Bear Den Meeting Plan – Shavings and Chips

Bear Achievement 19 was a favorite with both of my dens. Why? Because it’s all about pocketknives.

Boys can be a little goofy and silly at den meetings, but with this one I laid down the law. If they didn’t pay attention and take it seriously, they would not get their Whittlin’ Chip card. And they were good as gold.

This meeting plan covers all of the requirements for Bear Achievement 19: Shavings and Chips.  If you normally meet at a school, you might need to find a different meeting space for this one. Many schools will not allow anything which resembles a knife.

It is possible to meet the requirements by having them carve soap instead of wood. The soap is softer, but I don’t like getting soap all over the pocketknives, which the requirement specifies must be used to make the carving. So we used wood and made arrowhead neckerchief slides.

No matter which material you decide to use, allow plenty of room between the scouts. Have a couple of extra adults on hand to keep an eye on things. And don’t let them handle their knives until they have demonstrated that they know the safety rules.

Printable copy of Den Meeting Plan for Bear Achievement 19 (Shavings and Chips) – includes timeline

Den Meeting Plan


Each Scout will need a pocketknife and either a block of wood or a bar of soap to carve. The pocketknives should be held by the leader until they are ready to use them. You will also need

  • a knife sharpening stone
  • blank Whittlin’ Chip cards (available at your Scout shop)
  • Printouts for the Pocketknife safety quiz (see below)
  • Materials for fake pocketknives (see below)
  • Wood or soap for carving
  • if you are carving indoors, you might want to have some drop cloths to put under the Scouts while they carve.

Gathering Activity


  • Talk about knife safety. The list of safety rules in the book is a good place to start. (Requirement 19a)
  • Use the fake pocketknives  to demonstrate how to open and close a pocketknife. Let the Scouts practice.  (Requirement 19b)
  • Demonstrate correct sharpening techniques. Let them practice with his fake pocketknife. (Requirement 19b)
  • Using the fake pocketknife, have them demonstrate how to make small shavings and how to make a stop cut. (Requirement 19b). Obviously, they won’t actually cut anything with the fake pocketknife, but they should be able to demonstrate the correct techniques. See the Bear handbook for details.
  • Have them take a   Pocketknife Safety Quiz . Review any incorrect answers. ( Pocketknife Safety Quiz Answers )
  • Have them read the Knives Are Not Toys guidelines aloud (in the Bear handbook) (Requirement 19d)
  • Have each of them recite the Pocketknife Pledge (in the Bear handbook) (Requirement 19d)
  • Hand out Whittlin’ Chip cards (Requirement 19d)
  • Separate them and let them practice carving. (Requirement 19c)
More Information

10 Responses to Bear Den Meeting Plan – Shavings and Chips

  1. Mike L January 10, 2012 at 3:07 PM #

    Thanks for the printable quiz and answer key. I used last night with the lesson and the boys liked it.

  2. Michelle R February 25, 2012 at 7:42 PM #

    I can’t seem to find decent pocket knives that don’t cost a fortune…Any ideas? Do you give the boys a knife to keep, or do you leave that up to the parents?

    • Scouter Mom February 26, 2012 at 7:28 AM #

      When we did this, the parents were responsible for providing the knives. Some had extras they were willing to lend out. Kids this age don’t need expensive knives. There’s always the chance they’ll take them out to camp and lose them. Here is a model in the under $15 category which works fine for Cub Scouts: Victorinox Swiss Army Classic Pocket Knife.

    • Bear Leader March 12, 2012 at 6:20 PM #

      We have a knive store in our town. They carry single blade 2″ knives for around $6. Knives at walmart were more than $10, and not appropriate for this level.You may be able to google pocketknives and found some websites. Not sure when you need them. Just make sure they have a locking mechanism on them. We keep the knives at this age. They are handed out to the boys when we are ready to use them. At Webelos II the pack gives them a knive. However the parents are responsible for the knive and hands it to the scout when he is ready to use it. I hope this helps.

  3. Leesa B April 5, 2012 at 2:53 PM #

    Thanks so much for sharing – we will be using a lot of this info at our district cub scout camporee – love the fake pocketknife and the quiz. Looking forward to using them!

  4. Bear Leader September 5, 2012 at 11:52 AM #

    Love this–just what I need for our Den Mtg. today. I had planned in advance to do this achievement, but was looking for some direction on how to put it all together. Safety quiz and fake pocketknife will be so helpful–Thanks!

  5. Cyndi D January 7, 2013 at 5:02 PM #

    Many THANKS! I was not sure how to make this come together but your lesson plan was great.

  6. Gretchen April 17, 2013 at 11:24 PM #

    Using this for Junior Girl Scouts because girls can use knives too, right??? Except Girl Scouts has no curriculum for it! :(

  7. Dixie Curtis May 8, 2013 at 2:53 AM #

    I found the pocket knives for my Bear Den at Dollar Tree…and the soap 3/$1.00! Great prices and they are pretty good knives! The boys in my den all loved this achievement and will get their knives when they complete this achievement! Great goals for these boys! We’ll also be working on their Whittling Chip Card. Fun times!

  8. Scott January 15, 2015 at 9:04 AM #

    Just bought a couple at Walmart for $3 each, they have the safety feature on them that lessons the chance of cutting your finger when opening or closing it. They where actually in the camping area near compasses and items like that, not in the knife cabinet.

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