Axe throwing as a hobby has been around since at least the 1800s. Back then, people with regular access to axes—i.e., loggers and lumberjacks—would participate in impromptu axe throwing competitions to see who had the best handle.
It wasn’t until the 1940s that axe throwing became a competitive sport, where organizers would hold events to see which thrower had the best aim. Today, the sport is governed by all sorts of bodies, but the most prominent one that manages international competition is the World Axe Throwing League.
The WATL has come up with a code of conduct that governs gameplay rules, procedures, and equipment specifications, including target dimensions. So, whether you’re thinking of taking up axe throwing as a hobby or becoming a professional thrower, you need to familiarize yourself with axe throwing target dimensions.
If you don’t have the time to go through the WATL’s code of conduct, here’s what you need to know about the target’s dimensions.
An axe throwing target dimension consists of 3 layers that take up an estimated area of 50 × 68 inches (1.27 × 1.73 meters). The thickness of the target depends on the thickness of the 3 layers.
Axe Throwing Target Dimensions
A WATL-standardized target requires a ton of careful planning to build correctly. The following description of the target dimensions is taken directly from the WATL’s Code of Conduction Section H.
The target must be made of 3 layers of wood. The first layer, known as the Backboards, consists of between 5 vertically aligned 2 × 10-inch boards measuring 4 feet long. The purpose of the Backboards is to give stability to the second and third layers.
The second layer is a single sheet of oriented strand board or plyboard.
The third layer, referred to as the Target Boards, is made of the same number of 2 × 10-inch boards as the Backboards. This layer is separated into two parts: the Targets and the Header and Footer. The Target Design will be painted onto the Target Boards. The Header and Footer boards are made of 2 2 × 10-inch boards positioned horizontally on the top and bottom of the Target Boards.
In total, the WATL axe throwing target area should be 50 inches wide by 68 inches tall (1.27 × 1.73 meters).
Considering the actual dimensions of a 2 × 10-inch board are 1.5 × 9.25 inches and 4 feet long, there’s a possibility that the WATL axe throwing target area will be as small as 46.25 × 66.5 inches (1.17 × 1.69 meters).
As for the target’s total thickness, depending on the size of the oriented strand board (between 3/8 and ¾ of an inch) or playboard (between 1/8 and 1.25 inches), the target’s thickness should be between 3.13 and 5.25 inches (79.5 and 133.35 millimeters).
Using the WATL’s specialized stencil and market, you can easily begin to measure and draw the Target Design.
The Target Design consists of 1 bullseye, 4 rings, and 2 special zones known as “the Killshot.”
The bullseye should be placed at the dead-center of the Target Board. It must measure 3.5 inches (89 millimeters) in diameter.
Each of the rings will measure ¾ of an inch (20 millimeters) in thickness with around 3.5 inches (89 millimeters) of space between each ring. The outside line of the outermost ring should be 24 inches (0.61 meters) out from the center of the bullseye.
The Killshots measure 1.5 inches (39 millimeters) in diameter. It should be 35.25 inches (0.9 meters) up from the top of the Footer and 2.5 inches (63 millimeters) inside of the outermost ring.
FAQs About Axe Throwing Targets
1. How high should the axe throwing target be from the ground?
When fastening the Target onto a wall, make sure the top of the footer board is positioned 3 feet (0.91 meters) off the ground, placing the bullseye roughly 63 inches (1.6 meters) up. Also, make sure you install the Target in a room that has at least 10-foot-tall (3.05-meter) ceilings for safety purposes.
2. How far should the thrower stand from the target?
The throw line should be marked 15 feet (4.57 meters) in front of the target for standard hatchet throwing. However, when throwing a big axe, the thrower must stand 17 feet away from the target when throwing.
3. Can I make an axe throwing target at home?
Yes, you can. The dimensions I described above are based on the WATL’s Code of Conduct. You are more than free to build your own design, staying as true to the WATL’s guidelines as possible if you wish to become a hobby or professional axe thrower.
The exact dimensions of a standard axe throwing target can be difficult, but even the WATL allows for some room for error. So, as long as you get the target within a good range of the true dimensions, you shouldn’t have much trouble perfecting your aim.
4. What are the dimensions of a throwing axe/?
As I mentioned earlier, there are different types of axes when it comes to axe throwing as a sport. Hatchets are small axes that, according to the WATL, must measure 19 inches (48.26 centimeters) at most from the bottom of the handle to the top of the blade. The edge of the blade can only be 4 inches (10.16 centimeters) from top to bottom. At most, it can weight 3 pounds (1.36 kilograms).
As for big axes, they must measure between 23 and 30 inches (58.42 to 76.2 centimeters). The blade must be a similar size as that of a hatchet, but the overall weight of the big axe has to be limited to 4.25 pounds (1.93 kilograms).
And there you have it, folks. In this brief guide, I covered the dimensions of a WATL-standard target, as well as a few general rules about competitive axe throwing. In case you already forgot, the axe throwing target dimension can be up to 50 × 68 inches (1.27 × 1.73 meters).
If someone you know is thinking about getting into competitive axe throwing, make sure you send them this guide. Or if you have experience throwing axes, we’d love to hear your thoughts on how easy it is to hit a target from 15 to 17 feet away!