How to soften wood for axe throwing

If you’re planning on using wood as an axe throwing target, there are a few things you need to do to make sure it’s properly prepared. The most important thing is to keep the wood moist before hitting it with any axes – this will help it stay nice and soft!

Why you want wood soft for axe throwing?

  1. Softwood doesn’t splinter as easily making it way more durable
  2. Axes are able to stick in softwood easier
  3. Since axes have an easier time sticking into soft wood they also are taking less impact
  4. Softwood is much quieter
  5. Since softwood lasts longer that means soft wood directly saves money whether it’s a DIY axe throwing target or at an axe throwing venue.

Soaking Wood

Many companies that provide lumber can presoak the wood in a solution to ensure it is wet when it is delivered to you. This can be helpful because it will ensure that the wood comes prepared and you don’t have to soften it. It does have a clear downside however, wet things can get moldy.

Mold Prevention after soaking or wetting wood to soften it.

So how do you prevent mold and make sure that that wood stays usable as long as possible?

  1. Proper Storage: Make sure the wood is stored in ventilated areas so it doesn’t speed up any mold growth. Keep it away from damp dark areas which are a perfect formula to grow mold.
  2. Properly stacking or leaning the wood: One of the worst things you can do is stacking wet wood on top of one another because there is no ventilation. Instead, you should lean the wood like against a wall and each other at an angle making sure that only the tip of the wood is touching. Another option is stacking the wood like Jenga but with large gaps between the boards to ensure there is plenty of ventilation.
  3. Keep the wood away from standing water and damp areas: Whatever you do please don’t store it in a basement that has any sign of dampness.

What is the best way to keep wood soft?

Once you have the wood for your axe throwing targets. The best way to keep it soft is to simply use water. Soaking the wood that you are currently using for an axe throwing target especially soft wood like cottonwood can help it last longer and be quieter than normal wood. It works very similarly to a dart board when the wood is properly softened it allows a sharp object to cleanly pierce it without breaking the board. This means you can use that board repeatedly without having to replace it since it won’t split.

Sometimes you don’t need a fancy high tech solution, so fill up a squirt bottle with regular old water and spray the boards down before using them. If you are using them a lot or with a large group like at an axe throwing venue then spraying them down every hour or between groups is a good way to maximize its the woods life.

If you find something different you like as long as you make sure that the wood is always kept damp – that will help it stay soft and be more forgiving for throwers.


By following these simple tips, you’ll ensure that your wood is properly softened and ready for axe throwing!

If you found this helpful be sure to check out more of our axe throwing content and throwing axe reviews as you get ready to take on the competition.

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