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?
Mrs. Amy Dobbins
Apr 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
Nov 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 knife
Nov 13, 2013 - Casey Hatcher
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?
Nov 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?
Nov 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.
Feb 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?
Apr 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 David
Sep 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 Scout