Knife Safety (Whittling Chip)

Whittling Chip

Only Bears and above may use pocket knives in Cub Scouts, and only then if:

  • they have earned and been awarded the Whittling Chip patch/card,
  • they adhere to the Cub Scout knife safety rules,
  • they have permission of their parent and Den Leader.

Any Cub Scout who brings a pocket knife to a campout must be able to show the Cubmaster on demand either the Whittling Chip patch earned or the card earned. The Cubmaster or Den Leader may revoke any Scout's Whittling Chip for breach of knife safety rules at any time. Such a Scout will have to re-earn their Whittling Chip.

  • No knives at night.
  • No using them in crowded areas.

Whittling Chip Worksheet


Whittling Chip Requirements

  1. 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.
  2. 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.:
      1. Place the stone on a level surface.
      2. Wet the stone with a little water or oil.
      3. 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.
      4. 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.
  3. Make a carving with a pocketknife. Work with your den leader or other adult when doing this.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 carrying a pocketknife.