Cub Scouts are part of the Boy Scouts of America, an organization that emphasizes strong moral behavior and a connection with the outdoors. One way the organization encourages these pursuits is through creativity and crafts. Whittling is one of those crafts often practiced by the Cub Scouts. Cub Scout members are taught how to use a whittling knife and encouraged to whittle for fun and to express creativity.
Cub Scouts are a younger version of the Boy Scouts. Cub Scouts begin their carving lessons working with soap. Choosing appropriate woods is essential when teaching these boys to carve with wood. Ideal woods are the softer woods, such as bass wood and balsa. Some Cub Scout groups also encourage whittling sticks and twigs. The more difficult woods, such as oak, are typically reserved for older boys. Using softer woods makes it easier for boys under 12 to carve and can help develop stronger carving skills.
Practicing with the Knife
Soap is the first material used by Cub Scouts for practicing with the knife. It's soft texture makes it easy to carve and safer to work with because less pressure is needed to shape it. After practicing carving with soap, sticks and twigs are often used for transitioning Cub Scouts to whittling wood. Boys are encouraged, under supervision, to fashion spears or simply to peel the bark from the sticks and twigs in an effort to teach them how to properly use a knife. The sticks and twigs are sometimes used to build tipis and slingshots.
Arrowheads and Other Miniatures
Arrowheads are simple to whittle. As a beginning whittling project, Cub Scouts can learn to notch wood. Since arrowheads need a notched surface that requires holding the whittling knife at an angle, whittling them can help perfect this skill. The finished arrowheads can be displayed in a case or turned into key chains. Miniature animals, Native American faces, a canoe and oars or even trees are ideal whittling projects for key chains as well.
Christmas tree ornaments are a fun project for Cub Scout whittling. Snowmen, Christmas trees, Santa and elves are ideal subject matter. The finished ornaments can be painted, decorated with fake snow and given as gifts. Other holiday ornament ideas include decorative eggs for Easter or pumpkins for Halloween.
Name tags and badges are ideal whittling projects that can be combined with the art of wood burning. A scout can whittle a name tag, then use a wood burning pen to burn his name on it. Name tags can also be stained or painted. Larger pieces of wood are ideal for creating plaques.