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Baloo's Bugle

November 2001 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 8, Issue 4
December Theme

Works of Art
Webelos Craftsman & Scientist
 Tiger Cub Big Idea 5





San Francisco Bay Area Council


Working With Tin And Metal


Cub Scout metal projects can be divided into three categories:

1. Those with cans and aluminum plates

2. Those with lids and sheet metal

3. Those with wire.


Projects with cans generally require such tools as can opening, "church keys", pliers, punch and maybe a hammer.  These projects include bird feeders, planters and hobo stoves.  Advanced projects would include cutting the can with snips to make candle holders, drinking cups and biscuit or donut cutters.

Projects with frozen orange juice lids or "kerr" lids usually require only a hammer and punch or nail.  Here a design is made by denting the metal.  These projects include Christmas tree ornaments, tie slides, necklace or mobile pendants.

Projects with wire or coat hangers usually require pliers, a bending board and a pair of hands.  These projects include wiener forks, hanging planters, mobiles and sculpture.

It would be a good idea to have any cutting with snips done and any sharp places removed with a file before the boys arrive.  Most boys are not strong enough to cut metal thicker than a postcard.  They will probably cut themselves on the sharp edges while they struggle.  Even metal from TV dinner plates and pop cans is very sharp and would be better cut by an adult.

You need to plan and prepare for a good project. You will probably have to do part of the work before the meetings.  This is done to insure the boys can finish during the meeting and to avoid tasks too difficult for the boys.

You will need enough tools for each boy or risk one becoming a trouble maker. If you are short on the number of tools, have something else for the others to do, or have some use the pliers while others use the hammers.

No matter what craft you are doing, always have an example of the finished project.

Heart of America Council


The Craftsman Activity Badge requires the use of hand tools.  Since the requirements take much more time than

can be allocated to den meetings learning the proper use of tools is important.  A dad who is a wood working hobbyist can demonstrate the use of tools.  Have a variety of tools and materials on hand so the Webelos can practice using them.  (Extra dads can be a big help at this meeting.)

Suggested tools:

Hand saw

Coping saw

Tin snips

Vice; Combination square

Electric or hand drill

Leather punches




Make the Webelos aware of the hazards in working with tools and use the proper safeguards, gloves or eye protection when appropriate.  A simple project such as a birdhouse or bookends using precut parts is a good starter. Have the Webelos assemble them in a step by step-by-step procedure as they follow you or a den dad.

Ideas for projects are given in the Webelos Scout Book, Crafts for Cub Scouts No. 3843, Cub Scout Fun Book No. 3215, Skits and Puppets No. 3842, Webelos Den Activities No. 3853 and Boys’ Life. Your den may want to start a plans file so over the years a greater variety of projects can be available for succeeding dens.  Projects in the craftsman can also help in other activity badges.

The catapult is an example or the Webelos may make an electric motor or steam turbine by using tin.  The painting or decorating of a wooden toy or game encompasses some of the requirements of the Artist or the building of a puppet stage for Showman.  Small pieces of good wood can usually be available from cabinet shops or millworks for the asking.

As always in Cub Scouting, if someone helps the den or pack, present them with an appreciation certificate.

Aluminum cans be substituted for tin and is much easier to work (the edges not as sharp as tin).  Most “do it yourself’ stores have the lighter gauge sheets that are satisfactory for most uses. Model railroad supply houses have some sheet metal (brass and aluminum) tubing and extrusions that are rather expensive but may be just what is needed for a special project.





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