Friday, November 11, 2011

Whittling Chip Training

Last week I had the Cub Scout's all start their Whittling Chip Training for the Shaving and Chipping Achievement.  This is a two week course starting with going over all the rules and safety.  The second week is, knife cleaning, carving shapes out of a bar of soap, practice shaving a piece of wood, then finally the test. 

Prior to the meeting, I made some pocketknifes out of card board and card stock paper.  I then put red lipstic on the blade and closed it.  We all gathered for our meeting and the first thing I did was hand out the knifs.  I told all the boys to pick up their knife and open the blade. I gave them no safety direction. Every boy had red lipstick on their fingers. As they were looking at the lipstick on their fingers, I told every one of them that they just got cut by the blade. Every boy was still with surprise. Reality just set in.

I proceeded to use the knife in having them practice all the proper safety regulations.  Example: opening the knife, closing the knife, handing the knife to others & creating the safety circle (also known as the blood circle).

The Cardboard Knife:
Passing the knife 
Opening the knife 
Carving a turtle out of soap. I gave them some templets to use. We did not use our pocketknives for this because of the cleaning involved.  
Once they were done with the soap carving I had them use their pocket knife and clean a stick of its leaves.   
We then used the sticks to roast marshmallows for Smores 
After taking the test and passing it, I handed out their whittling chip badge and Whittling chip card. The card serves two functions. One proves they are allowed to use their knife and the other is if they are using the knife inappropriately, any adult can tear off a corner of the card. After four corners are torn off the Scout must go through the course again.

Below is the course and if you are interested in the course everything you need is on this link. 
The Blood Circle:
To establish a “Blood circle”. With a closed pocket knife in your hand. Extend your arm with the knife firmly straight in front of you. Rotate your body to either side while continuing to extend the closed knife arm. No one or thing should be in the imaginary circle that you have created. Also check your overhead clearance as this is part of your safety circle. If someone enters the circle, the knife should be closed up and laid down. 

To close a pocket knife:
Hold handle in left hand with fingers safely on the sides. Push against the back of the blade with the heel of the right hand , swing handle up to meet the blade. Let knife snap shut.

Passing a knife:
Always have the blade closed – never pass an open knife. The receiver should say “Thank you” to indicate that they have a good grip on the knife when taking it. 

Caring for your knife:
A knife is a tool, not a toy.
Never use your knife on something that will dull or break it (rocks, metal, cement, etc.)
Never use your knife to cut living trees or plants, or poke it in the dirt. Moisture and dirt will ruin your knife.
Keep your knife out of the fire. The heat will ruin the temper of the steel making the knife edge soft and useless.
Do not carve your initials into anything that does not belong to you.
Keep your knife dry and keep the blade clean. Wipe the blade before closing it.
Clean your knife by hand; the heat and steam of the dishwasher can dull and damage the knife.
Have toothpick and cotton swab for knife cleaning demonstration
Safety Rules:
Establish a “Blood Circle”. Before you pick up your knife to use it, stretch your arm out with closed pocket knife in hand and turn in a circle. If you can’t touch anyone else, it’s safe to use your knife. Demonstrate the “Blood Circle”.  Be alert; it may not be you who makes the mistake. Someone else may enter your Blood Circle by not being alert.
Always cut by pushing the knife away from you. Be sure your hands and body are out of the way.
Never carry a fixed blade knife even if it is kept in a sheath. 
Never carry an open pocketknife, It should always be closed when not in use or in your pocket.
Always keep seated when using your knife – never walk or run with it open.
Never throw your knife; it could easily deflect and hurt someone, or ruin the knife.
A sharp knife is safer because it’s less likely to slip and cut you. A sharp knife will “bite” the wood. Ask an adult to sharpen your knife.
When using the cutting blade, don’t make big shavings or chips. Easy does it. Be careful not to cut yourself or anyone nearby.
When you are not using your knife, close it and put it away. An open knife could hurt someone who doesn’t realize it’s there.
Close the blade with the palm of your hand.
Never cut towards yourself.  Always cut away from yourself in small strokes.  Never large cuts.  

Taking Your Knife with You:
Knives are usually used as tools, but they can be weapons too. Many places do not allow knives. Always keep your knife at home unless your parent or Den Leader tell you otherwise.
Places where knives are prohibited even if you have your Whittling Chip card with you: 

- School
- Outdoor school events (school football games, etc).
- Airport 

Knives are NOT allowed at pack or den meetings, even after the Whittling Chip is obtained.
The only time the knife is allowed in school at your Den meeting is when your den leader allows you to and your parents approve. 
Knives are NOT allowed to be used at campouts unless there is adult supervision
You must carry your Whittling Chip” card whenever you are using your knife. If you break any of the rules, a corner of the Whittling Chip card will be cut off. When the 4th corner is cut off, the card will be taken from you. If that happens, you must go through training again, in order to receive a new card. The cutting of corners can be done by any adult who feel safety has been violated. For very serious infractions (such as threatening another scout), the card will be taken immediately.

Demonstrate how to open and close a pocket knife.
Demonstrate how to pass a knife. (Blade closed, Insist on “Thank You”)
Pass around the Cardboard Knife and have them practice Open, Close and Pass the knife.
Collect the Cardboard Knife, then check for lipstick on fingers
Demonstrate how to sharpen a knife.
Demonstrate how to clean the knife with toothpick and cotton swap
Using a bar of soap, demonstrate how to make a “stop cut” and “shaving cut” (Bear Handbook – 19b).
Demonstrate how to whittle away from yourself, not toward yourself

Hands on training:
Demonstrate the basics of how to carve a bar of soap. Show them how to use the skewer to draw the design, then rough out the basic pattern with their knife, then refine it. See “Soap Carving Instructions” for details.
Give them a bar of soap and let them select a soap pattern and work on their own.
Remind them to use a “stop cut” and make shavings not big chunks.
Discuss cross contamination of food and the importance of cleaning the knife, not just wiping it off.

Whittling Chip Quiz: 
Part I: Circle the correct answer
True / False 1. It’s OK to carry my knife to a Pack Meeting or school as long as I have my Whittling Chip card.
True / False 2. As long as I get permission to bring my knife, I don’t need to have my Whittling Chip card with me.
True / False 3. Only a leader or your parent can cut off corners. Someone else’s parent cannot.
True / False 4. It’s OK to bring your knife to a den meeting, if your Leader asks you to and your parents approve.
True / False 5. It’s OK to cut toward yourself.
True / False 6. It’s OK to pass an open knife as long as you’re very careful.
True / False 7. A dull knife is safer than a sharp knife.
True / False 8. Dirt on a knife blade helps keep it sharp.
True / False 9. Never carve your initials on anything that does NOT belong to you.
True / False 10. When someone hands you a knife you say “Thank You” to show good manners.
True / False 11. A pocketknife should always be closed when it is not in use, or in your pocket.
True / False 12. You should close the blade with the palm of your hand.
True / False 13. A Cub Scout should carry a fixed blade knife if it is kept in a sheath. 
Part II: Write the correct word in the blank

  Close the blade with the ________________ of your hand.
                                Fingers     Palm      Knee
  A __________________ should never be used on something that will dull or break it.
                                Stick    Pocketknife    Q-tip’s  
  People watching you work with your knife should not enter your __________ __________.
                               Tent     Cooler    Safety Circle

Your knife should always be kept ___________ and _________.
     Clean and Dry       In your pocket and opened     pointed at another person          

  Always ________ when carrying a knife.
                 Run      Jog       Walk
Part III: Circle the correct answer
1. When using a knife, do not make ( big / little ) shavings or chips.
2. A ( dull / sharp ) knife is more likely to cut you.
3. A knife should be cleaned ( before / after ) cutting food.
4. A fixed blade knife should be passed to another person ( blade / handle ) first.
Part V – The Pocketknife Pledge: Fill in the blank
1.     I will treat my pocketknife with the ______________ due a useful tool.
                                   Respect        Disrespect       Hate
2.     I will always ___________ my pocketknife and put it away when not in use.
                                       Open        Drop      Close
3.     I will not use my pocketknife when it might _____________ someone near me.
                                     Be raining           Injure
 4.     I ____________ never to throw my pocketknife for any reason.
                                    Promise      Careful       Sometimes
 5.     I will use my pocketknife in a safe manner at _______times.
                                    Sometimes         All             Never


  1. What a great lesson on a serious subject! I thought the lipstick on the make-believe-knife blade was quite clever as well as very revealing for the boys.

  2. WOW! What a post!! This is very informative and I noticed that we will be having to do this soon too with our upcoming chapter in the Cub Scout book. I am going to recommend what you did. "Marianne, SUPER Den Leader!!!" I hope your den parents know how lucky they are to have you with their boys! Great post!

  3. Thank you for this post! It is exactly everything I needed for this lesson. It is the best I have seen. You are a real asset to Cub Scouts, including helping other leader like me!



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