Choosing the best wood to use for your axe throwing target will depend on your needs and what is most important to you. Is it more important to save every dollar possible at the expense of customer experience? Reduce clean up and maintenance time? Or deal with a little bit of odor and wet the boards down regularly?
There are many different wood species out there that people are trying and below is our experience. We have found that the best target boards consist of the following:
Most lumber yard boards are of a pine variety and all are kiln dried dimensional lumber intended for the construction industry. These boards are mass produced by large mills making them cheap in comparison to a small sawmill.
Pros: Easy to find and cheap to get
Cons: Splits easily, hard for beginners to stick an axe into them, messy. Generally you have to cut them down to 4ft.
Cottonwood trees have very limited lumber quality to them because they don't tend to hold nails very well. It's mainly considered a trash tree but it can be used for pallets and food baskets.
Cottonwood is an excellent choice because of its straight porous grain. It's much softer than kiln dried lumber when wet and will "heal" itself when penetrated with an axe allowing the board to be used much longer.
Pros: Long lasting, easy to stick an axe, easier to find then basswood.
Cons: Has a foul odor (good ventilation helps a lot) Keeping it wet is the key to getting a longer life out of the board. Will chip out easier on the sides than basswood. Tendency to mold.
Basswood is widely used in wood carving, venetian blinds, and saunas. Like cottonwood it doesn't hold nails well and isn't generally found in large quantity.
Basswood has become the favorite of a few of my customers because they tend to hold up the best and require the least maintenance.
Pros: Long lasting, easy to stick an axe, doesn't require as much wetting down. Seems to last the longest. My customers have had more success flipping our 2in thick boards over to extend the life without them splitting.
Cons: Availability can be a problem in the winter. Produces more fine dust. Can not be soaked to extend it's life due to its water-repellant qualities. May be more expensive than cottonwood.
We have found that by using a select 2in board your board life is longer, labor cost go down and your customer experience goes up because more throws stick. Our customers have reported that the 1.5 inch boards blow out the back and split more then the 2inch thick boards allowing them to be flipped over and reused. In the end, you pay a little more for the board but you use it longer thus saving you time and money.
2 x 8.25 x4ft & 2 x 9.25 x 4ft
$10 Each - (Sold out) Expected stock in October
$10 Each - In Stock