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“Knives”

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					                                                         “Knives”
Course Objectives:

To provide Cub Scout leaders with the necessary information and skills so that they feel confident to teach Bear Cubs how to:
     To properly and safely handle a knife
     To earn their Whittling Chip



Whittling Chip Safety Requirements — Cub Scout Agreement
Cub Scouts, BSA

    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.




Packet Contents:
     Course Objective (this page)
     Whittling Chip Safety Requirements (this page)
     Demonstration wooden knife — plans and directions
     Whittling projects suitable for Bear Scouts
     Sample letter from Bear Den Leaders to Parents of Bear Scouts
                                               Whittling Chip
        I have found very little information on the web or anywhere else that suggests what should be covered in
the process of earning the Whittling Chip and completing Bear Achievement 19. I have put together the
information I have found with some suggestions I got in a class at PowWow. The result, although not perfect, is
a class that has worked for me with the boys in my pack. If you have other ideas or suggestions to improve the
class I would appreciate any input.

There have been discussions on the internet concerning fixed blade (sheath) knives and whether Cub Scouts
should carry them. The Guide To Safe Scouting says in part: ―A sharp pocketknife with a can opener on it is an
invaluable backcountry tool. Keep it clean, sharp, and handy. Avoid large sheath knives. They are heavy and
awkward to carry and unnecessary for most camp chores except for cleaning fish.‖

This is not in bold type, so it is not policy, but the italics indicate emphasis, and I tell the boys they should only
carry pocketknives.

There have also been discussions over whether the Whittling Chip card should have corners torn off for safety
violations. Some say that the card has been awarded and don’t think it should be torn since some boys will keep
them in the years to come. I believe that as long as the boys are notified about possible penalties, and if the
penalties are reasonable, they know what to expect. I tell them that a corner could be torn off, or the card could
be taken away either temporarily or permanently depending on the violation. I have not yet needed to tear the
corner off of a card or take a card away from any of the boys.

Distribute a notice to parents explaining the class.

        Don’t let parents be surprised by their sons coming home saying ―I just earned my Whittling Chip, now
I can carry a pocketknife‖. I have always handed out written letters or notices spelling out exactly what I am
teaching and why. A copy of the letter I used for our last class is at the end of this file. I have had some parents
and leaders that felt the boys were not old or mature enough. I explain that the boys are reaching the age that
they will be using knives in the kitchen anyway, they might as well learn knife safety. I explain to them that I
will teach them knife safety and at the end of the class the parent will make the decision of whether or not their
son gets the Whittling Chip card. After they see how close their son is paying attention in the class, check the
answers on their sons written test, and watch their son whittling with a real knife, every one of the parents have
allowed them to receive the card. When you are planning the class, don’t forget your Webelos Dens. There may
be some boys who are new or were not able to take the class when they were a bear. It may not cover a
requirement like the Bears Achievement 19, but the boys will enjoy earning the Whittling chip anyway.

        I require a parent or other adult to attend the class with each boy and let them know that this adult will
make the decision whether or not the boy will receive the card. The boys are always well behaved and pay
attention in the class but when they start working with real knives you will need an adult to work one on one
with each boy and to watch for proper knife handling.

        When I teach this class it takes about three hours. I have spread it over three den meetings and I have
taught it on the weekend in one session. It works both ways but keep in mind that you need enough room for
each boy to have his own safety circle (about 6 ft diameter). Explain to the parents what they need to bring to
the class. The PARENT (the boys don’t have their card yet) should bring a pocketknife, it does not need to be
new, but it should be in good condition and sharp. Consider what other items may be needed like lawn chairs if
the class is outside, drinks and/or snacks if it will be a long session.
        Make sure that the parent understands what the rules are that go along with the card and that they are
expected to help enforce the rules when they witness any safety rules being violated. They should also know
that they will have control over when and where the boys will be allowed to carry a knife.

Display a Whittling Chip card. Explain what the card means to them and the rules.
These rules apply in my pack, I have found no set rules or policy from BSA.

         With the Whittling Chip card a Cub Scout is allowed to carry and use a pocketknife at certain Scout
activities. The Den Leader will let them know when a pocketknife is needed, the Cub Scout should check with
the Den Leader to find out if a pocketknife will be needed or allowed at each activity. If the Cub Scout is not
sure, don’t bring it.

        Akela (any leader, parent, or adult) can ask for the Whittling Chip at any time a Cub Scout has a
pocketknife in his possession. If the Cub Scout does not have the card in his possession, the knife is to be
collected and returned to the parent.

        The Whittling Chip does not allow a Cub Scout to bring a pocketknife onto school property at any time,
even when school is out. Having a pocketknife on school property, will result in loss of the Whittling Chip card,
it can not be earned back in our pack.

         An accident which results in another person being injured will also result in loss of the Whittling Chip
card, it can not be earned back in our pack.

       Violation of a safety rule may result in having a corner torn off the card or temporary loss of the card
depending on the seriousness of the violation. If all four corners are torn off, the Cub Scout must earn the card
again by taking another class.

Display a variety of knives. Explain knife uses and which a Cub Scout can carry.

       Cub Scouts are only allowed to carry pocketknives on Scout activities. If other knives are needed,
kitchen knives for example, they will be brought and used by adults.

        Display a fixed blade (sheath or hunting) knife. Explain that a pocketknife will do almost anything these
knives do. Show how a sheath knife attached to the belt could injure someone by bending over with the sheath
pointed against the leg and/or the sheath pointed up toward the stomach. Cub Scouts should not need to carry a
fixed blade (sheath) knife.

       Display a variety of pocketknives. Show that some have only a few blades and some have many.
Explain that many of the extra blades are seldom used or don’t work well. Example: Having fork and spoon
blades on the knife would mainly be useful when backpacking, at other times you usually have better silverware
available. They should learn the proper way to use each blade on their knife.

       Display a pair of scissors. Show how these are two knife blades that cut against each other. Explain that
they should be treated with the same respect and safety rules as any other knife.

        Display various kitchen knives like a table knife, paring knife, bread knife, and a butcher knife. Explain
what they are used for. Explain that since they will probably use these in a kitchen in the future, they should be
treated with the same respect and safety rules.

       Display a lock blade knife. Explain that the lock is a safety feature that keeps the blade from
accidentally closing on the fingers. These may be better for the boys if they can release the lock easily enough.
Some locks are hard to release and could result in an injury if the knife slips while trying to release the lock.
List the rules of knife safety. Explain the reasons for the rules and demonstrate if possible. These can be
covered together or spread among the other sections.


Passing a Knife – Practice passing a real pocketknife. The blade should
always be closed. While doing this teach them that when you hand
someone a knife, you do not release it until the other person says “Thank
You”. This indicates that the other person realizes that they are receiving the
knife and are ready to accept responsibility for it. After hearing the “Thank
You”, say “You’re Welcome” as you release the knife. This indicates that you
have released the responsibility for the knife to the other person.


        Use a plastic silverware knife. Apply a small amount of bright red lipstick (while preparing ask how
many want to wear the lipstick) along the cutting edge. Show the boys how to hold the knife by the back (dull)
side of the blade and pass it to another person, handle first using the same ―thank you – you’re welcome‖. After
passing the knife around to everyone (it’s fun to include parents in this), check for lipstick on everyone’s hands.
Any lipstick marks indicate that the person could have been cut by a sharp blade.

Safety Circle – Explain to the boys that anytime they are using a knife they should have a ―Safety Circle‖
around them. Demonstrate holding your arm out as far as possible holding an object like a ruler and turning
around. The boys should learn that whenever they are using a knife, they should be the only person in their
safety circle. If someone else enters their circle for any reason they should close their knife and lay it down.
Explain to them that they are also responsible for anyone entering the circle, even from behind, so unless they
have eyes in the back of their head, suggest that they always work with a wall behind them. Show them how
someone could surprise them from behind and if they turn quickly holding a knife, they could hurt someone.

       A knife is not a toy, it is a useful tool. Like most tools if it is not used properly, it can injure someone.

       Always walk when carrying an open knife or a pair of scissors and carry it with the blade pointed away
from you.

       A knife should never be used to dig in the dirt. Dirt and moisture will dull and/or rust the blade.

       Always cut by pushing the knife away from you. Be sure your hands and body are out of the way.

       A knife should never be thrown at anything. Never try to throw it and make it stick into the dirt, a tree,
or any other object.

        Always close a pocketknife with the palm of your hand, never by pushing the blade against another
object like your leg.

        Always keep the blade as sharp as possible. A dull knife might not cut into the work properly or slip
resulting in cutting yourself or something else unintended. A sharp blade is more likely to cut into the work as
intended.

        Never cut the bark from a live tree it could kill or seriously injure the tree. Never carve on something
that does not belong to you.
       A knife should always be closed and put away when not in use. Any knife left out on a table could cut
someone who does not realize it is there. A pocketknife, even closed should be put away so it does not get lost
or played with by other children.

       Do not try to catch a knife if it drops, step back and pick it up after it comes to rest.

       A knife should never be used instead of a screwdriver or other tool, each tool has its purpose and must
be used properly.

Discuss knife care and maintenance. How to clean and sharpen a knife.

Cleaning - Discuss keeping knives clean and dry. How the blade can rust and how the rust will affect the
sharpness of the blade.

       Clean knives by hand, not in the dishwasher. The heat and steam can damage or dull knives.

       Discuss using a knife for cutting food. Explain that the knife should be cleaned before and after being
used on food items since the knife can become dirty from being in the pocket.

       Discuss cross contamination of food and the importance of cleaning the knife, not just wiping it off.

Sharpening – Display a sharpening stone and show how to use it.

       Display and demonstrate other sharpening methods if you have time and have the materials available.

         If sharpening stones are not available or you are not ready for them to work with a real knife, you can
make a practice stone. Use a wood block with sandpaper glued to it and sharpen a craft stick into a knife shape.
If the stick is sturdy enough they could use it to practice carving soap later. You can make a stronger soap
carving knife out of craft sticks using the directions found at:
http://home.att.net/~llmcgraw/etowah/carver/knife.html. You could let the boys sharpen these and use them for
the soap carving. Show the boys how to angle the blade against the stone (or stick against the sanding block) to
produce a sharp edge.

Demonstrate and practice whittling using soap and a wood or plastic knife.

        By letting the boys practice carving on a soft bar of soap like Ivory with the wooden craft stick knives or
using a plastic silverware knife, they can start getting the feel of using a knife. Show the boys how to cut long
thin shavings by cutting at the proper angle. Also show them how to carve out chips by making the first cut
down into the soap and making a second angled cut until it reaches the first cut. Watch to see that they are
cutting off the thin shavings and small chips like they should. This will also let you catch some possible safety
problems early and with less chance of a serious cut.

Give a written test or quiz on knife safety rules.

         I found a very good written Quiz through Baloo’s Bugle written by Barb Stephens. I have modified it
slightly by adding some more questions. The quiz helps to show what the boys have remembered about the
safety rules. I let the parents take the quiz at the same time as the boys and then have the parents check the
answers on their boy’s quiz. I let the parents make the final decision as to whether the boys get the card which
helps to calm parents fears of boys waving knives around. By the time they see the boys attention during the
class, the answers to the quiz, and the soap and wood carvings, every parent so far has approved their son
receiving the card. The original quiz by Barb Stephens is available at:
http://www.creighton.edu/~bsteph/pack114/funpages/bear-knife.html. The quiz as I have modified it is copied
below.

Practice whittling with a real pocketknife and soft wood.

        I have tried whittling a pinewood derby car with a knife. After too many hours I had rounded off what
would be the hood on the front of the car. Needless to say the back end of the car stayed square. Last year I tried
basswood for the boys to whittle and it was still too hard for the beginners. I used balsa this year and it seemed
to work much better. Some people have suggested mixing vermiculite with plaster. Mix the plaster according to
the instructions, then add about the same amount of vermiculite and let it set. I have not used this mixture but it
could be worth trying. Whatever you use, try it yourself first. It is very frustrating for the boys to start a project
and get bad results or not be able to finish it because it is just too hard for them. Another idea I saw in Baloo’s
Bugle was to carve wagon wheels from slices of apple and then dry them for a treat. I think the boys could
handle a little tougher project but they would enjoy doing this also.

       Be sure the knife supplied by the parent is in good condition and sharp. I have seen some boys struggle
with Dads or Grandpa’s old knife because it was too dull or it had loose parts on the handle. It is a good idea to
have some extra knives available, just in case.

       Have lots of simple shapes available for them to choose from. I found some foam shapes at Hobby
Lobby (ice cream cone, cowboy hat, cowboy boot, etc.) that the boys could trace on the wood with pencil to get
them started. The simpler the shapes are the better they are at this point. Suggest to the parents that they allow
the boys to practice more carvings at home.

       If the wooden whittling projects are small enough, have some small pieces of PVC pipe or garden hose
and a hot glue gun available. Glue the piece of pipe or hose on the back and the boys can paint them to wear as
neckerchief slides.

Distribute the signed Whittling Chip cards to the parents.

The Den Leader should sign the Whittling Chip cards and let the parents present the cards to the boys. Be sure
to have the boys sign the Pledge on the back of the card. It is important that the boys receive the award right
away and when it is presented to them by their parent, it shows that both the parent and the leader trust them
with the responsibility. I can still remember how proud I was when I was a Cub Scout and earned the right to
carry a pocketknife. I sure felt grown up, and I can remember my parents taking advantage of that to get a few
extra chores done around the house.
                                          Shavings & Chips Quiz
                                     by Barb Stephens, modified by Marty Linn

Part I: Circle the correct answer
True / False    1. A knife is NOT a toy.
True / False    2. A dull knife is safer than a sharp knife.
True / False    3. Dirt on a knife blade helps keep it sharp.
True / False    4. Never carve your initials on anything that does NOT belong to you.
True / False    5. When someone hands you a knife you say ―Thank You‖ to show good manners.
True / False    6. A knife is handy for cutting bark off trees.
True / False    7. A pocketknife should always be closed when it is not in use.
True / False    8. It's okay to keep your knife wet.
True / False    9. A Cub Scout can take his knife to a pack meeting at the school if school is out.
True / False    10. You should carry your open knife in your pocket.
True / False    11. You should close the blade with the palm of your hand
True / False    12. A Cub Scout should carry a fixed blade knife if it is kept in a sheath.

Part II: Fill in the blank
1. Close the blade with the ________________ of your hand.
2. A __________________ should never be used on something that will dull or break it.
3. People watching you work with your knife should not enter your __________ __________.
4. Your knife should always be kept ___________ and _________.
5. Scissors should be handled with the same safety rules as a ____________.
6. Always ________ when carrying a knife or scissors.

Part III: Circle the correct answer
1. Always keep your knife ( dry / wet ) so it will not rust.
2. When using a knife, do not make ( big / little ) shavings or chips.
3. A ( dull / sharp ) knife is more likely to cut you.
4. A Cub Scout ( can / cannot ) take his knife to a den meeting at school if it is held outside.
5. A knife should be cleaned ( before / after ) cutting food.
6. A fixed blade knife or scissors should be passed to another person ( blade / handle ) first.


                                   The Pocketknife Pledge (fill in the blanks)
I understand the reason for ________________________________________ rules.
I will treat my pocketknife with the ______________________________ due a useful tool.
I will always __________________________ my pocketknife and put it away when not in use.
I will not use my pocketknife when it might _______________________ someone near me.
I ______________________________ never to throw my pocketknife for any reason.
I will use my pocketknife in a safe manner at ________________________times.

Close, respect, injure, promise, all, safety.
                               Shavings & Chips Quiz – Answer Sheet
                                     by Barb Stephens, modified by Marty Linn

Part I: Circle the correct answer
T   True / False 1. A knife is NOT a toy.
F   True / False 2. A dull knife is safer than a sharp knife.
F   True / False 3. Dirt on a knife blade helps keep it sharp.
T   True / False 4. Never carve your initials on anything that does NOT belong to you.
F   True / False 5. When someone hands you a knife you say ―Thank You‖ to show good manners.
F   True / False 6. A knife is handy for cutting bark off trees.
T   True / False 7. A pocketknife should always be closed when it is not in use.
F   True / False 8. It's okay to keep your knife wet.
F   True / False 9. A Cub Scout can take his knife to a pack meeting at the school if school is out.
F   True / False 10. You should carry your open knife in your pocket.
T   True / False 11. You should close the blade with the palm of your hand.
F   True / False 12. A Cub Scout should carry a fixed blade knife if it is kept in a sheath.

Part II: Fill in the blank
1. Close the blade with the ___PALM_______ of your hand.
2. A _POCKETKNIFE______ should never be used on something that will dull or break it.
3. People watching you work with your knife should not enter your __SAFETY__ __CIRCLE__.
4. Your knife should always be kept ___CLEAN___ and ___DRY______.
5. Scissors should be handled with the same safety rules as a ___KNIFE____.
6. Always __WALK__ when carrying a knife or scissors.

Part III: Circle the correct answer
1. Always keep your knife ( dry / wet ) so it will not rust.
2. When using a knife, do not make ( big / little ) shavings or chips.
3. A ( dull / sharp ) knife is more likely to cut you.
4. A Cub Scout ( can / cannot ) take his knife to a den meeting at school if it is held outside.
5. A knife should be cleaned ( before / after ) cutting food.
6. A fixed blade knife or scissors should be passed to another person ( blade / handle ) first.


                                   The Pocketknife Pledge (fill in the blanks)
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 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.

Close, respect, injure, promise, all, safety.
To parents of Bear and Webelos level Cub Scouts,

We will be presenting a special class on knife safety starting at 12:00 noon on Sunday, February 13, 2007. The
class will be held at the home of LEADERS NAME, Bear Den Leader at LEADERS ADDRESS. The class is
designed to teach the safe handling and proper care of pocketknives. This will fulfill Bear Achievement 19 –
Shavings and Chips and allow both Bear and Webelos level boys to earn the Whittling Chip card which is
required for any Cub Scout to carry a pocketknife at Cub Scout functions. Webelos that did not earn the card as
a Bear last year may earn the card now. The Webelos age boys will have more projects where the pocketknives
will be used.

While I am sure some of you may be concerned with the idea of the boys carrying a pocketknife, this program is
designed to teach knife safety. Even if the boys do not get the card the class is important since most boys will
use kitchen and other knives in the future. The actual Whittling Chip card will be given to the boys only with
the parents approval at the end of the class. When I taught this class last year I had no parents deny the card at
the end of the class and there have been no safety problems brought to my attention since the cards were issued.
Again you will have the final say at the end of the class.

Besides the basic knife safety rules, the boys will learn these additional rules that must be followed.
1. They must have the card in their possession at all times while using a knife.
2. At any time Akela (any adult including parents) can ask for the card and it must be presented or the knife will
be collected and returned to the parent.
3. No knife will be carried on school property at any time even by mistake. Violation of this rule means
permanent loss of the card as well as any punishment from the school.
4. Any injury to another person will result in permanent loss of the card.
5. Any time a safety rule is violated, Akela may tear a corner off the card. Loss of all four corners result in the
loss of the card which must be re-earned by attending and passing another Whittling chip class.

Due to safety concerns a parent or other adult must attend with each boy. This person will make the decision of
whether or not the card will be issued. The following items should be brought to the class by the parent.
A pocketknife. (Does not have to be new but should be sharp and in good condition)
Lawn Chairs (The class will be held outdoors to allow more space for safety reasons)

If you have any questions about the class, please call me at (555)555-5555 during the day, at (666)666-6666 in
the evening, or by e-mail during the day at martysl@hotmail.com.

Name
Position, Pack 9999

				
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