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What are the Cub Scout Whittling Chip Requirements?

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Earning the Cub Scout Whittling Chip is a rite of passage for Bear Scouts as they learn pocketknife safety! See all the Whittling Chip requirements here.

cub scout whittling chip

If you've looked for the Cub Scout Whittling Chip requirements in the Bear handbook or leader's guide, you know they aren't there! That's frustrating since our Bear Cub Scouts have to earn the Whittling Chip for the Bear Claws required adventure.

The Arrows of Light who haven't earned it yet must do so for their required Scouting Adventure. Their handbook does have a list of requirements, but there are discrepancies between it and other sources.

I've given this feedback to the Boy Scouts of America, so hopefully, we'll see changes in future editions of the handbooks.

Cub Scout Whittling Chip Requirements

These Whittling Chip requirements are found on the Whittling Chip certification. I've listed them below for your convenience.

  1. Know the safety rules for handling a knife and show, using these rules, that you know how to care for and use your pocketknife safely.
  2. Make a carving with a pocketknife. Work with your den leader or other adult when doing this. (One of the items carved for Bear Claws requirement 3 may be used to fulfill Whittling Chip requirement 2.)
  3. Read, understand and promise to abide by the “Pocketknife Pledge.”

These Whittling Chip requirements are from the Webelos and Arrow of Light handbook.

  1. Know the safety rules for handling a knife.
  2. Show that you know how to take care of and use a pocketknife.
  3. Make a carving with a pocketknife. Work with your den leader or other adult when doing this.
  4. Read, undersand, and promise to abide by the “Pocketknife Pledge.”

Safety Rules

I wrote about pocketknife safety, so read that post for some detailed safety information I've collected.

Below you'll find the Safety Rules that are in the Webelos and Arrow of Light handbook.

  • 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.

You might also want to check out this cool comic put together by Victorinox, the company that makes Swiss Army Knives. It's a great visual for our Scouts!

One of the Cub Scout Whittling Chip requirements rules is to make a safety circle before you begin using your knife. But I've always heard it called something else–the blood circle! I'm sure some people wouldn't use that term with children, but I think it helps them remember to be aware of their surroundings.

After your Cub Scouts have learned the safety rules, test them with this online knife safety quiz that's on the Boys' Life website.

Important note:  Please, please make sure the Scouts know that they are to NEVER take their pocketknife to school. They shouldn't even put it in their school backpack. So many schools have a zero tolerance policy for items that can be considered weapons, and I would hate for a Cub Scout to be suspended from school (or worse) for taking his pocketknife.

How to Care for Your Pocketknife

One of the primary tasks the Scouts will need to do to care for their pocketknives is to sharpen them. Scouting Magazine has a good article sharing tips on how to teach this skill to Scouts.

Pocketknives need to be kept clean and lubricated.  Here's a great article from Instructables detailing the proper way to do just that.

How to Use Your Pocketknife

I really like the changes that were made to the Bear Claws requirements when the Cub Scout program was modified in late 2016.  Now, Cub Scouts need to demonstrate that they know how to use a pocketknife for various tasks like cutting rope, opening a sealed box and using the can opener tool to open a can.

This site has some other pocketknife skills to practice. Scroll about half way down the page to the “Basic Skills to Master” section. They suggest things like using your pocketknife to sharpen a pencil.

Pocketknife Pledge

The Pocketknife Pledge can be found in the Bear and Webelos/Arrow of Light handbooks and on the back of the Cub Scout Whittling Chip card.  Here is the text:

  1. I will treat my pocketknife with the respect due a useful tool.
  2. I will always close my pocketknife and put it away when not in use.
  3. I will not use my pocketknife when it might injure someone near me.
  4. I promise never to throw my pocketknife for any reason.
  5. I will use my pocketknife in a safe manner at all times.

When my sons earned their Whittling Chip, we gave them their first pocketknife.  My husband and I felt like they were mature enough to use them safely–especially after the Whittling Chip training.  Only you as a parent can decide if your Scout is ready for one.  If he or she is, click on the image to check out the Swiss Army knives available from REI.

Swiss Army Knife

Has your den completed the Whittling Chip requirements? I would love to hear about your experience in the comments!

Check out the Cyber Chip requirements – it's another “chip” that our Scouts need to earn to keep them safe.

Yours in Scouting,
Sherry

P.S. You can find more ideas for your Bear adventures here!

Whittling Chip Requirements
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Cyber Chip: Pack Technology Policy | Cub Scout Ideas

Saturday 23rd of February 2019

[…] Cyber Chip is the Boy Scouts of America’s online internet safety program.¬†Just like the Whittling Chip teaches the boys how to safely use a pocketknife, the Cyber Chip teaches them how to safely use the […]

James Lehman

Monday 2nd of April 2018

Nicely said. The BSA has both wisely and frustratingly not tried to be exact in the "requirements" both for Whittlin' Chip and the Totin' Chip. The realization is that technique is better taught "locally" and personally. Good tool usage is an apprentice thing. When I teach Wood Tools at IOLS, I go from WC (Boy Scouts can teach Cubs) to TC for the adult leaders to realize the connection and gradation of pocketknife to crosscut saw and axe. Try and find the book "SUPERPOWER" by David Weitzman and or "Reverence for Wood" by Eric Sloane, which both deal with personal craftsmanship and tool use. Lost concerns in this virtual and e-driven society. For your perusal, my WC Curriculum: https://www.dropbox.com/s/gtu8g107a5e4t1v/ScoutWhitlinChip2.docx?dl=0 See you on the trail......

David Mullin

Monday 7th of May 2018

I was at a Universe of Scouting and someone mentioned making plastic knives from PVC pipe, sounded better than using the plastic picnic knife. any one do this? Also, what is up with use a can opener to open a can, cub scout knives don't have a can opener

Norm Pollack

Thursday 22nd of March 2018

Get the Wood Carving merit badge book, 2004 or later to show the boys how to use the knife to carve easily. I use a stick about 1/2" dia. to carve different patterns on it. I have the boys assemble sharping sticks with 3/4" craft sticks, double stick tape and 400 wet/dry abrasive paper. I have them also make Whammy Diddles. It takes practice to cut the notches.

Kristi

Thursday 1st of March 2018

Thanks so much for posting this!

Pocketknife Safety - What Cub Scouts Need to Know | Cub Scout Ideas

Monday 28th of August 2017

[…] Bear Adventure: Bear Claws 2: Learn knife safety and earn your Whittling Chip. […]