Axe Thrower Safety Tips

What is the Best Wood for Axe Throwing Target?

The permeating scent of fresh sawdust wafts through the sunlit workshop. Careful and practiced hands guide a glinting saw through soft and well-sanded wood planks. The Lumber Jack blows a layer of sawdust from the surface of the board, sending particles up and swirling into a beam of golden sunlight. He smiles, admiring his craftsmanship, before turning his attention to a can of black paint and a selection of brushes.

Jack has shared with us the secret answers to some of axe throwing’s most burning questions. So Jack: What is the best wood for an axe throwing target?


Axe throwing is an addictive and challenging hobby. Practice makes perfect and setting up your own axe throwing target is a great way to improve your axe throwing skills and work on your aim.

It’s important to ensure you have enough space to safely throw. You don’t want to be the crazy neighbor who is throwing axes out of their backyard and into adjoining lawns, pools, gazebos, axe-cetera. Be sure to map out an ample area for your target and be sure not to hang or mount it in front of anything breakable!

When it comes to the right material, where do you even start? For this, my friend, Lumber Jack’s Axe Throwing has you covered!


What are we looking for in a wooden target? Axe throwing targets need to be able to stand up to repeated throwing while being soft enough for better entry of an axe blade. It can’t be too soft or the axe head won’t stick tightly into the wood grain. Nothing’s worse than hitting that perfect bullseye, only for the axe to fall unceremoniously onto the ground. Too brittle, and chunks of wood will start to fly off!

We have found that a combination of three different types of wood work together to create the perfect axe throwing experience. A high quality target board can really make a difference in your axe throwing game. We’re not messing around with plywood here, we grab the good stuff.


Cottonwood –

The true jewel of the axe throwing target is Cottonwood. Soft wood boards with beautiful, vertical grain make for the best targets. Well-hydrated boards accept axes like a knife through butter. A well timed throw, good aim, and proper rotation spells BULLSEYE across Cottonwood. Durable, split resistant, and sturdy, we believe it to be the best wood for axe throwing targets.

Wood grain (especially vertical grain) is important in wood used for axe throwing: When throwing an axe into a piece of wood, it is far more likely to stick if it is in line with the grain. Cutting across a pattern of wood grain is very difficult, and will likely result in your axe bouncing off the surface of the wood.

At Lumber Jack’s Axe Throwing, our center 3 boards are Cottonwood.

Pine –

We split the difference, opting for a slightly harder wood for the outside of our targets. The two panels that bookend the Cottonwood, are Pine. Offering a fun challenge for our Blue Dot throwers, Pine is a harder wood that requires a bit more strength and precision to land a solid hit.

Pine isn’t quite as forgiving as Cottonwood and is a good option for axe throwers interested in a challenge. These Pine boards create a varied and exciting throwing experience; throwers notice the difference pretty quickly.

Douglas Fir –

In addition to the woods used for the targets themselves, Lumber Jack’s utilizes base and head boards for our targets. In the event an axe hits way off target, we want to ensure the safety of the throwers and spectators. For this frame for the target board, we utilize Douglas Fir. Axe throwers will have a hard time getting their axe edge to stick in in here! These thick, high-quality wood planks absorb impacts from…”creatively” thrown axes. Not every throw will be a bullseye!


For at-home targets, we definitely recommend cottonwood and pine. Those two woods are relatively lightweight, so you won’t need too much help moving around your target.

Although it is a slightly more expensive option than throwin’ axes at the tree stump out back, you’re going to get so much more value over time from higher quality wood. Sometimes it really is about having the right tools for the job.


Now that you’ve gathered a selection of wood for axe throwing, it’s time to assemble that raw material into a beautiful wooden target. Mounting the boards side-by-side against an existing wall or on a home-built stand is only half the battle. Fear not, you’ll be ready to hit a bullseye in no time!

Like the Pros

Now it’s time to paint the target itself. Axe throwing targets have specific and official regulated ring patters if you want to follow the rules of the WATL (World Axe Throwing League.) According to their standards, the bullseye is only 1.5″ across. That really raises the stakes of the game!


For practicing at home, you can choose to paint your target board in any way you see fit. That old saying? Practice makes perfect? It’s not entirely correct. Perfect Practice makes Perfect! If you really want to step up your game, you could paint your bullseye even smaller than standard, really spruce up your aim! (Heh. Get it? Spruce? Like the wood? Spruce? Okay, I’ll stop.)


Of course, please practice safe axe throwing, but don’t be afraid to expand your repertoire of techniques. Explore trick and clutch shots, try throwing a few axes at once, fill out your board with additional targets. Work on your throw in a fun new way. Although sticking to the classics is great for consistency, mixing it up a little bit is great fun. It’s your target, who’s going to tell you no?


It sure is neat to think about owning your very own axe throwing target, but there’s a lot of space necessary for something like that. Not to mention if you live in an upstairs apartment. Whether your axe hits the target, the 2nd story window, or the floor, your neighbors will be thrilled.

Visit Lumber Jack’s Axe Throwing

If you don’t have the time, money, or space to set up your own axe throwing target, you can definitely borrow one of ours! At LJAT, we create laid back and competitive axe throwing experiences for guests of all skill levels. We showcase twenty one individual axe throwing targets, painted and ready for your next bullseye! Pull your axe from the center of that target and throw again!

For only $30 an hour, you are welcome to either of our axe throwing options: The Full Experience or Free Throw. Free Throw is exactly how it sounds. It’s just you, the axes, and your target. Your axe-pert will go over how we like to throw, giving newcomers and pros alike a little reminder.

With The Full Experience, guests are partnered with a dedicated axe-pert who will teach them how to safely throw axes and then engage in a series of creative axe throwing games! Using the target as a game board, we can keep score in a variety of exciting ways.

The Games We Play

Although the games you play will change with group preference and axe-pert, we can give you a little inside scoop into the different activities that await you.

Invented by Ke$ha herself, one of the first games we like to play is TIMBER! Much like HORSE in basketball, players go axe head to axe head, trying to throw the highest numbers! Lower number takes a letter.

Tic-Tac-Toe…but with BLADES! Using the target to determine where the X’s and O’s can go, this sharp twist on the classic game has players aiming for the target’s first ring as intently as the bullseye!


This fine woodworking endeavor is almost as keen as the axe throwing itself. Tear open your flannel, roll up your sleeves, and go get yourself the best wood for axe throwing: cottonwood and pine. Should you want to go all out with baseboards: check out douglas fir.

Paint your target with regulation ring patterns, or go wild! Use unique colors, get creative, make your own! We do not recommend putting up printed photos of your boss or mother in law. It’s just not worth having to explain to your friends or coworkers.

Keep it hydrated! With wood, you need to strike a balance between damp and pliable while watching out for mold. At LJ’s we spray down our boards with a very mild bleach and water mixture. It keeps the target ready for axes, clean, and free from rot.


If you have any questions or need help finding the right target for your needs, please don’t hesitate to reach out! We are more than happy to help.

In the meantime, Lumber Jack’s would love to have you visit our ranges. We have all of the targets, axes, and expertise you need for an awesome afternoon adventure.

Come check us out, see if axe throwing is the sport for you! Book your lane in advance on our website, or walk in during our regularly scheduled business hours. We even host a variety of really fun events for everything from birthday parties to corporate team building outings. No matter the occasion, we are looking forward to meeting you.

See you soon!

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