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Official Throwing Axes
If you’re participating at an official axe throwing venue, depending on which federation you are throwing for will have different requirements and rules.
For the World Axe Throwing Federation venues – the axe requirements are:
- Axe head weight must be UP TO 2 Lbs MAX.
- Handle can be made out of wood, steel or plastic.
- Length must be AT LEAST 12 inches in the eye of the blade.
- 4.75 Inch MAX blade length.
These are a little more lenient, allowing you to chose a heavier, bigger axe. Also, unlike the NATF the handle doesn’t have to be made of wood.
I am not a fan of steel handle axes as they are usually lower quality and will break quicker. Fortunately, the WATL came out with their own axe – wood handled and perfect for beginners. This is probably my top choice for the best throwing axe for beginners.
For the National Axe Throwing Federation venues – the axe requirements are:
- Axe head weight must be between 1.25 and 1.75 Lbs
- Axe handle MUST be made of wood.
- Length must be AT LEAST 13 inches in the eye of the blade.
- 4 Inch MAX blade length.
This Shopro Axe Throwing League Hatchet meets all the requirements and is very reasonably priced. This is probably my top choice for the a cheaper alternative.
The other popular league is the WATL – World Axe Throwing League. Aside from having slightly different rules and playing styles, the WATL also has different requirements for which axe you can use.
These 2 axes are a great choice for any sort of beginner axe throwers. Even if you just set up your own axe throwing target (remember safety first!) and start practicing, using one of these 2 would be my recommendation.
Experienced throwers who have been doing it for a while will often have something a bit nicer. Once you get better, you can move on to something like the Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet or the Hults Bruk Tarnaby Hatchet.
The main reason is, especially when you’re learning you are bound to damage the blade or handle somehow. A nice hatchet like one of the 2 mentioned above will still work great, but it would be a shame to damage all that craftsmanship on a bad throw, a bad stick or even overuse.
Another popular choice is using Tactical Axes for throwing. A lot seem to gravitate especially to the SOG brand of axes. These can range from very light to a nice medium heft. I really recommend to stay away from the cheaper ones in this category. Breaking and chipping of the head seem to happen a little too often with the cheaper stuff.
This Condor Tool & Knife tomahawk (see details here) is a very nice option for a beginner. The price point is a bit higher but you are getting a great tactical axe that will last you quite a while. Condor Tool & Knife are a very recognized company when it comes to tomahawks, they’ve been making good quality tools for years.
Double Bit Throwing Axe
When it comes to double bits – I would say a beginner should get used to a smaller single bit first. Swinging those bigger double bladed axes around is not a good idea if you’re not used to handling axes at all.
Let’s assume you are safe – the best option to practice with for more of a beginner would be this Truper Double Bit Michigan Axe(see details here).
There are several axes in a similar price range for this category, but a lot of reviews point to this one as being the best. If you’ve ever handled this one, you’ll notice its just a little bit smaller and lighter. This makes it easy to handle for beginners but can be accurate for more advanced double bit throwers.
Choosing the best throwing axe for beginners is not hard, but will depend on what kind of axe throwing you will be doing. Someone practicing in their backyard will want to use something different than a member of an axe throwing league.
Since we are aiming for a beginners axe, we do not want anything too expensive. Axe throwing can be pretty addictive, and even a beginner should get their own axe instead of using the house axes wherever they throw.
They will be more consistent and get better scores using the same axe over and over. Practicing a lot will probably damage the blade sooner than you think, so we don’t want anything too expensive.
Some of the very expensive axes are priced high because they are designed for a very specific purpose. Sometimes this is not good for throwing. Also the cheapest out there are definitely a bad decision in terms of safety and.. basically them just breaking too fast too soon.
Axe Throwing Target
Here are some tips to help you throw better.
Beginners usually make the same mistakes over and over, and finally when they realize what to change they start getting more consistent. The first one would be to pick a correct axe throwing target. A thin board will not do for axes the same way the would if you were throwing knives. Something a lot thicker is preferred, the best option would be a thick tree slab, but if you cant get one, buying wooden boards at your hardware store would also do the trick.
Something like a semi thick log will do perfectly. The hard part will be to create a stand for it, but as you can see in the picture, something simple like this will work great.
These are very good for axes in particular because they will last you a long time. If you have access to a chainsaw and some timber.. this is a walk in the park. You can cut out a few pretty thick chunks and not need a replacement anytime soon.
You still may need a trip to the hardware store to build the stand. You have the choice of having it suspended in the air with a chain, or letting it sit on a stand, and I’ve found that making a stand is simpler and faster in most cases.
This video will show you how thick you should have your slab of wood and give a good example of a quick way to put together a stand.
Axe Throwing Guidelines
Your starting point should be around 15 feet away from your target. You can either get a tape measure, or just use your feet and walk back 15 paces.
The exact distance isn’t extremely important because for now we are just getting a general distance for where your best throwing spot is. Depending on how you perform, tweaking the distance to help you get consistent sticks is best practice.
The next step is to see how well you are doing. If the axe seems to stick over and over – this is probably your ideal distance and you should not change anything. This will probably not be the case since we are beginners, your axe will probably hit the target on a weird angle more often than not.
If the top of the your axe head is hitting the target flat on, you would want to move forward about 6 or so inches to counter act the over rotation. If your axe is landing in the opposite way – with the handle hitting the target and the top of the axe head facing you, you would want to move back about 6 inches.
The goal is to be consistent once you find that sweet spot that sticks in the board best for you. When actually throwing the axe, make sure that it slides out of your hand upon release.
The axe will leave your hand at the perfect time if you just let it, and not force it out when you think its a good time to let go.
These tips are standard for any of the recommended beginner axes above. Don’t worry if you miss the target a few times when you start out – this happens to a lot of people.
The main reason those specific axes were chosen for beginners is that they’re easily replaceable and don’t cost too much if you break one or 2.