Whether for fun or competition, axe throwing is quickly becoming a fairly popular activity. We now have axe-throwing bars popping up everywhere and even an international axe throwing championship. There are also axes designed specifically for throwing, although nothing’s stopping you from using the standard hatchet or splitting axe.
One thing you should have is an axe throwing target. You can either buy one or build your own. Either way, this guide should have you covered.
Axe Throwing Target
35.8 x 29.7 x 3.4 inches
20ınch X 20 ınch X 2ınch depth
Should you buy or build an axe throwing target?
If you’re thinking of having an axe throwing range at home, then you have to options for getting a target – buy one ready-made or build one yourself. As with any decision worth mulling over, each option has benefits and drawbacks.
Buying A Target
The best thing about buying a target, of course, is that you skip all the work of making one. Axe throwing targets are measured, pre-marked, and typically already have the hardware for hanging or mounting. Buying one is very practical if you’re just starting out or just want to try out axe throwing.
Companies that make axe throwing targets are masters at their craft. This means that you’re likely to wound up with a target made with the right wood and the proper grain direction. If you haven’t got a clue about woodworking, then you’re probably better off just buying a pre-made target.
The downside, of course, is that you will inevitably spend more in buying a pre-made target versus making one yourself. A pre-made target will likely cost more than $100. In contrast, the wood that you will need for a DIY target should not cost more than $50. You will need other tools, such as a stencil, markers, and a good cordless drill.
Building A Target
If you’re likely to go through lots of axe throwing targets, then it so much more practical to learn how to make them yourself. You can save lots of money this way. Commercial axe throwing ranges and bars likely make their own targets to reduce their expenses.
Easy to replace
As long as you have the materials on hand, you can build a new axe throwing target in less than an hour. The wood planks or boards needed to make a target are also usually readily available in any hardware. With the right skills and equipment, building your own axe throwing target is faster than ordering a new one from a supplier.
Takes substantial skill and expertise
The major hurdle before you can build your own axe throwing target is that you have to know what you’re doing. Although the needed wooden planks or boards can be bought prefabricated, you will still have to drill them together and draw marks on the target.
However, there’s no reason to be intimidated. Making an axe throwing target seems like a lot of work but gets a lot easier with some experience. The video below will guide you through how to select the best wood planks for your target, the optimal lumber sizes, and how to mark the different scoring zones.
Buying a pre-made target can be a viable option if you’re not planning on throwing axes regularly. A high-quality target from a reputable brand should last several months with proper maintenance. However, learning how to DIY a target is more practical if you anticipate going through several of them quickly.
Tips for buying an axe throwing target
As with just about every commercial product, not all axe throwing targets are made equally. To make sure your axe throwing experience goes as seamlessly as possible, here are some things to look for when buying a pre-made axe throwing target.
Look for vertical grain
A crucial characteristic of a good axe throwing target is that it should have perfectly aligned vertical grain. This will make it easier for the axe to penetrate the wood. This is easy to spot even in pictures and should be considered non-negotiable.
Avoid huge knots
Knots are a natural part of wood and cannot be completely avoided in lumber. However, you will not want to have huge knots in your axe throwing target. If entirely unavoidable, then knots are more tolerable on the boards outside of the bull’s-eye. Again, this is something that can be easily identified upon visual inspection.
Look for a brand that sells by piece
A standard axe throwing target measures 4 feet wide and up to 8 feet tall. They are usually assembled using five or more wooden planks that are drilled onto a frame.
The rate at which these planks will get worn down will not all be equal. Ideally, the central plank or the one containing the bull’s-eye will be going through faster wear and tear. This means that you will have to replace it more often. When buying axe throwing targets for regular use, it would be more prudent to have more units of the central plank on hand – but only if the manufacturer sells the planks piecewise.
Product quality and customer service are the top considerations when buying an axe throwing target. You’re not buying some sophisticated piece of technology here. It just takes some honest-to-goodness craftmanship to make an axe throwing target that is good enough even for professional competitions.
Best wood for axe throwing targets & boards
A good axe throwing target starts with proper selection of the wood boards. The primary goal here would be to make sure that the axe can stick to the target consistently, even when it is not thrown too forcefully. Here are some factors to consider when buying wood boards for your axe throwing target.
Type of wood
Any type of softwood is optimal for a target. Good examples include pine, spruce, fir, and cedar. Softwoods are more workable and can be easily identified by a less prominent grain and lighter colors. Hardwoods like oak and maple should be avoided. If you are unsure about the type of wood you are buying, then it’s best to consult with a hardware.
Use green lumber
“Green lumber” refers to freshly cut wood with substantial moisture content. This is desirable for axe throwing targets because it is easier to drive the sharp edge of an axe into green lumber. It also has a lower tendency to split, which means your target should last longer. Almost equally important is that green lumber is less expensive than their kiln-dried counterparts.
5 Pre-Made Axe Throwing Targets & Boards
If you’re planning to throw a few axes in your backyard for fun, this wooden axe throwing target from BIGSHOT is just about the right size. Measuring about 6 inches by 10 inches, this is a more mobile version of the standard-sized axe throwing target.
The BIGSHOT target comes with the standard scoring zones including the clutch shots. It is made with three boards that are mounted onto a single piece of plywood. The target is just small enough that you likely won’t need to replace it piecewise.
An interesting and novel addition to this board is an attached bottle opener. This is great for when you’re just hanging around in your backyard knocking back a few drinks. We must stress, however, that axe throwing and drinking is not a good combination.
This hefty wooden target measures 20 inches by 20 inches and is made with a single slab of wood instead of several planks assembled together. The selection of spruce as the material is a top-notch decision, as it is just soft enough for an axe edge to penetrate.
This two-sided board comes with the standard scoring zones as well as an alternate head-shaped target. Ideally, a throwing axe target should be screwed or nailed in place, but this throwing target also has an industrial-grade hanging chain.
An axe throwing target made of a single slab of wood is unusual, but the BODRUM WOODEN is fairly experienced in wood crafts. This target is also a lot less expensive than many other pre-made options out there.
If you’re looking for something a little more rustic, then these knife and axe throwing targets from Lily Valley Home are perfect. Instead of assembled planks, this is a target from a cut section of a tree stump. This type of target is just equally easy for an axe to penetrate but is a little more robust against wear and tear and very stable.
The advantage of the simplicity of this target is that it’s very inexpensive – you could probably spend as much if you built your own with wooden planks. The target comes with removable legs so you can just set it up anywhere. Perhaps the only downside of this design is that you cannot adjust the height of the target unless you cut down the legs yourself.
A trait of the target being “rustic” is that it can come in a variety of diameters. You can ask Lily Valley Home to make larger targets, should you need them.
The first thing you need to know is that this wooden target is quite expensive – about $1000 apiece. Although this may turn off some, Axecessive does throw in a lot of other bonus services to make the product worthwhile.
Instead of a target that needs to be mounted, this wooden target is standalone and comes with its own base and frame. Made with five wooden planks, this axe throwing target looks a lot closer to the ones used in competitions and axe throwing bars.Its quality is excellent and even the painted-on target looks nicer than what you can typically get with a stencil.
To make the target worth your time, Axcessive throws in a game guide and will even provide you with an axe throwing tutorial by a professional in the field. They will also deliver and set up the target for you. If you’re planning to throw an axe throwing party for your friends, this is a very convenient option.
Axcitement takes an unconventional approach to building axe throwing targets. Instead of planks with vertical grain, they use smaller pieces of end grain. The benefit of this is that these small pieces of end grain can be more easily replaced if they get worn out.
Another downside of using end grain pieces is that you cannot draw on them as easily as you would on planks. Axcitement has figured out a way to place scoring zones using a projected image. Through this impressive level of resourcefulness, Axcitement has managed to offer a solution for axe throwing targets that are less expensive and require less downtime for replacement.
To take up axe throwing as a hobby, you need just two things – an axe and a target. Not just any piece of wood will do for an axe throwing target, as you will need to use wood that is soft enough for axe to penetrate easily but can withstand the repeated punishment of axe throwing.
Buying a pre-made target is convenient if you just need it for a one-time axe throwing event. However, building your targets is a lot more practical if you’re running an axe throwing bar or are planning to do this on the regular.