The Totin' Chip, as I recall, was a card you received when, as a Boy Scout, you demonstrated that you understood and practiced proper safety techniques when using knifes, axes, hatchets and saws. Such behavior includes but is not limited to knowing how to open and close a pocket knife, proper cutting and whittling technique (always away from your body or body parts,) and how to sharpen your knife (a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one.) For axes and hatchets you need to demonstrate that you can, in fact, cut a piece of wood with these tools, and also how to care for them (never throw the blade on to the ground, cover it when you're done, don't try and cut rocks). You need to know how to use a saw, and also how to rope off a proper axeyard so that you can swing and cut without endangering other people who might otherwise get too close to swinging axes and flying wood chips.

The Totin' Chip card is to be shown to higher-ranking Scouts or scoutmasters if you're using the above mentioned tools. If they see you using a tool improperly or dangerously, they will cut a corner off your card. If you lose all four corners you must go through Totin' Chip training before you get another card, and possibly have to perform other punitive measures.

The trick, therefore is to save your knifeplay until the leaders are not around.

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