boy Scout Handbook and read Second Class Scout requirement 2c.(page 77-79 of the edition I have). Better yet, buy the Wood Carving Merit Badge.
        2. Ask advice and questions of local scout leaders "Say could you show me how to do this?", "How should I teach...", "Could you recommend..." Be prepared for different opinions on knives, sharpening, wood. There may be a training class at Roundtable or University of Scouting. A woodcarver or Woodcarving Merit Badge counselor, and maybe your den chief or another Boy Scout are possible resources.
        3. Buy or borrow a basic, lightweight pocket knife which fits in your hand and has a short whittling blade (smaller than the main cutting blade). No bulkly, ten-tools in one knife.
        4. Count your fingers before you start and have a box of Band-aids handy.
        5. Follow safety rules, particularly the safety circle. Test knife for sharpness - does it slice (sharp) or tear (dull) paper? If dull, sharpen. Never test knife or chisel sharpness with any part of you!
        6. PRACTICE whittling a simple neckerchief slide or whatever you want to carve. Small cuts away from you. Take your time.
        7. When done, count your fingers again. If the number is the same as before and you are on your way to becoming "qualified".

        I did not teach knife safety until my Bear den demonstrated consistently that they could follow our posted den rules. Around April, they have achieved that goal and were ready to learn a new set of rules - Knife Safety. We started carving soap and then basswood neckerchief slides to be worn for their Webelos cross-over. Had a couple of finger cuts which were quickly bandaged. Overall, this worked well.

        Here's the Knife Safety rules that my den proposed. I was pleased that they had obviously read their Bear book and surprised that the first two rules that they came up with are NOT in the Bear handbook.
        1. Always have adult permission and supervision.
        2. Always know where to get first aid.
        3. A knife is a tool not a toy.
        4. Know how to sharpen a knife. A sharp knife is a safer.
        5. Keep a blade clean.
        6. When not using your knife, close and secure it. Close the blade
        7. Keep your knife dry. Oil as needed.
        8. Before opening a knife make a safety circle.
        9. Make easy, shallow cuts away from you. Let the knife do the work.
        10. Never throw a knife or cut a live tree.


        • #5
          I don't know if its legal what I normally did when I was a den leader ... was let the Troop we worked with put on the course (with supervision of course) ...

          Scott Robertson

          Helping leaders one resource at a time....


          • #6
            For the first time using knives we removed the serrations from plastic knives and let the boys carve up lots of soap, as they got used to the proper handling we moved on to scout type pocket knives and blocks of basswood (this was as bears) now as webelos I had some new boys join the den, I asked if any of the "experienced" scouts wanted to teach the new boys about knife safety, several hands went up, I had the ADL chose who he felt best about, webelo scout went on to give an EXCELLENT presentation (requiring no adult interjection or physical help) on knife safety to the new scouts (all under the watchful eyes of the ADL and the new webelos parents) the only blood drawn that evening was from a piece of wood getting lodged under a finger nail during clean up (still figuring that one out!) I was a little nervous about having the webelo teach the other boys, but all the boys liked it (they all made sure to praise the scout "giving" the class on a job well done) as I and the ADL also did.


            • #7
              I'll be working on this with my Bears soon. Someone suggested making "pocketknives" out of cardstock to practice on. I'm going to have my boys carve soap with plastic knives as I tried with a pocketknife & the knife gets too messy!

              Does anyone have any suggestions as to what type of sharpening stone to buy? Also, any particular type of wood to carve & where can I buy it? Thanks!


              • #8
                I like knives. In particular, I like good knives that are sharp. I have a number of sharpening tools.

                First and foremost, I have my medium and hard Arkansas stones, I use those when I really need to fix up a blade and put an edge on it. One it is sharp, I keep it that way with my crock sticks.

                When using stones, it is important to keep the stones lubricated either with oil or water and to wipe them off frequently. If you use dry stones, the particles of metal get into the stone and it loses its effectiveness.

                As for brand, I don't know if one brand of rock is better than another. Mine are Buck and are nearly 30 years old.


                • #9
                  Excellent question, who is qualified to "teach" and pass on Whitlin' Chip...

                  First, alot of Cub Scout leadership is, after all, self selected. Hopefully, a possible WCh leader might realize their limitations and act (or not) accordingly.

                  Suggestions: In our district, we always try to have a segment of the IOLS be "Woodtools", ie knife, axe and saw use and safety. This by necessity includes requirements for Totin' Chip, which realy does automatically include the Whitlin' Chip material. A Totin' Chip carrying Scout, knowledgable in safe use of knife and axe, must know the Whitlin' Chip material. Accordingly, you might ask the District Training Chair to refer you to the "Woodtools" instructor. He might be willing (any doubt?) to come and give your CS leaders a short seminar for Whitlin' Chip.

                  Then too, having passed Totin' Chip once need not equate to being a good Whitlin' Chip instructor. I knew an SPL who collected pocket knives, had a goodly assortmment. But his goal seemed to be showing off his collection and hearing the Cubs OOO and AAH. Some ASM counseling showed him the error of his way and he became a true believer in teaching knife safety (that, and catching his finger in a clasp knife while trying to close it one handed).


                  • #10
                    This is great!!! what a splendid back and forth the inputs are just what I was looking for out of this forum.


                    • #11
                      another suggestion i was given - if using a fake or plastic knife - was to put red lipstick on the knife's sharp edge when practicing how to pass the knife. if the scout got 'blood' on their hand - they weren't quite doing it right.


                      • #12
                        I must caution anyone using the plastic knives for training. First of all they do not fold up and therefore cannot be passed from one scout to another. It is imperative to teach safety and the only way one passes a knife from one to another is with the blade folded into the handle which plastic knives cannot do.

                        As a BS leader, I train all my boys the proper safety and the only way a fixed blade knife can be passed from one person to another is by the first person laying the knife down on a secure surface and the other person then picks it up.

                        In an attempt to be safe (plastic knives and soap) don't forget the basic rules of true safety (don't pass fixed blade knives from one person to another).



                        • #13

                          Since we are talking Cubs, IOLS is not the right outdoor training for their leaders. How much knife handling/safety is in BALOO and OWLS (or whatever the Web'lo outdoor training is titled this week?)???


                          • #14
                            BALOO and WELOT/OWLS don't (doesn't?) "officially" include much if anything about knife/axe safety because "officially" Cubs (Webelos, too) do not have any business handling axes and knive safety is limited to the Whittlin' Chip in Bear and Webelos literature. I did not mean to imply Cub leaders be given the whole Totin' Chip class, only that the "Woodtools" instructor would be the logical source for Whitlin' Chip instruction.

                            Certainly, Whitlin' Chip training should include safe handling of the Cub's pocket clasp knife along with mom's cooking knives and dad's utility knives, too.

                            I like the note from jblake about putting the knife down and picking it up.

                            A search of and other Scout sites will yield a wealth of experience to draw on for Whitlin' Chip instruction. Our boys will be enriched for your efforts, struax.

                            Search out Eric Sloan's book "Diary of an Early American Boy" to see how important axes and knives were at one time.


                            • #15
                              Correct, Cubs are only allowed to handle and use knives. However, in my humble option it does them (at least Webelos as that is all I worked with) no harm to be introduced to the safety of other woods tools.

                              Its kind of like what I once heard about owning a gun. If you get a gun and say to Johnny here is the gun dont touch - well of course they will touch - they are curious. On the flip side lets say you take Johnny to the range and let him hold and fire the gun and tell him he can do so again if he wants, all he has to do is ask. The curiosity is no longer so strong. Now as I do not own a gun, nor do I have a kid I do not know if this is true - and like anything I am sure it works with some and not others. The point is if you don't introduce them to the "cool" tools they are curious about then problems may result.

                              Also as a side note if anyone whats more advanced knowledge about wood tools, just ask. I am trained by Americorps*NCCC as a team quatermaster, by California Conservation Corps to use the tools, and by the National Forest Service for trail crew work. I have also written a guide on teaching about wood tools and well as fire safety

                              Scott Robertson
                              Helping leaders one resource at a time....