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Where to buy whittling supplies? Suggestions?

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We lead our son's Cub Scout den and want to do a meeting on whittling (to earn the whittling chip). Does anyone know where we can buy whittling supplies (like blocks of soft balsa wood)?


We will ask the boys to bring pocket knives but any other suggestions on how to get started would be much welcome. I am thinking just to look up simple instructions on whittling. We can also do ivory soap, but I thought the balsa wood would be good. I took a look at Michaels online and didn't see anything. Where else should I be looking?





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We have a "Carving for Kids" kit from Miller Pads & Paper. It comes with a set of knives and a book (you can buy each separately) but does not come with balsa wood. I have assumed that I would be able to find balsa wood at Michael's, but maybe not! Hmm, it's about time to use the kit, so I had better get on that.



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Avoid balsa wood! It breaks apart into small splinters and isn't suitable at all. Basswood or pine, available from any home improvement store, works best.


Honestly, I have taught the whittling chip to five groups of scouts and I would start with Ivory soap and a sharp pocket knife. Starting with wood with boys that young will likely end in frustration and at least one cut. Let them learn the technique (shaving, not cutting or gouging) with the soap, then they can move on to real wood. It's easier for inexperienced hands to master this with the much softer soap, then transfer it to wood.


The main purpose of the whittling chip is to learn knife safety, which starting with wood just isn't safe until they have the technique down. 75% of the boys will try to cut our gouge the wood on the first attempt, which cause the knife to slip and cut them.

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