Whittling Chip Award
This Award is meant for Bear scouts, Webelos scouts.
Bear scouts and Webelos scouts may earn the privilege of carrying a pocketknife to Cub Scout functions. The objective of this award is to make scouts aware that:
'A Cub Scout knife is an important tool. You can do many things with its blades. The cutting blade is the one you will use most of the time. With it you can make shavings and chips and carve all kinds of things.
You must be very careful when you whittle or carve. Take good care of your knife. Always remember that a knife is a tool, not a toy. Use it with care so that you don't hurt yourself or ruin what you are carving.'
The Scout must show his Scout leader, or someone designated by his leader, that he understands his responsibility to do the following:
- Know the safety rules for handling a knife.
- A knife is a tool, not a toy.
- Know how to sharpen a knife. A sharp knife is safer because it is less likely to slip and cut you.
- Keep the blade clean.
- Never carry an open pocketknife.
- When you are not using your knife, close it and put it away.
- Keep your knife dry.
- When you are using the cutting blade, do not try to make big shavings or chips. Easy does it.
- Make a safety circle: Before you pick up your knife to use it, stretch your arm out and turn in a circle. If you can’t touch anyone else, it is safe to use your knife.
- Show that you know how to take care of and use a pocketknife.
- Know how to sharpen a knife. A sharp knife is safer because it is less likely to slip and cut you.:
- Place the stone on a level surface.
- Wet the stone with a little water or oil.
- Place the blade of the knife flat on the stone, then raise the back edge about the width of the blade itself, keeping the cutting edge on the stone.
- Push the blade along the stone as though you were slicing a layer off the top. Sharpen the other side of the blade in the same manner. This is always better than moving it in a circular fashion.
- Keep your knife dry.
- Keep the blade clean:
- Open all of the blades.
- Twirl a small bit of cloth onto the end of a toothpick, moisten the cloth with light oil, and wipe the inside of the knife.
- If you have used your pocketknife to cut food or to spread peanut butter and jelly, get rid of bacteria by washing the blade in hot, soapy water along with the rest of your dishes.
- Keep it off the ground. Moisture and dirt will ruin it.
- Keep it out of fire. The heat draws the temper of the steel. The edge of the blade becomes soft and useless.
- Opening and closing your pocketknife:
- To open a pocketknife, hold in left hand, put right thumbnail into nail slot.
- Pull blade out while pushing against hinge with little finger of left hand.
- Continue to hold on to handle and blade until blade snaps into open position.
- To close pocketknife, hold handle with left hand with fingers safely on the sides. Push against back of blade with fingers of right hand, swinging handle up to meet blade. Let knife snap shut; “kick” at base of blade keeps edge from touching inside of handle.
- Using your knife:
- When using the cutting blade, do not try to make big shavings or chips.
- Easy does it.
- For course cutting, grasp handle with whole hand.
- Cut at a slant. Do not "saw' with a knife.
- Make a stop cut to control the shaving cut.
- Always cut away from you.
- Know how to sharpen a knife. A sharp knife is safer because it is less likely to slip and cut you.:
- Make a carving with a pocketknife. Work with your den leader or other adult when doing this.
- Read, understand and promise to abide by the "Knives Are Not Toys" guidelines.
- Close the blade with the palm of your hand.
- Never use a knife on something that will dull or break it.
- Be careful that you do not cut yourself or any person nearby.
- Never use a knife to strip the bark from a tree.
- Do NOT carve your initials into anything that does not belong to you.
- Read, understand and promise to abide by the "Pocketknife Pledge":
- I understand the reason for safety rules.
- I will treat my pocketknife with the respect due a useful tool.
- I will always close my pocketknife and put it away when I’m not using it.
- I will not use my pocketknife when it might injure someone near me.
- I promise never to throw my pocketknife for any reason.
- I will use my pocketknife in a safe manner at all times.
The scout should sign and carry the Whittling Chip card whenever he has his pocketknife.
The Official BSA Whittling Chip for Cub Scouts and Webelos Scouts is a Wallet Card (No. 34223A) and/or Patch (08598). The patch is considered a 'temporary' patch and should only be displayed on the uniform sewn centered on the right pocket, or hung in a temporary patch holder from the pocket button. It does NOT get permanently sewn on a pocket flap even though it is shaped that way. You may want to check with your BSA council for local guidelines.
Use this Whittling Chip Certification form to track a scout's progress.
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Apr 25, 2013 - Amy Dobbins
I am a den leader for Bear Scouts that are in 3rd grade. I do not feel that the soap carving activity in the Bear Book is appropriate for boys of this age to complete with a pocket knife. Their motor skills are not developed enough to do such precision cuts, with the knife. We completed this part of the requirement with a plastic knife to give the boys a chance to learn some knife skills. They used the pocket knife for all other parts of the achievement. Would the activities we completed, fulfill the requirements for the whittling chip card? Thank you. Mrs. Amy DobbinsApr 25, 2013 - Yukon Jack
@ Amy. Short answer, yes. As long as thyey did everything, there is no requirement that it be done with a metal pocketknife. I was a bear DL once and we did this activity several times. Only one small cut (did a couple first aid requirements after that, the injured boy didn't pout at all...sort of proud to be the demonstrator) and a lot of excited scouts to become boy scouts and get their own knives. Just part of growing up. I had a knife well before third grade when I was a kid, nicked myself plenty of times, but that's how you learn.Apr 28, 2013 - Linda B
I have 12 boys in my den and they learned how to use a knife at a 2 hour class offered at the local decoy museaum. None of my third grade boys even knicked themselves. The instructor was very strict and the boys paid close attention. They have carved since then with sticks and soap with only one small incident. Good instruction is the key with close supervision afterwards.Nov 12, 2013 - Kasey
I know that this says it is meant for Bears and Webelos, but if you meet the requirements can you get it as a wolf?Nov 12, 2013 - Scouter Paul
@Kasey - No. Wolf and Tiger scouts are not permitted to use knives. See age-appropriate guidelinesNov 12, 2013 - cliff
As a webelos DL and a dedicated parent throughout the years, we found that using a potato/veggie peeler works very well as a training tool. Upon reaching webelos we switched it up to a real appropriatly sized pocket knifeNov 13, 2013 - Casey Hatcher
Hi! I am going to be doing this with my den this weekend. Is there a specific knife that they have to use or can they use any pocketknife? Thanks, Casey HatcherNov 13, 2013 - Scouter Paul
@Casey - No specific knife is required.Nov 24, 2013 - Pat
I want to do the Shavings and Chips achievement with my son. Where do we get the Whittling Chip card once he's completed it? From the den leader? Local BS store? ThanksNov 25, 2013 - Scouter Paul
@Pat - Whittlin Chip cards and patches are at your local Scout Shop, or online at ScoutStuff.org Talking with the den leader about plans to earn this recognition would be a good idea - he may already have it scheduled as a den activity.Jan 30, 2014 - David Walters
As a current Bear Leader heading into this section I found a great tool to use for practice. I made a request to the council and was able to purchase wooden pocket knives. They are available in kits that the boys can put together and practice with more safely than metal knives. They are roughly the size of a normal knife and can allow you to spot potential problems with small hands prior to sharp metal being used. Google ItFeb 13, 2014 - Cubmaster Mac (1595)
I recommend using an Ivory soap bar. It is very soft and easy to work with. Each scout gets 2 bars - 1 to learn on and 1 to make something with. COLLECT THE SHAVINGS! Have each scout place their shavings in their own bowl and microwave it for about 30 seconds - It makes a "snowball" about the size of a grapefruit. It will be HOT, so let it cool before they put their "booger hooks (fingers)" in it. After the boys are done playing with the soap, have them crush it in to small powder and combine it with Borax and it makes great laundry detergent.Mar 13, 2014 - Lois
My dad got our son, as a crossing over gift, a pocket knife. It has a knife, fork, spoon and can opener, but it does not have a scout emblem on it like his other plane pocket knife. Is that ok or does it have to be an official "scout" knife?Mar 13, 2014 - Scouter Paul
@Lois - A scout does not need to use an official scout knife. Some other pocket knife as you described is fine.Mar 13, 2014 - Lois
Thanks soo very much for your quick response Paul :-) He's soo excited to start his scouting career!Apr 04, 2014 - Fara
My sons den leader had to reschedule the whittling chip meeting and now my Son will not be able to attend as he has a mandatory activity planned at the same time she has rescheduled the new meeting time. If my husband follows the protocol. Is that acceptable for him to earn his chip as well as his knife? TyApr 04, 2014 - Scouter Paul
@Fara - There's too much to learn and demonstrate for just a single meeting, so I hope your son's den leader has encouraged parents to work with their scouts before and after the meeting. You and your husband should spend enough time teaching your son knife safety and proper use so you feel he is competent, before sending him off with his own knife. A patch or wallet card doesn't do anything. I would get the curriculum, materials, topics, or agenda for the meeting from the den leader to ensure I missed nothing at home. There are thorough Whittling Chip Training outlines on the 'net that I would read, too.Apr 05, 2014 - Ed Federmeyer
The boys in my son's Cub Scout den all earned their "Whittling Chip Award" as Bears. Now they have crossed over to various Boy Scout troops. Can they still carry their pocket knives to Boy Scout campouts if they have not yet earned their "Totin' Chip"?Apr 06, 2014 - Scouter Paul
@Ed - Every troop I've seen provides new scouts opportunity to earn the Totin' Chip right away, and require it before a scout carries his own knife.Jul 09, 2014 - David Von Stowver
Thanks for a good scouting resource. I think all the posts are helpful. I will look for the wooden pocket knife for soap carving. I've gotten far worse splinters than I have cuts from metal knives though. My Weblos 1's will earn their whittling cards as a summer outing activity. I would like to know how some of the other scouters have incorporated safe metal pocket knife use into an outing activity? Cub Master and Weblos 1 leader DavidSep 12, 2014 - James Coudeyras
When did the Age-appropriate guidelines change pocketknife requirements from Cub Scouts to Bear only? There is a lot of conflicting guidance to include the Guide to Safe Scouting itself. The insert for Age-appropriate guidelines specifies Bear-only for Cub Scout, but the Guide to Safe Scouting implies a Wolf Scout can earn the whittling chip, too (which they could, in my 2007 printing of Age appropriate guidelines.) Thanks.Sep 12, 2014 - Scouter Paul
@James - It changed sometime between 2007 and 2013. I do not see where the GSS implies a Wolf can use a knife, but you are correct that it explicitly specifies that only Bears and up are permitted to use them.Sep 12, 2014 - James Coudeyras
Thanks. The GSS online version (and .pdf) uses the Wolf Handbook as a reference, when discussing a sharp pocketknife as "an invaluable backcountry tool.", thus the implicit reference, but I'll follow the current guidelines. Kind of frustrating though, when I've been teaching Wolves for the last 3 years, and now all of sudden can't. :-( Thanks, again for the quick response.Sep 16, 2014 - Tim
I'd heard that Whittling Chip was for Bear Scouts and was surprised when my Wolf earned his at Cub Scout Day Camp over the summer.Sep 17, 2014 - Scouter Paul
@Tim - You should be surprised since Wolf scouts are not supposed to use knifes at BSA activities. It would be a good thing if you pointed out the Guide to Safe Scouting to those responsible for the camp.Oct 27, 2014 - Solenia
My son and I were told at a Cub-O-Ree earlier this month that he, as a Wolf, could now earn his Whittling Chip because the rules had recently changed. It seems no one really knows what is factual. This is not the only discrepancy I have seen in what is written in 1 guide to another. There have been several things on the official scout websites that are outdated by several years according to what is currently being talked about at Round Table meetings and other Scout Leader events. I just wish that everything was more universal.Oct 27, 2014 - Scouter Paul
@Solenia - Regarding knives and Wolves, please see the 2014 age appropriate guidelines. That is the current info. It is not outdated and the person you talked to is mistaken.Nov 17, 2014 - Pete
@Tim, Summer Camp during the summer, if he is going into the 3rd grade in the fall. at Summer Camp he would be a Bear ScoutJan 21, 2015 - Doreen
I'm confused because according to BSA guidelines (our cubmaster told me) a scout can't carry a pocketknife when he is around younger scouts. So it seems premature to do this achievement as a Bear.Jan 21, 2015 - Scouter Paul
@Doreen - That is incorrect. There is no such BSA guideline. A scout demonstrates his ability to use and care for his knife, and he can then carry and use it at scouting events. The age or abilities of others at the event make no difference. Maybe your Pack has made up rules of its own in this matter.Jan 28, 2015 - Lewis
Question... I am getting conflicting answers from our people here and what I'm reading on the Internet. can the whittling chip be worn with the Cub Scout outdoor activity award? I know the whittling chip is a temporary patch and my person here is telling me the outdoor activity award is also temporary but I have found nothing that says that. Even the Scouting.org specifies the whittling chip as temporary and should be centered on the right pocket and just says the outdoor activity is to be worn on the right pocket flap nothing about it being a temp patch.Jan 28, 2015 - Scouter Paul
@Lewis - Your people there are incorrect. You've read about it on Scouting.org which is the BSA official website. If you need it written on paper to be true, then purchase a copy of the "Guide to Awards and Insignia" at your local scout shop and read it there - it's on page 24 of the 2012 printing.Jan 31, 2015 - Donna
Our bears are about to earn their Whittling Chip card. I've seen many cub scout wear the emblem on their right pocket instead of carrying the card. However, the Awards and Insignia guide says the patch is never to be worn on the uniform. This site disagrees with the insignia guide (see the paragraph below). Which is correct? The Official BSA Whittling Chip for Cub Scouts and Webelos Scouts is a Wallet Card (No. 34223A) and/or Patch (08598). The patch is considered a 'temporary' patch and should only be displayed on the uniform sewn centered on the right pocket, or hung in a temporary patch holder from the pocket button. It does NOT get permanently sewn on a pocket flap even though it is shaped that way. You may want to check with your BSA council for local guidelines.Feb 16, 2015 - Steve Reckamp
@Donna There is no conflict here. It says that the patch should be sewn centered on the right pocket as a temporary patch. It should not be "permanently sewn on the pocket flap" the key distinction here is the centered on the pocket (OK) and sewn on the flap (not OK)Mar 23, 2015 - Laura
I have heard that carving soap could damage a knife (maybe just get the soap stuck in it). Could we instead use a light wood such as pine? What would be safest ?Mar 23, 2015 - Scouter Paul
@Laura - Soap won't hurt a knife. Soap is a little easier for learning since it has no grain and fibers and smoothly falls away from a knife stroke. Whether a scout is practicing on soap or wood, there's a chance of getting cut. Close adult supervision and instruction from experienced whittlers while first learning is important.
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