Axe Throwing


Axes are thrown from between 15 and 30 feet away from a target that is painted on the end of a log. The bulls-eye is 3 inches in diameter and worth 3 points, a 9 inch diameter ring around it is worth 2 points, and an 18 inch diameter ring is worth 1. Points are awarded for the highest scoring portion of the target struck by the axe. Three practice throws and 5 competition throws are allowed. Points are not awarded for stepping across the 15-foot line, sticking both points of a double-bitted axe, or if the handle is pointing upward (i.e. the back rather than leading edge of a double-bitted axe sticks in the target). Axe throwing has been a Conclave event every year since at least 1960.


Axe Throwing Slow Motion Video

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Thanks to Chelsea Lopez for shooting and providing this video of Sean Hoes axe throwing at the 59th Southern Forestry Conclave hosted by Clemson University.


Axe Throwing Tips & Techniques Video

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Axe Throwing Tips for Beginners

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How to Throw an Axe (Like a Pro)

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How to Be a Better Axe Thrower

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How to Throw a Big Axe

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Axe Throwing Tips with a Big Axe World Champ

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Axes must have a handle at least 18 inches long, and may be single or double-bitted. While not required by rule, it is good practice for axe heads to be pinned, usually with a tension pin (also called a roll pin, spring pin, or expansion pin). A 5 mm diameter by 24 mm long pin fits some throwing axe heads, and can be found online from a variety of vendors. Measure your axe head with precise calipers before ordering pins, to ensure they fit correctly. Installing a pin that is too long, and then sawing or grinding off the excess length, can help the pin last longer and be more effective at retaining the axe head. More information on axes is available in the log chopping and pole felling sections. Axes can be ordered from:

  • Bailey's Online - USA - California

For guidance on hanging (i.e. putting the handle on) axes, see the LOG CHOPPING PAGE. For handles, Seymour Midwest makes high-quality, lathed, Link brand handles from Tennessee hickory. The double bit handles for 3 to 5 lb axe heads have an eye cut out 2.875 x 0.625 inches. There are several finishes and quality levels available, but for a throwing axe the best quality level for industrial and commercial use is recommended. We have found important for durability, particularly with novice axe throwers who may not have their throwing distance fine-tuned yet and are more prone to striking the target with the handle rather than the head of the axe. Industrial or commercial grade hickory handles would be model number 140-02, or 64738. These handles are 36 inches in total length, but you can cut them shorter to suit your preferred throwing distance (although the minimum length by rule is 18 inches after handle leaves the axe head). For some axes model 145-02, or 64944, which fits 2.25 x 0.625 inch eyes works well. It is 28 inches in length, but would still need to be cut shorter to suit a 15 foot throwing distance. These handles can be procured from a variety of vendors (Seymour Midwest does not sell retail), simply google the brand name and model numbers.

Maintenance Tips for Throwing Axes

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Sharpening Throwing Axes

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Targets are often placed across stacked pulpwood or cants. They can also be cookies on which a target is painted. Cookies must be thick enough not to split, and are mounted on plywood or a similar backing with a constructed framework. Ideally targets will be from a softer wood, as they are also used for knife throwing. Baldcypress (Taxodium distichum) works very well.

Photo Credit: The knife and axe throw target assembled by Clemson University at the 59th Southern Forestry Conclave. Photo by Jeremy Stovall.

Historical Context

Throwing axes have been used in warfare for more than 1500 years by peoples as diverse as the Franks, Celts, Vikings, American Revolutionary militiamen, and Native Americans. Small axes have had numerous applications in forestry, from limbing branches, to blazing or marking trees, to usage in logging camps and in hunting. Axe throwing has evolved as sport numerous times throughout history, and was a common pastime of loggers and boy scouts. Today it is increasing in popularity. Beginning around 2010 specialty axe throwing gyms and sports leagues in Canada developed that are geared towards hobbyists, birthday parties, corporate retreats, and other events.

Axe or Knife Throwing Example Layout

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