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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- Read, understand and promise to abide by the “Pocketknife Pledge.”
These Whittling Chip requirements are from the Webelos and Arrow of Light handbook.
- Know the safety rules for handling a knife.
- Show that you know how to take care of and use a pocketknife.
- Make a carving with a pocketknife. Work with your den leader or
other adultwhen doing this.
undersand, and promise to abide by the “Pocketknife Pledge.”
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.
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.
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.
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:
- I will treat my pocketknife with the respect due a useful tool.
- I will always close my pocketknife and put it away when not in use.
- 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.
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.
Has your den completed the Whittling Chip requirements? I would love to hear about your experience in the comments!
Yours in Scouting,
P.S. You can find more ideas for your Bear adventures here!